Friday, October 20, 2006

The Triplets are One Year Old Now!

Actually, Tara, Colin and Emma celebrated their first birthday on July 15, 2006 with big brother Connor, also pictured here. It was great to get a visit with them, their parents, Peggy and John Duncan, and both sets of grandparents while I was in San Diego.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fellow Travelers' Advisory from Anne Feeney - OCTOBER 2006, VOLUME TWO, #7


Terre Haute, IN
San Diego, CA
Detroit, MI
Lansdowne, PA (near Phila)
Youngstown, OH
Cobourg, ON
Kingston, RI
Berlin, MA
Cambridge, MA
Albany, NY
then on to the School of the Americas and northern FL



Thank you for signing up for my monthly email news - The Fellow Travelers' Advisory. If this was forwarded to you, you can subscribe and have it delivered to your inbox once a month.

To order CDs please click here.












Even with the jet lag I feel much better right now than I did 27 years ago today. My son Daniel was born at 2:30PM on the 6th after 52 hours of labor...but more about that in family news.

My daughter Amy and my sister Kate joined me for the Irish tour. Our travels took us almost 2000 miles throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland in the course of three weeks. I've put a terrific two part photo essay just below this - Amy took this photo of sunset at Malin Head - the northernmost point of the Emerald Isle.

-- I really hope you'll take a minute to check it out.



It's not a football score -

Check out these five Catholic-worker Pit Stop Ploughshares activists and the amazing outcome of their trial for doing $2.5 million of damage to US weaponry en route to Iraq at Shannon Airport. "The jury is the conscience of the community chosen randomly from Irish society. The conscience of
the community has spoken. The government has no popular mandate in providing the civilian Shannon airport to service the US war machine in its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. ... "The decision of this jury should be a message to London, Washington DC and the Dail that Ireland wants no part in waging war on the people of Iraq. Refuelling of US warplanes at Shannon Airport should cease immediately. " - Ciaron, Damien, Karen, Deirdre and Nuin... The Shannon 5

And on August 9, 2006 nine Derry activists exposed Raytheon/Derry's involvement in US/Iraq war activities by occupying the Derry offices and seizing files implicating Raytheon. The nine face major criminal charges. You can support them by going to Petition Online



My new CD, "If I Can't Dance" is getting rave reviews. Our local entertainment weekly - Pittsburgh City Paper - says it's "sure to amuse lefties with a sense of humor -- and history... The spirit of protest is often leavened with a brash, humorous outlook on the world's problems, accompanied by an eclectic collection of instruments spanning boogie-woogie piano, electric guitar, simple acoustic strums and uillean bagpipes... Ultimately, what unites and enlivens all the songs is Feeney's clear voice, often reminiscent of Amy Rigby's."

Get one today! -- Visit CDBaby or call 1.800.BUY.MY.CD



It's with great sadness that I share the news that Joe Glazer died on September 19th. He was a good friend and mentor and a wonderful agitator and performer. I had never written a labor song and only knew a handful of classic labor songs when I met Joe in 1988 at the Great Labor Arts Exchange. He and the Labor Heritage Foundation were instrumental in showing me how to make my life and career part of the labor movement.

There is a well-written obituary documenting Joe's long and remarkable life at the AFL-CIO Website and his family requests donations be made to the:

Labor Heritage Foundation
815 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20006



My nephew Casey Horne is 12!

Happy October 6 birthdays to Jennifer Erin McCahill (26), Maureen Metcalfe (39+) and Daniel Berlin (27)!

Father Bill Feeney will be 60 (!) this month

Happy Birthdays too to Jill Weldon Merrill and Steve Merrill!

Aunt Claire is a great grandma again --Charlie Warren arrived on Wednesday, September 27 at 7 lbs. 8 oz - Proud parents Kelly Grefenstette Warren and Charles Warren... (I guess that explains why Charles wasn't in Ireland for the Ryder cup!)

