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THE KILDARE BOY:The Christy Moore Story
Selected as the Best Irish Male singer at the Meteor Awards 2010, CHRISTY MOORE first emerged as a performer towards the end of the 1960s. Since then, he has become one of the most distinctive and influential voices in Irish music. A magnetic performer, his work variously with Planxty, Moving Hearts and as a solo artist, has been widely acclaimed and he is regarded among his international peers as one of the pre-eminent folk singers.
Niall Stokes, 24 Jan 2011
How do you feel about the observation, which is often made, that we get the politicians we deserve?
Well we do, don’t we? We vote them in. We voted Bertie back in three times. Michael Lowry has topped the poll in Tipperary since 1916. It doesn’t seem to matter what they say or do just so long as they look after our own. The pump in the yard for the grandfather, the cushy job for the slow brother, a pot hole here, a medical card there – we have a flawed and corrupt system which most people apparently find acceptable. We need new politics in Ireland. Bertie bumped some quare hawks into the Senate before jumping ship. “Who is that eyin’ up Áras and Uachtaráin? It’s only me sez Bertie…”
How important is it that artists within the folk tradition, where there was a background of singing protest songs, should be prepared to oppose the mainstream?
What singers think is no more important than what anybody else thinks, or does or says. You might get your mug on the box a bit quicker. Singing protest songs is just that – some listeners might alter their view of things after hearing Bob Dylan’s ‘Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll’ but still go out and vote for Michael Mc Dowell or Mary Harney.
At the same time, you have sung songs that dealt with the treatment of travellers in Ireland and you talked about John Reilly earlier – so what is your view of the attitude of people to travellers?
What I personally feel is reflected in the songs. There is a song called ‘Johnny Connors’, which I wrote 20 years ago and the last verse is “My name is Johnny Connors, I’m a traveling man, I have taken everything you’ve thrown at me now I’m going to make a stand”. 20 years on, and heavy violence is creeping into every sector of society.
Do you think travellers can still live the migrant life?
It’s very difficult. The life I grew up with in the 50’s in Kildare is gone. For my father’s people, there was no running water, no electricity, no jacks. That life is gone, it’s over. I had a romantic view of it and longed to be back there, but the bottom line is: it’s over, get over it. You can’t manoeuvre a horse and covered wagon around the mad cow roundabout. It don’t work...