The Poetry of Rick Allen
with music by
The Constant Cohorts
New Age Contemporary
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An immortal voice and talent.
THE FINAL DAYS OF A WARRIOR POET
The departure from a human body does not end a person's life. As long as one is remembered and loved by those left behind, that person remains alive, in spirit. If one has been gifted and has left behind a legacy of creative works, this is even more true.
Warrior poet Rick Allen spent the last year of his life battling cancer with a hope-filled attitude, during which time he also accomplished his life-long dream of finishing and recording his bardic-style poetry. In the months that followed his passing in August, 2002, The Constant Cohorts joyfully labored to finish the work that Rick Allen had started, by composing and adding original music tracks to his voice and producing this CD.
Before he passed, Allen entitled this collection "Inconstant Bard" a title given in olden times to a breed of bardic poets, whose lives were dedicated not only to the writing of poetry, but to being warriors who championed the cause of liberty. In his words and the example of his life's discipline as a poet, Celtic scholar and martial artist, the late Rick Allen demonstrated the warrior-poet's principles of honor, courage and loyalty.
This CD is the gift of his Voice, to give courage and comfort to those he left behind, and to introduce to a larger audience the stunning work of a memorable and inspiring soul, artist and voice here in this often less-than-honorable world.
Michelle Miller Allen
The Poetry of Rick Allen With Music by The Constant Cohorts
There once was a time in Ireland when Fionn MacCumhall and his band of warriors, Na Fianna roamed the fields and forests. The classic literature that tells of their heroic exploits created in the Irish psyche a reverence for the land, for nature, and the notion of the importance of honor; and certainly the Otherworld or the Faeryworld with which W.B.Yeats later became fascinated. At school in Ireland in the 50's and 60's, we studied the poetry and prose inspired by the grand exploits of these ancient heroes -- The Fenian Cycle of Poetry and Prose.
As soon as I started listening to Rick Allen's voice, as he read his poetry, it rekindled those memories of learning, and this CD brought to life again the imaginings in my mind of an Ireland that once was -- happier, wilder and freer than today. An Ireland where I searched the hazel woods for bird's nests and swam in its clean lakes.
There is a certain irony for me in the fact that Rick touches on the problems of greed and want, since in Ireland now all the talk is about the wonderful economy of the Celtic Tiger -- a phenomenon destroying the old Ireland and its humanity. The woods I explored are gone. The lakes are filthy. The developers grow fatter. The vision of Paraic Pearse grows dimmer.
Turlough O'Carolan, the blind harper, lived from 1670 - 1738 and is known as the Last of the Great Bards. Rick loved his music and actually traveled to County Roscommon to the O'Carolan Festival in Keadue. On occasions when he came to hear me play -- usually at the Laughing Lizard -- he loved to hear pieces composed by O'Carolan.
As I get older music is more about sound than notes and this CD has a sound, its own voice, striking in its strength. And it seems firmly rooted in earthiness somehow; characteristics which echo in the words of poets like Yeats, Patrick Kavanaugh, Paraic Colum and Seamus Heaney. There are not many recordings on the CD racks of this kind or caliber. For me, it conjures up the old Ireland where people were very aware of their Bardic past and the importance of the Bard's place in society.
The music chosen and written to complement Rick's work (Sound!) does just that and is very tasteful; and the nature effects are well done. The crows, the owl, the sea again conjure up images of my homeland as I was growing up and makes the immigrant heart smart a little in its exile.
Allen has left a wonderful legacy and I am sure when Rick meets his own ancestors who have gone before, he will surely also sit down with Fionn MacCumhall , his son Oisin, and the great warriors of Na Fianna. They'll discuss the Spirit of Life which was important to them all and in the corner beside the fire I can see Turlough O'Carolan playing his harp and pausing now and again to recite some of his poetry, and when he is done, to nobly call on Rick to take his turn.
They will be well met.
Gerry Carthy, December 11, 2002
Santa Fe, New Mexico
also in Innerconnexion, January 2003)
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