Heather and the Chain Gang

All during lockdown, I found myself constantly thinking about musicians. I wondered how they were handling not being able to express themselves. It made me think about Rory Gallagher who was famously introverted but as soon as he stepped on stage he came alive. Are our musicians feeling alive?

I was worried about them but they all seemed to be ok. What is going on? I realised that with so much time on their hands they were instinctively getting into creative mode. They were recording with whatever limited resources they had within their bubble and they were mastering the zoom app online, producing gigs from their living room, free of charge, keeping our spirits up.

Hank Wedel rocking the back yard with Brian O'Carroll

But still I wondered why aren't they panicking, shouting from the rooftops? Is it because they are so used to living an existence which requires constant resourcefulness from them to survive? They have been waiting now 147 days to get back on stage.

It is crazy in my opinion, that the very people we need to strike a chord, get a venue hopping, bring razzmatazz to an event, are the ones being cast aside.

We will use them as is our want. "For this event, we must have a band." Everyone knows that music brings life to any event. Our city life was thriving because there was live music in almost every bar in the city, but now the majority of our musicians aren't working.

Now more than ever we have to buy their cd's and vinyl's, book them for parties, give to the tip jars of online gigs and like, share, promote any info on them.

Roy Buckley regularly plays gigs online during Covid, reaching viewers all over the world.

Recently Minister Heather Humphreys made very shortsighted remarks about musicians and will be remembered forevermore by them for her unrealistic, insensitive, and unintelligent point of view which was basically musicians need to retrain and get new jobs. Stop being musicians and become something else! Even if that was feasible or clever are we saying let's discard musicians? Even though music flows through the veins of us Irish. Apart from that she is ok with a city, any city being devoid of live music. My first thought after my concern for musicians is will we become like a lot of European cities? After 8 pm, all the business people leave the city heading home and a blanket of quiet descends.

Heather Humphreys have you thought about what an incredible resource musicians are to this country.

  1. Tourism - there is a perception of an island of music, romantic or magical, with miles of lush green fields and breathtaking scenery. Musicians give the tourist industry life and energy. It is the icing on the cake for the tourist experience.

  2. The vintners association - they are understandably very concerned at the moment, many of the pubs are still closed. It is largely musician dependent.

  3. Take wedding ceremonies - musicians make the event.

  4. Funerals - musicians draw on the heartstrings, helping the 'cathartic-ism'.

  5. Charity events - musicians bring it home.

  6. 21st's/ birthday parties - musicians give it energy

  7. Radio - Ah come on like!

  8. Television like the Late Late - no musicians - the whole show would have no punctuation.

  9. No music teachers because they are becoming electricians or whatever.

  10. No soundtracks to movies.

  11. Musicians generate revenue for dedicated venues, sound engineers, lighting technicians, recording studios and so on.