Jack O’Rourke performing Behan’s Poems
“In Paris I’ll be performing several of Behan’s poems set to music including The Laughing Boy, which Behan wrote in honour of Michael Collins. It’s humbling to be part of his centennial celebration ». Singer-songwriter Jack O’Rourke draws from a broad palette of blues, folk and ballads. In 2015 he came to prominence with Silence; an anthem of the Marriage Equality Referendum. In 2021 his excellent album Wild Place included hits Sea Swimming, Patsy Cline and Opera on the Top Floor; songs of love and loss and beautiful misfits. His songs coming from a soulful place.
Jack had a residency in Paris
In Summer 2022, Jack O’Rourke had a residency in Paris. “I had the idea of focusing on Behan and Wilde as Irish literary figures and part of the LGBT community who needed to go to Paris to get a bit of freedom. I’ll also perform Uaigneas and Oscar; a different take on Behan who’s remembered as a gregarious character, but he wrote beautiful poignant poetry.”
How does Jack approach song writing. “I believe we’re vessels for creativity to come through. It depends on my mood or subject matter. I find most happy songs cloying. I’m definitely drawn to the dark side. Focusing on Behan’s words, rather than my own, changed my approach. Chords and melodies came that wouldn’t have with my own lyrics. Song writing is a mystery.”
Jack’s work has been compared to Paul Brady, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, something that he finds very humbling; “I wouldn’t ever dare to compare myself to the Holy Trinity!”.
He enjoys the creative element, “seeing how the songs form and join together like a string of pearls”. He describes performing his songs live as magic, feeding off the audience, “but also it’s the great paradox that being introverted I choose to bear my soul in public.”
On Saturday 18th November Jack O’Rourke will perform at CCI Paris ‘Behan 100: Behan in Paris’ celebration. A captivating performer and naturally shy man invoking the spirit of Behan, the ultimate bon viveur.