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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.”
- 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)