Palestine – You’re A Vision

As Kíla’s manager I have been helping Dee Armstrong with recent work she has undertaken with Palfest Ireland. Palfest Ireland is an organisation she set up with others to support Palestinian artists who are being silenced by the Israeli state.

On Friday night, 26th April, Mary Coughlan took part in a frankly bizarre and brief discussion on The Late Late Show about Eurovision 2019. She supports the boycott of the Eurovision in Israel this year and along with Kíla, Christy Moore, Frances Black and others, will participate in “Palestine – You’re a Vision”, a concert organised by Palfest Ireland, as an alternative to the Eurovision that will take place in Tel Aviv that same night.

Dee wrote an email to Ryan Tubridy expressing her concern about how this issue was handled on the Late Late show. I posted this letter to Kíla’s Facebook page this morning and am posting it here too as recognition of my own support for this issue.

Tickets for “Palfest – You’re a Vision” can be purchased from https://www.takeyourseats.ie/events/2019/5/18/palestine-youre-a-vision?fbclid=IwAR3F9ul3EEsBhh1Vq0t6WMopdLP_W8Fceb9vshkKHzdzRrJg4xbrQHonJ_4

Hi Ryan

In 2014 Israel bombed Gaza. The bombings killed thousands of people, including 556 children. In Ireland a group of artists spontaneously came together in horror and in an urge to do something to honour the childrens’ memory and in solidarity with their families and with Palestinian people everywhere.

PalFest Ireland was formed: a group of Irish artists and arts workers who wanted to give their work for free to this end and to work to amplify the voices of Palestinian artists, silenced by the Israeli state through censorship, harassment and outright violence.

As happened with apartheid South Africa – more and more artists are refusing to travel to Israel because of their consistent violations of human rights and human dignity. We support this cultural boycott of Israel as called for by Palestinian civil society. We call on RTE workers to stand with Palestinians call for solidarity in boycott and not travel to Israel to cover the Eurovision there. The Eurovision in Israel is not just a song contest – it is a PR exercise to whitewash an Apartheid state that is killing unarmed Palestinians.

We ask you not to travel because Palestinians of all ages have asked us to support their peaceful struggle by boycotting Israel until it complies with international law.

On May 18th in The National Stadium Bar PalFest Ireland is presenting ‘Palestine – You’re a Vision!’ an apartheid-free alternative to the Eurovision with artists Christy Moore, Charlie McGettigan, Frances Black, Donal Lunny, Farah Elle, Kíla, Avoca Reaction, Mary Coughlan, Sky Atlas, Jinx Lennon, Honor Heffernan and Trevor Knight Band, Mick Blake, Katie Laffan Free Speaking Mionkey and many more.

We’re doing this event to not allow Israel to whitewash it’s crimes against the Palestinian people and to let Palestinian artists know that Irish artists stand in solidarity with them whether they are under occupation, under siege or in exile.

Please think again Ryan. Have a proper debate on this issue. You gave respect and time to the people with Autism on the Late Late last night, and it was wonderful to watch. You afforded them dignity and time. The same time and humanity should be shown to the people of Palestine, who suffer daily under an apartheid system. Please have a proper debate on your show, not just about the Eurovision, which is just a flash in the pan, but a debate about what is actually happening there, and how Ireland as a nation could offer real help and solidarity. These are real people. This is real suffering. It should not continue to be dismissed. The national broadcaster should have the courage and dignity to give time to difficult issues.

Abuse of human rights in any country should be of the greatest concern for us here in Ireland. We should not stand by and pretend these abuses are not happening for the sake of politics or PR. I personally was ashamed of the way you and RTE handled the “discussion” on the Eurovision last night. It was cowardly, inane and depressing.

Yours sincerely
Deirdre Armstrong, Musician, Artist.

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Can music be used to navigate your way through grief..

Recently I blogged about whether music can heal chronic illness and today I felt a need to extend that as to whether music can help in navigating grief..

I really really think it can, it can temporarily ease some of the suffering or it can allow you a chance to cry or experience emotions that may not be possible without music behind you to support it..

Today I received the memorial card for Ally, my sister in law who died on the 29th November last year. Like everything Ally did, even her memorial card had an Ally touch (see photos below) – She loved her red lippy!

Last night at a corporate event with Kíla, I met someone who knew me and who had worked with Ally. She brought up how much Ally was missed and asked me how I was? My eyes welled with tears as they always do when someone unexpectedly mentions Ally and I got stuck for words. I really didn’t know what to say…

Grief is such a strange thing..but as I was at a work event, I composed myself and kept going with what I was there to do which was to be there with Kíla at a Kíla concert. I took a moment and took time to listen to the music from the stage and when the mutual acquaintance engaged again about Ally, I was able to have a conversation with her.

