Words and music as Buck 65 plays Cúirt

“IN THE hip hop world I am a dissenter,” declared the Canadian rapper Buck 65 when I interviewed him in 2007, and this dissenting voice is returning to Galway.

Buck 65 - the stage name of Canadian rapper Richard Terfry - takes to the stage of the Róisín Dubh on Friday April 24 at 9pm as part of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

In conversation Buck 65 likes to be called Rich. Originally from Mt Uniacke, Nova Scotia, he has been involved in hip hop since the mid-1980s and released his debut album in 1992. Since then he has released 13 albums, most notably 2005’s Secret House Against The World.

In a genre awash with bling, blunts, and throwing the word ‘bitch’ around like there’s no tomorrow, Rich’s mix of hip hop, country, Americana, French chanson, and blues, makes him stand out from the crowd and has helped him create some of the genre’s most original music.

“I think a good dose of anarchy is just what the doctor ordered,” he said. “Flipping that middle finger has no effect any more. That is oatmeal to me. Now it’s just safe, safe, safe.

“I try to challenge convention, and myself, and what people expect of me. There are lots of people who aren’t interested in hip-hop but I want to challenge you and prove you wrong and show you hip hop can do the things you say it can’t.”

For a time Rich lived in Paris and enjoyed experiencing that city’s thriving hip hop scene.

“There is an incredible hip hop scene here,” he said at the time. “I think it’s the second largest outside the US. It’s true and authentic and the striking thing is that they’re not trying to produce American sounds. Their music says ‘This is French hip hop. We got our own thing and we don’t need anybody’ and they will always make it work.”

Rich is now back in his native Canada (in 2006 he was named a freeman of Mount Uniacke. In a ceremony held by the local council a new road sign was unveiled declaring the town ‘The Home of Buck 65’. ) where he hosts CBC Radio 2’s Drive Show every weekday across Canada from 3pm to 6pm. It’s not keeping him away from creating music though.

“I’m working on tons of new music right now and will continue to release albums and tour the world,” he wrote on www.buck65.com

One of the places he loves playing is Ireland as it gives him the chance to delve into his Irish heritage. “My mother’s side were Doyles,” he said. “It becomes really important, that sense of attachment and digging into my roots.”

Tickets are available from the Town Hall Theatre on 091 - 569777. Information can also be obtained from the Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street, on 091 - 565886.

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