I mentioned recently that I've been playing a new CD called The Swell Season by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.
Hansard starred in a popular 1991 film, The Commitments, about a group of mostly unemployed Irish youth who form a band to bring soul to Dublin.
"They had absolutely nothing, but they were willing to risk it all."
Cheeky, rude and raw, the movie chronicles Jimmy Rabitte's (Robert Arkins) efforts to gather a group, then get them to make beautiful music together. By the time he's done recruiting, the band has a saxaphone and trumpet, drums, guitar (Hansard), a singer and three beautiful backup singers.
The characters play off one another, making love and war and music together. The most loutish, boorish, unredeemable character of the bunch, Deco (Andrew Strong), has the pipes of an angel. At least an angel of soul music: raspy, raw, gravelly emotional. The chicks love him. At least the chicks who don't personally know him. The ones who do, the three backup singers with the band, all loathe him. But they all love Johnny Murphy, the older seasoned musician who has played with some of the great singers of soul.
Given that setup, a bit of tension is sure to ensue.
The band starts slowly, has trouble collecting its fees and paying its bills, but slowly builds a following.
The movie is chock-full of great music, funny dialogue, heart, and, of course, soul.
I just read that Andrew Strong was 16 when they filmed The Commitments. He was born at the end of 1973, and the movie came out in 1991, so I guess it could be. Amazing, really.
Link here to hear Mustang Sally by Andrew Strong as Deco Cuffe, and The Commitments on YouTube. See if you think he looks 16, there or on the picture above.