It’s said that W.B. Yeats always thought that his words should be played out in song. Thus, it couldn't have been more perfect timing when, during the centenary of the Easter Rising leaders' executions in 2016, Irish artist Lisa Lambe brought to life his epic poem, "16 Dead Men."
This beautiful collaboration is part of series created by producer Gary Moore and composer Steve Lynch. The release of this track, in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation, was just the start of a wider project to bring the poetry of Yeats to the world through music.
Moore told IrishCentral the team was “on a mission to bring the magic of Yeats to a new audience through the medium of music. To many, Yeats was a prolific figure in literature. However, his work is still as relevant today as it ever was and we hope that a new interpretation of his words will showcase his work in a contemporary way. Watch, listen, enjoy and share.”
The group is now working on a much bigger project that will span Yeats’ life.
In this video, for "16 Dead Men," Lambe performs the powerful score composed by Steve Lynch, of Stellarsound, accompanied by Fiachna O Braonáin and Martin Brundsen. Renowned director Alan Gilsenan brought his love of Yeats to life, creating the beautifully photographic music video featuring the other-worldly Lambe alongside archive footage and photography of Yeats and Dublin during the Rising of 1916.
The team told IrishCentral that as soon as Lambe approached the mic she stole the role for herself. They said that the “thought of auditioning anyone else went out the window.”
Lambe is a singer and actress of international acclaim. Most recently she released her debut solo album, "Hiding Away," recorded in Nashville. Also earlier this year performed in front of 82,000 people in Croke Park in the GAA's special event marking the 1916 centenary of the Rising. The Dubliner has played in sold out venues around Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. She even performed for General Dempsey in the Pentagon, while touring as part of Celtic Woman.
The track, "16 Dead Men" is available on iTunes and all proceeds in Ireland will go towards the Marie Keating Foundation for cancer awareness and support services www.mariekeating.ie.
Here are W.B. Yeats own word, "Sixteen Dead Men":
O but we talked at large before
The sixteen men were shot,
But who can talk of give and take,
What should be and what not
While those dead men are loitering there
To stir the boiling pot?
You say that we should still the land
Till Germany’s overcome;
But who is there to argue that
Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?
And is their logic to outweigh
MacDonagh’s bony thumb?
How could you dream they’d listen
That have an ear alone
For those new comrades they have found,
Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone,
Or meddle with our give and take
That converse bone to bone?
* Originally published in May 2016.