Ally was 43 when she died. She was very young. Her children are 10 and 6 and my brother, her husband is 40. Her death hit me hard. It hit everybody hard but most of all it hit her boys hard.

I didn’t really know how to grieve when my grief felt so insignificant when compared to the grief of her husband, her parents, siblings and children .

I decided to use music, to use music to let me cry. I decided to use music, to use music to celebrate Ally’s life.  I decided to use music to teach me how to grieve.

Did music help me navigate my way through grief? It really did and does.

This post is dedicated to Alison Kelly (Ó Riagáin) who is missed enormously by those who knew and loved her.

Don’t fuckin’ tell me what I can’t do…

A recurring theme in my life lately. I have come from a working life in an industry where I always conformed…to working in an industry where nobody conforms…

I had a meeting this week in the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin where I spent probably a third of my life working. It was kind of gas really, I walked along the river to the meeting on a very sunny day and all I could think about was, ‘there has to be a blog post in this’..I even took a photo.

The fact that I was thinking about a blog post on the way to a meeting says everything really for me. I clearly wasn’t worried about the meeting. I clearly had time to think. And I clearly was happy in the career I have now chosen.

I work in a job now  in music where I can actually say ‘Don’t fuckin tell me what I can’t do’ , and at times I am told this right back at me in various ways when I try to push my own opinion across. The beauty of it is that I can say it, be told it, receive it and act on it.

I bring my corporate life into my music career. I worry about risks, I worry about perception, I worry about ticket and merch sales…but with all of that…

There are perks to working in an industry where nobody conforms. There is a respect for rebellion, there is a beauty in the rebellion, and there is a fuck it lets just fuckin’ do it mentality that moves mountains…

So yeah don’t fuckin’ tell me what I can’t do …because I love to move mountains and the music industry affords everybody that opportunity x

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Can working in Music cure Chronic Illness?

I probably should re phrase this to whether working in the right job can cure chronic illness?

Heads up I have chronic psoriasis…since I was 11 so without revealing my age on this blog..its a long time. In my teens I spent large amounts of time both as an out patient and in patient in Hume Street hospital. This hospital is now gone although to my delight it has been added to Dublin’s listed buildings (it’s a feckin amazing building). At the time the treatment for psoriasis was a mixture of ointments and Ultra Violet light treatment. The ointments were pretty smelly and revolting but it granted me periods of remission.

As I hit my twenties I headed into a more pure Ultra violet treatment scenario (less ointments) and headed over to sunshiny South America, Australia and South East Asia for a time. I had longish remission periods.

As I headed into my thirties I continued with the UV treatment but this time it was combined with a drug therapy. It worked to a point . I had remission times but eventually they had to stop as the risk with all this UV treatment is skin cancer.

Eventually the doctors resorted to drug therapy in late 2015, and for six months I took drugs every day that my system couldn’t really tolerate and I was constantly nauseous. I came off those drugs after six months and despite an improvement in my skin while I was on the drugs, after I came off them I had psoriasis worse than I had ever had it before. For the first time ever it really effected my life, I was in constant pain and I was despondent.

In 2018 I got skin cancer, a direct side effect of all the treatment I had received for my psoriasis.Luckily it was the good kind but even at that the procedure to remove it had complications and I was sick for 6-8 weeks.  At that point the doctors wanted me to try a form of chemo therapy to cure my psoriasis. Basically they wanted me to take an injection to kill my immune system and in so doing  kill whatever was causing my psoriasis. I would have to accept a risk of infection, pneumonia and tuberculosis. I refused.

Instead I focused on meditation and trying to find a job that suited me.

Since August 2018 I have healed half of my psoriasis. I work in a job I love in music and I try very hard to live a truthful life. I meditate most days. Several people have helped me along this path who I will name in future blog posts.

But to answer my own question, can music cure chronic illness? Maybe it can….

New Client: Aindrias de Staic & The Latchikos

I have recently started working with Aindrias and The Latchikos. I actually know Aindrias from way back in the day when I lived in Australia and our paths have been crossing more in recent years. I am blown away by Aindrias’s dynamic energy on and off stage and am looking forward to helping him and The Latchikos with their new project which they will be announcing soon.

Bookings can be made through me at Caoimhe@Gardinermusic.net