“Luke (Kelly) also opened our eyes to the working class songs from the north of England. Songs that we never knew existed before. The geordie songs. The songs of the miners….”
One of my biggest regrets of the summer just gone is missing the excellent Frank Harte Festival, a tribute to one of the cities greatest singers, the late Frank Harte. He was raised only a stones throw from me in Chapelizod. There, his father ran the public house ‘The Tap’. Frank, an architect by trade, was not alone an unrivalled singer but also a collector of songs.
“The thoughts of a song dying with a singer or lying in a book or a tape on a shelf gathering dust fills me with horror.” So wrote Frank in his introduction notes to his timeless ‘Songs of Dublin’ collection.
Singing Voices was a collection of five broadcasts Frank did for RTE. We’ve only stumbled across them here and they all make for excellent listening. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
Songs of work and social protest – The Labouring Voice
Famine Songs – The Hungry Voice
Songs of the capital city – The Dublin Voice
Songs of Emigration – The Irish American Voice
Traditional singing styles in Ireland – The Singers’ Voices
Also, here are two tunes from Frank I had uploaded months ago with the aim of sharing with you to promote the festival. The Shan Van Vocht is a song dealing with the 1798 rebellion, while Building Up And Tearing England Down is a well known song about Irish emigrants in England.
Shan Van Vocht by Frank Harte.
Building Up And Tearing England Down- Frank Harte