Monday, November 23, 2020
Kilcullen-raised singer songwriter Saoirse Mhór, who lives and works in Germany, has just released a new EP which pandemic restrictions gave him the time to complete, writes Brian Byrne.
Better known to us as Paul Durney, his normal summer of touring the street music events and pubs in Germany with his band Fleadh was disrupted, and the result is Minor Tales, Major Stories, a 7-song studio production.
Paul's song style is story-telling, and this latest presentation is a somewhat haunting set which had their genesis during what the singer calls a 'personally difficult time'. The first offering on the EP, 'Ashbury Lane', sets the tone. The second, 'Table of Losers', continues it. Poets and songwriters traditionally wear their lives, loves and heartaches on their metaphorical sleeves, in this case the sleeve notes of the EP.
All the songs except 'Lord Franklin' are Paul's own, but that one also suits the journey on which the others are taking him. In the end, the 'difficult time' passes, as they do, and with 'It's Over', the eventual, inevitable almost-liberty from heartache reflects rebirth by each night's performance. The boy is still singing/It remains his delight/Because he's learned it's a way/That he can pass on some light.
Paul sang as a youngster in the Kilcullen Community Capers back in the 70s. In 1980, after a spell working in Berneys Saddlers he left Ireland and busked his way across England and Germany, where he settled in 1987. On a trip to Ireland in 2004, after hearing Luka Bloom playing in The Riverbank in Newbridge, he picked his pseudonym Saoirse Mhór and began his life of entertaining on the streets and on the Irish pub scene in Germany. He last performed in Kilcullen in 2014, with a night on the stage of the Town Hall.
He is now working with a new band, Siolta, 'and when the ghost of corona fades, we'll be back on the road again'.
Meantime, you can sample and buy the new EP from Bandcamp. Recommended.