Just Festival 2021

An Evening of Music and Conversation with Northern Irish Peace Activist Tommy Sands

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Date: August 21

Time: 06:30 pm - 07:30 pm

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Just Festival

Website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/just-festival-30613440452
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Join us for an entertaining night of music and chat in the company of renowned peace activist and artist Tommy Sands. Tommy will reflect on his life of peace building through music and in conversation with recent theatre collaborator Robert Rae. This night will be all about celebrating music and its ability to guide us through a journey towards peace-building.

Tommy Sands’ iconic and best known song is There Were Roses.  Recounting how Allan Bell (name changed), a Protestant friend of Sands’, was murdered in Newry by Republican paramilitaries, it goes on to tell the tale of  loyalist paramilitaries that “prowled round the Ryan Road” for a Catholic to kill in retaliation before, ironically, selecting Sean O’Malley (name changed), a good friend of both the Protestant victim and Sands. It was first recorded by Robbie O’Connell with Mick Moloney and Jimmy Keane as the title track on their first album. Tommy Sands also recorded his own version as the opening track of his 1985 album Singing of the Times. The song has also been recorded by Joan Baez, Kathy Mattea, Dolores Keane, Sean Keane, Frank Patterson, Paddy Reilly, Dick Gaughan, The Dubliners, Cara Dillon, Lisa McHugh and many others. It has also been translated into many languages and is currently included in the English language syllabus in German secondary schools.

In Belfast, during the depths of The Troubles in August 1996, Sands organised a ‘Citizen’s Assembly’ which included many of Ulster’s top artists and literary figures

In December 2002 Sands persuaded the Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to record a special ‘Christmas musical party’ for his weekly radio show. As many members sang with him on stage David Ervine, the leader of the Loyalists remarked “Tommy Sands is the only man, without a private army, who can intimidate me.” The radio show received a special award at the World Festival of TV and Radio in New York.

In September 2008 Tommy Sands was invited to perform at the Library of Congress with his daughter Moya and son Fionán, as part of the Rediscover Northern Ireland Program. The event was co-sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the American Folklife Center.

In June 2010 Sands accepted the invitation of Palestinian and Israeli activists conducting a joint campaign at the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, to come and perform at a rally held to protest Israeli settlers evicting Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah residents and taking over their homes.

Ireland’s Nobel winning poet Seamus Heaney spoke of “the airiness and heartsomeness” of Sands’ work. “You feel you can trust the singer as well as the song”, he said, “his voice is at ease, it is not drawing attention to itself and yet, for that very reason it demands attention naturally.”

this event is free, suggested donation £4.

Tommy Sands

Details

Date: August 21

Time: 06:30 pm - 07:30 pm

Register
Organizer

Just Festival

Website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/just-festival-30613440452

Tommy SandsTommy Sands is an Irish songwriter and activist who has made peace building through music his purpose and career.

Tommy Sands, Co Down’s singer, songwriter and social activist has achieved something akin to legendary status in his own lifetime.

From the pioneering days with the highly influential Sands Family, bringing Irish Music from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Moscow’s Olympic Stadium, he has developed into one of the most powerful songwriters and enchanting solo performers in Ireland today.

His songwriting, which draws the admiration of Nobel Poet Laureate Seamus Heaney and father of folk music Pete Seeger, prompts respected US magazine “Sing Out” to regard him as “the most powerful songwriter in Ireland, if not the rest of the world”.

His songs, like There were Roses, and Daughters and Sons, which have been recorded by Joan Baez, Kathy Matthea, Dolores Keane, Sean Keane, Frank Patterson, Dick Gaughan, The Dubliners and many others have been translated into many languages and are currently included in the English language syllabus in German secondary schools.

Although constantly performing on stages all around the world he prides in taking his music down from the lights and into the darker corners of society. One of his current projects, teaching underprivileged prisoners in Reno, Nevada to write their own song with which to defend themselves in court is currently creating a wide spread stir in the world of community art in the United States. Back home in Northern Ireland he has just completed a CD written with Protestant and Catholic schoolchildren about their own areas, in towns and villages around Northern Ireland. During the Good Friday Agreement Talks, his impromptu performance with a group of children and Lambeg drummers was described by Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon as “a defining moment in the Peace Process”.

Mary McAleese, who was cast in a romantic role with Tommy in a local play just before she became President of the Irish Republic has kept up the friendship and periodically calls upon him for advice on cultural events.
Sands, “It would take a mean bastard to dislike him”, according to Eamon McCann in Hot Press, has a way with words to charm and disarm and coax a chorus out of the tightest jawed audience.

In May 2002 Tommy Sands received an honorary doctorate of Letters from The University of Nevada for his outstanding work as musician and ambassador for peace and understanding and, May 18th was pronounced “Tommy Sands Day in Reno”.

In December 2002 although the Northern Ireland Assembly had been stood down, Sands managed to persuade the Members to return for a special Christmas musical party together. As one political after another joined him on stage for a song, Loyalist leader David Ervine was heard to remark, “Tommy Sands is the only man, without a private army, who can intimidate me.”

The concert which was recorded for the Sands weekly radio programme, later received a special award at the “World Festival of TV and Radio” in New York.

Tommy Sands will be bringing his music to Just Festival and join in a conversation with Robert Rae, all around how music can be a powerful tool to create peace.

www.tommysands.com

Robert Rae

Details

Date: August 21

Time: 06:30 pm - 07:30 pm

Register
Organizer

Just Festival

Website: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/just-festival-30613440452

Robert Rae is one of Scotland’s leading theatre and film director and writers. He chooses to develop his work through socially engaged practice that aligns with his own political and activist commitments. His expertise has taken him all over the world sharing and developing his methodology. His career spans over 30 years during which time he was Producer for 7:84 England, Artistic Director and CEO of Theatre Workshop Scotland for 18yrs which changed the landscape in Scotland for disabled artists in  particular, International Artist in Residence for The Playhouse, Derry, Director for his own theatre company OurLand Productions and is Co-Director of Art27scotland which is part of the national Culture Collective programme focussing specifically on arts and human rights.

https://www.robertrae.co.uk/