Paul Brady: ‘I’m starting to see the cult of death as a perversion’

The island has sprouted in me since the Maze hunger strike in 1981. After that, the situation in the North got worse. With the deaths of Bobby Sands and nine other inmates over the summer, the IRA’s campaign of violence intensified. People are becoming more and more polarized. I wanted to write about what was going on but felt conflicted and nothing worked.

Beginning the first IRA campaign in the mid-1950s, I had this contradiction about the legitimacy of violence in achieving political ends. My ancestors suffered from the discriminatory practices of a system in Northern Ireland that favored a dominant population that refused to give up an inch of land.

My family on both sides have a long tradition of wanting to see the end of the British debauchery in Ireland. But as the violence spiraled out of control in the 1980s and showed no sign of achieving anything but wholesale misery, I began to lose faith in the old arguments and view the cult of death as a perversion. lose. Violence begets more violence and becomes the end in itself. In an extension to my long-held belief that society evolves from the inside out, that is, from the way people change in the way they relate to others, I have seen the power of change that ordinary people have. , or an ordinary couple, for example. , can be obtained by simply falling in love.

The music community in the South was also polarized, with many in the traditional music camp supporting the provisional IRA campaign. It almost comes with the territory.

With so much of Ireland’s historical troubles reflected in the songs, some great songs too, it’s inevitable that sentiment will rub off and influence the way people look at the contemporary scene. But I feel that a lot of people in the Republic are seeing things too black and white. It is very easy for people, some of whom have never even been in Northern Ireland, let alone raised there, to have strong opinions on what to do and how to do it. there.

I’ve got the music of Island for a long time, many years. I was playing with a melody on the piano that kept repeating to me. Something about my father’s love of singing those old Mexican spanish songs La Paloma and La Golondrina has nestled within me since I used to accompany him during my early teenage years in Donegal.

In me right now is a loud, powerful piano melody like a slow tango. I love it and, despite its strange origins, I knew it would be the perfect musical medium for what I wanted to say about what was happening in my country.

But it has proven to be really difficult to put into words. I’ve been trying for years and keep trying. Every time I wrote a line, another conflicting voice inside of me would say, “But, Paul, you can’t say that… you’re forgetting this…that…and that one… star?” My existential confusion and natural tendency to see all sides in an argument is overwhelming. What do I really want to say and how do I want to say it?

I was still nervous about playing the piano in the studio and so I taught the arrangement I wrote to Kenny Craddock, a very assured and responsive player. We decided to record live with me on headphones in a separate vocal booth so that no other instruments would leak into my singing mic. I will sing the lyrics that I have written so far and am very satisfied, and will come back after I finish them.

We got started, and when I heard Kenny’s beautiful performance play through my headphones, I was overwhelmed with such a strong emotion that it was almost impossible to sing. When Phil Palmer started an acoustic guitar solo, I didn’t know how to continue. I sang some harsh words on the last verse to give Kenny structure to keep playing, and suddenly it ended. It was a profound moment. Everyone in the studio knew that something special was happening. But I need to finish it.

I asked them to replay the recording and when I sang it again on Kenny’s piano, I heard myself singing words that didn’t exist “and teaching them death will lead us to glory.” . Where did that thing come from? Some instinct then told me to get out of the way, keep singing, and let what I want to go through.

I was exhausted after that. I couldn’t listen to it for half an hour. Then, when I went back to it and heard the saying “these boys that die in the ditch are only what is free”, I was shocked. This is not something I believed or wanted to say…until I heard the irony in my voice and realized that the character in the song was expressing my own helplessness, feelings of helplessness and my resignation perfectly. I felt amused, ecstatic, and freed from a burden. More than 30 years later, it’s still one of my favorite recordings.

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https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/book-reviews/paul-brady-i-began-to-see-the-cult-of-death-as-a-perversion-42009616.html Paul Brady: ‘I’m starting to see the cult of death as a perversion’

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