n. 11 Apr 2010 Tereza Salgueiro
n. 7 Aug 2009 Marco Moro
n. 6 Jun 2009 Marco Martuzzi
n. 5 Apr 20089 Serenella Iovino
n. 4 Aug 2008 Seamus Egan
n. 3 Apr 2008 Giovanni Allevi
n. 2 Feb 2008 Marco Bicego
n. 1 Nov 2007 Jan Garbarek

Online bimonthly
Reg. at Vicenza Court No. 1165 on 18 December 2007
Editor and director Bianca Nardon
Redazione STEP Srl Contrà Porti, 3 Vicenza

Year I n. 4 July/August 2008

Meeting with Seamus Egan - SOLAS

Rovereto (TN) August 12th 2008

Is there a particular space for nature and environment in celtic songs? I heard "The last of the great whales" by Andy Barnes on the CD "The hour before dawn". Is it a traditional song or a contemporary production?
That song itself isn't traditional. It's sort of written in a traditional way, but it certainly speaks to. It's a new song. I think, certainly to me, traditional music comes from a very organic place, it's linked with landscapes and it grew out of people's lives, that were associated with the land, it was played by peasants. Irish traditional music has a very strong connection to the land. It's always had that, that's where it comes from.

Another instrumental track in which you can feel the presence of a direct connection with nature is "It's still raining". It's a composition of your own. Was it conceived from a sentimental feeling for rain and water or from a descriptive way of approaching your composition?
I think it's both. Any time you're doing anything creative you're affected by what surrounds you. That tune was written when it had been non-stop rain for a long while and it was just getting very depressing. So it had an effect; the physical surrounding had an effect on my emotions.

What do you thing about the point reached by climate change? Do you think we have already crossed a no return point ? Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the solutions?
Well, I hope we're at a point where we can come back. I think it's a huge problem. I think that people are aware of it and politicians around the world aren't as concerned with it really as we are. I think the politicians pay much lip service to the issue but I think that fundamentally there's so much money at stake in keeping the way things are. They don't want to give up money. It's hard to believe in the world that we live in. Everyone knows the technology is there, in order to improve our environment, and we don't use it, because right now they can't figure out who can get rich off it. As soon as they figure out who can get rich off it, then those people become the power brokers. That's what has happened with oil right now.

Do you think the US government will try to face the planet's environmental problems in a better way in the near future?
I hope so. It's very scary. You know, I live in Philadelphia on the East Coast. We're coming up on a big election this year. And so there's a sense of optimism.

What about Barack Obama in relation to these concerns?
I think it would be a great thing if he were to be president. I think at least in his heart he wants to do better. I think he understands it. I don't think McCain cares. I think that there are so many powers that want to keep things the way they are and in fact I'd say even see the advantage of things getting worse. I think people see financial gain in keeping, even in letting it deteriorate.

What about Hillary Clinton?
I think she wanted to do something as well. The problem is, either of them would have wanted to, or would want to, I think the problem is whether they can. The government in America is not run by people, it's run by corporations. It's pretty remarkable to have her either, to have that as a choice in one year. I just think Barak Obama seems like a very good man. He seems like someone who genuinely wants to improve the situation.

Do you think US will join the Kyoto protocol?
I hope we do. I think it's been a complete embarrassment that the United States hasn't joined Kyoto. It's outrageous, it's obscene. I hope Barack Obama will try to do it. There is a gap between wanting it and actually making it happen. But I think he would want. If for no other reason, it would show the country's commitment and the government's commitment to the problem. I mean it's more than a token gesture, but at least it's a gesture to say, look we're as much a part of this, in fact we're a greater cause, I mean there's us and China. We should keep better company.

Do you think music and arts can influence people, not only through fund raising and great events, but even through feelings and emotions able to increase human awareness?
Absolutely, it's a kind of walk a fine line. You can walk a line between, letting the material, the song, speak for itself, which speaks, without being preachy, or pedantic, about an issue. You try and pick songs that have something to say, but you don't want to hit people over the head. Sometimes you do want to or need to. But I don't think people want to come to a concert and be preached at either.

Do you think the planet's problems can affect contemporary artistic production?
Musicians are always being influenced, whether they're playing traditional music or playing contemporary. You can't help but be influenced by the issues around you and I think Irish music particularly, because it's folk music and folk music speaks, is the voice of people, and of issues and concerns.

Which kind of links are there between traditional music and contemporary production? Is it a kind of fusion?
For what is concerned with Irish music and celtic music in general, I think it allows for outside influences, but still retains its element of tradition. We all grew up listening and playing Irish music, but grew up listening even to other kinds of music, so those kind of sounds get in your ear.

What about your new CD "For love and laughter"?
I think we're really happy with it. It's our first studio album in about four years. It's also our first recording with our new singer, Mairéad. She's just joined, so we're really excited about that. It takes a little bit of getting used to a new singer, but Mairéad has fitted in really well and it's been great having her. She's just beginning to tour with us and, having just recorded the album, so it's like fresh air and fresh blood for us.

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Online bimonthly
Reg. at Vicenza Court No. 1165 on 18 December 2007
Editor and director Bianca Nardon
Redazione STEP Srl Contrá Porti, 3 Vicenza