Black 47
Trouble In the Land
Shanachie (

As an artistic expression, Black 47 communicates the political consciousness of the Irish-American working class. This is an ideological bloc with cultural and economic interests that diverge considerably from those of the Irish middle-class. That's what has kept Black 47 fresh and interesting for more than a decade. As lead singer Larry Kirwan quotes in "Bobby Kennedy" from their latest CD: "And no one will deliver you from your enemies/If you go ahead and give up on all your dreams." On the title song Black 47 articulates opposition to the right-wing political lies that flatter the savage side of so many white Americans. Kirwan's model is Bobby Kennedy, the Irish Catholic
"Those Saints"
who brought a progressive, human consciousness to politics. Although oppositional politics and the feeling of being isolated and submerged on the bottom ("Fallin' Off the Edge of America") define the band's point of view, Kirwan has a wicked sense of humor to lighten things up with songs like "I Got Laid On James Joyce's Grave" and "Bodhrans On the Brain." Kirwan links himself to a larger Irish vision, a playfulness and a celebration of life's pleasures (music, drink and sex). Black 47's music yells out against loss and invisibility. "Keep the faith," says Kirwan. This is a celebration of meaningful resistance.- Aaron Howard

Artist web site:

A 1997 interview with Larry Kirwan by Christina Roden

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