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Damien Dempsey

Union

Damien Dempsey is an enigma. 

Born in Donaghmede, a suburb of Dublin, Dempsey is that rare gem of an artist, an ex-boxer – no less! – with the soul of a poet, whose heroes and influences are as diverse as Christy Moore, Shane McGowan, Elvis Presley, Luke Kelly and Bob Marley. 

Dempsey has released eight albums to date and is now something of a hero himself in his native Ireland, but it is his connection to the human condition that sets him apart from most of us.

Union is a new album of collaborations featuring 14 songs from Damien’s extensive back catalogue. Every song is a duet with a special guest. Guests include Sinead O’Connor, The Dubliners, Kate Tempest, and so many more! 

Damien says: “I love collaborating with people who move me with their music and lyrics and soul and voice. And when we collaborate with music we always learn something from each other and take a little bit of each other’s spirit and magic away with us. Union is a myriad of styles and a bit of a melting pot but I adore melting pots and I reckon there’s something for everyone here.”

One song on the new features Australia’s own – Dan Sultan

I met the young Dan Sultan at a soundcheck in Mullingar in Westmeath one summers day in July,it was his first day in Ireland and he was in the town that his father’s people left for Australia a couple of generations before from. He was opening for me that night and he had relatives he'd never met from Mullingar coming to the show to see him so it was a special night. I fell in love with his incredible singing and soul and songs and vice versa and we became great friends. When I was next in Australia I came down to see him and he taught me a lot about his Mother’s culture, the Gurindji people among others, and it is the oldest and in my opinion most indigenous culture on earth. For instance, the Songlines that run the length and breadth of Australia,where the aboriginal people have the country mapped in song and can find their way across the continent without maps, just songs, should certainly be one of the wonders of the world. How a tribe would have their own territory mapped in a song, so they could find their way to the boundary with passed down songs, them meet the tribe of the next territory, trade with them and make friends , and they'd be taught the songs that would get them across the next territory. When the songs melody went high it meant their was high ground coming and vice versa for valleys or ravines. Deserts and waterholes and thick forests were warned of through the melody and rhythm and story of the song and the song gave you shortcuts and the best route through, the songs told of the best places to hunt and fish, and their beautiful dreamtime religion was wrapped up in all this as well. Incredible.”

Track Listing:

  • 1. Singing Bird (with Finbar Furey)
  • 2. Soulsun (with John Grant)
  • 3. Apple Of My Eye (with Wildwood Kin)
  • 4. It’s Important (with Dan Sultan)
  • 5. A Child Is An Open Book (with Kate Tempest)
  • 6. Gaelic Ireland (with Pauline Scanlon)
  • 7. You’re Like The Water (with Maverick Sabre)
  • 8. The Keepers Of The Flame (with Lisa O’Neill)
  • 9. Celtic Tiger (with Sinead O’Connor)
  • 10. Kevin Barry (with Seamus Begley)
  • 11. Big Big Love (with Imelda May)
  • 12. Human (with Paul Alwright)
  • 13. Massai (with Moya Brennan)
  • 14. Rainy Night In Soho (with The Dubliners)
Release
Music can change lives. For almost 20 years, the Hush Foundation has been working with renowned Australian artists to create music of joy and calm – originally to support children in hospital, and now enjoyed everywhere from concert halls to living rooms. In this latest offering from the Hush series, pianist Tony Gould and guitarist Peter Petrucci present music that can bring optimism even in the toughest times.The Hush Foundation, under the inspirational leadership of physician Professor Catherine Crock AM, transforms the healthcare experience for patients, families and staff through music and the performing arts. It has produced 17 albums, bringing some of Australia’s finest performers and composers together in collaborative partnerships that engage with the lived experience of people in the health system and other stressful environments. Hush albums are played not only in hospitals, but also in aged care, palliative care and childcare facilities to reduce stress and anxiety. Community and international orchestras also play music composed for Hush. In 2014, Hush’s contribution to Australian music was acknowledged with the APRA/AMCOS Award for Excellence.Gathering of Kindness recognises the power of the small acts of kindness and respect that build trust and create a sense of safety and security in difficult and challenging situations. ‘When we ask patients, their families and those working in healthcare “What matters to you?”’ says Professor Crock, ‘the single word at the top of the list is kindness.’Tony Gould and Peter Petrucci wrote the music on this album with the Hush ‘family’ firmly in mind. ‘We hope they serve at least one of music’s purposes in life, and that is to help calm our fellow humans in times when things aren’t going so well. Music can do this superbly. It can also give us joy, can foster kindness and a sense that, ultimately, everything will be all right.’ This latest album has been named after the healthcare events Hush has hosted since 2016. The Gathering of Kindness bring people working in health and aged care together to talk about ways kindness can flourish in their organisations and services. These events are being hosted throughout November at metro, regional and rural healthcare organisations across Victoria, and include live performances of Hush plays and music, healthcare book launches and panels, narrative and a range of self-care workshops, as well as updates on new research being undertaken. Hush is also hosting a ticketed event at KPMG in Melbourne on Thursday 14 November.›Pianist / composer / critic / author / academic / educator Tony Gould has been involved in music in Australia for over half a century. A prolific performer, composer and recording artist across several musical genres of art music, Tony has composed and performed alongside other renowned musicians Australia-wide and internationally. His numerous accolades include membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his contribution to music.Peter Petrucci is one of Australia’s leading jazz guitarists, recognised for his virtuosity and lyricism in improvisations and artful compositions. He has released eight albums – the latest, They Know That We Know, in August 2019. Peter has performed locally and internationally supporting distinguished musicians and has appeared at numerous international jazz festivals, in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and the Wangaratta, Stonnington and Queensland Jazz Festivals. TRACKLISTING 1 All Things Good2 Anthem3 Calm4 Autumn Lullaby5 Quiet6 Spring Town7 It’s Up to You8 A Little Folk Song9 Essence10 Truth and Beauty11 The Softness of Air12 The Smile Peter Petrucci guitar – Tony Gould piano Tks 1-3, 5, 8, 10-12 composed by Tony Gould.Tks 4, 6, 7 and 9 composed by Peter Petrucci.