Percy French (1854–1920) is considered by many to be Ireland's greatest songwriter. I am the third generation of my family to sing his songs and my families experience is far from unique. In Ireland in the 1960's his name and songs were as familiar to us as those of Elvis Presley or The Beatles. He was spoken of fondly all over Ireland like a close friend or a favorite uncle, though he had been dead more than fifty years at that time.
Only in recent years have I learned of the extent of his life's work. Of his paintings, poetry, publications, operas, comic sketches and satirical reviews, his world travels, and more importantly of Percy French the man.
Researching, recording, and performing The Legacy of Percy French has brought with it many rewards. A greater appreciation for his songs, an awareness of his vast talents, and a greater understanding of the times in which he lived and how little has changed!
His first hit song “Abdul Abulbul Amir“(1877), is a satire on the war between Christians and Muslims.“The Irish Mother” describes the tragic loss of Ireland's children to emigration. His songs are timeless.
I hope you will support my efforts to bring the music and story of Percy French to a wider audience. Enjoy the music here and on my cd and please come and see the show.
I am posting a few of my favorite images and videos here just to whet your appetite.
Here is a great shadow puppet animation made of the song "Abdul Abulbul Amir" in 2007.
Here is an MGM cartoon made in 1941.