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Recently, I was watching Ireland's Late Late Show hosted by Ryan Tubridy. This talk show has been running for over 50 years now. Every aspect of Irish life eventually gets discussed here at some stage. There was a music group featured called 'Irish Women in Harmony'. It was recorded during lockdown by a number of Irish women singers, who put their voices together to create a song for release in aid of domestic violence victims. The song is called 'Dreams' and was originally recorded by an Irish music group, the Cranberries. The line-up of singers includes the wonderful Moya Brennan, a traditional Irish singer, always a favourite singer of mine. She's from my time, that is to say that her career was already in progress when I still lived in Ireland. At the younger end of the spectrum there are singers like the talented singer/songwriter Una Healy and another young singer called Erica Cody, with whose work I'm not yet familiar.
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"Dreams" & Reality
So Ryan Tubridy, the show's host, interviewed the ladies after their performance. Their excitement was palpable and they had obviously worked hard together and bonded beautifully across the generations. It was nice to hear them chatting about their achievement. They performed their song in a powerful manner. It couldn't fail to make an impression. But not long after the 'Irish Women in Harmony' spot on the show, I would have been hard-pressed to remember the tune they had performed so beautifully. That's the problem. It's a Cranberries song. I left Ireland in the mid-1990s, and the Cranberries were only starting up. When the Irish Prime Minister and now Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar recently shared that the music of the Cranberries was all around him when he was growing up in Ireland, I realised that he's from a different time to mine. A much more recent one. There are huge gaps in my Irish experience because I left Ireland over two decades ago.
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Don't Know the Cranberries
In Ireland we love popular music and quite a few international music acts like U2, the Corrs and the Boomtown Rats have come out of the country. The Cranberries were different because unlike most of the famous Irish bands, they were not from Dublin. They were fronted by the charismatic Dolores O'Riordan who was, by all accounts, a colourful character. I remember one or two of their songs from the early days. However, neither song left a lasting impression on me. You could say I missed out on this group. There's nothing new about a bunch of artistes getting together to record a song. Live Aid got there first. There's also nothing new about a bunch of Irish female singers recording together either. The excellent 'A Woman's Heart' project from around 1993 would have covered this angle too. 'A Woman's Heart' featured wonderful singers like Mary Black and Maura O'Connell. So I feel the IWIH is really for the younger generation, not mine. With no disrespect to the Cranberries, I can't tell the difference between their music and supermarket muzak. I'm sure they are least concerned. Other people get all excited about them and I'm like 'what's all the fuss about?'
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Some people are wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Covid-19. Many are protesting against having to wear masks and restrict their social activity. I agree that it's very hard. But to keep our health, we need to observe the instructions. Hopefully, the day will come when we can move about freely. But that won't be for a while. One Facebook user I know is quite furious about the Covid rules. He comes across as uncouth. His FB page is full of expletives. His posts usually begin by cursing people who actually wear masks and observe social distancing (f***ing idiots, he calls them). According to this fountain of wisdom, more people die of TB in the world than have died of Covid. I replied to his post by explaining that as TB is a disease usually prevalent in developing countries like India, there's probably no hurry on getting it sorted. The minute a contagious disease like TB starts affecting people in wealthy countries like the USA, it will probably be tackled on a war footing and gone within a year. Anyone who thinks that fears about Covid-19 are exaggerated should remember the victims who have died in agony. This is nothing about which to be complacent.
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Not Yet Time to Unlock
Because my late father-in-law was someone who was very welcoming to guests, like any traditional Indian person, our house tends to be the type into which anyone can just walk in. Not any more. A few people, particularly people from households including Covid-19 sufferers, just walked into our house lately. I have my hands full asking people not to enter the house, sit outside, wear a mask and use sanitiser. Not to mention keep a safe distance. I have no intention of relaxing the rules at this juncture having come so far. I heard a sad story lately about a woman from south India who didn't step outside the house for six months. Alas, she caught Covid-19 from a vegetable man who brought deliveries to her house. So you can bet I'll be making a fuss about Covid-19 for some more time. There has been a movement against something called 'Covid shaming'. I wouldn't shame anyone for the world. The trouble is that while Covid runs its course in healthy people, it's fatal for others. It's not something about which we can afford to take a chance. That is tragic, but calling out people for 'Covid-shaming' will backfire. It's a fact.
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