The first photo is of Damien, concert promoter Pearse Doherty, Paul Vignoles, Philip Cribbin
The second is of Damo, Pearse Doherty and PLC (post leaving cert students) from Galway Community College who worked with Gogogo productions in helping to stage the event. Damien himself was a PLC student in the Ballyfermot school of Rock. The students made a film about Damien, the show, and his involvement with the charity, and you can watch it HERE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPEOmHxaY1o
3rd photo is of Philip Cribbin and Caroline Jones making a small presentation to Damien on behalf of PREDA.
The final photo is of local bodhran maker and PREDA supporter Paul Vignoles presenting Damo with a bodhran on behalf of PREDA Galway
Some students also interviewed Damien, and you can read their article below.
Damien Dempsey & Fr Shay Cullen: The Celtic Warriors
by Kenny Gaughan
Damien Dempsey played a gig in the Radisson, Galway on the 3rd December this year. The gig was in aid of the charity PREDA, and we caught up with him after his sound check. Even though he is an international star and does hundreds of interviews per year which must get monotonous, when he met us, he was incredibly friendly and genuine. We thanked him for taking time to meet us before his gig and he just waved it off, instead, thanking us for taking the time to meet him!
This had been Damien’s second time playing Galway for the charity PREDA in 2 years. And both times he played the gig; he refused to take any payment for it. It really demonstrates his passion and commitment to the charity which was founded by Irish priest, Fr Shay Cullen. The first gig was in the Roisin Dubh in February 2008. That gig helped launch the Galway branch of PREDA, and there was a documentary made about it called ‘The Power Of A Voice” which is available to view on Youtube.
I asked Damien what first got him involved in the charity. He said he had read an article about Fr Shay Cullen, and it inspired him to get involved. “I don’t know, it really struck a chord with me, you know with all the scandals coming out here in the Church in Ireland, and here was a priest saving hundreds of kids from paedophile rings and it felt like a great antidote to what was going on in Ireland.” He went on to say that Fr Shay was “a Celtic Warrior, ya know, fighting the good fight.”
Damien wrote of his admiration for previous Irish heroes such as Daniel O Connell and James Connolly in his song “It’s Important”, and he holds Fr Shay in such high esteem as those great men, “I was always mystified and enthralled and impassioned by men like Fr Shay, ya know, Irish men and women who gave their all for the things they believed in and felt strongly about and so I’d always follow them people, ya know, in Irish society, the ones who have the courage to stand up and say “That’s wrong. I’m not gonna take that.” And they fight against that. They basically give everything they have, ya know, for what they feel is right and they give me faith in the human race.”
Damien seems to be fighting his own battle at the moment, as so many singer songwriters are, against the unending tide of corporation fuelled pop music flooding the market these days. And with the X-Factor at the height of its popularity at the time, I asked Damien if he though music was becoming too corporate. “Ehm, (sighs) I suppose so, yeah. It’s all about getting rich quick now, ya know? Like with the X-Factor. Kids just want to get rich over night, ya know? Like winning the lottery. They think music is a way of just getting rich and famous real quick and eh, all they want to be is rich and famous in life. Whereas in reality, a lot of people who are rich and famous and very unhappy. You know, so, I think the underground stuff, the small time musicians all around the world, there’s millions of them out there just playing music. And a lot of them out there are far more talented by the ones at the top. And they’re just making a living off music, they’re real, they’re magic. You get them sometimes at the top as well, but mostly it’s the day to day singers and the day to day musicians and the day to day songwriters, that’s where you get the real magic.”
Two hours later, that real magic appeared on stage. He played a solo performance which completely blew the watching crowd away. There is something awe-inspiring about Damien Dempsey as he performs. You can see that there is nothing being held back. Everything he has, he gives to the crowd. Every word he sings, he puts his soul into. He is a man of the people, whose songs embody peoples’ everyday frustrations, everyday dreams, everyday hopes and fears. He catches the zeitgeist and verbalises it into song. People are left drained after Damien Dempsey concerts. It’s hard not to get engulfed in the emotion and the spirit of the performance as you watch him at his peak.
Phillip Cribbin, the Chairperson of PREDA Galway, introduced Damien before he came on stage to perform. He summed up the Damien Dempsey experience in four words. “Some people say that you should never meet your heroes because you will only be disappointed. They’ve never met Damo.”
The students involved in the interview were:
Interviewer: Kenny Gaughan email@example.com 0879215659
Photographer: Julia Puchovska firstname.lastname@example.org 0866681375
Cameraperson: Sophie O’Regan email@example.com 0872809954