Christy brings the house down

The West Belfast Féile opened on Friday night when Christy Moore performed a personal tribute to Joe Cahill in front of a capacity crowd in Beechmount Leisure Centre.

Christy and Declan Sinnott walked on stage to thunderous applause and as they sat down, Christy asked for a minute’s silence for the late Joe Cahill who was buried on Tuesday. Christy explained that Joe’s wife Annie and family and extended family were in the audience.

A very relaxed and good-humoured Christy started his repertoire of songs about oppressed peoples all over the world who had risen up and fought against their oppressors – the International Brigade in Spain, Steve Biko in South Africa, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Cuba and Bloody Sunday in Derry.

In keeping with the theme of the evening, he sang about miscarriages of justice in the cases of the Birmingham Six and a moving song about Guisseppe Conlon, father of Gerry Conlon (one of the Guildford Four), who died in an English prison, an innocent man.

His songs about the hunger strikers included the story of Francis Hughes and ‘The Time Has Come’.

In his own inimitabe style and humour Christy explained that he performed at Glastonbury recently and was followed on stage by Morrissey who had written and performed an anti-American song. Christy had gone out and bought the CD and learnt the words of ‘America You’re Not The World’ and the audience cheered and clapped when he sang ‘You can shove your hamburgers’.

Then Christy introduced Terry ‘Cruncher’ O’Neill who portrayed him in ‘Paddy On The Road’ and sang ‘Andytown Girl’, a tribute to Mairead Farrell written by Brian Moore, while Christy sang the words from a book on his knee. They both then sang ‘Women Are Being Stripsearched in Armagh Jail’ and Cruncher went off to cheers of appreciation.

Despite the heat in the hall the audience was hushed and respectful and when Christy asked us to sing the chorus of everyone’s favourite, ‘Ride On’ it was sung quietly all around the hall. At the end of the song Declan Sinnott played a magic piece on the guitar to cheers and applause.

When after nearly two hours of singing, Christy and Declan went off, the audience rose as one demanding an encore. Christy returned saying, “Who knows when I’ll get an encore again so I’ll get going again.” He sang another five or six songs and during ‘Irish Ways and Irish Laws’ he had what he called “a senior moment” when he forgot the words and a woman in the crowd helped him out, to the great amusement of the audience.

When he asked for requests for his last song the audience called for Lisdoonvarna and then it was over and Christy and Declan went off. The crowd called for another encore and even when they realised that Christy was not coming back on, they were reluctant to leave. I left the hall feeling privileged to have been part of a great night. It was a fitting tribute to ‘Uncle Joe’, as Christy called him, performed in a quiet, respectful and dignified way but with Christy’s own inimitable humour as well.

Thanks for the memory Christy.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?