Today
Mon 20 May 2019
Subscribe

Prolific songwriter Don Mescall speaks to the Byline Times about performing at London’s Trafalgar Square this Sunday.

What do Richie Havens, The High Kings, The Backstreet Boys, Ronan Keating, Lulu, Sir Cliff Richard, Rascal Flatts, Lonestar, Ronan Keating, Geri Halliwell and Nathan Carter have in common?

They are just a few of the artists that have sung songs written by Don Mescall.

This Sunday, at London’s Trafalgar Square, you have the opportunity to see and hear from Don Mescall himself, as he headlines the St Patrick’s Day Festival. He will be performing songs from his new album including Lighthouse Keeper, which was number one in the Irish Independent Album Charts in 2018.

It has been a long road to Trafalgar Square for the third son of a family of 11, born in a small village, Ahane, in Co Limerick.

His father died when he was just 10 years old and, as a child, Don’s world was very small. Occasionally he went to Limerick, but never further afield until he left home to come to London to make it in the tough world of songwriting.

To me, a great song is like a three-minute book and should have a story like a book.

Don Mescall

Don is the first to admit it wasn’t easy at first, but his persistence and his talent has paid off.

His first break was with Road to Glory by Eleanor Shanley. He was soon writing for other artists including Frances Black, who went on to record nine more of Don’s songs in the following years. He has performed at festivals including Glastonbury.

For Don, the song is everything.

“Song-writing has become my best friend,” he says. “To me, a great song is like a three-minute book and should have a story like a book.”

That’s why he believes the songs from the 60s have survived so well, because they are so well written.

I detected a genuine concern and backlash that returning to a border could unleash people from the shadows that could get up to no good.

Don Mescall

St Patrick’s Day was always a big feature in Don’s life. His earliest childhood memories are of the whole family going to watch the parade in Limerick. Little did he know he would be headlining in front of 80,000 or more people in Trafalgar Square on the same day in years to come.

Don admits that, although Sunday will be special, it will also be tinged with sadness and concern about the future.

Although he has lived in London for more than 20 years, he is constantly travelling to Ireland and says there is a real atmosphere of concern about the possible return to a hard border with Brexit and a return to the bad old days.

“When I was in Dublin working with Nicky from Westlife recently I detected a genuine concern and backlash that returning to a border could unleash people from the shadows that could get up to no good,” he says. “We really thought we had moved on from all that.”

Like everyone else, Don is stunned by the inability of the Government to do anything about this and feels let down. In many ways, this will make his performance on Sunday all the more poignant.

Don Mescall is headlining the St Patrick’s Day Festival in Trafalgar Square, at 4pm on Sunday 17 March. He will also be performing at the Byline Festival on 23-26 August.

For more information about Don Mescall, click here.

More stories filed under Culture