A unique musical collaboration between Derry’s best known musicians and those experiencing mental ill-health in the city culminates this Saturday with the launch of the album ‘Six Strings & Stigma’ at An Cultúrlann at 7pm.
People of all ages attending the Clarendon Street Beacon centre, a mental health day-support service provided by Niamh (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health), shared their written life stories with songwriters and singers from fourteen bands who then wrote and recorded songs based on these stories during summer 2013.
The bands appearing on the album include Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas, Intermission, Teknopeasant, Tracy Cullen, The Murder Balladeers, Little Hooks, The Wood Burning Savages, The Ard Ri Band, Declan McLaughlin & The Hi-Flats, Jeanette Hutton, John Deery & The Heads, The Gatefolds, Tara Gi and We Are Aerials. All of the songs are based on the stories of people with long term mental ill health problems and the social stigma they have experienced. The song writers were presented with accounts of fear, isolation, ridicule and hope.
One contributor said: “I believe I gained a lot of perspective from talking to people, both staff and members at the Beacon Centre. It was such a change to be able to talk about my past without the feelings of guilt and being judged hanging over me. It has been a huge turning point in my life.”
Paddy Nash, who was one of the first songwriters to sign up to the project said: “Six Strings and Stigma is quite unique in that all songs sound very different from each other and yet there are these recurring themes of stigma, hope and strength. It was quite a challenging experience and I’m delighted to have been involved.”
Speaking before the launch, Beacon Project Worker and Album Producer Ruairi O’Doherty said: “This is one of the few albums ever produced that brings the creative talents of so many bands from Derry to focus on the major issue of mental ill-health. Six Strings and Stigma is unique in its inspiration and a moving tribute to the difficulties associated with mental health and the surrounding stigma.
“Never before have so many bands and musicians collaborated together and produced what is a musical montage of this quality and standard,” he added.
All fourteen acts will come together at An Cultúrlann tomorrow which falls two days after World Mental Health Day to perform the songs for the first time to a live audience.
Doors are at 7pm and tickets are available at An Cultúrlann and www.wegottickets.com priced £10 (plus booking fee) and those attending will receive a free copy of the album. The album goes on general release next Monday, 14th October and will be available to buy at Cool Discs music in Foyle Street and download from iTunes.