An Focal · Music and Dance

Waterboys frontman puts Yeats to song

The Waterboys performed ‘An Appointment with Mr Yeats’ on Thursday 4 November (2010) in the INEC in Killarney.

This show merged the literary word of W.B. Yeats with the musical stylings of rock band The Waterboys.

The Waterboys vocalist Mike Scott has been writing musical accompaniments to Yeats’ poetry since 1988 when he first set ‘Stolen Child’ to music.

He performed many of  these in 1991 at the Abbey Theatre during the Yeats International Festival but this show contained many never before heard compositions.

This project has been more than twenty years in the making, but Scott stresses that his intention was never to treat Yeats’ work as a musuem but to ‘connect with the soul of the poems as they appear to him’.

‘An Appointment with Mr Yeats’ featured an extended Waterboys lineup including fiddle maestro Steve Wickham, new Irish singer Katie Kim, Dublin singer-songwriter Joe Chester and many more.

The show encompasses twenty years of Yeats’ poems spanning both famous and lesser known works, from the cynical to the romantic, the political to the mythological, all invigorated with the energy and enthusiasm of The Waterboys.

Scott’s love of literature is firmly embedded throughout the work of the Waterboys. He has also put the writings of Robert Burns, James Stephens, Kenneth Grahame and George MacDonald to song.

He said, “I grew up in a house full of books so literature and language have always been important to me.”

(text published in ‘An Focal’ 5 October 2010)

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