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Jan 28 2016

The woman who loves to sing

Eddi Reader, one of popular music’s most thrilling and affecting performers, returns to the Town Hall Theatre next month. Having first hit the limelight in the 1980s with Fairground Attraction, Reader’s subsequent solo albums, most recently 2014’s warm and deeply personal Vagabond, have cemented her image as a powerful figure in British music with beautifully raw vocals and an unparalleled romanticism.

It is fitting Reader should be playing here in the year of the 1916 Rising centenary, and as it turns out she has a personal link to that seismic event; her great-uncle Seamus Reader was involved in the preparations and met some of the leading figures.

“I didn’t know the extent of his involvement until three years ago when I found hundreds of his files and diaries which were about to be thrown in the skip,” she tells me over an afternoon phonecall. “They’re full of information about things historians weren’t previously sure of. He wrote about John Maclean’s involvement in trying to get Glasgow workers better pay and offers proof that James Connolly and Maclean were closely connected. During the Dublin Lockout my uncle was sent over from Glasgow, aged 15, with £9, collected by Fianna Alba, to give to Countess Markievicz for the striking workers. He also became involved with delivering munitions to Ireland. Maclean’s miners were enlisted to help the Irish cause by filling their lunchboxes with detonators that my great-uncle then took to Ireland.


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