Irish Peace Activist Performs on Campus

The Irish folksinger Tommy Sands paid a visit to the University on Monday, March 4. The Irish peace activist performed here as the start of a tour across America.

Sands has been a peace activist for much of his life. Being the son of two musicians, he used his talent to write songs in order to bring to light serious issues such as The Troubles, a brutal religious and political military conflict that lasted for roughly 30 years in Ireland.

Sands also recently paid a visit to Reno, Nevada, and wrote songs for imprisoned juveniles to help appeal to a local judge.

Sands performed live in Wilson Hall with his son Fionan Sands. The Sandses performed many of their more popular songs, such as “There Were Roses,” a song about a friend of Sands’s being murdered during The Troubles.

Sands also stitched his songs together using various stories, such as a famous fiddler player he knew growing up who managed to heal his dad through music when doctors failed.

Sands was very humble in his performance. Some of his songs and stories were meant to make the audience laugh, while others were more serious and dramatic. For example, he shared one song he wrote about a runaway girl who was in juvenile hall and was appealing to the judge.

Sands’s music and stories brought to light problems with our world, but never once did they make the audience cry. Instead, they made the attendees think.

Near the end of the show, Sands invited the audience to join him in song as the chorus. Before the night ended, Sands performed a few songs he was currently working on for his new album, giving those in attendance a sneak peek on his new work.

He also autographed the albums for anyone who brought one with them.

Sands was enjoyed by both the faculty that attended as well as the students. Elizabeth Rimassa, a graduate student, found the music to be very enjoyable. “I love acoustic guitars and Tommy Sands’s music is very engaging,” Rimassa said.

Joe Rapolla, professor of music industry, was also in attendance. Rapolla thought that Sands has a big fanbase because he has a remarkable history in the Irish folk genre and peace activism. “For Tommy to bring this kind of culture and history in song is just wonderful,” Rapolla stated.

I also really enjoyed Tommy Sands’ performance. Having never really heard Irish folksongs before, I enjoyed his music very much. I can see why he has such a large fanbase; his humble and soft voice works in tandem with the messages within his lyrics.

His stories were also very funny, and I was impressed with how he could talk about serious issues but still keep the tone light.

Like the rest of the audience, I laughed when he told jokes, I gave another thought towards the more serious issues of the world, and I even joined Sands in song when he invited the audience to sing his songs with him. Most importantly though, I was inspired by his belief that conflicts can be solved with words and, in his case, songs.

Tommy Sands is an amazingly inspirational musician who uses his art to settle the larger problems in the world.

If you ever wanted to hear the songs that helped bring an end to an era of violence, Tommy Sands is the man to listen to.