Bono, Imelda May, Hozier, More On Album Honoring Irish Poet Patrick Kavanagh

The two-part album includes contributions by many Irish celebrities, also including Jessie Buckley, Christy Moore, Sharon Corr, and others.

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Patrick Kavanagh artwork - Courtesy: Claddagh Records
Patrick Kavanagh artwork - Courtesy: Claddagh Records

The two-part album Almost Everything… by seminal Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh will be released by Claddagh Records/UMe on September 23.

The first album features 15 celebrities, including Liam Neeson, Imelda May, Bono, Hozier, and President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, reading Kavanagh’s poetry against striking musical backdrops. The second is a remaster of the much-loved 1964 album Almost Everything, the only recording of Kavanagh reading his own poetry.

The other Irish notables on the first album are Jessie Buckley, Aidan Gillen, Lisa McGee, Lisa Hannigan, Evanna Lynch, Sharon Corr, Kathleen Watkins, Christy Moore, Rachael Blackmore and Aisling Bea. The album follows the 2021 decision In to remaster the Kavanagh tapes and invite Irish notables to read the poet’s works.

Claddagh Records was established by Gareth Browne in 1964 to record and preserve Irish cultural heritage. It launched with music releases, including The King Of The Pipers by Leo Rowsome and The Liffey Banks by Tommy Potts. Also on the label were a group who wanted to call themselves The Quare Fellas but, historically, changed their name to the Chieftains.

Browne also decided he wanted to release a spoken word, and had encountered Kavanagh, long established with such works as The Great Hunger (1942), in pubs off Grafton Street in Dublin. He broached the idea of an album with Kavanagh, with whom he had many informal meetings.“The small matter of money resulted in protracted negotiations and general haggling,” Browne remembered, “not, I imagine, unlike the jostling Kavanagh was used to on a fair day in his native Monaghan.”

Browne offered £50 but the poet held out for £100, and a contract was eventually signed in the Halcyon Hotel on South Anne Street, where the poet was staying half-board for just over £3 a week. Under his signature,  he wrote: “One hour approx. of verse and prose of my own.”

  The vinyl format of the new release contains two unique vinyl sleeves, the first with a printed collage of sketches of all the readers around Kavanagh, with the poet visible through the cut-out square on the cover. The second sleeve is an exact replica of the original album release.

Pre-order Almost Everything…, which is released on September 23.

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