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Irish musician plays 'Dirty Old Town' at Paris funeral of Charlie Hebdo editor


Stéphane Charbonnier pictured in his office last October

Stéphane Charbonnier pictured in his office last October

Stéphane Charbonnier pictured in his office last October

An Irish musician was invited to play 'Dirty Old Town' at the funeral of murdered Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier on Friday.

Paddy Sherlock, who has been based in Paris two more than two decades is a long-time friend of doctor Patrick Pelloux, a columnist for the satirical magazine, as well as the editor Charbonnier.

Sherlock and his band he welcomed magazine staff to their gigs and the band also played on a Christmas album for the magazine.

The day before the funeral, Pelloux asked Sherlock to sing 'Dirty Old Town'.

Speaking to Marian Finucane on RTE Radio 1, Sherlock revealed, "That was his choice.  Apparently, and I didn't know this, but that was Charbo's favourite song.

"He phoned me the day before yesterday and that was the first contact I had with him.  It's hard to get in touch with him and I didn't want to bother him.  He said, 'We need you.  Please come and sing this.  Please put a band together.'  We managed in 24 hours to get 16 musicians, the cream of the Paris music scene."

Sherlock and his band took part in the official ceremony attended by Ministers and VIPs which was held before the private family ceremony later yesterday afternoon.

The musician insisted that Charbonnier had nothing against Muslims.

"They really mistook their target because he was a militant person for equality and all he was interested in was what the French call the 'lay state'.  In French law there is no religion in the State.  They're completely separated.  So he used to defend that because there are various wings of various churches with people trying to bring that law back."

Of the atmosphere in Paris in the wake of the attack, he said, "There is an edginess, yeah.  And people are afriad but they're very together.  It's like, 'The Town I Loved So Well' or something. What's the line, 'They're down but not broken'.  They're really sticking together.

"Probably Muslim people are afraid now because there are attacks back at their community, mosques.  That's something that has to be stopped. If they go down that route it very very dangerous. At the moment it's absolute extremists.  People should stop using the word 'Islamist' because it has nothing to do with Islam."

Paddy Sherlock & Patrick Pelloux from MillyNeTon Vimeo.

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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny (second right) stands beside Jean-Pierre Thébault  (first right) Ambassador of France to Ireland, after signing the book of condolence at the Embassy of France in Dublin for the victims of the shootings at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. PA Gallery