Video for the song Lowly Deserter from Glen Hansard, featured on his 2015 solo album Didn’t He Ramble.

Aug 25, 2015)

Glen Hansard didn’t allow much lead time to make the video for “Lowly Deserter,” so the clip for the song from the Irish singer’s upcoming solo album came together in a hurry. The video premieres today on Speakeasy.

The action follows a group of Irish children as they leave aside their playthings outside and troop into a house that doubles as a “hedge school,” where they receive instruction in the history, culture and language of Ireland, while Hansard and his band perform in the living room. The whole thing came together in just a few days, director Myles O’Reilly says: first he got an email asking if he was interested in the project, and then Hansard called him the next day to ask if he could be ready by the following day.
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“It was a relief I could give him the answer he wanted, and that I had the bones of an idea,” O’Reilly says.

The song comes from “Didn’t He Ramble,” the upcoming second solo album from Hansard. (He also fronts the Frames and was half of the Swell Season, releasing two albums and co-starring in the 2007 film “Once” with bandmate Markéta Irglová.) O’Reilly says the singer’s new collection “strikes me as a record of much reminiscence and reflection” that reminds him of a younger Hansard. The director wanted to capture that essence in the video, which he shot in a house that resembled the one in which Hansard was raised.

“It was Glen who then suggested we film children, interacting with the house and the neighborhood, from which the sub-narrative of a hedge school evolved,” O’Reilly says. Hedge schools were a means of educating children in rural Ireland through oral tradition, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries.

“I wanted to show that within a home there’s a universe of thought,” Hansard says by email. “I grew up in a family and around families that put a lot of meaning into the Irish story, the working Irish, the stories of land struggles, of uprisings, of oppression and rebellion, the language of Ireland. And in homes all over the country the hedge school continues. Schools weren’t teaching us a true history. It was an ‘approved’ version, watered down.”

Despite the context of self-determination, the subject of “Lowly Deserter” isn’t exactly a hero. “The song refers to the one who claims he was there fighting alongside his brothers and sisters,” Hansard says. “Whereas he spent the whole time drunk or in hiding, with a head full of ghosts to haunt him through the years.”

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