Left Behind

Songs of the 1916 widows

Written by composer and curator Simon O’Connor, and commissioned and presented by vocalist Michelle O’Rourke, Left Behind is a new collection of songs to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Drawing on the experiences of the wives of prominent rebel leaders, O’Rourke and O’Connor have created a unique suite of compositions that offer an emotional, human perspective on a narrative that is too often told in baldly male heroic terms.

Left Behind will tour in Ireland and abroad in 2016, and a commercial recording on the Ergodos label is now available to buy.

Beginning life as simple vocal/piano pieces, these songs have been transformed with the addition of O’Connor’s former bandmates from celebrated Dublin rock band The Jimmy Cake. This small ensemble brings a volatile, dramatic energy to the retelling of the stories of Lillie Connolly, Grace and Muriel Gifford, Agnes Mallin and others.

“So much of our engagement with history is purely political, and so rarely we allow ourselves to read between the lines to find human realities,” says O’Connor. “Sinéad McCoole’s book, Easter Widows, the key historical reference for this work, allowed us to empathise with and understand the human cost, the real life narratives of the revolutionary period.”

“More so than any art form, music places us squarely in this emotional space,” adds soprano Michelle O’Rourke. “With these songs, we hope to give life to some of these feelings, these emotions and the sense of loss felt by many women and children who were left behind by men who were dominated by what they felt was a higher calling.”

“…magnificent…” – Elaine Edwards, The Irish Times

“The moody, slender, ethereal settings of Left Behind … held together by O’Rourke and the extraordinary beauty of her voice.” – Michael Dervan, The Irish Times

“The night felt like an exercise in story-telling of lives often forgot… The songs were stripped of superfluous flare in favour of a stunning stillness which revived the beauty of these tragic, untold tales.” – thinair.net

Performance dates

Tuesday, 8 March, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
as part of Ireland 2016 International Women’s Day commemorations
ireland.ie/events/women-1916-rising

Monday, 28 March, Unitarian Church, St. Stephen’s Green
as part of RTÉ Reflecting the Rising events on Easter Monday
1916.rte.ie/event/unitarian-church/left-behind-songs-of-the-easter-widows

Thursday, 31 March, Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick
limetreetheatre.ie   061 774 774

Friday, 1 April, An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny
angrianan.com   074 91 20777

Thursday, 7 April, Siamsa Tíre, Tralee
siamsatire.com   066 712 3055

Friday, 22 April Glór, Ennis
glor.ie   065 684 3103

Wednesday, 27 April, National Concert Hall, Dublin
with RTÉ Concert Orchestra
nch.ie 01 417 0000

Thursday, 28 April, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise
dunamaise.ie   057 866 3355

Friday, 6 May, Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire
with Robinson Panoramic Quartet
paviliontheatre.ie   01 231 2929

Wednesday, 11 May , Solstice Arts Centre, Navan
with Robinson Panoramic Quartet
solsticeartscentre.com   046 909 2300

Press contact: Garrett Sholdice, [email protected], 0876937663

Download the press pack here.