Belfast Telegraph

Rapper's verse is music to Irish president Michael D Higgins' ears

The Republic of Ireland's poet president met a wordsmith of a very different sort yesterday -- rapper Temper-Mental Miss Elayneous.

And the north Dublin artist -- who mashed the traditional Irish bodhran and singing with her own street rap -- appears to have found a new fan in Michael D Higgins.

"What I find in her poems is that she's letting her life flow through the rhythms and the sounds," opined the president after being treated to a performance.

The two met at the Music Show in Dublin's RDS yesterday and have a shared interest in the ability of music to deliver a political message.

In his opening address at a panel discussion on activism in music, Mr Higgins remarked on the "subversive" nature of music and told the young audience how it has been used around the world to express political ideals.

The event was organised by 'Hot Press' magazine -- a publication for which Mr Higgins was a regular columnist during the 1980s and early 1990s.

He said that while writing for the publication was a "very wonderful experience", initially he was left wondering how to prepare for it.

"I was around 40 at the time . . . I got copies of 'Rolling Stone' and I spread them out on the bed. What do people write in a rock magazine?" he recalled.

He soon found his footing, writing about the social issues of the day and said he was pleased that he had "no censorship -- ever".

After his address, Mr Higgins met two die-hard music fans as he left the exhibition hall -- brothers Thomas and Bernard Walsh from Ballyfermot and Coolock in Dublin.

"I love music, I'd die for music," said Thomas, who was visiting the show for the second day running.

A number of musicians used the show to launch the 'Artists' Charter', a declaration on the rights of artists to be paid for their work in the face of online piracy.

'Voice of Ireland' judge Bressie, along with Barry Devlin of Horslips and Steve Wall of The Stunning discussed how they have been affected by illegal downloads.

Bressie said internet piracy had essentially caused his old band, The Blizzards, to split. "There was no revenue . . .We were being robbed. That's the reality of it," he said.

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