‘Songs from the North Lotts

 

Photograph  © John Heeneman

 

In 2006 Paul was invited to Dublin to play some of his songs as part of the ‘East Wall Summer Festival’ by the residents’ association. Over the next few years Paul continued to visit East Wall and North Wall regularly, playing for the Women’s Club and at the local primary school, all the time collecting stories and material for songs. Meanwhile he performed these songs on the folk club circuit in the Netherlands, becoming one of the few artists on that scene performing original material.

This period culminated in the book and double CD project ‘Songs from the North Lotts’ released in 2009. This project was brought about with support from the Dublin Port Company and the East Wall Residents’ Association. Paul was able to combine a collection of 40 self-penned compositions about the Dublin docklands, its history and his own youth in book form using illustrations from the extensive collection of photographs that the local butcher, Paddy Cullen had built up over the last 40 years. The Dublin Port Company provided the funding of this project and Pauline O’Brien, a friend of Paul’s, organised, co-wrote, edited and arranged the book.

 

 

This book and double CD is a collection of 40 songs that Paul has written about the part of Dublin where he was born and raised, East Wall. Some of the songs are based on stories heard as a child growing up in Dublin’s Docklands and some are from personal experiences. Paul has included stories and background to the songs in this book in order to help the readers and listeners understand and be transported back to ‘his’ East Wall - that no longer is.

 

The book and CD were launched in Dublin by of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Emer Costello, at the Sean O’Casey Centre, East Wall, Dublin. This was followed by a launch in the Zeehelden Theatre in The Hague hosted by the lrish Club in The Netherlands and officials of the Embassy of Ireland.

 

 Over the last year and a half the ‘North Lotts’ has been performed all over The Netherlands in various guises, a ‘baroque’ setting with two violins and flutes and appropriate arrangements, folk setting with Uilleann pipes and fiddle and in an intimate setting of guitar and flute. The songs have proven to be musically versatile and the subject matter has shown itself to be of universal appeal, judging by the amount of Dutch audiences merrily singing along to ‘Bingo Lill’ and ‘Me Handsome Stevedore’.