Erin Brown and Paul Blake welcomed their second son - James Paul Blake on August 10, 2006 - weighing in at 7lb. 6 oz. Here are some photos:


Actually, please go ahead and dump the bosses off your back right now if you can. But my upcoming CD, "Dump the Bosses Off Your Back," is on hold -- the Irish tour was fantastic, but it didn't begin to include enough gigs to cover expenses ... so, I'm licking my financial wounds for a little while... I expect to regroup and get the early finished CD out soon... just not in time for Christmas shopping as I had hoped. That could change in a heartbeat if everyone who read this newsletter bought any cd of mine today... how about it?


It was sickening to see the Social Democrats lose power to the conservative Center Party. (On the other hand, the Left Party, that I worked for in Sweden in August, did okay in the elections ... outperforming the pollsters' estimates...) This always seems to happen when so-called progressives try to move to the right to be popular. If the only choice people have is between a right winger and an imitation right-winger they'll pick the real right winger most of the time... except for the horde that just stays home. That being said, I still hope that all Pennsylvanians understand how important it is to punish Rick Santorum and get him out of the Senate.



As I head off to the midwest for the Debs dinner, I should tell you about Rose Feurer's new book. For $25 paperback you can learn from Rose about midwest radical unionism. I'll bet it's an exciting and informative read. To buy it, click here.

The most current information on my upcoming dates is posted on my website. Hope to see you at a show! Until next month... raise hell!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Irish Tour - September, 2006 - Part One

These wonderful photos were taken by Amy Berlin ... I wish I could have included all 500 photos in this narrative. Unfortunately, Amy didn't come to the Bellaghy gig and she didn't have her camera at the Dublin gig with the fabulous (or as they say in Ireland, "brilliant" -- or as they say in Northern Ireland "f@#!ing brilliant")Pol MacAdaim -- but this is the best photo documentation I've ever had of a tour. I just hope some of the folks who took photos of Amy singing with me send me a copy! Enjoy!

A peek at Ireland

My daughter and I flew to Dublin on September 11th and went straight to our friends, the Donnellys, for a visit. I met them first in 1977 on a visit to Ireland with my Mom and Dad, my Aunt Eileen and cousin Joanne. We loved them instantly. They came to visit us in Pittsburgh in 1980. They come from a strong Republican family. (It takes a while to get used to Republican being a good word in Ireland.) Caitriona Donnelly is the niece of Michael Mallon, one of the 13 Irish national heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising buried at Arbour Hill. Her father, Sean McConnell, was interned in Kilmainham in 1922 during the Black and Tan era. Her mother, Kathleen McConnell, kept an all night vigil outside Mountjoy jail in a vain attempt to save the life of young Kevin Barry. And Caitriona's husband Danny was sentenced to ten years in Crumlin Prison in Belfast in 1957 (he was 18 years old) for being an IRA member. On Saint Stephen's night (December 26) of 1960, he escaped from Crumlin.

Danny was the subject of a huge manhunt. The Republic of Ireland did not extradite political prisoners to Northern Ireland, so once Danny had made it safely into the Republic he was able to begin a new life. He wasn't permitted to return to the North until after the Good Friday Agreement was entered into in 1998.

Here's a photo of Danny, taken on this visit, as he gets ready to go out to celebrate his 39th wedding anniversary with Caitriona.

The next day, Danny and Caitriona went with me and Amy on a tour of O'Connell Street... in the rain.

Their hospitality was over-the-top. Amy and I sat enthralled watching Ken Loach's fabulous new film, "The Wind that Shakes the Barley." Danny kept us spellbound with his stories and recitations - "The Man From God-Knows-Where" - and many more. A bad cold kept Caitriona from singing to us, but she still prepared sumptuous feasts for us morning and evening for our first three days in Ireland. At night we settled into pre-warmed beds!

We took a day trip to Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains just south of Dublin. It gave me a good opportunity to try out my driving-on-the-left-and-shifting-with-my-left-hand skills. My passengers found it to be an exhilarating experience!

Glendalough has to be one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. We hiked there for a couple hours and headed back to another of Caitriona's banquets... this time she prepared broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to make an Irish flag!

