biographies

We were there, 77 Women of the Easter Rising

Richmond Barracks 1916This International Women's Day we remember the women of the 1916 Rising and their place in Irish history.  You can discover more about these women and their determined commitment to Ireland’s revolutionary movement in a new book Richmond Barracks 1916: We were there, 77 women of the Easter Rising.

All over Dublin city on Easter Monday morning 1916 hundreds of women assembled and marched with their male comrades to their appointed garrison positions to take part in the uprising. Women of the Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan, the Clan na nGaedheal Girl Scouts and individual women spent the next few days running first aid stations, cooking, provisioning, fighting and, crucially, delivering dispatches and food between the insurgent outposts, running the risk of death as they dodged bullets in a city in revolt.

Lou Reed

Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.

Lou Reed Transformer album cover

He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of  lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.

Good Bye George.

I lived to tell it all

This year witnessed the passing of one of the greatest country singers who ever lived, Frank Sinatra referred to him as “the second best male singer in the world”, George Jones.
His story is a dramatic rags to riches tale with broken marriages and alcohol problems, subjects which are often the content of country songs. 

His recent auto biography I Lived to Tell It All is available in Dublin City Public Libraries.

As a child he would play the guitar and sing for pennies. He rode on the bus for free because the driver would want to hear him sing. His first hit was White Lightening in 1959, even though he did not pen most of his own hits, like Elvis he was the great interpreter.

Game, Set, Match

Tennis racket and ballsIf like me you have been following Wimbledon over the past few weeks and will soon begin to have withdrawal symptoms why not pop by to your local library and learn some more about your favourite players. We have a range of books and also some DVDs which document the lives of some of the greatest players of all time, as well as some of the current tennis pros.

Aung San Suu Kyi in Dublin

The lady and the peacock, the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Peter PophamBurma pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi is in Dublin today as part of her European tour. On Saturday last, she  finally accepted her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. As part of her short visit here, she is meeting with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, and later being presented with the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award at a concert in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (at Grand Canal Square just up the road from library headquarters here in Pearse Street).

As part of the event in the Grand Canal Square, Lord Mayor, Andrew Montague, will receive Aung San Suu Kyi, who will sign the Roll of Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin. The Freedom of the City was awarded to Ms Suu Kyi on 18th March 2000, the award was accepted on her behalf by her son Kim at the time.

Doc Watson Obituary

Trouble in MindDoc Watson was the best American Folk guitarist that lived. He died on the 29 May 2012 at the age of 89. He was born into a musical family and lost his sight before his first birthday. Although he never had a hit record or was in the American Billboard chart, he was a leader of the American folk music that became commercially popular particularly through the Coen Brothers film, "O Brother Where Art Thou?". His distinctive style was born out of playing fiddle parts in a country swing band. Before that the guitar was a background instrument to the ukulele and fiddle. His lightening quick finger and flat picking style is a pleasure to listen to as it accompanies his mellow voice filled with sincerity.

He has won seven Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Folk, Folk, Folk!

Martin CarthyA quick blog for Musical Books, just want to tell you that I went to an amazing gig in Belfast last week to see Martin Carthy. This folk singer sings ancient songs from Irish, English and Scottish descent. His unusual and rhythmic guitar playing coupled with a distinctive voice keep ancient sea chanty and tales of war, woe and love alive in their purest form. His music has influenced Bob Dylan and his arrangement of Scarborough Fair was used by Simon and Garfunkel. His no nonsense stage presence and self-deprecating humour was a refreshing cherry on the top of an amazing performance. Check out this amazing album by him in the Music Library, Signs of Life.

Tom Crean

In a small village in County Kerry called Annascaul, there is a pub called "The South Pole Inn". It is an unusual name for a pub found in a small village in Ireland, thousands of miles away from the Antarctic. But the pub has direct links to Tom Crean, the man who originally owned it.

Tom Crean

An unsung hero, Tom Crean - Antarctic survivor by Michael Smith

Tom Crean was born on 20th July 1877, near Annascaul. He was one of ten children. Times would have been hard on the farm and Tom Crean officially enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1893. He had not yet celebrated his sixteenth birthday.

Females and Folk in Musical Books

Under the Ivy There's some lovely stuff in our new stock, I came across these gems.

I'll start with Under the Ivy: The story of Kate Bush. Kate Bush.... need I say more? No, but I will remind you that she was the first female artist ever to have a UK number one with a self penned song at the age of nineteen. This book is a series of interviews with people who worked closely with her throughout her career. To quote the Mojo Magazine (which is held in the Music Library) it's a "compelling examination of her music". Get your boxfresh copy now.

Fiction and Fact (?????) for Musical Books.

Hello again,

this Month in Musical Books I have picked a great piece of fiction by Irish writer Claire Kilroy titled 'Tenderwire'.

tenderwireThe narrator, Eve Tyne is an Irish solo violinist who's life is turned upside down when she acquires a rare del Guso violin and is possessed by its sound and beauty.

The acquisition transforms her career and is almost symbolic of her private life which is spiralling out of control. This is a really well written fast paced read with some clever unexpected twists. Check it out.

LifeThe other one I've chosen is 'Life' by Keith Richards.

I was ill over Christmas and confined to bed so the size of this volume didn't put me off. Also I could not drink and the hardest thing I was consuming was lemsip so at least I could celebrate the festive season by proxy of Keith Richard's hell raising. 

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