music and novels to reveal war

George Lenker

Even the best journalism probably can’t reveal what a war-torn country such as Iraq is really like.

So Black 47’s Larry Kirwan decided to write some songs based on e-mails he’s received from fans who live there. The band’s new CD, “Iraq” will hit store shelves on March 4, but local fans can also grab a copy tomorrow when the band plays the Half Door in Hartford. Black 47 has also signed to play the Waterfront in Holyoke on March 21

“The album is written from the point of view of people living in Iraq,” Kirwan said in a telephone interview last week. “We have some fans over there who wrote to me and I was getting a real flavor of what their lives were like from their e-mails. I wanted to reflect in some way how they were seeing the war as people who actually live there.”

Although Kirwan’s political perspective has always been against the Iraq war, he noted that the new songs aren’t all anti-war anthems.

“There are love songs too,” he said. “There is one song about a guy under fire in Ramadi, but all he can think about is his girlfriend being safe.”

Kirwan believes that sometimes art can reflect the zeitgeist of the times better than historians sometimes do. He used Ernest Hemingway as a prime example of this phenomenon.

“The CD is influenced by ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ by Hemingway,” he said. “Even though it’s fiction, sometimes you’re better off reading his book than the history books about the Spanish Civil War. Sometimes fiction gives you a clearer picture.”

Along with fronting Black 47, Kirwan has also been quite busy with his other endeavors: writing novels and plays as well as hosting several shows on Sirius radio. Kirwan is finishing up a new novel “Rockin’ the Bronx” about his early days in New York and also now writes a weekly column for The Irish Echo.

“The column is about politics, music, whatever,” he said with a laugh.

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