Showing posts with label northern. Show all posts
Showing posts with label northern. Show all posts

Thursday 30 November 2017

Irelands Road to Freedom

Act of Union between Ireland and England 1801.

Easter Rising 1916, Irish Free State.

Thirty Years of Troubles Northern Ireland with a great deal of violence  - 1960s – 1990s.

Northern Irish Peace Agreement - (1998) - The Good Friday Agreement Belfast April 1998. (Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta) –  Northern Ireland system of devolved government is based on the agreement - created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and Ireland - and between the Ireland and the UK.  
It was clear to me, having Irish parents, that during the Brexit debates that no attention was paid to the Irish dilemma over the EU customs and trading union. Just like Scotland, Ireland was a mere after thought. No one in Ireland wants a return to a hard border – there are always nutters on either side just looking for an excuse. Why should Ireland give up its peace and prosperity? Ireland is crucially split on ancient religious grounds
Scotland too has opposite needs to England – our farming is mostly hill rather than arable; our fishing rather than cars is a major concern; we want to welcome young immigrant workers to grow our economy and support an older population; Scotland wants to pursue progressive socialist policies to work for a more socially inclusive nation – where England wants to be a low regulated, low wage economy like a new Singapore. (which is unacceptable for the EU).
AND on a personal note. My parents were from Co Down and Belfast and I visited there every summer from Scotland. I understand the deep divisions and problems there (unlike many London politicians). These divisions will not be easily healed. And I feel extremely angry at the thought that some feel a hard border is an answer there – just because of this crazy Brexit. Brexit is about looking backward.  While my husband's father came form Kilkenny in southern Ireland.

A hundred years ago Ireland embraced its rich heritage and culture – and developed its own identity again. Many had to die so Ireland could achieve self government. I hope Scotland can achieve this dream too – peacefully and through informed debate for a healthier partnership with its larger partner England. Scotland is often an after thought
England has pursued a policy of over-centralised government for more than a century, particularly during the wars and then complains of too many immigrants! By contrast European parliament encourages healthy regionalization and encouraging regional language. Why is wanting more local government against the national interest? In fact the UK is the most lop-sided geographically unbalanced major country in the world!

The great poet WB Yeats, was persuaded to write on the old Irish  songs, heritage and ballads, at the same time he lived in London and was before this part of the Anglo-Irish group who dominated Irish politics.
After the hangings of the Irish rebels in the Easter rising Yeats wrote -
his poem 'Easter 1916' 
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly: (YB Yeats)

The Northern Ireland peace process is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ( IRA) ceasefire and the end of the violence Troubles, and the Good Friday Agreement 1998.
Issues relating to Sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, justice and policing. The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. The British-Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999.  The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Good Friday Agreement.

Ultimately between Scotland and England - a good partnership for trade, security, environment. and defence.. rather than control from Westminster

The European countries are committed firstly to Peace and Prosperity – any other consideration is secondary. Ireland exemplifies and tells us the real UK conflict. Also that harmful over centralization in the south east.
Why should Peace and Prosperity be sacrificed by Scotland, the EU or Ireland just to suit some backward looking Tory politicians we have not voted for?

Sunday 14 December 2014

Northern Soul

 A rock beat with jazz chords

Motown Soul. The upbeat Motown sound combined a Blues beat, R & B and chords that make you feel wistful or sad on top of a rock beat. During the 1960s, Motown achieved massive success for a small record company with 80 records in the Top Ten US Billboard record chart!   

In my teens, Motion was the Big Thing at the discos. I remember it all well, just the way music brings back our strongest memories. I only need to hear one of those soul classics to be back there speedily in time, dancing away to those fun tunes. There was something about those guitar riffs.and funky beats.

I later learned that Motown used a brilliant live band. One of the keys to the Motown successes were the live band by quality musicians The Funk Brothers led by on bass.  These musicians played on more number-one records than other iconic pop artist such as The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys combined. Their bass player James Jamerson often played his instrument with only the index finger of his right hand, and created many of the basslines apparent on Motown songs such as The Supremes 'You Can't Hurry Love'. 
Some of the best loved Motown souls sounds were by the singers The Four Tops and The Temptations.
The Four Tops -  'I can't help myself' , 'Same Old Song', 'Reach Out', 'Baby I Need Your Lovin',
The Temptations -  'Get Ready', 'Just My imagination', 'I can’t Get Next to you', 'Ain’t Too Proud to beg, 'You’re my everything',
At the time there was also underground sounds of Pirate radio - to seek out music and have ownership of the music that made it our chart.  Pirate radio then out at sea, such as Radio Luxemburg, sought lesser-known music and aimed to have ownership of the music that made it our chart.  

Northern Soul. The other night I watched the film Soul Boy about the north of England soul scene. Northern Soul started in the north of England with all night dance sessions were often an escape from humdrum realities.  Recordings most prized by fans were by lesser known artists, usually in limited releases by small labels. Famous venues for all nighters were the Wigan Casino and the Twisted Wheel in Manchester.

There is a new film this year called Northern Soul released Oct 2014 -
The film sound track includes Back Street by Edwin Starr, Soul Time by Shirley Ellis, Stick by Me Baby by The Salvadores and Tear Stained Face by Don Varner.

After Motown James Brown took R&B and soul to a new rhythmic sound with his song 'Cold Sweat' which showed the world that the future would be with funk.  With the bass and drum locking the whole band became the beat with the emphasis on the first beat of the bar (rather than the second and fourth beats).  The sound became more intense with less and with the groove more important. The melody or song danced and rode on top of the groove.
Brown was followed by LA bands Earth Wind and Fire and Sly and the Family Stone.
Larry Graham went wild slapping and playing his bass like a drum. Stevie Wonder has the ultimate soul/funk hit with his groove on massive Superstition. 
UK bands such as the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin borrowed the funk grooves. Then there was the funkiest UK band, Scottish band The Average White Band, who were the funkiest and topped the US charts with their album picking Up the Pieces. 

In the 70s the disco sound, which was easy to dance to, went massive and ruined funk's heartbeat.  Disco had little syncopation with computerized beats. Funk had to adapt to survive and stay currant.
In the 80s Prince produced pop, rock and funk crossover sounds.  Next direct from black culture, came the new Hip Hop sounds. 

Northern Soul nights are still popular today. The groove is also alive and well today in 2014 with artists like Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers and Farrell Williams and the huge hits Happy and Get Lucky.