An Evening of Civil Writes to commemorate events of 1968

Singer-songwriter, Declan McLaughlin's work focuses on civil and human rights as well as politics.
Seamus McKinney

THE 50th anniversary of the birth of the civil rights' campaign is to be celebrated this week in literary and musical evenings in Derry and Belfast.

“An Evening of Civil Writes” is a collaboration between the Ulster Orchestra, Derry writer, Tony Doherty and singer/songwriters, Declan McLaughlin and Reevah.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the start of the civil rights campaign which led to the fall of Stormont and major changes in the way in which the North was governed.

Writer Tony Doherty has written two memoirs of his life growing up in Derry. In the first, “This Man's Wee Boy” he focused on life up to the killing of his father, Paddy Doherty on Bloody Sunday.

In “The Dead Beside Us,” he detailed his life after Bloody Sunday, his decision to join the Provisional IRA and his subsequent arrest and sentencing on explosive charges.

In “Sounds Like A Boy's Life,” the Derry writer worked with the Ulster Orchestra to produce a series of extracts from the books which were last year set against a specially-composed musical arrangement by Philip Walton.

Derry singer, Reevah (Aoife Boyle) was among a number of female artists who wrote and performed new material dedicated to women at the centre of the civil rights' movement in 1968. Her work focused on Bogside journalist, writer and political activist, Nell McCafferty.

The third contributor is Bogside singer/songwriter, Declan McLaughlin. The Derry man's work has focused heavily on civil and human rights as well as politics.

The idea for the “Civil Writes” came through discussions with the Ulster Orchestra, according to Mr Doherty.

“I'm obviously delighted with the collaboration with the work so far and I'm looking forward to working with Reevah, Declan and the orchestra next week," he said.

“An Evening of Civil Writes” takes place at the Cultúrlann in Derry this Wednesday August 1 (7.30pm) followed by the Duncairn Arts Centre on Thursday and the Cultúrlann in Belfast's Falls Road on Friday (admission free).

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