KNOWING that a dear friend of his is performing all his songs is something Christie Hennessy would be immensely proud of. That friend is RTÉ Liveline series producer Aonghus McAnally, who is embarking on a 26-venue nationwide tour in October, entitled ‘Celebrating Christie Hennessy – The Platinum Collection’ to celebrate one of the country’s greatest singer-songwriters who sadly passed away in 2007 at the age of 62.
Aonghus along with a full band will be performing new versions of some of Christie’s biggest hits including ‘All The Lies That You Told Me’, ‘Messenger Boy’, ‘Remember Me’ and many more.
And it’s not the first time that Aonghus has performed his late friend’s songs.
‘Last year we did a 12-date tour which was originally meant to be 10, so this year being the 10th anniversary of Christie’s death, and because of the interest in his music, we decided to do a bigger tour across the country,’ Aonghus told The Southern Star.
‘I kind of bring him to life on stage in the way I sing and play and even in the way I talk like him. It’s a very personal story from my point of view as we cover 22 songs of his. I go back through my friendship with him from when I met him in the early 90s and obviously I share bits and pieces with the audience and I speak as him. W hen I sing people can imagine him singing in front of them on stage.’
As well as playing music with Christie, Aonghus launched one of his albums too.
‘It was an incredible accolade then for me when his wife Gill and his family asked me to deliver his eulogy on the altar at his funeral on their behalf. That was an extraordinary thing to do and they’re so thrilled now that I’m keeping his music alive too.’
Aonghus brings the Hennessy songbook to life with his uncanny recreation of his close friend Christie’s voice and guitar playing.
‘The amount of people who come up to me after the show to say they got another night of Christie is unreal and people love hearing his songs again. He wrote deep beautiful love songs that people may not be aware of and he also wrote songs about loss and mental illness. He was such a complex man,’ added Aonghus.
‘He left school at 11, he couldn’t read or write and it’s a fantastic and uplifting story that people are standing and cheering at the concerts and they’re clapping and crying and every emotion is going through them.’
At the concerts Aonghus explains the context of each song, why Christie would have written it and where he was at that time in his life.
‘His family said there was no one else they would have loved to do this show and they are completely behind me, as it’s keeping Christie’s music alive as you don’t hear his music as often now. I’m just thrilled to be doing it and word of mouth about the show has meant we’ve had to do a much more extensive tour.’
The tour kicks off in Cork Opera House on October 6th and Aonghus is looking forward to returning to Cork, having lived in Bandon for several years while working with RTÉ in Cork, and he still owns a house there.
Aonghus McAnally – Celebrating Christie Hennessy The Platinum Collection will play Cork Opera House on Friday October 6th.
• For bookings and ticket information see www.corkoperahouse.ie