While the musical adaptation of Frank McCourt’s famous book Angela’s Ashes continues to gather rave reviews after its performances at the Lime Tree Theatre, many people may not know that it is not the first time McCourt’s book has been set to music.
In the year 2000 a group of local musicians and songwriters wrote and produced a series of songs largely based on the book and released a CD called Songs from the Ashes. The group called themselves Burning Embers and consisted of Dominic Taylor and Nigel Nix songwriters, while Vincent Fitzgerald, Jim Hanley, Mike Moriarty with Jenny McMahon on backing vocals completed the lineup. The album was the brainchild of Dominic Taylor who first wrote the lyrics to the songs before gathering the others to play and record the album. Initial demos were sent to Frank McCourt in New York who wrote back “I can only tell you how moved I was that you undertook such a demanding project. My wife Ellen and I just scratched our heads in wonder.”
The group had hopes of having at least one track included in the movie which was being made at the time in Limerick but although Frank McCourt was supportive of the project he could not do anything to help as he had signed the movie rights over and his hands were tied. The album gathered an amount of national publicity at the time but without the marketing needed to push it worldwide enthusiasm for the project waned and what promised to be an exciting debut into the world of music fizzled out and the group disbanded.
The album is still available on-line from the Limerick Writers’ Centre website.
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