Footlights

An occasional Donegal Live column highlighting the amazing talent in Donegal's diverse creative Community.

Paul Caldwell

Paul Caldwell is in the footlights this week

In the footlights this week is Paul Caldwell, from Buncrana, whose five song EP, begins with the song 'Headlines', which tells the story of Oran Doherty and Shaun McLaughlin, who tragically died in the on the Omagh bombing in 1998

What part of Inishowen are you from, Paul?
I’m from Buncrana, more specifically Marian Park.

What are your family connections with Inishowen?
I have a large family on both my mother’s and father’s side. My mother is from Culdaff and some of her siblings live there still. My Father is from Buncrana and his siblings live around the local area, from Cockhill to Tullydish.

What does Inishowen mean to you?
Inishowen will always mean home to me. It will always be one of my favourite places in all of my travels. It’s the scenery, but more importantly the people, the characters, the story telling, and the music that mean the most to me. The traditional music that comes from Inishowen is second to none in my opinion. Just check out my Aunt Roisin McGrory’s latest album 'The Brae Road', it’s full of wonderful traditional Inishowen music, played by amazing Inishowen musicians.

In what creative industry are you involved?
I guess I’m involved in the music industry, but not 'The music Industry' as such. Some people consider it to be big industry and record labels and money. However, I, as well as most musicians and songwriters, am unsigned and self-funded, with the hope of selling some albums or tickets for shows.

These are some of the few ways musicians can make a return on the money it takes to record any sort of music.

Live shows, which we don’t have much of these days, were the main source or a musicians income. So please support you local musicians in every way you can! We don’t want that to disappear when this lockdown is over.

How did that come about?
My involvement in the music and events industry came about by being around it at a young age. My Aunt and uncles owned and ran a well known hotel and music venue in Culdaff. They hosted people from all over the world and welcomed world renowned musicians to their home. They always put on a great show!

Growing up around that high quality level of event management, either inadvertently or advertently got me involved in this industry.

Actually seeing the amount of work that goes on before that show happens: sound, lights, advertising promotion, making artists feel welcome and comfortable, setting up the bar, the menus and tickets on the door, hospitality in every meaning of the word. Seeing all of this and learning from it is how my involvement in that industry came about.

Describe your latest project in 250 words?
My latest project is a five song EP, reflecting on some of my life experiences so far. It loosely follows the different stages of grief. Starting at a low emotional point and eventually ending with a positive and hopeful song.

The first single that was released in called ‘Headlines’. It’s a reflection on my youth, growing up in Marian Park, and Buncrana in general. The happiness of childhood and some of the heartache that happened around that time. It tells the story of Oran Doherty and Shaun McLaughlin, friends of ours who tragically died in the on the Omagh bombing in 1998. I wanted this song to remember the boys in their life and doesn’t define them by a tragedy. The other songs will be released over the next few months.

It starts with a song about the pain of heartbreak called 'Everytime', exposing some feelings of loss and the realisation that nothing will ever be the same.

The second track 'Monday' was inspired by a particularly rainy day in Vancouver and the empty feeling of deeply missing someone.

The third and title track is Headlines'. The fourth track, 'The Fire of Hope' is a re-recording and re-release of a song I wrote for my friend Danielle McLaughlin, who was killed in India in 2017. I wrote this song in memory of the life she lived and the positivity that she conveyed.

The last stage of grief is acceptance and allowing oneself to move on, knowing that things will never be quite the same. This feeling of acceptance is expressed in the last track 'Written all Over My Heart'. It’s a kind of groovy, modern jazz track and it speaks to the imprint that people can leave on you whether they are by your side or are no longer here. This EP is intended to take you on that journey from a darkness into the light.

What would your creative dream come true be?
My Creative dream come true... It could be to be able learn from or study under the great Irish song writers. To be able to learn form and play as well as some of the musicians I mentioned. To write as much music as I can and for the songs to gain a life or their own. Possibly to make a living from music and to be able to continue with music as a career.

Who is / was your inspiration?
My inspiration is my family, my friends, the people I grew up with, the people I met along the way. A lot of the people I worked with and worked for. I’m inspired by all the musicians I grew up watching, all the musicians that ever took the time to teach me how they play. All of the songwriters and the story tellers I’ve listened to and have been introduced to over the years.

Who is your encouragement?
I’m encouraged by the people who listen to my music. The people who take the time to write to me and to tell me what they thought of the songs, or what a certain song means to them, or where that song took them, or what it reminded them of. Hearing the positive feedback from Headlines encourages me. It makes me so grateful to hear that some words I’ve written means as much to me as it does to other people. Hearing that provides me with encouragement.

And one last sentence ...
I’m writing this from the west coast of Canada, where many people from Inishowen live. We all travel far and know many people who travel with us. We’re all Going through this same Global Pandemic. We can’t come home for Christmas like we used to do, nor travel as frequently as we used to. But I feel we’re all still connected.

I feel we have to treat each other with as much respect as possible, knowing that we all need to work together to survive. We didn’t come this far on our own. Support your local businesses as much as possible. Please support your local musicians and artists. Imagine a 'lockdown' without film makers, authors, visual artists, songwriters musicians, play-writes, poets or performers of any sort.


Please encourage politicians to support the arts in Inishowen, it’s now more important than ever. Keep well!



If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email editorial@donegaldemocrat.ie To contact Donegal Post, email editor@donegalpost.com To contact Inish Times, email editor@inishtimes.com.

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