I think we marked 1916 well. It wasn’t jin­go­is­tic or tri­umphal­ist and it looked at how the im­pact of the Ris­ing im­pacted on all sides

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

tri­umphal­ist and it looked at how the im­pact of the Ris­ing im­pacted on all sides. There’s noth­ing sim­plis­tic about his­tory and 1916 re­ally demon­strates that.”

Like his con­tem­po­rary Damien Dempsey, O’Rourke ap­pears to have lit­tle in­ter­est in writ­ing songs that might be seen to be ra­dio-friendly or Spo­tify-honed. “First of all, that’s not such an easy thing to do,” he says with a laugh, “but I’m some­one whose work is mo­ti­vated by things that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily com­mon themes for song­writ­ers.”

The Dubliner has tasted chart suc­cess and a hand­ful of his songs would be cer­tain­ties on any con­tem­po­rary Great Ir­ish Song­book. Few, though, could have an­tic­i­pated that a song about the Ital­ian as­tronomer and philoso­pher, Galileo Galilei, would be­come so em­blem­atic of his work — in­clud­ing O’Rourke him­self.

“I had no sense that it [‘Galileo (Some­one Like You)’] would be loved by peo­ple that much,” he says. “I guess it’s an old-fash­ioned song and there’s a sort of croon­ing qual­ity to it and I’ve long been drawn to that kind of singing.

“But,” he adds, “I think I’ve writ­ten bet­ter songs than it.”

Chron­i­cles of the Great Ir­ish Famine is out now. De­clan O’Rourke’s na­tion­wide tour starts at Black Box, Gal­way, on De­cem­ber 2

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