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Be entertained by the enthralling poetry videos of Carmen Cullen as well as live Readings, with Music by Gerry Anderson.
Images by Deirdre Ridgway (Instagram @Deirdre Ridgway)
Experience songs of her famous Aunt, Delia Murphy, sung by Carmen.
My aunt and I is like a pause, a time to reflect on what it is to be an artist, to be human. My aunt is the singer Delia Murphy from the 1950s. But a singer never dies. She has lent me her support, invisibly of course, down through the years and I have kept her voice alive.
This symbiotic relationship between my aunt Delia and I began when I was a child. Sometimes our ear tunes into something in the air, a thing beyond our world, to grasp onto, to lift us into our destiny. Here was a woman who lived a life beyond the ordinary, the thought settled. It meant the future was not predictable, that life could allow for the unexpected, and that even I might fly. And so time goes by. I have dipped more than my feet, myself, into the world of writing. Still my aunt is there on my shoulder. Soon I discover that her kind of Fame is not easy to achieve. But I also learn the trick of mind switch. I find how to engage with my inner eye, to build a universe where the fictitious becomes real, if only for a short while. So far at least for me, this muscle of the imagination has sustained me. It has not died.
My real life is very ordinary. I was an English teacher for many years – Head of English in Colaiste Dhulaigh in Coolock. I published three collections of poetry, including Under the Eye of the Moon, Poetry for Children, by Mercier Press 2001 As a teacher I was heavily involved in Educational Drama, Class Acts, my book of plays and workshops, was published by Folens 1995. Novels came next, Two Sisters Singing, 2013 and Hello Love, 2017, both published by Liberties Press Pandemic Poetry is my new baby. The impulse for them came just as lockdown started. Converted into YouTube videos the poems are supplemented by the striking images of Deirdre Ridgway, and by unique piano pieces, composed and played by Gerry Anderson. Video editors are Ann Robinson and currently Conor McGowan. All of them can be seen on my website Carmen Cullen.com under the heading, Pandemic Poetry. They are also on YouTube under Pandemic Poetry YouTube playlist. Here’s a sample:
Delia Murphy: No woman performer made a bigger impact on the Irish entertainment scene than Delia Murphy. She was a unique personality onstage and off and is credited with laying the groundwork for the Irish Folk-Revival. Married to Thomas Kiernan, Irish Ambassador she met the famous and mighty from every walk of life but retained her own identity as a recording artist and performer. Her songs include, The Spinning Wheel and, If I was a Blackbird.
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Gerry Anderson is a full time private teacher of music, and a composer. He teaches keyboard, guitar and mandolin to Diploma and performance levels .and also plays the harpsichord, battente and the mandolin. He has been accompanying the Delia Murphy Songs and Story Event since 2010. He plays regularly a resident musician in Caffe Letterario on The Albert Walk in Bray.
Deirdre Maher Ridgway
Carmen Cullen, poet and writer, asked me to collaborate using my images to compliment her words. Challenging but very rewarding. It has given me the opportunity of showing of some, documentary, abstract images from the huge catalogue I have. I hope to continue working this vein and other visual projects.
Conor McGowan is a theatre and film artist and recent graduate of NUI Galway, whose most recent research explored the ethos of Boal's 'Theatre of the Oppressed' in a documentary-making context. Currently, he is involved in running 'Kilmac Drama', a community based theatre and filmmaking group for young people in county Wicklow, and 'Commoners' Theatre' a collective of actors and writers in Bray that workshops and produces new writing. Conor McGowan is Video Editor for the YouTube Poetry Videos