The first time I saw Keith Harkin was during a PBS special in 2009 of The Show with Celtic Thunder. Though the group didn’t catch my eye until 2010, and It’s Entertainment, Keith certainly did. And though he was a mere 20 years old when he made the show, and I was then 68, when I saw it, I didn’t let that stop me from falling totally “in luv” with him. That hair, those eyes, his tallness and thinness (but not too thin), and his way of channeling the late Jim Morrison (stance, movements, mannerisms) all brought back my days of loving long-haired blonde surfer dudes. But the song that really did it for me was his singing of The Island. Oh, I was hooked, and to this day, I still watch him with wonderment and still a bit of “luv” (and now he is 25 and I am 70). I have been so pleased to see him doing music with his own band, and know he is continuing with Celtic Thunder, though I don’t know how long he will stay with the group. As long as he enjoys it, I suppose, and I don’t know how long that will be – only he knows. So I say, stay with it, lad, and I’ll follow you as long as you are in the public eye, whether with the group or singly. You are the lad of my young heart, even if it is in an old body.
As for The Island, it is a song that means a lot to me, simply because I have been “involved” in way too many conflicts and wars, and it says exactly the way I have felt about things, especially back when it was Vietnam and the Irish Troubles. So although many of you are probably familiar with the song, for those who are not, I thought I would write the words here. Paul Brady wrote the song. You might want to see what else the writer has written because he is one of Keith’s favourites, which should be enough to make all Keith fans look him up. Oh how I wish I could combine the decades and spend time with Keith on the island.
The Island, by Paul Brady
They say the skies of Lebanon are burning, Those mighty cedars bleedin’ in the heat.
They’re showing pictures on the television, Women and children dying in the street.
And we’re still at it in our own place, Still tryin’ to reach the future through the past.
Still tryin’ to carve tomorrow from a tombstone.
But hey! don’t listen to me! This wasn’t meant to be no sad song. We’ve heard too much of that before.
Right now I only want to be here with you till the morning dew comes falling. And I wanna take you to the island, trace your footprints in the sand. And in the evening when the sun goes down we’ll make love to the sound of the ocean.
They’re raising banners over by the markets, Whitewashing slogans on the shipyard wall.
Witch doctors praying for a mighty showdown. No way our holy flag is gonna fall.
Up here we sacrifice our children to feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday.
And teach that dying will lead us into glory.
But hey! etc…………………….
Now I know us plain folks don’t see all the story, And I know this peace and love’s just coppin’ out.
And I guess these young boys dyin’ in the ditches is just what being free is all about.
And how this twisted wreckage down on main street will bring us all together in the end.
And we’ll go marching down the road to freedom………….freedom………………freedom.