About the CD
I have decided to create this SONGS OF IRISH LABOUR website for the following reasons:
I believe that the world belongs to those who work in it, to those who labour by hand and by brain, and not to those who parasite upon their labour. I believe that class and class struggle endure, although it has become ever more complex to conceptualise and to confront. I believe that the labour movement should draw strength from its past, even while grasping the ever more sophisticated challenges of its future.
I have long been stirred by the songs of the labour movement and believed it important for the old songs to live and for new songs to come to life. However, I saw no special role for myself in this, being busy speaking and writing and leaving to others the singing.
Events in 1998 have pushed me into thinking about doing something about the songs. I was exploring multimedia possibilities in my work as a university teacher and writer and using songs with texts and images to convey the drama of ideas within the flow of socio-historical experience.
A song I heard at a typical irish sing-song during the weekend of the Irish Labour History Society annual conference in January haunted me for some months afterwards. It was Martin Whelan's Bread and Roses.
Then came Crossakiel.
There were red flags flying against the grey skies and green hills of County Meath. There was a new generation along with older generations singing The Red Flag, a song I loved but feared was dying. ( See my 1989 text Has the red flag fallen ? ) It raised my spirits more than anything had done in a long time. The 1990s were difficult for me, and for many like me, who felt battered and bruised, but kept walking down the long and winding road, which had opened before us in more hopeful days.
As it had so captured my imagination, I set about constructing a website about it and in doing so got involved with the people in Meath who had made it happen, especially Tommy Grimes nad Claire Keane. It grew and grew and became over two months a far more elaborate website than I had imagined when I started it.
text / photos / sound files
In the process of doing it, I organised a new recording of the song using the recording studios of DWR-fmat the School of Communications at Dublin City University, where I work. Jimmy Kelly, who sang it in Crossakiel along with the SIPTU band and the crowd, came into studio with Michael Hand and Mike Mullen and I put it on the internet as an mp2 file.
Also on the day in Crossakiel I asked Martin Whelan to record Bread and Roses, still trying to figure out how I was going to do it, but determined that I was going to do it. Once I had produced the recording of The Red Flag, I knew it was viable and so the project grew.
It was only viable with the team I gathered around me during this time.
Colin Patterson and Eoin Sweeney, sound engineers on the project, provided the technical expertise necessary for recording songs, but much more than that, not least the perspective of another generation.
We recorded Bread and Roses and other songs of Martin Whelan while
we were at it. With Mick Lacey playing the banjo and Martin
Whelan singing and playing the guitar, we recorded four songs in one day.
Three of them were Martin's own songs. The other was Peadar Kearney's
We decided to produce a CD.
was launched on 1 December 1998.
Watch for news of future projects of Bread
and Roses Productions, a multimedia production project.
Sheffield Socialist Choir (3 sound clips)
Union Songs Union Sites Other Music Sites
MP3.com - Scarlet Banner: Songs of Socialism and Solidarity
FoFMbM On The Web Hard Miles
Industrial Worker -- Music/Song Songs of the IWW
Liberator: The Songbook
DSA Songs Ripe for Revolution
Folk Music Home Page Artists
Tommy Sands The Sands Family
Songs That Bind Us Pete Seeger
Judy Small Phil Ochs Labi Siffre
Bob Marley Alistair Hulett Billy Bragg
Dick Gaughan Joan Baez Judy Collins
Mudcat Cafe/Digital Traditions Folksong Database
Power! Songs for Social Change
Songs for Social Change Links
Cyber Picket Line Trade Union Resources on the Web
Various Artists -Bread & Roses
Bread & Roses (real audio Joan Baez & Mimi Farina)
Music Of The Detroit Newspaper Strike
MUA Muse Dandemutande Resource Guide
Folk Alliance Links Page The Ultimate Link Page
May Day on the Web Links
Tim's World and Progressive Music Pages
NOMA: Artists of the Alliance
Some related websites by HS:
the red flag fallen ?