The Singer, the Song and the Place

(Documentary, 2012, Produced Scallta Media)

A really beautiful, considered and expressive film that goes a long way to showing what a wonderful man Paddy Berry is and how magical the songs and lore are of which he is not only a conduit, but a champion.

James McDonald, The Song Collectors Collective

Used as part of the Irish Musical Traditions module in the BA in Heritage Studies in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), lectured by John Tunney.

Written, directed, filmed and edited by Paul, this is a 40 minute documentary inspired by the life and place-songs of traditional singer Paddy Berry. Screenings include the Rosslare Singing Weekend, February 9th, 2013; the 22nd Phil Murphy Weekend, July 28th, 2013; the Trad Across Borders Festival, Wexford Arts Centre, March 16th, 2014; the Wexford Independent Documentary Film Festival, Stella Maris Centre, Kilmore Quay, May 3rd, 2015. Extracts were also broadcast on RTÉ Radio One’s The Rolling Wave, presented by Peter Browne, on January 12th, 2014.

A great piece of work.

Peter Browne, The Rolling Wave, RTÉ Radio One

Filmed in January, July and September, 2012, The Singer, the Song and the Place maps six songs Paddy Berry has sung and popularised over the last fifty years back to the places these songs originated. From tragedy to emigration, rebellion to romance, Paddy introduces and sings these songs with the same passion and grace that has become synonymous with the Wexford traditional singing he has come to both inspire and promote.

As well as exploring the effect his mother and grand-uncle would later have on what would become Paddy’s great passion in life, he also talks at ease about his childhood, the people closest to him, the relevance of the places within the songs to his growing up, and of the people he learned the songs from, sometimes while walking home from first Mass on Sunday.

While as a singer Paddy embodies each rendition with a life and soul, always unique to that moment in time, so too do these songs represent places significant to Paddy. For all of these songs come from south county Wexford, where Paddy was born, reared and still lives.

Framed against the scenery of Drinagh, Tomhaggard, Duncormick, Carrig-on-Bannow, Ballygow, Cullenstown, Ballymadder Point, Bannow Bay and Fethard, and with a mouth organ soundtrack courtesy of Phil, John and Pip Murphy, The Singer, the Song and the Place draws upon a lifetime connection that formed between a singer, the songs he discovered and the places they came from. It is a connection that is rare, unique, and a connection that has gifted our tradition with collections and recordings of songs that may otherwise have passed on.

The songs performed by Paddy in this film include:

– The Fethard Lifeboat Crew (Anonymous)
– Bannow’s Lonely Shore (John Kane)
– The Town of Duncormick (PJ McCall)
– Bagenal Harvey’s Lament (Anonymous)
– The Maid of Ballygow (Gallagher)
– Weary On It, And Weary O (Fr Philip Doyle, O.S.A.)