Known to many for his dance and choreography skills after Riverdance, the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest interval performance, shot him to fame, Michael Flatley has recently released a single commemorating the heroes of the 1916 Rising.
This unique and haunting piece was written and composed by Irish songwriter, Brian Flanagan, who has previously worked with Irish singers Nadine Coyle, Nathan Cater, and Brian Kennedy, among others. With Flatley and Flanagan on vocals, musician Finbar Furey, of Irish male folk band The Fureys, accompanied them with Uileann pipes and whistles. Also, Michael himself plays a wooden flute during the chorus, while his dance steps create a percussion crescendo for the song’s finale.
In a previous interview with Irish America, Flatley discussed where his passion for the wooden flute and Irish dance came from. The son of Irish immigrants, born in Chicago, has helped make Irish dancing cool and now he wants to “mark this special centenary for Ireland.”
Currently in the U.S. on his farewell World Tour with Lord of the Dance, Michael said, “The story of the Easter Rising, and the bravery of those that lost their lives fighting for a free Irish republic, has always moved me deeply and inspired me,” and he is “especially proud of the poignant and beautiful tribute that we, as artists together, have created.”
Songwriter Brian Flanagan explains that “This song brings together many Irish art forms, including recitation, traditional music, Irish dance and the lament, to honor the extraordinary sacrifice of the heroes of the 1916 Rising in Ireland and acknowledges that we are only where we are today because of the events of April 1916,”
This poignant single will also be used on the soundtrack to the star-studded movie “The Rising”, due to be released next year, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Fiona Shaw, Micheal Neeson, Brendan Coyle, Colin Morgan and David O’Hara.
Flately’s, “The Rising,” produced by Billy Farrell, is now available for download on iTunes. All proceeds from the sale of this single are going to various charities including Crumlin Hospital and Michael Flatley’s Foundation.
Read the lyrics below and listen to the song here:
Composition & Lyrics by Brian Flanagan
Performed by Michael Flatley (including flute and dance)
Be proud of where we’ve come from
Be proud of where we’ve been
For what would we be proud of now if not for old sixteen
For hope our heroes gave their lives, a dim lit dream defend
To pave the way for peace they prayed a broken nation mend
The red in exile laid to rest when the poet pierced their side
‘No peace there’ll be while we’re unfree’ so swell the turning tide
Once scholars now stood soldiers with the sword to play thy pen
As they followed fearless footsteps, to the tone of martyred men
For her gallant sons and daughters the dawn it soon would come
The bold and brave no more the slave by Easters rising sun
The burden bore an oath they swore as history lay in wait
Proclaiming pride, old freedom cried!
T’was love that sealed their fate
Some whistled as they walked their last with grace behind the main
A beauty born as shots were torn no sacrifice in vain
Respect to you oh fallen friends we’re borne of deeds you’ve done
A hundred years remembered and for hundred’s more to come ♦