A New Beginning!

•January 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

Deep rooted in our society’s mindset, is the sense of having to leave to go somewhere in search of betterment, of fortune, of education, of different worlds. It’s your world to create, so create it. That’s what we are told. To many, this is understood as what society dictates and not that of the true world around them. Society doesn’t want you to think outside of its box unless it works for all those who cannot. We wrote music on paper so that society could learn maybe how to express its emotions and feel the warmth of imagination. In its dyslexic state, it tries to battle belief in freedom of expression with the fear of how it will work for the betterment of society or the individual. Then the animal in us steps in, it prizes possession and status. It wants to be the biggest, the most prized of all who come into its world.


No form of life can affect the human condition than that of music.


We must change the idea of the structure of music industry in our part of the world. The continuance of the powers that be, within and around the music industry in this country, must be changed for the future of our society. The need for change is rife among those who try to make their way in the world of music. Constantly a growing wave of the young voice of this new devolved society that we live in, is calling to be heard. The reality is we are putting all our resources into what has been the same old story from day one in this country. We are still telling our people to leave, that there is nothing here to learn or achieve. We take a small number of people chosen by the mystic industry figures, to events where thousands are there to trade, they get some work done for themselves, and don’t even make a ripple in the pond of world music. Who then come back to tell all how great it was that they where there, and that so many great things happened. Happened for whom? For themselves? Who did they represent? What did they represent? Whose interests?

It seems the purpose for going is entirely based on the idea that Belfast is the only place for music in the North of Ireland. The last time I looked Belfast was just the capital city and yet it declares that it speaks for all in Northern Ireland. We all must go to Belfast to get known, and yet when we get there, we are told to go to London or Dublin or further because there is nothing else outside Belfast apart from maybe Derry to play. Its scene is based on a number of growing venues and promoters each contesting for the attention of a city and student population. This is not a rant against Belfast but the ghostly image of ‘Outside of the city is just desert’. There’s nothing there.

    It would be said if you ask all the successful, world re-known artists who are claimed as being from Belfast, where they are from, most would say from various parts of the country. Derry, Downpatrick, Enniskillen, Portstewart, all over. So why does the music industry in this country not realise that by sitting on its name dropped merits and the ‘we are the industry’ attitude, that they are not maximising the potential of what is available. Surely our society would benefit itself in today’s world if it was supporting music on our own doorstep, in our own back yard. Our radio stations follow like a lamb the music handed out by other countries and not our own. We tell our own society that to be successful in music we will struggle to compete in other places and that if we are ‘lucky’, someone will breakthrough and it’ll be great. And that’s that. What is being done to develop the next ‘lucky ones’ from here? The Industry merely continues to use its resources on bringing people here to say what they do and yet never manage to actually tell us anything except the age old commonly known how the record industry works. I think Eskimos are almost out of snow. The part of the industry that is worldwide is its own machine and we are just hoping someone from this small wee country is good enough to get onto the big cog. This mindset has to change.

     At this moment in time, whispers of a rising surge of music are being sensed at music’s grass roots level and at the upper tables of music business. Small independent labels and promoters are fighting tooth and nail to achieve success for local musicians and yet the structured powers that be hold fast to the anchors of a past society. Our own people embraced the chance to devolve from the past and build a new future. Now it is time our music society began to think of a new future. There are those that are seeking and creating change for the good of all and those who merely wish to be seen as such while raising their own industry status. It’s not a matter of doing away with anyone, but of bringing everyone together to maximise the potential of our music industry. This means bringing the industry to all parts of the North not just based in a city locked away in its blinkered outlook. It’s not just the musician who gets to benefit. We can develop sound and light engineers, tour managers, promoters

,studio’s, lawyers, PR companies, venues, multimedia companies, song writers, festivals, etc, within our own back yard. All this while using and supporting local resources which in turn helps local economy become sustainable for all parts of our country.

        It’s not about which side you are from, or which foot you kick with or any of the fossilised ways we try to deal with cultural differences. It’s about trying to make everyone’s world a better place through giving our own society belief in it. That our voices are not about the past but about ourselves as a new society in a world floating on sea’s of fear and gloom, that we can show light in many dark hearts in our homes and streets and further afield. We as a music community must make all of society know that we are here and that this is the soundtrack of their day to day life. We must be come the shining light for the new music world which is upon us. We must show everyone the way forward through sharing and embracing creative thinking, that the real X factor’s of their music are our artists. If we do not develop our industry at a grass roots level across the whole of the North, rural towns and cities alike, how can we expect to see our own artists and people on the world stage? Maybe we should just do nothing and hope someone gets lucky or maybe instead of saying you’re not good enough and close the door on the way out, but actually tell them how to become good, that is what is needed. Music has an industry and one which we must show our own people in our own country the true value if embraced. The days of only the few elite getting to eat the pie are dead. It’s big enough for all to sit at the table and eat.


       If you question the power of music then imagine this. If all music was to stop in the North, in all formats, no radio, no concerts, no choirs, no music in shops, in your dentist, in the bar, anywhere, there would be some shouting then. If music and all musicians professional or not, refused to play and sacrifice one weekend of their schedule, and could draw support from bars, venues and places interested in developing new music, to make a statement, imagine the sound that makes. The clink in the pockets of the money men would be light on Sunday evening. Do it for a month, and you would hit the economy and daily life more than can be imagined. That is the power of the music community in N. Ireland and it is a positive thing. We can and we will change the music industry here because it is we who will be running it in the next 30 years. Our generation must make sure that the next one truly feels the warmth of imagination and celebration that only music can give, with one love.


     We have only started to achieve some success in the way forward, there’s a long way to go. It’s time to let the ‘industry’ and everyone who surrounds it know that they are failing us as a country and a community. Not through anything else except positivity will we achieve change. We must continue to fight for new music and enterprise in our own country so that when we do go out into the big music world we can more than just be lucky enough, we can put it to the best there is, not because we come from here but because we are!