An invitation to The Cercle Littéraire Irlandais zoom for the “Summer Music Festival”, Sunday, 21 June, in homage to Paddy Sherlock, an Irish musician in Paris and also celebrating the reopening of Irish pubs in Paris.

If you have one final zoom in you, “The Cercle Littéraire Irlandais”, (CLI) invites you to “La Fête de la Musique 2020” on Sunday 21 June for a free concert with Paddy Sherlock, “stageman extraordinaire” and Irish musician in Paris, with music and plenty of craic and banter.

This event will be the final event of “The Cercle Littéraire Irlandais” weekly series, and will bring the curtain of the confinement season down with grand finale gusto. Many who wished to vacation in France in summer 2020 will unfortunately be obstructed by current travel restrictions and logistics so joining us, for this final zoom fling, could be your substitute mini-break in Paris.

Free tickets available here

The CLI which links Ireland and France through poetry, prose and music played a vital part in boosting the morale of Irish people living in France with their weekly Sunday zooms which were inaugurated on Easter Sunday.

It seems the Irish diaspora around the world got together, in a way never before experienced at the outset of Covid-19 confinement and during the subsequent months. Many inclusive web events continue to ease us back into life, when for the moment large public events and concerts are still prohibited due to continued social distancing. Although Covid-19 confined people in Ireland and the Irish diaspora within their own four walls, these multiple and diaspora inclusive web events which sprung up during confinement knocked countries’ frontiers down. During this period, I made new Irish friends living in France, living at home, and living further afield; my social circle expanding beyond physical boundaries and were fuelled by a deep need to connect with “our own”. During these recent emotional times the connection with home, and the Global Irish Diaspora provided great comfort.

We come from a country where our own President Michael D Higgins is also a poet; health officials have used his poem “Take Care” in a campaign to reinforce physical distancing, and Higgins is currently collaborating on a new poem with Irish schoolchildren. Ciarán Cannon, our Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development is also a musician and during confinement he cheered us up with a beautiful piano rendition of “An Túr”. His music was integrated in the line-up of top Irish acts (including Niall Horan, Imelda May and Gavin James), for the “London Irish Centre's Charity Night In”, June 11. Minister Cannon’s act also showcased the wonderful photography of Markus Voetter as a recording of Cannon’s piano playing ‘Kinvara’ his own musical composition accompanied the beautiful words of a poem of the same name which was a collaboration between himself and John Broderick.

Minister Cannon complimented the artists and everyone who took part in that wonderful event which raised funds for the Irish Centre in London saying they had worked together in the spirit of the ‘meitheal’. They surpassed their 100£k expectations as Irish people in the UK and around the world connecting to the event took out their credit cards to support the elderly and vulnerable Irish population in London. This same ‘meitheal’ spirit has been strong over the past few months with Irish worldwide supporting their local communities and front-line workers. When we also take into account our musical and poetic heritage, and that music and poetry is so hardwired into our nation that some of our politicians are also poets and musicians, it’s not surprising that it became second nature for us to gather around music and words during confinement. They acted as a salve during an unprecedented period that left many of us grieving for the departed, shook and asking bigger questions.

Paddy Sherlock has been treating us to his musical compositions and his song writer’s words since he arrived in Paris about 30 years ago, convinced an authentic musician and song writer should do a stint busking in the metros of Paris. He quickly graduated to become a star of the left bank music caves and just before lockdown played at the "Le Pub Saint-Germain."[1] To the delight of many this mythical pub rose from the ashes in December 2019 under new ownership; the "O’Sullivans Pub" group. It will definitely be one of the places to be when the pubs reopen and further to President Emmanuel Macron’s statement on June 14 "Le Pub Saint-Germain" will fling open its doors on Sunday 21 June. I’m looking forward to seeing Paddy and his musicians back there; with his group the "Paris Swinging Lovers” and his “Funky Punky Swing with New Orleans and Irish Street groove" Paddy can set a venue on fire. He was a highly popular resident musician for years at the "The Coolin Irish Bar", another mythical left bank pub which unfortunately closed in 2015. 

Best Of Paddy Sherlock Live at The Coolin, Paris.

About 10 years of material here - a best of the Coolin era of Paddy Sherlock gigs.

Publiée par Paddy Sherlock sur Lundi 10 février 2020

Paddy also did Ireland proud when he was asked to play “Dirty Old Town” at the official funeral of Stéphane Charbonnier (better known as Charb) the editor in chief and one of the murdered 12 following the “Charlie Hebdo” 2015 massacre. He generously hosts a “Paris Songwriter Club open mic” in the “O’Sullivans Rebel bar” on the rue des Lombards, near Chatelet to encourage aspiring song writers. He has also been seen on the silver screen in French films and has been the face of Ireland for Stéphane Bern’s highly popular program “Bons baisers d’Europe” (Kisses from Europe) on “France TV 2”. From the first day of lockdown, he accompanied us through his over 90+ free daily Facebook concerts. At these FB concerts he is often accompanied by other talented musicians, tap dancers and ladies of the Parisian Burlesque scene hula hooping and repainting the streets of Paris in a de-confinement romanticism akin to Paris after the war. 

For the “La Fête de la Musique 2020” zoom concert on Sunday 21 June 2020 along with a couple of golden oldies, he will sing numbers from his future album featuring only original Paddy Sherlock songs. This latest album will be produced by Brisa Roché and Paddy has launched a crowdfunding to ensure it will be his best album ever.

We are also looking forward to this trombone hero’s instrumental solo and his closing song “The Fields of Athenry” and hope Irish people the world wide will lift up their arms and sway to the music as they sing along with Paddy from their parlours or gardens.

In difficult times the Irish psyche often finds comfort in the words of our poets; the lyrics of songwriters are so often poetry. The 2016 Nobel literature laureate Bob Dylan once again underlined that with the words of his latest song “I Contain Multitudes” released in the midst of lockdown. 

Our poets, songwriters and musicians looked after many of our souls during lockdown. Let’s applaud Paddy for his wonderful music and words. I’m looking forward to interviewing him on 21 June and to enjoying the music and the craic and to meeting old and new Irish friends, wherever in the world they have hung their hats.

(For information although this is the final zoom of the weekly series, after June 21 that there will be monthly CLI zoom meetings - reach out to Dr. Desmond McGetrick, CLI Chairperson on CLI’s Facebook  for future programs and connection details). 

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