“A COUPLE of years ago, I found myself at a cross-roads. It was no longer sustainable to participate in a traditional label relationship. It was no longer possible to keep my political and musical selves separate.
So said Erin McKeown, the American singer-songwriter,who has just released a new album, Manifestra; launched her own record label, TVP Records; and plays the Róisín Dubh on Saturday July 12 at 9pm.
For McKeown, Manifestra describes “a statement of purpose and unity, a clear action from a female perspective”.
“I was trying to describe the process of internal change becoming external,” she says. “It never occurred to me I had made up a word.”
In recent years, McKeown has channelled her passion for social justice and interest in public policy into work with activism/advocacy groups. Her political perspective comes through on the album. ‘The Jailer’ was inspired by McKeown’s trip to the border fence dividing Arizona and Mexico. ‘Baghdad to the Bayou’ address issues of global injustice.
“I’ve never been a fan of songs that sacrifice music for the sake of a message,” says McKeown, “but I had to bring what I believe more clearly into my music. It began to feel urgent.”