Released 6 March 2000
I’ve been asked for a long number of years about a live album, and also about a solo live me-and-a-guitar album. Recently, when I’ve played WOMAD festivals with Davy or gigs with Kieran, I’ve been asked if I have any recordings featuring these wonderful musicians and friends. Hopefully this album will answer some of the questions. I’ve enjoyed so many gigs and so few live tapes. A lot of the best concerts aren’t recorded and most that are recorded end up like books of song lyrics or old phone numbers – there’s something or somebody missing. Then along came Thomas and the WOMAD and Real World people.
The suggestion was to record songs and some poems too – both from my albums and my book ‘The Music of What Happens’, since the two are closely related – to capture the immediacy of live performance in a studio environment. One of the poems begins “there is a spirituality that comes from movement”. You can see this in the flags at WOMAD festivals and hear it in the music and the wind in the trees. I was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland and a lot of these songs set out from there.
In the summer of 1999 – between WOMAD festivals in Reading and Seattle – Kieran, Davy and I recorded for three days at Real World in Box, Wiltshire. One afternoon I did a poetry reading with songs. Bronagh came up on the train to play drums and sing. Gopal and his Indian musicians and family were recording next door. There were photos just before sunset on the final afternoon. John and Alan came round on our last night for beers and songs, whilst Jacquie presided over everything along with Claire, Edel and assorted pets.
The sun was still shining when Davy and I returned to mix at the end of August. We both arrived and left late at night, driving a mysterious red car with Irish numberplates. Peter appeared to water tomatoes, and somehow the running order in my head turned out to make sense on tape. We’ve included songs from the live sessions and the reading, along with some poems. If you already are familiar with my albums then I hope you like the live versions of the songs and the new pieces too. If my work is a recent discovery for you – welcome to the show!Read more about this release »