Goodbye Fucking Ireland

November 30, 2010

One of my last nights in Dublin I went to the Brown Bread Mixtape with Carolyn. Brown Bread is a monthly theme night that laces music, spoken word, comedy, and poetry with sly social commentary and, at times, outright rage. I heard about it from a guy I met at work, Kalle, a writer and performance poet from Waterford.

I was enormously impressed by the energy and passion of the players that took over the upstairs of The Stag's Head. The performances were funny, creative, and emotional, showcasing a variety of talent from both Irish and international performers. Although I tend to be skeptical of spoken word poetry which all too often lapses into Beat-speak, I found Stephen James Smith's sultry rhythms moving and was quickly won over.

During the intermission they brought in a great deal of delicious brown bread with butter and jam for the packed audience which went rather well with a nice pint of Guinness. Carolyn and I were interviewed for an upcoming radio show about Brown Bread and we met many of the performers who were absolutely gracious and thankful that we had come.

Although the offerings vary each month, it's clearly Kalle's passion and energy that fuels the Mixtape and makes it so unique. Check out his spoken word piece railing against the Irish politicians in charge of the banking system:

Finally, at the end of the performance, Kalle led the audience through an anthem that shook the walls with heartfelt passion. It reminded me of why Ireland has had such a fierce and bloody history of standing up against political and social repression. To hear a room full of Irish folks roaring, "My blood is boiling for Ireland" is bone chilling. It's hard not to respect the Irish passion for political discussion and action, especially when compared to the level of apathy in the States. "Ireland, Ireland, Ireland fucking Ireland!" the crowd sang. I can't think of a better sentiment now for that troubled island.