Black 47
Larry Kirwan's Musical Poetry
 More of this Feature
• Part One
• Part Two
• Part Three
  Related Resources
• Fusion
• Ireland/Celtic
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Black 47: Official Site

Paula: What are your artistic and musical goals?

Larry: Oh dear! Do I have them anymore? Well, music is just one, though obviously a very importan and immediate vehicle. But I also like to write plays and have a novel coming out soon - Liverpool Fantasy, which imagines a world in which the Beatles never made it. I suppose being original in some way is the artistic goal; while musically, I like combining differnet forms of music to create hybrids. With Black 47 I have a wonderful set of musicians to interpret songs. They come from many different backgrounds and influences, so mixing and matching these, while employing meaningful lyrics would be a perennial goal.

Paula: What do you see as the future of Black 47?

Larry: Well, right now, it's to get to Albany and have a transcendent evening. I have no idea what the future holds for a band like Black 47. We're extremely lucky that we have such a devoted following. Without the regard of our audience, I'm afaid we would be, at best, an infinitessimal footnote in the history of rock & roll. We've been an anamoly almost since our first gig - a band that travels the hiways and biways to play original music and make a living from it. That's not really done anymore. On the positive side, our audience seems to get younger, so perhaps that augurs well. But I take nothing for granted. As Jim Morrison once bemoaned, "the future's uncertain and the end is always near." We formed the band to do some gigs up in the Bronx. 12 years later, we're still doing them. Who knows what comes next? We started with a band and I won't finish that thought.

Paula: You mix a lot of musical styles in Balck 47 like reggae, rock and hip-hop -- was this a conscientious choice by yourself and the other band members?

Larry: It wasn't in the least conscious at first. It was merely working with various musical vehicles to interpret the songs. We're a New York City band and what you hear on a Black 47 cd is what we hear on the streets of New York. But basically, it's just using the different influences and strenghts of the band's members to interpret the songs. I'm writing the next B47 studio cd and am constantly thinking of what ways to stretch a particular song and make it representative of Black 47 as a group, rather than Larry Kirwan as a writer.

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