Sunday, 6 December 2015

Track: The Mighty Avon Jnr - Underground

The Mighty Avon Jnr Underground Darragh McCarthy

The Mighty Avon Jnr - Underground

Info: The Mighty Avon Jnr is the alternative folk and spoken word group of Dubliner Daragh McCarthy. McCarthy has been writing music for almost 20 years now with his previous release, 'Rapture Me Now' coming out back in 1999. He explains how the new track, 'Underground', came to pass; "I came across the work of Emer Martin in a copy of Stinging Fly magazine that a friend left in my flat on a winter evening in 2011.Leafing through the contents I was struck by the title "going underground" in the novel extracts section as I had previously made a film about the Dublin punk rock scene of the 90s called "The Stars Are Underground". Reading the character’s monologue in my kitchen I realised I was speaking it out loud, caught up in the rhythm. The words felt like an anger cheat-sheet and a dark history lesson and I immediately decided to put it to music ”. 

The Mighty Avon Jnr Underground

(Excerpt from 'Going Underground' by Emer Martin)

'Under the cassocks of the bishops and cardinals and the popes with their useless cocks like ticking metronomes marking out time until the chickens come home to roost. 

Under Ben Bulben. 
Under the endless verses of rebel songs. 
Under the drink. 
The poteen that could turn you raw blind, the Guinness that blackens your shit, the uisce beatha that bursts your liver ... 

Under the fierce watch of bad nuns who ate their sandwiches and drank their lemonade as the starved children in their care collected turf for their parlors. 
Under the solicitors, the guards, the school principals, the doctors, the bank managers, 
the decent people of Ireland who you need to sign for your passport. 

Under the thud and hum of the laundries. 
Under the heaps of banned books from exiled scribblers. 

Under the shoeless bloody feet of slave children in the obscene care of the church and state – Uncounted. Lives, like melted snow off a ditch…' 

As is wont with spoken word put to music we are told the story of Ireland's history, but not the type they teach in schools, Emer Martin's lyrics are a stinging rebuke, an uncomfortable narrative of the true history of our island, delivered perfectly by McCarthy with a determined, defiant and restrained anger, on our behalf. The music is powerfully atmospheric, appropriately tribal with it's heavy single drum beats, Celtic, pagan mysticism are all captured through the strings and backing vocals which take us from the dawn of recorded Irish history, to the latest enslavement of the citizens of this State and our weak capitulation in comparison to how we responded to our previous oppression. It's emotive and haunting and humbling, with the story-telling medium making it's 12 minute duration pass so quickly, it's nice to see an old tradition brought forward again with a contemporary musical arrangement, they should play it in schools so the children might ask more questions!

'Underground' by The Mught Avon Jnr. is available on digital download here

No comments:

Post a Comment