Irish songwriter sets Mandela speech to music

Nelson Mandela in 2008
Nelson Mandela in 2008

Irish music has always been attracted to folk heroes and there aren’t many folk heroes more inspiring than Nelson Mandela.

He has certainly inspired Irish musician John Hughes. Hughes was managing the Irish group The Corrs when they played at the South Africa Freedom Day concert in London in 2001.

Mr Mandela addressed the audience and told them: “Music is a great blessing. It has the power to elevate us and liberate us. It sets people free to dream. It can unite us with one voice. Such is the value of music.”

Hughes found the speech intensely moving and it stuck in his mind. Now he has set the words to music to create a song called The Mandela Suite.

It will be officially released on 28th March, but you can get a preview of what Mr Mandela’s words sound like when set to music in this video.

Categorized as Blog

By Patrick Kehoe

Pat Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dubliners and Planxty.