14.11.2019 Album by Mountjoy and SOLAS choirs aiming for Christmas No. 1
A Christmas album with a difference is aiming to claim the No. 1 spot in the music charts this year. ‘Jingle Jangle’ is a collaboration between the SOLAS Workplace Choir and the Mountjoy Prison Inhouse Voices.
The album features much-loved Christmas tracks, including ‘Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil’, ‘Deck the Halls’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. All tracks were recorded in Mountjoy Prison. One of the non-Christmas songs to feature is perhaps Ireland’s best-known prison lament, ‘The Auld Triangle’, which is set in Mountjoy.
Support for Dublin Simon
The album is being launched tonight (14.11.19) at a special fundraising concert in Mountjoy. All proceeds from the concert and from sales of the album will go to Dublin Simon.
Commenting in advance of tonight’s concert, Nikki Gallagher, Director of Communications and Secretariat at SOLAS, explained how the album came about.
“SOLAS funds prison education services through the Education and Training Boards across Ireland,” she said. “Earlier this year, we held the first ever TEDx event in an Irish prison: TEDxMountjoyPrison. The event featured ex-offenders and people working in the prison services, speaking about their experiences. Its aim was to highlight the important role that education can play in rehabilitation and to open up a discussion on the supports ex-offenders need to successfully re-integrate into society after their release from prison.
“While we were working on TEDxMountjoyPrison, we discovered there is a choir in Mountjoy, made up of prisoners. There is also an active workplace choir in SOLAS. What started out as a supposed once-off performance at the TEDx event has led to the two choirs producing this album together. It has been a fascinating journey for all involved, and we are delighted to now have a really excellent Christmas album, which is being sold to raise funds for a hugely worthwhile cause.”
Also commenting on the album, Eddie Mullins, Governor of Mountjoy, said: “What is really appealing about this project is that it gives our inmates an opportunity to contribute positively to society – while still serving out their sentence. Through collaborating with the SOLAS choir, they have developed a beautiful album and are helping to raise much-needed funds for Dublin Simon at one of the harshest times of year for people experiencing homelessness.
“We are very proud of what our prison choir has achieved throughout the entire collaboration project with SOLAS, but we are also very conscious that every prisoner is here for a reason. We are conscious that there are many victims of crime who endure trauma and deep sadness, particularity at this time of year, and we are very aware that the things we say and do can have a profound effect on victims and their families.
“We strive to provide a service that not only protects society but promotes rehabilitation and reintegration. It is worth noting that almost every prisoner will be released from prison at some stage and it is incumbent on us all to provide prisoners with every opportunity to reintegrate and contribute positively to society.”
‘Jingle Jangle’ is available to buy for €10 in any Tower Records store or online at www.towerrecords.ie.