The British & Irish Lions and Music

first_imgCan’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Rugby fans: The Manic Street Preachers (Getty Images)“But it’s hard to predict what will resonate. You can’t force it. That sort of stuff (what fans fall in love with) has to be bottom up, rather than top down. For it to resonate.”You cannot approach something so romantic with cynical intent. You cannot script a whole tour. Who the hell knows what fans and players will take to, musically. Each group is different for each tour and both the crowd and performers will be so diverse.In 1997 the Lions players adopted Wonderwall by Oasis as their track. According to former Springboks centre Andre Snyman, Shosholoza by Ladysmith Black Mambazo could be heard everywhere from 1995 to 1999. From the 2005 anthem Power of Four to Wonderwall and traditional standards, we look at the part music can play on the most famous rugby tour of all (illustration edited from Getty Images) The British & Irish Lions and MusicAS THE camera pans down the line, jaws are set, eyes are fixed. None of the British & Irish Lions players are singing.As rugby’s most famous touring side, the Lions, prepare to tangle with the All Blacks, music swells. Power of Four, an anthem meant to arouse the passions of four very different nations – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – strains away while lips are locked.In 2005, Clive Woodward wanted to bring “the best-prepared tour in the history of Lions rugby” to Kiwi shores. New Zealand had proven a crushing place to play for the Lions in the past, so why not try the spreadsheet approach, with Woodward famed for agonising over so many small details.Players were given iPods for the tour, pre-loaded with songs – including Power of Four (the players had also received wristbands with the phrase on it earlier in the year: it was to be the official tour motto). They were expected to learn the lyrics but as was borne out in the action, only a few hardy fans could bring themselves to mouth along.It was to be a disastrous tour. A howler in many respects, culminating in a clean sweep of Test wins for the All Blacks. But it all began with the best of intentions.“Definitely more time (to work on the piece) would be extremely beneficial, not just to allow the track to become familiar but also from a writing perspective, exploring the varying anthems – how and why they work within their nations,” composer Neil Myers tells Rugby World. He had been approached by the Lions management to devise something to bind four fierce rivals together. But as he found, the expectation could never meet the reality.He believes that having time to review form, instrumentation, structure, language and more would have helped, but, “In hindsight, however, I believe there wasn’t enough communication, with regards to the Lions’ anthem. There was some naivety on my part, but I also think that things would be addressed very differently these days. There would be far more research from all sides no doubt.Face the music: The Lions back in 2005 (Getty Images)“I think in hindsight that probably more research from the Lions into the public’s perspective would have benefited.“Anthems are a patriotic symbol and to have one piece of music that encompasses, portrays and empowers four nations is always going to be a big ask. From a writer’s point of view, this information would be invaluable in the approach, understanding what would be relevant and the expectation from fans who would ultimately add another dimension by being part of it.”Music can be vital on tours. They can soundtrack treasured moments; set the beat for your whole experience. They can fuse with your memory of any up and down.Perhaps Power of Four became the break-up song that triggers too many bad memories. It may have been doomed from conception. But tours need a score.“If the Lions were successful in NZ in 2005 would the anthem have been kept?” Myers asks. “Probably not, but the poor tour that year was enough reason not to use it again.“Maybe an anthem isn’t the solution…?”MODERN BANGERSWE OFTEN bundle memories of major milestones together. And like all the best nights out, the stories of those moments grow in the retelling – the colours, sights and smells can flare. The sound is so important, too.Think of the biggest events from your formative years and it’s likely certain songs get tied in with them. It can be the case in sport.Etched in the memory: England during Euro ’96 (Getty Images)Everyone remembers Three Lions by Baddiel and Skinner from 1996… What people rarely recall is that the official song for UEFA Euro ‘96 was We’re In This Together by Simply Red. A song just begins to occupy that space of memory, like an emotional anchor. Such memories can be hard to shift.“The 2003 World Cup and the 2005 Lions tour were probably my first two big experiences of rugby fandom, in a big way,” says Jamie MacColl, guitarist for Bombay Bicycle Club. “And particularly the 2005 Lions tour, actually. It was one of the first times I remember experiencing rugby with friends and becoming very emotionally invested.”What a heartbreaker of a start. “It should have put me off for life probably!” he laughs.MacColl was a prop in his younger days but went on to play lock or back-row with UCS Old Boys and Saracens amateurs, before he decided the risk to his musician’s hands was too great, at 21. Before we talk, he listens back to the Power of Four. And then he sat trying to think of pop songs that encapsulated a major sporting event and then outlived it afterwards. As it turns out, there aren’t many that leap to the front of his mind.Related: Who will be on Warren Gatland’s 2021 coaching team?Could it be that ‘organised fun’ is harder to love? Or maybe it’s the corporate gloss?“Well that tour (2005) felt very corporate, in general,” MacColl muses. “So it serves to emphasise that. But I’d be interested to know what other musicians think about how you go about – lyrically – pleasing all four nations and remaining quite… chest-thumping.“Because the effective Lions chants are basically one word said over and over again! Or the tune of Seven Nation Army, with ‘Maro Itoje’ (shouted over it). Which, to be honest, they’re not at risk of offending anyone, are they?Play on: Jamie MacColl on guitar (Getty Images)“I would say ‘No!’ to us ever taking on (writing a song for the team). But less because of the corporate side of it and more because I don’t think we’d do a very good job of it!“What was the one with John Barnes, for Italia ‘90?” He is talking about World in Motion. “You probably want to involve the players in that so that they have some ownership of it. So that when you actually start the tour, it’s hard for them to say, ‘No, I don’t want anything to do with that!’ But there’s quite a lot of musical rugby players out there.”One such group of artistic terrors is – or should that be was – the Glasgow Warriors band. Jam sessions and even gigs were part of the off-field lives of a core of Warriors, before the departure of player/scrum coach Petrus du Plessis and back-rower Callum Gibbons.The former sends Rugby World a clip of an original guitar riff the group had been playing around with, wondering how best to pen an original song with it. But when it comes to the Lions, du Plessis suggests, running with something established might be the way to go.He talks of a BBC Live Lounge version of Times Like These by the Foo Fighters, that an array of artists sang on during lockdown. Could a medley of performers sing the same track for the Lions?If we look for modern candidates, the Lions squad of 2013 adopted Mumford & Sons’ Little Lion Man as their own song. Rugby World approached the band’s management for thoughts on their song being embraced by the player. However, they were unable to give comment.“I think a kind of, slightly, tongue-in-cheek pop song would be much more effective (than an anthem),” MacColl says of an original track dedicated to the Lions.“But then it’s a brand that take themselves quite seriously. And the Lions on the whole maybe don’t want to degrade that in any way. Though I don’t know – any of the behind-scenes stuff, or tour diaries, are always heavy on humour.“I do think the Manic Street Preachers could do a good Lions song. He (James Dean Bradfield) is a very good lyricist, they’ve got some quite anthemic songs. They are there for every tour so they could play before every game! But things evolve, particularly in a nation as diverse as South Africa. In recent seasons we have seen the rise of the ‘Gwijo Squad’ – a passionate crowd of fans who sing traditional and spiritually significant African songs and who welcome South Africans of all languages and backgrounds to join in. Crowd response is a key tenet of their approach and the movement has been endorsed by Boks skipper Siya Kolisi.Exploring your tradition through song could be the best way to tackle the musical conundrum.OLD STANDARDSYOU WILL know Wynne Evans. Watch any telly, and chances are high you will see him at some point, singing advice at you to “Go Compare”, while dressed in the familiar penguin suit of ‘Gio Compario’.In 2004, opera singer Evans took to the pitch for a Wales-New Zealand contest, to directly respond to the haka. Decked out in Wales gear that he winces remembering as “like Lycra on me”, he strode out with a flag before belting out Bread of Heaven.Evans has been told that it was around this time that the Welsh crowd got its singing mojo back, after a few years of figuring out how to get the Principality Stadium fizzing.Operatic: Wynne Evans singing (Getty Images)After singing at over 20 Internationals and helping the Wales team work on their harmonies – “to say they were rubbish would be an understatement!” – at the 2015 World Cup, at the behest of Ken Owens, Evans hopes upon hope that the Lions tour can go ahead as planned in South Africa.Considering the anthem-shaped hole the Lions have, and the value of fan input, Evans adds: “If we can find music that works I think we really have to, because it is the part of it that I guess is missing a little bit.“It is the sing-songs that you really want to happen. You see them in Home Nations games but maybe you don’t see them so much on the Lions tour. I don’t know what the answer is or what the song is, but it would be great if there was something, wouldn’t it?“I think it’s probably a brilliant idea to have something that’s established–  like the Welsh football team have with I Love You Baby. If you could find something like that, not even to put a twist on but just make it your song for the tour, or for the Lions permanently, then it would always be the Lions song.“I’ve always been fascinated by how a chant gets started, or how a song gets started on the terraces. I’ve always thought it would be a great ambition to see if you could get your chant or something started. This is the challenge to anybody: to have that original thought, make it happen and get it sung on the terraces.”Of course there are others who hope that an array of songs that are already beloved amongst each of the four nations should be used over and over – old standards of yours that can be sung by the other nations with gusto.Conducting: Haydn James with his choir (Getty Images)Haydn James is the Musical Director for the Welsh Rugby Union, who toured Australia twice, and South Africa and New Zealand too with Melody Music’s British & Irish Lions Male Choir. In 2017, Warren Gatland pulled him in to work with the Lions squad in camp.For that tour four traditional songs from each nation were learnt by the group. They were Jerusalem, Calon Lan, Fields of Athenry and Highland Cathedral. And it was learning the latter, James recalls, that helped the team bond.“I took the precaution of taking along about 20 young men, all of whom could sing,” James explains. “So they led the singing. And the style of the rehearsal, we’d had an hour’s rehearsal before I met the squad and then we would sing the song to the squad. Then we’d have a look at the words, drop the tune, and we’ll do it again. Then I’d turn to them, say ‘join us’, so they weren’t just singing alone.“I think there was some hesitancy at first because it’s not what they used to doing. I mean, you did have guys like Ken Owens, who’d actually done my job with the Welsh team at one point. He was the choirmaster. But it needed an ice-breaker.Related: The best national anthems of the Rugby World Cup“When I did Highland Cathedral, to be honest I didn’t know it. I had to learn it in advance. So I did it and asked Greig Laidlaw if it was alright, if it was the right speed. He said, “Ah, no – it’s a wee bit slow.“I asked ‘How should it go?’ He sang it and I said, ‘great. Come and do it for the boys.’“I dragged him out to the front and all of a sudden the ice melted. Everybody was with him. I put him up on a chair, he sang it, we all sang it and then we did the same thing with Jerusalem. Kyle Sinckler was voted to be the choirmaster for England!“I didn’t know how to handle it until Greig came out front. All of a sudden people cheered and clapped. We did it for all four songs. And then by the second night, they were really getting to know it.”James would fly out to another camp, his last one in Ireland. By that stage he even tried to work in some harmonies…Say it loud: Kyle Sinckler for the Lions (Getty Images)With the current global situation, James is unsure what the next year will hold. He would jump at the chance to help the Lions again. He saw the way all the management, staff and players got stuck in and is certain of the bonding power of song.We have seen it in the past. Tours were famously musical affairs in the Fifties. In 1971, John Taylor served as a choirmaster for renditions of Sloop John B as the team went on to conquer New Zealand.In South Africa the very next tour, the ‘Invincibles’ adopted Flower of Scotland as their song. In the book Behind the Lions, Stewart McKinney is quoted on that tour: “Willie John (McBride) sang, Fergus Slattery sang, Billy Steele then sang, for the first time, Flower of Scotland, which became our tour song, way before the Scots took it up.”It sounds like sharing your voice is an essential part of Lions tours. And whether or not there’s an anthem, a repertoire of treasured staples or a contemporary tune beloved by the group, the tour needs music.Get those vocal cords warmed up for battering around South Africa…last_img read more

