“Music will always play an important role as a catalyst for mobilizing humanity to alleviate suffering,” says Dr Brian Wall who oversaw the creation of a CD in support of the Irish Red Cross.
Originally from Dublin, but now living in Ferns, Co Wexford, Brian has a wide breadth of experience in the humanitarian sector. Over the course of his career he has worked in UNICEF, the International Federation of the Red Cross, Irish Aid and Concern to name but a few, and has worked in Sierra Leone, Yemen, Turkey, Uganda, and Geneva.
The team of volunteers that Brian mobilized, are talented artists, whom he describes as “the most fantastic, committed, innovative and understanding musicians I know”. He brought them together from Cork, Dublin, Kerry and Wexford to create the collection, entitled “The Rights of Man.” The work put into the CD has, very generously, been at no cost to the Irish Red Cross. Featuring a traditional Irish band playing exclusively trad instruments don’t be fooled into thinking this album is all trad; rather it features a diverse range of genres - from jazz to classical and folk.
The album includes an original piece, written and composed by Brian. This track captures the spirit of the Red Cross as a “tremendously important organization both for Ireland and the international landscape”. Drawing on his experience, Brian reflects on his personal affinity to the Red Cross; “I spent lots of time in the field, and I know the degree to which the Red Cross Movement achieves its objectives and how it actually is the only organisation which has the capacity and scale to mobilise the power of humanity. And that’s what I said on the CD”.
In the piece, Brian paints a picture of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement from its foundation by Henri Dunant at the Battle of Solferino, through two world wars, to the present day. Alongside this track, the CD comprises a broad range of themes– from tales of war and touching tributes, to uplifting Irish jigs, patriotic poems and a festive Irish carol. The arrangement and inclusion of Danny Boy on the CD is particularly timely given the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 took place just weeks ago and Danny Boy is about a father sending his beloved son off to war.
Tracks on the album are derived from a wide range of origins, taking you from eighteenth-century French melodies to Scottish barn dances - a close relative of the Irish ceilidh. It includes innovative arrangements on classics, including the first-ever adaptation of a renowned jazz standard ‘Take Five’ to traditional Irish instruments, and a modern reprise of ‘Rights of Man’ which takes on an almost rap-like quality.
CDs are available to purchase from the Irish Red Cross for €10 (postage and packaging is an additional €5) by calling 01-642-4600 or online.