Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yeats to Music: Mike Scott at the National Library Dublin - June 30th, 2009

So I caved in to the pressure of my adoring fan base who were asking for a review of yesterday's poetry reading. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, I said poetry reading. Yesterday was the final event of the summer programme that the National Library of Ireland had dedicated to the work of Irish Poet W.B. Yeats: Yeats to music by Mike Scott.

If you don't know Mike Scott, he is the lead singer, and the main force behind The Waterboys. Check out one of my first posts for a review of the Midlands Festival a couple of years ago where they were on the bill. Mike Scott has already recorded a few songs with Yeats' words, most notably Love and Death (on the album Dream Harder) and A Song of the Rosy-Cross (with Sharon Shannon). Mike is also working on a full stage production of Yeats' songs that will be on stage next March in the Abbey Theatre.

The "gig" was an hour long event where Mike read Yeats' poetry for the first 30 minutes or so, focusing on some more obscure poems, and then he was accompanied on stage by Steve Wickham on the fiddle and John McCullough on keyboard.

For the musical part of the event, they played five or six "musical adaptations" of Yeats' poems. I particularly enjoyed the last two songs as they reminded me more of the Waterboys sound:

  • Politics, which happens to be the last poem on the last poetry compilation... not necessarily the last poem he ever wrote! I hope this song gets released at some stage.
  • Let the Earth Bear Witness which was inspired by the current events in Iran. Mike explained that he took the lyrics from two poems that seemed appropriate for what's going on over there at the moment. And composed the music around them.

WARNING: The video has some very strong and violent images of the events in Iran

I have to say that all in all, it was a very interesting event from the National Library of Ireland well worth attending

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