As my grandmother used to say, "that's a real musical voice so and so has there". The fact that she was a 'Sean-nos' singer and traditional 'lilter' herself gave gravitas to such a comment. Gerry Diver's 'Speech Project' gives a whole new meaning to this expression.
Identifying the intrinsic tonal elements in the spoken words of his chosen subjects and working with their own distinctive rhythmic variations, Gerry Diver creates a series of brilliantly original musical compositions that binds the diversity of the material into a coherent whole. The subjects literally speak for themselves. Christy Moore talking about the 'early days' on the Broadway, Martin Hayes referring to the 'mystical' in the music, Shane McGowan, Joe Cooley, and the rest sharing their insights and inspirations.
I saw the live show at the beginning of March at the Purcell Rooms in London where the 'Speech Project' was transformed by the addition of a specially commissioned video into a deeply moving but ultimately uplifting artistic statement. The Diaspora, the Emigrations, the yearning for a better life abroad and the longing to be 'back home', the strands of what we all are irrespective of where we come from, were woven together into a unique and informative experience that crossed generations and years. An inspired vision.