My name is Kyle Inman; I am one of four Fulbright mtvU scholars around the globe and a student of the Queen’s University Irish History Master’s program. For the past year I have researched music and produced videos about the creative brilliance and uniqueness of musicians in Northern Ireland. My mission is to use these videos to promote outstanding Irish musical talent and displace Northern Ireland’s global reputation of perpetual conflict with a better understanding of its culture through music.
The following video is a snapshot of my project ‘Voices of Northern Ireland’ and gives a brief look at my work. The videos I have produced encompass a wide variety of artists, instruments and stories including Irish singer Gráinne Holland, folk rock group ‘Scorpion Jack’, the lost stories of Sailortown, the history of the Irish harp and bodhran drum, insight into the Linen Hall Library and the story behind the ‘Music from the Blocks’ CD. My blog site presents something to interest everyone.
If it only takes a minute to support a country rebuilding from the devastation of a thirty year conflict, is there any reason why you wouldn’t show your support?
Please peruse my blog site: http://fulbright.mtvu.com/author/kyleinman/, click on the titles of any or all of the videos that interest you, watch or scan them, scroll to the bottom of the page and leave your comments however brief or lengthy.
Help the world hear the Voices of Northern Ireland.
Many thanks in advance!!!
If you would enjoy a brief tour of another world with a song that will capture your heart and images to dazzle your imagination, please watch the following presentation. This is a picture tour of beautiful Belfast and the Northern part of Ireland, the place where I have spent the past year compiling videos on the musical creative genius of the country. From the beautiful city sights to the 13th century Dunluce castle falling into the sea everything is so wonderfully different. Irish singer Gráinne Holland’s song ‘The Blue Hills of Antrim’ mirrors the beauty of Northern Ireland perfectly. For a look at her story click here.
Using mattresses to transform a prison cell into a recording studio, a smuggled tape recorder, and look-outs to ensure their success, six prisoners captured the essence of an event that still defines the Republican community today. In 1981 ten Republican volunteers began a hunger strike in Long Kesh prison to regain political status for paramilitary prisoners, and counter the efforts of the British government to criminalize the Republican fight for a united Ireland. Ten years later, their comrades secretly compiled a cassette tape from within the prison to commemorate the hunger strikers’ sacrifice.
Scorpion Jack is a hi-energy acoustic folk rock duo with an amazing magnetism that draws people in from near and far to hear their original sound and insightful music. David Preston writes songs covering a wide spectrum of topics, emotions and ideas, while Rohan Young fits David’s every musical nuance with his world class bodhran drumming skills. They have an intuitive bond on stage and can break out into an improvised number with humor and intelligence at any moment. Their almost fraternal link empowers their music and emanates into the audience endearing them to the crowds they assemble.
Their songs traverse a wide terrain from matters of the heart, through historical fiction and to dimensions unconsidered. ‘Ulster Cycle’ takes an educated and entertaining glimpse into the ancient times of Gaelic warfare; war paint, fierce warriors, and passionate battles all in an endless ancient cycle still leaking into today’s hearts and minds. ‘News’ collects images of today’s world spinning out of control right under our noses. ‘It’s the light’ speaks from a clouded world of rain, damp and dreary about the appreciation of the light we so often take for granted and embraces it into deeper human meaning. ‘Constantly burning’ delves into a spirit on perpetual fire, relentlessly searching a release for the reckless abandon of explosive destruction.
Watching these two perform the music they have created together, one would never guess the opposite nature of their backgrounds. Rohan was brought up in West Belfast, a staunch Republican community, and David is from a Unionist area. Scorpion Jack is a perfect example of the power of a shared aspiration and overcoming everything to achieve it. Their partnership grew from their innermost similarities; a love for organic sound and an ability to channel distilled truth. Their music questions the world around them, explores the emotions of their time, shows the possibility of the future, and reflects the presence of an uneasy undercurrent running just below the surface of Northern Ireland itself. Scorpion Jack is Belfast born and bred and represents a new perspective on what this city could become when people look collectively towards the future instead of wearily at each other.
The bodhran is the keeper and guardian of rhythms in Ireland. Although it is a fairly new instrument in Ireland’s repertoire of sounds, it has been treated with respect since its earliest days. It is a single frame drum, akin to similar instruments around the world, except for the variety of tones it can produce. The bodhran is made of wood and skin, with many variations of the two, and is played with both or one end of a single stick, traditionally the hind leg of a dog.
Rohan Young has been making bodhran drums since he was ten. He knows every part of the instrument intimately and brings the drum to life with every touch. In his hands, the bodhran can be a single steady beat or a drum kit and practically everything in between. He plays with a wide variety of groups including traditional Irish sessions, blues groups and his acoustic folk group Scorpion Jack. He molds his drumming skills to fit any ensemble and many types of music, taking only seconds to fit his sound seamlessly into the music. To watch him play is a performance in itself. Without going overboard with theatrics, he lets the music guide his movements and envelope him in a nearly trance like state.