On the eve of what would have been Jeff Buckley's 50th birthday, Steve Cummins delves into Jeff's untold Irish connections and explores how his unique talent was shaped by his Irish friendships and an Irish coffee house in New York called Sin-É (2016)
Jeff Buckley’s connections to Ireland are largely unknown and untold.
Through his definitive cover version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, haunting vocal talents and classic debut album, Buckley has become a true music icon. Once feted as the heir apparent to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, the US singer-songwriter was on the cusp of huge international success before his tragic death aged 30.
Emerging from New York’s East Village in the early 1990s, Buckley honed his unique talent at Sin-é, a bustling Irish café on St Mark’s Place, famed for its late-night celebrity music sessions. Sin-é became Jeff’s de facto workshop and a Mecca for a new breed of Irish emigrants and celebrities, drawing in everyone from U2 to Iggy Pop, Paul Simon, Sinead O’Connor and Johnny Depp.
On the eve of what would have been his 50th birthday, journalist Steve Cummins explores Buckley’s untold connections with Ireland, unearthing a never-before-heard and previously undiscovered recording of Buckley’s first-ever Irish performance at the Trinity Ball in 1992.
Buckley’s role with The Commitments, friendship with musicians Glen Hansard and Mark Geary, and legendary Irish performances are also touched upon in this documentary that sheds new light on a unique talent.
Produced by Steve Cummins and Tim Desmond
Narrated by Lillian Smith
Sound supervision by Ciaran Cullen
First Broadcast RTÉ Radio 1, Saturday 12th November 2016
Repeated Sunday 09th June 2019 at 7PM on RTÉ Radio 1
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries