IN THE late 1980s, Johnny Duhan wrote a song that would make his name widely known, become a hit single for Christy Moore, and be sung at countless weddings across the world.
That song was ‘The Voyage’, a gentle and poignant rumination on love, companionship, and the family. This year marks the 20th anniversary of that song and Johnny is sure to perform it when he plays a show entitled To The Light, at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday February 19 at 8pm.
While Johnny’s albums have been widely praised by critics and his songs covered by The Dubliners, Mary Black, Dolores Keane, and Mary Coughlan, ‘The Voyage’ remains his signature track.
“I wrote ‘The Voyage’ partly as a gesture of gratitude to my sailor father for having held a steady hand on the tiller of our family’s fortunes during the turbulent times of my upbringing,” says Johnny. “‘The Voyage’ is one of a series of songs on the concept of the ups and downs of family relations. After the raw nerves of the marriage struggle in ‘Trying To Get The Balance Right’ and ‘We Had Our Trouble Then’, I wrote ‘The Voyage’ to express the sunnier side of family life.”
Christy Moore’s version of the song appeared in 1989 and it has a near permanent residence in the Top 10 of the Irish folk section of iTunes download charts. Last year alone there were five new versions of the song. It is also a popular choice for weddings.
“Politicians, clergymen, writers, journalists, and school teachers have eulogised the lyric,” says Johnny. “Choirs sing it. Comedians gag on it. Marriage counsellors swear by it. ‘The Voyage’ is sung all over the world in a variety of languages.”
Niall Stokes of Hot Press has predicted that ‘The Voyage’ will be around long after most popular rock songs are long forgotten. This echoes Christy Moore’s assessment that the song is destined for a high place in the cannon of folk standards.
For tickets contact the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.