As wonderful as it was to be in Dublin, on the third day I remembered I was there to work, so Amy and I set across Ireland to Sligo - where our branch of the Feeney family originated. I was booked into Barry's Pub. A small but enthusiastic crowd enjoyed Mixie McCafferty and then me. My sister had spent the last few days in Sligo, and joined me onstage for a tune at Barry's.
The next night we headed through the hills of Connemara down to Galway for a singers' night at the Crane. Niall Farrell had arranged for me to be the featured singer that evening, and we had a great time.

The next morning Niall took us on a beautiful three mile hike around Oranmore, where he and his wife Jenny and their two daughters live. When we returned, Jenny had prepared a detailed map for a self-guided tour of the Burren... one of the most desolate areas of Ireland, but magically beautiful. Niall is a dedicated anti-war activist, and has organized several demonstrations in opposition to the war in Iraq, and in particular Ireland's role in supporting it. His family has had its share of sorrow.

In 1988, his sister, Mairead Farrell, was summarily executed at the age of 31 by the British SAS in Gibraltar. Niall is another mesmerizing yarn-spinner, and his wit and warmth entranced us all. We were particularly touched by the poem and photo of Mairead that hung in his entrance hall.

It never ceases to amaze me how people who have sacrificed and suffered so very much throughout history, retain their humor, their joy, their generosity of spirit, and their optimism.

Sunset in Clare

We left Galway and went back to Sligo for a couple more days of sightseeing and nights of pub-crawling.

The designated drinkers - Kate and Amy.

Yeah, the leprechauns made me drink it!
Here I am, leading a little sing-along at Sheila-na-Gig's in Sligo.

The next morning we decided to go as far north as we could... and that took us to the tip of Malin Head in County Donegal. We arrived at the Sandrock Holiday Hostel after dark, and it looked as if we might just drive into the sea. Sitting at the water's edge, this hostel offered the best value of our tour - 10 Euro a night per person for a gorgeous spot at the end of the world! We spent two days hiking around Malin Head and then set off for Stewartstown, Co Tyrone.

We passed from the Republic into Northern Ireland without even realizing it until we saw the petrol prices posted in sterling instead of Euros. What a change from the heavily guarded borders of the late 70s! Our Stewartstown host and presenter was Patricia Campbell - President of theIndependent Workers Union of Ireland.

At one point Patricia had a husband and three brothers in jail as political prisoners. Working now as a psychiatric nurse, Patricia helps to build the IWU and organizes for workers' rights (and promotes concerts on the side). She arranged for us to have dinner before the show with another IWU leader, Tommy McKearney, who had been part of the 1980 Hunger Strike in H-Block. That effort ended in a "victory," which turned out to be a betrayal. McKearney and others went on a Hunger Strike to demand recognition of their political status as prisoners... that is, their right to be treated as POWs and not common criminals.

The Hunger Strike is a tactic that predates the English language and has its roots in Irish Brehon law. Brehon law holds that if you are wronged by a person of higher rank than you, you must go and fast at his/her doorstep. This calls the attention of the community to the injustice. The community then investigates and brings pressure to bear on the wrongdoer to do the right thing.

When Britain reneged on the terms of the 1980 settlement following McKearney's 59-day hunger strike, Bobby Sands and other H-Block prisoners in the famous Long Kesh "Maze" renewed the Hunger Strike in March of 1981. The 1981 Hunger Strike claimed the lives of ten young men. This year marked the 25th anniversary of these tragic deaths, and Northern Ireland was filled with memorials... some quite elaborate, some heartbreakingly personal.

Bobby Sands, the first of the hunger strikers to die, was elected to Parliament while he was on hunger strike. This established clearly that the Irish populace at large did recognize and support their non-violent demands to be treated as political prisoners. Margaret Thatcher's refusal to recognize their non-violent attempt at conflict resolution should have led to worldwide pressure on Britain to resolve the matter. While some condemned Thatcher, others, including Ronald Reagan, supported her. Ten young men died, and for many, so did the hope of non-violent conflict resolution. So many of our conversations on this trip centered around Ireland's tragic history... which is recorded so vividly in Irish music.

