Next is my review of Bill Whelan’s memoir, The Road to Riverdance. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan of Whelan, but I can’t deny the craft of his work, nor his sense of business:
It’s unclear from the book whether he knows it, but the text demonstrates Whelan’s skill for recognising opportunity, for knowing when to say yes; in short, for being an artist in business. It’s a skill he recognises in others too, acknowledging Kate Bush’s musicianship (‘She took our master piper, Liam O’Flynn, on a kaleidoscopic journey through the tune, adding a curl here, lengthening a phrase there, until they had crafted a superb performance’) as much as her business acumen (‘… she deftly navigated the notoriously choppy waters surrounding the James Joyce estate’ in securing rights to use words for her song ‘The Sensual World’).
The memoir is, well, a fairly typical memoir, but it’s interesting to see just how many prominent musicians’ orbits Whelan has floated through in his career.