The Untameable Power of the Human Spirit - Nina Cried Power
It's not the song, it is the singing
It's the hearing of a human spirit ringing
It is the bringing of the line
It is the baring of the rhyme
It's not the waking, it's the rising
Hozier, Nina Cried Power, September 2018
This morning as I sit down to write, I am awed by the wild and untameable power of nature as a ‘perfect storm’ buffets across the Atlantic Ocean here off the west coast of Ireland. This storm feels somehow fitting as I have found a new soundtrack in the form of Hozier’s new EP Nina Cried Power that emulates the wild and untameable power of the human spirit. I have been listening on repeat to this collaboration with the legendary R&B singer Mavis Staples which pays tribute to all the civil rights activists, artists and change makers who have gone before us and shines a light on those who continue to rise…
The video for Nina Cried Power directed by Jon Hozier-Byrne and Patrick Ryan salutes some of the Irish activists who have collectively evolved and rewritten our collective story. In his own words
“Ireland has undergone a socio-cultural sea change, the results of which will benefit generations to come. We are witness to a new Ireland waking to the consciousness of itself; a kinder, more inclusive nation. This song was intended as a thank you note to the spirit and legacy of protest; to the artists who imbued their work with the vigour of dissent, and a reflection on the importance of that tradition in the context of the rights, and lives, we enjoy today. My hope for this video is much the same”
Many of the courageous people featured in this video have contributed to the story of The Trailblazery including our unofficial patron and host of We Need to Talk About Ireland Colm O’Gorman, activist Grace Dyas and street artist Joe Caslin. It makes my heart sing to witness their unwavering and unapologetic commitment to reshaping the future of this place we call home.
When I discovered this video I watched it on repeat in floods of tears and when I had just about recovered I sent it to my mentor Elena Brower who was asleep in New York city. When she woke she sent it to her best friend Jayson Jackson producer of Netflix’s Oscar-nominated documentary film What Happened, Miss Simone? who then sent it directly to Nina Simone’s family. The power of human connection never fails to move me….
You can watch Hozier’s incredible piece of art and activism here
The Trailblazery started out as a clarion call for people who wanted to catalyse cultural change. It became a platform to showcase and promote creative socially engaged ideas and a place to share insights and inspiration. We hosted our inaugural event ‘Trailblazers and their Aha moments’ at The Office of Non Compliance in 2011. Our first programme bill boldly stated
“We need a population that is willing to rock the boat, stand up and be non-compliant with the status quo. The evening will showcase what is possible when individuals stop asking for permission and step into making their own dreams and ambitions a reality”
The Trailblazery has evolved into a nomadic home for people who want to explore new ways of being alive on the island of Ireland and beyond. We are here to nudge humanity forward, one story at a time. When I think about our mission I am reminded of the words of the trailblazing cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has”
Some other thoughtful, committed humans who are an integral part of The Trailblazery tribe are Susie Q (musician & co-founder of A Lust for Life) and Ruairí McKiernan (social innovator & campaigner). They have just launched a powerful new project called Road to Connection that journey’s into the heart of the communities of Ireland. They are joining forces to travel all over Ireland offering donation based talks, workshops and gatherings on the theme of connection, connection with self, community and with the planet. Road to Connection is a beautiful and necessary offering that directly responds to the disconnected times we live in. In their own words
“We’ve both been working in the fields of wellbeing, mental health, youth and community empowerment and social change campaigning for over 15 years. We're deeply concerned about the growing levels of stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, separation and loneliness that so many people are experiencing. It’s increasingly clear to us that these are all evidence of the need for deep-rooted cultural and social change. We see this in our own lives too and so made the decision that we needed to do something about it. We decided to join forces and combine the skills we have developed so that we can be of greater service together.”
If you live in a village, town or city that needs more human connection then consider hosting Ruairi and Susie Q by contacting them directly here.
Another force of nature who continues to blaze unstoppable trails in Ireland is Senator Lynn Ruane who launched her new book and memoir People Like Me last night in Dublin. She is a torch holder, a powerhouse and a phenomenal inspiration to so many people across all divides in Ireland.
Lynn grew up in a loving home in Tallaght, West Dublin. But in her early teens things began to unravel, and she fell into a life of petty crime and chaotic drug use. By age fifteen - pregnant with her first child, no longer attending school and still reeling from a series of shocking incidents in her personal life - Lynn decided she had enough of running away from herself and set about rebuilding her life. Inspired by her daughter, she returned to education and, with the help of some brilliant mentors, slowly began to heal the hurt of her younger years. She began campaigning on behalf of the people society had left behind by developing addiction services, becoming an activist in Trinity, and then as a senator in the chamber of the Seanad. But as the debate around consent gained pace, the lines between personal and political were redrawn, and Lynn was called to reckon with her past in a new and frightening way . Intimate and brave, People Like Me is the exhilarating story of one woman's journey to the brink and back, emerging as a leading light for change in Ireland and an inspiration to women everywhere. You can watch Lynn speaking at The Trailblazery event Freedom | Saoirse live at Kilmainham Gaol here.
People Like Me by Lynn Ruane is published by Gill Books and available at book shops in Ireland and online
I am so proud of Colm, Grace, Joe, Susie Q, Ruairí and Lynn, their contribution to life in Ireland, their contribution to The Trailblazery and most of all their wild, untameable and powerful human spirit.
We look forward to blazing bright and beautiful trails with you in the near future.
PS: To receive your copy of A Trailblazer's Guide to the Universe click here