Tommy Sands’ new book, published in the UK in 2005 and now available in the US, “…shows the rare gift of combining objectivity with passion. His fine mellow prose sparkles with humour and compassion.” — Frank McCourt
With a Fenian fiddle in one ear and an Orange drum in the other, Sands was reared in the foothills of Mourne Mountains. His family was immersed in folk music – his father played fiddle, his mther accordion. Their kitchen was a place where Protestant and Catholic farmers alike would gather to sing at the end of a day’s harvesting. The Songman is the story of Sands’ remarkable journey, the turbulent days of the civil rights movement, encounters with The Bothy Band, Pete Seeger, Ian Paisley, and a ‘defining moment’ during the Good Friday Agreement talks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A legend in Ireland and known throughout the world for his songs and message of peace, Tommy Sands has been described by respected US magazine Sing Out! as “The most powerful songwriter in Ireland if not the rest of the world.” The description sells him short. He is a rare combination of singer, songwriter, storyteller, author and social activist, captivating audiences with the same musical skill and charm that has earned him the respect of fellow musician, Pete Seeger, Nobel Laureate author Seamus Heaney, and host of politicians around the world.
However, it is not Tommy’s masterful songwriting, or his talent as a musician that makes him so influential. He is indeed an Irish Bard, in alternating ways both traditional and contemporary. He brings with his songs the stories of Ireland, communicating that tradition while encompassing the dreams of those around the world. His songs, and now his new book, bring history, encouragement, enlightened ideas, a feeling of connectedness and the joy of living.
Born in Northern Ireland, Tommy’s first steps were amidst chaos. Very early on, it became clear that music was a vehicle for harmony. As part of the acclaimed Sands Family, one of the most important traditional groups in the early years of the folk revival, Tommy traveled everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Moscow’s Olympic Stadium in an effort to add beauty to the world, and to point out where it still needs improvement. In later years, Tommy continues to walk the troubled roads, bringing a template of possibility to areas of political and social unrest with his words and music. He has become a bard of peace.