The Art of Songwriting

As part of this year’s Art Trail at the Clancy Brothers Festival of Music and Art I was asked to collaborate in a new project bringing local artists and songwriters together. Click on the song below to hear the result…

Song: In the Circus of the Night by Pete MacGowan

Painting: A Carriage Waits by Renée ni Gig

A Carriage Waits by Renée ni Gig

A Carriage Waits by Renée ni Gig


Our brief was that a visual artist would create a new work based on a track given to them by the songwriter. I was teamed up with Renée ni Gig, which was great because not only is Renée a fairly close neighbour, I know and love her work.

When we met at the Tudor Artisan Hub to talk about this project we discussed various songs that I’ve already recorded, or have written that I intend to record later this year. However we both thought that it would be fun to write something completely new for this collaboration. We liked the idea of starting from the same place, taking a creative journey together, and seeing where we would end up.

I already had an idea for a song based on the residents of a cemetery rising up from their graves to sing, play music and dance the night away. I thought it was something that might appeal to Renée. As we talked we both came up many other ideas. From the poetry of Emily Dickinson, in particular ‘Because I Could Not Stop for Death’, and John Donne’s ‘Death Be Not Proud’, the films of Tim Burton, the meaning of eternity, pagan symbolism in Christian graveyards, and Victorian death mask photography grew the inspiration for a creative journey.

Out of this fertile ground was born a new song, In the Circus of the Night.

Thank you to the Linda Fahy at the Tudor Artisan Hub, Elizabeth Bartley from the Clancy Brothers Festival Art Trail, and Enda O’Driscoll, founder of the ‘Artists from Carrick on Suir’ facebook page, for inviting me to be a part of this great arts project.

And thank you to Renée ni Gig for sharing her thoughts with me and inspiring a new song.

Here’s my song, In the Circus of the Night, and Renées painting, A Carriage Waits

A Carriage Waits by Renée ni Gig

A Carriage Waits by Renée ni Gig