By Shane Ó Feaghail
It’s funny, things can change so quickly. Two weeks ago I was on a European Tour with my band The Host. March dates were full and we had been booked for so many festivals, From Switzerland to France. TV appearances, local shows and another solo German tour (support to a bigger band) was penciled in for April. And… with my new solo album just about to be finished and released, not to mention a new Shane Ó Fearghail & The Host album penciled in for the autumn, the year was planning itself. In the space of a few days everything has changed.
Where we are now puts everything into perspective. One day we are all sitting pretty in planes and trains, buzzing about the place, with not a care in the world or one could argue, responsibility. With climate change banging on our door we have been bludgeoned by Brexit, worrying about borders, wars and refugees whilst, on hands and handrails, beneath the surface, a far superior adversary has slipped under the radar and across country lines, walls and fences. Mother Nature as we’ve always known, holds the upper hand. And we are shaking it.
Support The Music You Know
While out for a walk this morning, I got to thinking about music. Why do we do it? Music that is. Music is so important to us all. Musician and listener alike. So why do we do it. What’s it for? And what is my motivation especially now? The place was so quiet as I walked around leafy Vienna. There just seemed to be more air about the place. In the madness of strolling, these words came to me. “The love of art gives us all heart”.
I know the whole world is effected by this pandemic. Everyone is suffering. Most importantly my thoughts are with families and friends of loved ones who have been taken prematurely from us. Sadly, it is set to continue. These are the real issues. China, Italy; where and when does it stop? In the grand scheme of things nothing is as important. Playing gigs and losing shows doesn’t actually matter. People are dying.
But the more I think about it. The more I reflect on where we are, who we are, and what it is we as musicians and artists actually do; I realise with certainty that actually it does. It matters. Music matters! Art matters! Music and art is food for the soul. It allows humanity to rejoice and mourn in equal measure. Music gives us hope and joy. Relief and remedy… release. It helps us understand. Let go. Music knows no borders, just like a virus. Music is magic right, and it might be in these troubling times that this magic helps get us through. It is because of this that I feel so strongly about supporting musicians and art.
Songs feed the soul. Look how the Italians are singing from their balconies. We sing with them. You wonder why the Irish sing. Song and music were instrumental to the Irish against the savage and brutal history imposed upon country and culture by the British and the English before them. The African slaves found solace in Gospel and blues, taking their music and dance with them through unthinkable torment and their story. Music a saviour! This is not a political post per say folks, but these are political times. These are my feelings; as much as we all feel them. To me, music is magic, and songs are the food of angels; Manna from the heavens – fuelling the spirit and filling us all with light. It is this light that comes to colour darkness.
The fact is the music has the potential to get out to people… we all have the time and means to help. For me that is good enough. You scratch my back. I scratch yours. In turn, the music get’s heard and music has the chance get out there. This keeps the wheel turning. It becomes its own force. Self perpetuating… not just for profit but for gain. And we all gain. What goes around comes around right. With that in mind I would ask you to think outside the box. If you are a lover of new music – support your local artists and keep that hamster moving.
Online Support (Keeping the hamster in motion).
How you do it is up to you. We all have our own favourite music platforms. Amazon, iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby and of course Spotify and YouTube. Yes there are many more but these are the platforms I use. All these platforms have good returns for artists. All that is except Spotify and YouTube. Now don’t get me wrong, Spotify and YouTube have been good for me. Huge platforms with global reach. They have given me avenues and streams I couldn’t reach on my own (I am still an independent musician). But, the reality is… Small time musicians don’t see much money from these platforms. Through Spotify, and even YouTube, as an artist, for their privilege and profile, we waiver the right to make the money we should as professionals. Money that would help music and art live. Not just survive. That’s the reality Folks. Sad but true. Something to think about.
You come to shows… you have supported music in so many ways. But when the gigs have dried up, there are other ways. Go to the artists home page or website and order a hard copy of their CD or vinyl, directly from them. Or even artists you feel may need a helping hand. Easy right! They will see the benefit immediately and receive the money quickly. You will also help them move stock, in turn making life easier on them and their loved ones – with more available space for shoes, bags, and books; at least in our house anyway. And let’s not forget, and this is huge… sales! Sales help increase morale. We are sensitive souls and there is nothing as pleasing and uplifting as strolling down to the postoffice with a CD pack under your arm whistling. It’s exercise too – allowing musicians some well needed oxygen and vitamin D (ie daylight). So it’s a win win! You might even get some personal stuff for your collections. Musicians by nature are, generally kind. So support your local musicians. Muso’s will alays do their best to keep music live. It’s in the DNA.
And take care out there… Remember your neighbours.
Fight for your art!
New Album Coming Soon – Shameless I know.
Le meas faoin grásta
Fight For Your Art Photo – Sabine Mann