I was listening to the radio the other day when I heard a riveting interview with singer Danny Ellis.
Danny, now in his fifties, had been abandoned to an industrial school when he was just eight years old. The place was, the infamous Artane Boys Home in Dublin. (I should add here that this story has something of a happy ending)
Appalling brutality, abuse of every kind and total breaking of childrens' spirits and bodies carried out by the so called "Christian" Brothers for many decades.
What happened in these places to both boys and girls has been thouroghly investigated and dubbed "Ireland's Hidden Holocaust"
Anyway the story I heard that day is best appreciated by watching the Youtube video below of Danny singing this amazing song he wrote about a stranger but fellow inmate who gave this 8 year old some respite in the hellhole that was Artane. It has a kind of happy ending (in as far as these things can - further details in the comments section)
Above: boys working in the cobbler's shop at Artane.
Below: one of the dormatories at Artane.
Thanks to Awphan on Youtube.com for the piece and following information.
Danny sings about "Tommy Bonner" a singer who inspired him in Artane Industrial School, an abusive Irish orphanage. From his album "800 Voices.
Danny hadn't seen or heard from Tommy in 45 years even though he'd "Googled" him many times. Then he wrote this song and put it on his website. Then amazingly, in May 2008, Tommy's son, Kevin, did a Google search for his dad and Artane School, wanting to know more about his dad's youth. Within minutes he was "gobsmacked" to be listening to this song. He emailed Danny, whom he'd never met and said; "Forgive the intrusion but I think you might be singing about my dad." Danny is now back in contact with Tommy because of this song.
Click on either of the links below to watch.
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Danny's album 800 Voices is available and is this year's must have album.