Recently with gigs being off, I have found myself writing a lot of commission pieces. It’s been a really lovely and humbling challenge. Running with an idea and making a piece of art out of it is something I get great pleasure out of. I believe that you can find beauty in just about anything.
I had a real taste of writing songs as commissions for the TG4 series Spillane an Fánaí. Here I wrote songs about Irish towns. This then became an album ‘Life in an Irish Town‘ which I released in 2013. More recently, I was commissioned to write a song for RTÉ’s David Brophy’s Unsung Heroes Choir. I spent a day with the members of the choir – made up of carers from all walks of life. I spent time with them, we chatted, and I made notes. This piece was made up largely of things that the family carers said about their lives, in the same way that Ewan McColl wrote The Shoals of Herring out of things the fishermen said long ‘go. The piece and the two part TV series received an overwhelming reaction, it was very humbling.
As well as these projects, I have really enjoyed writing private commissions for people who have contacted me directly. These can often be quite specific, something to honour a loved one, mark an important deed, or highlight the history of a place. I’ve been asked to write a song by somebody in gratitude to the man who saved him from drowning, another song for an animal rescue centre, a song about star constellations for a dedicated stargazer, the list is endless. Each song is a fresh challenge and takes me on a new journey. I have spent over 30 years writing in the Irish Song Tradition. I draw on this, together with my passion for Irish mythology and poetry to create these songs. There is nothing I love more than locking myself away in my studio with a new song challenge. The marriage of melody and poetry are my pride and joy.
So friends I’m delighted to announce that I will be throwing open the doors of the Hit Factory for the next three months! I put my heart and soul into this work. You never know by what human interaction the big song will come floating down to us!
If you think you’d like to commission me to compose a song for you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will begin our chat.
Here is a glimpse into the Hit Factory, my rag and bone shop of the heart.