I Am Ireland
Premieres Wednesday, March 17 at 11:00 p.m.
Re-airs Friday, March 19 at 4:00 a.m.
Special “pandemic” edition of a program of songs and stories featuring Paddy Homan and The City Lights Orchestra, filmed at Chicago’s Old St. Patrick’s Church and in musicians’ homes
I AM IRELAND is a new “pandemic” music special featuring songs and stories performed by the traditional Irish tenor Paddy Homan and the 40 members of The City Lights Orchestra, conducted by Rich Daniels. Originally developed for the stage, this “virtual” concert film created by Homan was filmed at Chicago’s renowned Old St. Patrick’s Church and in the private residences of the musicians.
I AM IRELAND was inspired by Mise Éire, a hit 1959 feature-length film produced by George Morrison, based on Padraic Pearse’s poem of the same name; he also wrote the 1916 Proclamation of the Republic. The film, presented by Irish Language Organization Gael-Linn, used archival film footage to tell the story of Ireland’s fight for independence through the 1916 Easter Rising. It showcased original compositions by Seán Ó Riada, considered by many to be Ireland’s first national composer; his stirring musical score included a song that is emblematic of Irish music, history, and identity: the 16th century traditional Irish song “Róisín Dubh” (My Dark Rosaleen). That song begins this new program of evocative Irish music and engaging stories, and includes a special appearance by traditional Irish ‘Sean-Nós’ dancer Brian Cunningham.
“As I delved into my research for this show, I began to imagine each story, speech, and song representing a unique emotional expression of Ireland at a time when its citizens needed inspiration and something positive to bring them together,” said Homan. “We hope this ‘pandemic’ version of the program will likewise offer a message of hope to people striving to get through life, and of perseverance.”
“Ireland’s people are dedicated, passionate, and filled with a love of their country and a desire to be free,” said Daniels. “Paddy Homan has captured all that and so much more in the telling of the quest of freedom for his people.”
I AM IRELAND takes viewers on a journey through the songs, speeches, and images from 1798 through the 1916 Easter Rising to honor and celebrate the Irish road to freedom.
I AM IRELAND was conceived, created, and performed by Paddy Homan with The City Lights Orchestra under the direction of Rich Daniels. Music Direction: Rich Daniels and Tom Matta. Orchestrations: Tom Matta. Compiling, Editing and Video Direction: Steve Yates. Director of Photography: Mark Stanger. Camera: Daniel Yates and Mike Madden. Production Manager: John D. Lezaj. Associate Producers for the Irish Fellowship Foundation of Chicago: Jack Hartman & Kevin Flood. Executive Producers: Rich Daniels and Paddy Homan. A presentation of WTTW.