Patricia turned out a great crowd for my show in Stewartstown. We ended up singing some rebel songs, we had a wonderful time, and the next morning Patricia took us on a tour of the murals of Belfast. Starting in Ballymurphy, a poor Catholic neighborhood in West Belfast and then going over to the Protestant Shankill and East Belfast. It's hard to look at the discrimination and polarization and call it peace.

Ballymurphy Murals

Shankill murals ... these were by no means the most disturbing or violent of the Shankill murals. Art that glorifies oppression by the powerful over the disenfranchised has always given me the creeps... and there was little doubt that these murals were intended to inflame and to terrorize.

The next night we made our way out to Newtonards, home of "Downtown Radio," where Tommy Sands has hosted a radio show for a number of years. I was his on-air guest before my show at Kelly's Cellars.

We had been looking for oysters ever since we saw a sign for the Galway Oyster Festival. The tasty little mollusks proved to be elusive until we hit Kelly's - where the proprietor prevailed on the overbooked seafood restaurant next door to deliver 3 dozen oysters on the half shell and bowls of chowder for me, Kate and Amy! mmm mmm mmm ... The show at Kelly's was lots of fun, and the next night we headed to the John Hewitt pub.

Mixie McCafferty lives in Donegal now with his lovely wife Katje and their adorable son Rory, but I met him in Dublin in 1985 outside McCullough-Piggot's music store on Grafton Street. He was busking, and invited me to sit in for a song or two. My husband took a photo of the impromptu session, and it ended up being the cover of my Grafton Street cassette in 1987. Several years later, Mixie ran in to someone who owned the cassette and spotted himself on the cover. He called me, and we've stayed in touch ever since. He invited me to come to Ireland to perform this time, and arranged most of the performances. He also brought sound equipment to a couple of the gigs, and did a fine opening set at several of the shows.

Following the John Hewitt, Amy and I headed to Derry for the Sandino's show. It was a happy reunion for me with my pal, Joe Mulheron, who owns the left-leaning Cafe. He and I hung out at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2000 when he came to visit, and it was great to see him again! The Sandino's show with Nick Harper was the best gig
of the tour. We had a full house and I sold lots of CDs and got an encore on my opening set. And a highlight of our Derry visit was getting a tour of the Bogside (Catholic area) from our friend Kieran Gallagher. Kieran is one of the Raytheon Nine who exposed Raytheon's involvement in the Iraq war to their neighbors in Derry. He and the other defendants go to court on October 12th. Please read and sign the Online Petition
to support their work.

Irish Tour - September, 2006 - Part Two

Support the Raytheon Nine!

But I digress... Kieran Gallagher, one of the Raytheon Nine, took me and Amy on a tour of the Bogside.

This sign welcomes you into the Catholic Bogside neighborhod.

This mural depicts Mariead Farrell "on the blanket" at the women's prison in Armagh.

Ardoyne is a famous Belfast neighborhood where Catholic children ran a gauntlet every morning to get to elementary school. They were pelted with rocks and bottles, bags of urine, tear gas and more.

This is the Giants' Causeway....

See the rope bridge suspended above the sea?

and this is our possibly long-lost cousin Colleen Feeney of Malin Head.

Letter to Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers, about the Goodyear Strike

Letter to Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers, about the Goodyear Strike

Dear President Gerard

My best wishes are with you and your 15,000 striking members. Please know that I stand by to offer support for this struggle in any way that you might suggest.

If you have flyers about the strike that have the name and address of the strike fund I will be happy to distribute them at my shows for as long as the strike continues. In the next six weeks I will be performing in Philadelphia, San Diego, Detroit, Boston, Providence, Toronto, Atlanta and Jacksonville and it will be my privilege to share your struggle with my audiences. I will also be passing the hat at each up my
upcoming concerts.

In the course of my travels I will seek out your members' picket lines and stop by to offer encouragement and support. Please send literature about the strike that I may pass out at my concerts to: 7206 Michigan Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15218 - or I can come downtown and pick up material if that is more convenient. Call me at 412.877.6480 if you want me to come get materials.

Whatever it takes, for as long as it takes -

In solidarity

Anne Feeney
AFM Locals 60-471 and 1000