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New & Noteworthy From ‘Famine’ to feast for Irish composer

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Please forgive us if we seem a little chuffed this week. It’s just that it’s always fun to be around at the beginning of an artist’s career — especially if he goes on to hit the big time. Which is exactly what is happening to our favorite — assuming we had a favorite — composer, Patrick Cassidy.

Cassidy, who composed the "Famine Memorial Concert," which had its world premiere in 1996 in an event hosted by the Irish Echo, has written some of the music for the blockbuster gorefest "Hannibal." The movie is a sequel to "Silence of the Lambs," and features Anthony Hopkins as a cannibalistic, if charming, serial killer — the kind of genial gent who’d never say he hated a person’s guts, if you catch our drift.

Among Cassidy’s contributions to the soundtrack is a haunting aria that functions as a recurring musical theme while Hannibal chews the fat, as it were, with (actually, of) other characters. And, with the Hollywood music business being, shall we say, a dog-eat-dog world, Cassidy is only too thrilled to have his foot in the door. (Assuming, of course, that no one will start nibbling on his toes. Oh, OK, we’ll stop.)

According to Cassidy’s brother Frank, who is also his manager, "Hannibal" director Ridley Scott loved Cassidy’s work so much, "he wants to turn the aria into a full-fledged opera." Possible name: "I Eat Her." (You know, since "Aida" is already taken. OK, OK, we’ll stop. Really)

The politics of singing

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The perkiest MEP on the other side of the Atlantic is surely Rosemary Scallon, better known as the Irish singer Dana. We hear, via the Sunday Independent, that the former Eurovision queen and current politician is thinking about taking up the microphone again, and she’s in the market for some collaborators.

At the launch of the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest last week, Dana indicated that she’d give all kinds of everything to have another go at the pop charts.

"I’d like to record again," she said. "But I wouldn’t do Eurovision or anything like that." Hey, she’s been there, done that and, no doubt, bought the souvenir T-shirt, right?

Dana, who has, after all, sung for the pope, sees nothing wrong with setting her sights high.

"Maybe a duet with someone like the Corrs," she mused. "That would be nice."

‘Piece’ of the action

It looks like Dreamworks Studios underestimated the fury of an Irish producer scorned. Jerome O’Connor, one of the producers of the Barry Levinson film "An Everlasting Piece," has made good on his threat to file a breach of contract suit in Manhattan Federal Court.

O’Connor is charging that the studio reneged on its promise to promote the film, a comedy about two toupee salesmen set against the backdrop of the Troubles. He says that the film was originally salted for release on hundreds of screens — but after studio head Steven Spielberg was awarded a knighthood by some old dear with a crown, this was cut to just a handful.

If indeed the studio pulled the rug (get it?) out from under the film, and breached its contract, it could cost them 10 million big ones or, as the Indo observed, leave them with the dilemma: "Toupee or not toupee?"

Kylie: Who’s your daddy?

It’s hard enough being a 41-year-old pop star in a world where Christina Aguilera is old news at 19, without having a thirtysomething pop tart tell the world she regards you as a father figure. Just ask Bono.

Kylie Minogue, who made the transition from sweet Aussie ingénue (starring in the soap opera "Home and Away") to ’80s one-hit wonder queen ("come on, come on, do the locomotion!") to her current incarnation as a raunchy millennial pop vamp, told the Sunday World that the U2 frontman "has been like a father to me."

Kylie and Bono crossed paths a few years back, when she was dating his friend and fellow rock star, the late Michael Hutchence of INXS. They’ve remained in contact ever since, and, she says, he "admires what I’ve done." (Actually, Kylie, we think that, like most red-blooded guys, he admires those outfits you almost wear. But far be it from us to quibble. . . )

"Whenever I was writing new songs, he offered to listen to them and give his opinion," she confided. Of course, she didn’t say what that opinion was.

Saw Doctors in the house

Ireland’s ultimate good time band, the Saw Doctors, will be in America during the St. Patrick’s Day season, just to make sure the Yanks are well into the spirit of all things Irish. The band will feature new member Jim Higgins (formerly of Altan) on the drums, and will perform some new numbers from their upcoming CD (plus, they swore to me, all the old favorites) at the shows.

And just to show you the power of the Saw Doctors and their fans, we hear that the promoters of the Philadelphia show were granted a special Sunday liquor license for the March 18 show.

"They only have a six-day license to sell alcohol," explained Saw Doctors manager Ollie Jennings. "We said, ‘That’s ridiculous — the fans will want to be able to buy drink at the show. We’re not doing it without unless the facilities are in place.’

"Needless to say, the bar will be open," he laughed.

The full list of U.S. shows in March is as follows: Friday, March 9, Chicago, The Metro; Saturday, March 10, Chicago, The Metro; Sunday, March 11, Cleveland, The Odeon; Tuesday, March 13, Boston, The Paradise; Wednesday, March 14, Boston, The Paradise; Friday March 16, New York, Roseland Ballroom; Saturday, March 17, Northampton, Mass., Calvin Theatre; Sunday, March 18, Philadelphia, Theatre of the Living Arts.

We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to the New York, Philly and both Boston shows. Just send us a postcard with your name, address, daytime phone number, and the name of your favorite Saw Doctors song to: I need a Doctor! c/o Irish Echo Newspaper, 309 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016. You can also fax entries to (212) 686-1756 or e-mail them to echoeditors@aol.com. Deadline for all entries is Friday, March 2, at 4 p.m.

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