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Voices for Dignity - Sing along evening on UN End Poverty Day

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Mansion House

Dawson Street

Dublin

Ireland

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At 7pm on the UN End Poverty Day, Wednesday 17th October, the Lord Mayor of Dublin will host in the Mansion House a special sing along evening.

Choirs and performers will be joined by participants to sing songs of freedom and dignity.

Irish-French artist Camille O'Sullivan will be the special guest of the “Voices for Dignity” event.

The event will also provide a platform for the launch of the book "Voices for Dignity" which chronicles the story of the Irish Human Rights and Poverty Stone (on Custom House Quay next to the Famine Statues) over the past ten years.

Light refreshments will be provided.

This event is prepared by All Together in Dignity Ireland with the support of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Nial Ring, the Embassy of Belgium and the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Initiative.

Irish-French artist Camille O'Sullivan will to lead us in song with her own renditions of Jacques Brel's finest music as 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of this Belgian singer-songwriter and giant of the 20th century music scene (Brel died on the 9th October 1978). “Brel is the reason I’m a singer today – I essentially ended my career as an architect to become a performer after falling in love with singing his music” says Camille O'Sullivan.

But why include songs of Jacques Brel in an 2018 End Poverty Day event?

When it comes to human dignity (and human “indignity”), Brel was and is a source of inspiration to artists in the French and English speaking worlds alike. Although he recorded most of his songs in French and occasionally in Dutch, he became an influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers, such as Scott Walker, David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many performers in the United States, including Bowie and Walker, Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams.

But there is another reason to listen to Brel at “Voices for Dignity”!

A book published by the Jacques Brel Foundation in March 2018 displays a connection between Brel and the UN End Poverty Day. When the book refers to the song “Voici” created by Brel in 1958, France Brel, the daughter of the famed singer, reveals that the lyrics in one particular verse pay tribute to founder of the UN End Poverty Day, Joseph Wresinski, a French priest who also founded All Together in Dignity (ATD).

In the Jacques Brel Foundation book, we discover that Brel had visited Wresinki in 1957 at the emergency housing camp of a suburb of Paris. It was with the families housed in this camp that Wresinski was leading a dignified struggle against the shame and sufferings associated with life in poverty.

“That in our faded suburbs, The priests in their prayers, Have become the workers.”
(Original in French « Qu’en nos faubourgs délavés / Des prêtres en litanies sont devenus ouvriers »
translation: https://lyricstranslate.com/en/voici-here.html)

The visit of Brel, already very famous at the time, came as a welcome surprise to Wresinski who's morale was somewhat weaning at the overburdened homeless slum in Noisy-le-Grand. In a later interview, Joseph Wresinski recalled the impromptu arrival of Jacques Brel to the camp. He spoke about him arriving at a difficult moment when the camp was stretched to its limits. 252 families were living on the site, Wresinski was staying with them, alone to support them. He was close to despair when the singer arrived. Wresinski was instantly uplifted by Brel's warmth, enthusiasm and spirit. The singer's idea to do a tour of France with Wresinski to campaign against poverty never manifested but “it didn't matter” recalls Wresinski. “On that day, and on many more, he had brought happiness and hope to the life of others.”


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Mansion House

Dawson Street

Dublin

Ireland

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