Crying Power in Dublin: Musicians in the Fight for Affordable Housing

Authors: Audrey Kobayashi*, Queen's University, Mark Boyle, University of Liverpool, Rory Hearne, Maynooth Unviersity
Topics: Political Geography, Cultural Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Dublin, Apollo House, Protest music, human rights, affordable housing
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Music-making can make a crucial difference in mobilizing forces of social activism in place and for place. During the December 2016 occupation of Apollo House, a dis-used government building in downtown Dublin (Kobayashi, Hearne, and Boyle 2017) musicians, from budding local artists to international recording stars, played an important role throughout the month-long event. Their activities varied: organizing protests, volunteering to support the residents, holding impromptu street concerts that drew crowds and public support, eventually creating two documentary films about the event, one of which was nominated for an Academy award. Many musicians sing or write about human rights themes, and many provide support to human rights causes, but few actually become so involved on the ground. This paper examines their motives, their experiences, and the results of their efforts to cry power (a title taken from the recent recording by Hozier, one of the Apollo House musicians, and Mavis Staples, “Nina Cried Power”). Theirs is part of a history of protest music in different parts of the world, from Irish nationalist balladry, to American blues and anti-war folk music, to Canadian Indigenous music, all played passionately in the struggle to overcome oppression.

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