The Speech Project
Four years in the making, The Speech Project is ground-breaking collection of new musical works by Gerry Diver inspired by and incorporating recordings of the spoken word of seminal Irish folk musicians including Shane MacGowan, Christy Moore, Damien Dempsey, Joe Cooley, Danny Meehan and more.
Gerry Diver, a musician, composer and producer, born into an Irish family in Manchester and relocated to Ireland in his teens. Former member of Irish world music group Sin éand Shane McGowan's The Popes, as well as guest musician with among others Van Morrison and uber-rock producer Youth, Gerry has more recently begun to focus more of production and composing, working out of his studio in South London.
In 2007 he produced the Mojo Folk Album of the Year and BBC Folk Award nominated album ‘Wild And Undaunted’ by Lisa Knapp, but had already begun work of The Speech Project, travelling to Ireland to make face-to-face recordings with Christy Moore and to trawl the archives and back catalogues for spoken word recordings of older musicians, including Kerry accordionist Joe Cooley (1924-1973).
Taking this all back to his Tooting studio he extracted key phrases from the recordings, and taking the rhythm, pitch and phrasing as inspiration, he began to compose a series of works that are uniquely Irish, ground-breaking in concept and stunningly beautiful. Between production work for artists including Alasdair Roberts, Sam Lee and ex-Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton, Gerry completed the collection of works which he has called The Speech Project.
With the support of Arts Council England, The Speech Project premiered at Liverpool Irish Festival on 20th October 2011 ahead of the release of the album in early February 2012 and a major tour of England in March including shows at key venues including The Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre, The Sage Gateshead and the newly reopened MAC in Birmingham.
The show features musicians including Gerry Diver, with special guest Lisa Knapp, plus specially commissioned accompanying videos for selected works funded by Arts Council Ireland’s Deis fund, all interacting live with the spoken word recordings of the Irish musicians used in the Speech Project recordings.
See http://www.speechproject.net/ for more information on the project.