Songwriter and novelist Brendan Graham is the first songwriter to be presented with the Cong Hands of Fame Award. Along with those of television’s, Mary Kennedy, a cast of the hands that shaped such classic songs as Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids, The Voice, Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears and You Raise Me Up, will be unveiled in the historic village of Cong on 14th Nov.
Graham writes his songs in splendid isolation from behind the half-door of his home in Mayo’s mountains. As the songwriter himself says ‘songs always travel hopefully…and sometimes, they arrive’. Indeed – and his songs can be heard from London’s Albert Hall to Sydney’s Opera House, New York’s Radio City, Superbowl, Olympic Games, White House, Nobel Peace Prize…the list goes on…and in more than fifty languages across the world.
His 1994 Winning Eurovision Song Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids, has consistently been voted Ireland’s favourite Eurovision song ever, while The Voice, his winning song from 1996 was, earlier this year, announced by Prince Charles to be one of his all-time favourite songs.
His You Raise Me Up has become one of the most successful songs ever written. Last month it was performed in the United Nations General Assembly Hall, as part of United Nations Day. In September it was featured in significant 9/11 Commemorations across America.
At Dubai’s Expo 2021, as part of ‘’You Raise Me Up – Ireland’s Gift of Song to the World’’, Graham’s inspirational anthem will be performed by the Expo World Choir, conducted by David Brophy and comprised of singers from other participating countries at Expo.
Earlier this year his Lullaby for the World, in support of climate change, was a centre-piece song for Earth Day, 2021 and was streamed to every corner of the world. His songs like Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears, Crucán na bPáiste, Orphan Girl and Ochón an Gorta Mór, have all been used in National Great Famine Commemorations both in Ireland and abroad. This led to the Irish Heritage Trust/Strokestown National Famine Museum and Quinnipiac University, to create two video documentaries around his songs of events in Irish history – Songs of the Great Hunger and Songs of the Irish American and Irish Canadian Diaspora.
‘’Musical Midas” – Irish Times:
“Touched by genius” – Evening Herald – Con Houlihan.
‘’One of the greatest and most acclaimed Irish songwriters…a towering figure in modern music’’ – Hot Press.
‘‘Outstanding services to the Irish Music Industry’.’ Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, TD.
His best-selling ‘documentary novel’ on Ireland’s Great Famine, The Whitest Flower (Harper Collins) was translated into a number of languages and listed as support fiction for Ireland’s Leaving Cert History Syllabus – as well as being the subject of study at Boston’s MIT.
‘Important addition to Ireland’s National Story’ – Sunday Times, Canberra
Currently, Dervish’s Cathy Jordan is completing a solo album of his songs for release in early 2022, while former ANUNA singer/Decca recording artiste, Róisín O’Reilly will release a newly-written song Hush Be Still as a Christmas single.
Photo Credit: Michael McLaughlin