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Aerobics record attempt at UL this Thursday

first_imgCelebrating a ground breaking year in music from Limerick Linkedin Emma Langford shortlisted for RTE Folk Award and playing a LIVE SHOW!!! this Saturday WhatsApp Richie Clifford pictured with his daughterLIMERICK’S ‘Mr Motivator’ Richie Clifford will attempt a new record this Thursday (May 23) for the most amount of people doing aerobics class at one time.Up to 1000 people, including  breakfast radio presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin, are expected to take part in the early morning hour-long fitness class at the UL Arena, which will be broadcast live on air between 8 and 9am on RTE 2FM.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The show will link up with gyms and across the country.Richie, a grand-father of one and father of four, who teaches step classes in the arena will be joined by his wife Carmel and daughters and his 82-year-old dad Phonsie who is due to run his sixth Dublin Marathon this year.Richie, from Garryowen, is encouraging members of the public to come on the day in a bid to smash the record.“It’s a unique event. Hector will be doing the show with me. We’ll be linked up with gyms all over the country but Limerick is the mothership. The event is free to anyone interested in taking part and we’ll have some Munster players there too,”he said NewsAerobics record attempt at UL this ThursdayBy Guest Writer – May 21, 2013 795 Previous articleUL designers to showcase workNext articleGael Linn Junior Interprovincial Camogie Tournament Final Guest Writerhttp://www.limerickpost.ie Walk in Covid testing available in Limerick from Saturday 10th April Email Twittercenter_img No vaccines in Limerick yet #SaucySoul: Room 58 – ‘Hate To See You Leave’ Print RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR TAGSfeaturedHectorMusic LimerickRecordRichie CliffordUL Facebook Advertisement #HearThis: New music and video from Limerick rapper Strange Boylast_img read more

