I remember the first time I heard Christy Moore sing the song “The Cliffs of Doneen.” The words were different to what I knew but the sheer emotion with which he sang the song brought you there. And that’s the thing about music, it changes my experience of time. As T.S. Eliot says, it communicates before it understands. Music can bring me to a depth within myself and keep me there.
I felt this very powerfully when I was listening to Iarla O Lionaird singing the song made famous in the film ‘Brooklyn’. You can see the Irish landscape in his voice. It’s as if there’s a memory in the music. You can hear the loss, there is famine and emigration in there. And after listening to it there is a harmony, a sustained note that I can hear inside me for days. What’s etched in the music or in the singers voice can find a home in the eternal place with us all.