Watch and listen to ‘FAIRIES’ >>>
The story behind the song…
My creative process for this song started when a friend of mine gave birth to a baby boy she called Cathal (an Irish name meaning Battle-Ruler or Great Warrior). When I asked what I could get as a present for her new arrival my friend replied ‘Ah no, you don’t have to get him anything – sure maybe write him a song some day’. Well, unbeknownst to her I started thinking and one year on – just in time for his first birthday – I recorded a song which I am now proud to dedicate to young Cathal McGrath. I will also take the liberty of extending this dedication to the children of ALL my friends near and far… in the hope that you will all grow up and become ‘Great Warriors’ – fighting for human rights, equality and justice. But now, to explain further, I must go back to the beginning… To gain inspiration I decided to think back to written works I had loved in my own childhood. My mother had read many poems and fairytales to me and one that had stuck in my mind was by the Ulster poet William Allingham called ‘The Fairies’ (first published in a collection of his poems back in 1850). I rediscovered this poem when i ‘graduated’ to Primary School… indeed looking back at my old school poetry jotter, (which was until recently carefully ‘filed’ away in my attic), I can further reveal that even at such a tender age I was inspired to warn people:
When everybody is asleep, Out the little people creep.
Pixies, fairies, little men too, Out from the cupboards, from behind the loo!
I digress!!!! Anyway, in another life, (as an activity-based adventure tour-guide of Ireland), I would take people way off the beaten track to ancient sites dating back thousands of years. As we travelled I gave my abridged versions of our history, myths and legends. For example – if the energy is right – i may relate the story of ‘The 2nd battle of Moy Tura’ fought between the Tuatha De Dannan and the Fomorians who were led by Balor of the evil eye. A battle of good against evil, light against darkness. I may then go on to explain how, with the arrival of the Celts, the Tuatha de Dannan took up residence in the other world. The dolmens, passage graves and other tombs which scatter our landscape act as doorways to that otherworld. When our mystical magical ancestors used these portals they became the fairies, the wee folk or the good folk. Now it is said they pass back and forward between this world and that… These temples of the dead are astrologically and astronomically aligned, mark energy centers and give us a direct link back to how our ancestors lived, their understanding of time/seasons and the cycle of life. We are still grappling with the complexities of their engineering and mathematical prowess. Anyway, when creating my video, I wanted to make sure I emphasized the link between ‘Fairies’ the song and the mythology of the Great Warriors & Builders of Stone Age Ireland… So there was really only one artist that sprung to mind – Jim Fitzpatrick (A ‘Human Rights Warrior’ himself). As a genuine fan of his work I now feel very honoured that he has given me permission to use his artwork in this way. You can find out more about Jim and the images I’ve used if you visit his website: www.jimfitzpatrick.com
From a production point of view Bill Shanley (www.billshanleymusic..com) and I took some time to discuss the sound we hoped to achieve. I didn’t want the ornamentation to sound particularly ‘childish’ and I certainly wasn’t aiming to create a pub classic… Instead, I hope we have created something that will appeal to discerning listeners from every generation. Sure you can let me know!!!! I also have to say that during the recording/production process I felt we were very much on the same wavelength which makes all the difference – it was a real pleasure to work with him again. So I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you to Bill and acknowledge both his production and guitar virtuosity.
Just a further note for those of you who are familiar with the original poem… You will notice my editing and particularly the additional lines. I wanted to answer the question raised by the lines ‘Up the airy mountain down the rushy glen, we daren’t go a-hunting for fear of little men’. The question in my head being ‘WHY?? What will the little men do????’. So now i’ve partially answered that with the lines ‘Little men will take you, they’ll take you by the hand. Spin you round and round and round and never let you down’. Sure I can only talk from experience!!!