Last month I was lucky enough to see - for the fifth time – my favourite band, The Frames, in concert in Melbourne. As always this Irish rock-folk group led by charismatic, chaotic, endearing, hilarious, brilliant frontman Glen Hansard, blew me away. They made me laugh, raised the hairs on my neck, brought tears to my eyes and had me singing, clapping and woohoo-ing loudly. They also brought home to me the importance of passion.
While the rest of The Frames deserve plaudits Hansard, to me, is the embodiment of passion. It’s visceral. It’s in his lyrics. It’s in the furious or gentle strumming of his guitar. It’s in the shouted agony in some of his songs; the haunting sadness that can descend upon him; the weaving of his many very funny tales; his obvious love for his bandmates, and the frequent laughter. Hansard, distinctive with his mop of curly red hair and intense eyes, has fronted The Frames for over 20 years. He learned his craft busking on the streets of Dublin and had a part in cult Irish film The Commitments. More recently he starred in the wonderful film Once, for which he and co-star (and former partner) Marketa Irglova earned an Oscar for the spine-tingling song, Falling Slowly.
Watching him charm, stagger, and touch every person in that audience made me realise, if I didn’t know it before, that passion is what lies behind the best art. Literature, passionately conceived and written. Visual art, created in a great burst or over a simmering, passionate season. And of course music would be just empty words and melodies without the passion of its creator.
Watching Hansard at work on stage (and later, as he led the whole band, plus string and brass accompanists, up the aisles, out the door and into the foyer of the recital hall) I wanted to get creating myself. I could feel the buzz of my great creative passion – writing – surging through my veins. I had such clarity about what I wanted to do, and felt so positive about doing it. Passion, it seems, can be contagious.
So here I share with you a few of the songs which stirred this feeling within me, in the hope they might for you to. At the end of the post, too, I’ve included a couple of links on finding your passion, which might be useful if sometimes it has slipped from your grip.
FOUR PASSION-INDUCING SONGS BY GLEN HANSARD/THE FRAMES
Come Away to the Water, written by Hansard for the film The Hunger Games.
Song of Good Hope, written for a friend of Hansard’s who, though aged only in his thirties, is battling his second bout of cancer. This pressed me right in the tear ducts and made me squeeze the knee of Loretta, one of my dearest friends, who sat beside me.
Leave. Devastating. Heart-breaking. I never would, even if he asked me to.
Lay Me Down, the first song of The Frames’ that I ever heard, from their second album. It stopped me in my tracks the way only a song that seems complete can. That completeness to me is in the reverberating drums, the gentle-touch violin and the dark beauty of the lyrics, which are about being buried with a lover. I still close my eyes and feel that violin right across my back every time I hear it.
WANT SOME HELP TAPPING INTO YOUR PASSION?
Watch this video of Ken Robinson, a prominent thinker on creativity and self-fulfilment, speak at The School of Life in London (hat-tip to Brain Pickings for bringing it to my attention):
And finally, do let us know what your passion is. What gives you that beautiful sense of clarity?
(Written by Julia)