DIT Brendan Behan Award presented to Glen HansardPosted: 9 November, 2016
Internationally acclaimed song-writer, musician, actor and Dubliner, Glen Hansard came to DIT Kevin Street last night to accept the inaugural DIT Brendan Behan Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the arts.
The announcement was greeted by a standing ovation from the large crowd of students and colleagues.
Introducing the guest of honour, the Chairperson of DIT Societies Student Media & Arts Committee, Ms Tara Kelleher said “When we decided to name this award after Brendan,with the full support of the Behan family, we had a major discussion as to who would be the first recipient of the award. The students of DIT wanted someone they admired, someone talented yet down to earth. Whoever this person was going to be,the student body said,they would have to have made a mark on our lives,have to have touched us with their artistry. And let me tell you- those students are a tough crowd! In the midst of names flying here and there, being erased and re-written, one name never left the list. Having busked on streets just five minutes from here from the age of thirteen,to receiving the Oscar from John Travolta, and producing a body of musical work that is as enchanting as it is astounding, we are so incredibly honoured to award the inaugural Brendan Behan Award to Mr. Glen Hansard.”
The DIT Brendan Behan Award has been established by the students of DIT Societies in the name of the author and playwright who himself attended DIT in the 1930’s. In his welcome address, the Dean of the College of Arts and Tourism, John O’Connor talked about Behan’s early life, including his time in DIT. He admitted that the College had expelled the reluctant student, but that perhaps literature benefited from that decision!
Dr. Brian Gormley, Head of Campus Life in DIT, spoke about Brendan Behan’s literary career. He said that the naming of the Award in honour of the author had been welcomed by the Behan family, some of whom attended the launch earlier this year. Behan’s daughter, Blanaid Walker, said they believed that it is the first to be established in Behan’s name and the family is delighted for him to be remembered in this context.
Following the presentation, Glen Hansard spoke about his family, the teacher who influenced him to follow his musical passion, and his early days busking – starting in South William Street and gradually gathering the courage to move on to Grafton Street. He talked about the popularity and success of The Frames, and his accidental casting in the film ‘Once’ which brought his career to another phase. Responding to questions from MC Tara Kelleher and to questions from the audience, he talked about poetry, friendships, and Dublin, and he compared the poetic arc of Behan’s life as being similar to that of a band.
Singer Sibéal Ní Chasaide, accompanied on piano by Dearbhla Collins, gave a haunting rendition of ‘Bird of Sorrow’. To the overwhelming delight of the audience, this was followed by Hansard reading a Leonard Cohen poem, ‘How to speak Poetry’, before he took up his guitar and sang. In a final tribute to Brendan Behan, he led the audience in a full-throated rendition of ‘The Auld Triangle’ .