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Housing cuts raise concerns for Oxford’s homeless

first_imgHousing charity Oxford Homeless Pathways has launched a petition to protest a proposed 38% cut to the Housing Related Support budget recently announced by Oxfordshire County Council.The proposed cut is part of the council’s wider plans to save £64 million over the next four years, and would reduce the current Housing Related Support budget of £4 million by £1.5 million. Currently, over 350 people in Oxfordshire are receiving support from charities part-funded by the council, with an additional 550 receiving direct support to prevent them from becoming homeless.Oxford Homeless Pathways has published an open letter to the council on Change.org, warning that the move would cause problems for Oxford’s homeless. The petition reads, “Failing to help people can be every bit as expensive, especially in the long term,”“Cutting these vital services will harm the people who need their support. It will damage our community and increase costs for the tax payer.”Over 500 people have signed the petition so far, which aims to gain 1000 signatories.Leslie Dewhurst, chief executive of the charity, expressed fears for the future of the three hostels in Oxfordshire that currently house about 60 homeless people each.“It depends how they are going to carve the cuts up. They could decide to just close one of the three hostels in the city – I think it could be a possibility. But each of us have about 60 people and that is another 60 people sleeping rough.”Mark Hankinson, who has been homeless for 11 years after losing his job and serving a prison sentence, is a resident at O’Hanlon House, one of the hostels run by Oxford Homeless Pathways. He said, “For homeless people the hostel is a big help. It is not just a matter of a bed and a meal – we have a worker who supports you.”With the money saved from the cuts to the Housing Related Support budget, the council argues, an estimated £7m can be added to its adult social care budget. The council plans to save an additional £3 million by encouraging more people with learning disabilities to live at home with support.Oxfordshire County Councillor Arash Fatemian defended the cuts at a meeting at County Hall on Tuesday 17 December. “The sums we are talking are £50,000 here and £100,000 there, but that quickly adds up to £1 million,” he said. “My question for them is would they rather I found that saving in the adult social care or children’s services budgets?”Oxford students have expressed broadly positive reactions to Oxford Homeless Pathways’ petition.Some students question Fatemian’s assertion that the proposed council cuts make sense economically. “Homeless people are more likely to make use of expensive public services, including the NHS, prison and the police. Investment now in decreasing the number who need social support is likely to save money in the long term,” said Scarlett Harris, a medic at Magdalen. “Cutting the Housing Related Support budget will not necessarily help the council to save money.”George Christofi, a Classics student, expressed concern for the people who would be most affected by the cuts. “Budget cuts are necessary, but they ought to be fairly apportioned and not focused on the most vulnerable among us,” he said.last_img read more

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News story: Esmya: no new treatment courses prescribed until further notice

first_imgIn December 2017, the European Medicines Agency started a review of Esmya (Ulipristal acetate) for uterine fibroids after it was reported that four cases of serious liver injury had occurred after its use. In three of the cases a liver transplant was needed.As of February 2018, temporary safety measures have been introduced whilst the review is ongoing following a further case of serious liver injury requiring liver transplant.The advice is that no new treatment courses should be prescribed until further notice. Those who are already taking Esmya or have recently stopped, it is advisable that they have blood tests to monitor their liver function at least once a month whilst taking the medicine. Treatment with Esmya will be stopped if these blood tests show signs of a possible problem.If women experience symptoms associated with liver problems (nausea, vomiting, feeling ill, lack of appetite, weakness, upper abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin/eyes) then they must stop treatment and seek medical attention immediately.Esmya is used to treat moderate to severe uterine fibroids in adult women who have not yet reached the menopause. It is normally taken for up to three months but the course can be repeated.It’s important to note that there are no concerns for individuals who have taken the emergency contraception ellaOne which also contains Ulipristal acetate. EllaOne is a single use medicine and as no cases of serious liver injury have been reported with its use to date there are currently no similar concerns with this medicine.Further information about the EMA Review.last_img read more

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