24 July 2014

Si Kahn at the 4th Cork Mother Jones Festival, 27 July-2 Aug. 2014

'Mother Jones' in her mid sixties (photo from Wikipedia article)

US singer, songwriter, activist, and organiser Si Kahn will be in Cork city from this coming Sunday (27 July) to 2 August, taking part in the 4th annual Cork Mother Jones Festival, which begins in Shandon on 29 July.

The festival commemorates Mary Harris 'Mother' Jones (1837-1930), born in Cork city, who emigrated to North America with her family as a teenager, married there, and (after major personal misfortunes) devoted herself to labour organisation and agitation, being very active in the Industrial Workers of the World, the United Mine Workers, and the Socialist Party of America. In 1902 an opposing lawyer labelled her 'the most dangerous woman in America'. Much of her work was done in the mining districts of Appalachia. She has been commemorated in many songs, including one by Andy Irvine.

Si Kahn himself has a distinguished record of activism in social, political, and environmental causes, as well as performing and recording many times in bluegrass settings. He has written a musical drama, 'Mother Jones in Heaven', which has earned strongly enthusiastic reviews, including acclaim for actor/singer Mary Gannon Graham in the title role. The action is set in a celestial bar, with plenty of drink, Irish music, and topical comment.

Si's schedule at Cork is as follows: 

Sun. 27 July: Singalong of US labour and civil rights songs, Maldron Hotel, 8.00 p.m. Free songsheets provided.

Mon. 28 July: Songwriting workshop, Maldron Hotel, 8.00 p.m. Si adds: 'We won’t be able to work on more than two or three songs, but if you want to take the chance that we’ll work on one of yours, please bring 20 copies of the lyrics. Don’t bring your best song or a song you consider finished - only one that you’re still working on and/or are having trouble with.'

Thurs. 31 July: Grand Concert (fundraiser for the Cork Mother Jones Festival) with US labour/folk musician Anne Feeney, hailed by the late great Utah Phillips as 'the best labour singer in America'. Firkin Crane Theatre, 8.30 p.m.

Fri. 1 Aug.: Presentation: 'A life of activism', Firkin Crane Theatre, 2.00 p.m.

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