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dubs' duet Christy Dignam says spending time with Imelda May was highlight of new album

Christy described Imelda as "one of the nicest people I've ever met"

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Christy Dignam praised Imelda May

Christy Dignam praised Imelda May

Christy Dignam praised Imelda May

ASLAN legend Christy Dignam reveals that one of the highlights of his new solo album was getting the opportunity to spend time with fellow singer Imelda May.

The two popular Dubliners teamed up to duet on the track, Song For Kathryn, which is a tribute to his wife.

Christy had previously met Imelda when Aslan appeared on her RTE show, and he was chuffed when she agreed to guest on his hit album, The Man Who Stayed Alive.

"It was great working with Imelda," Christy tells Shuffle. "She is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She's an absolutely gorgeous person.

"She came up to our home with her daughter, Violet, and we discussed the song and what it was all about. Imelda really wanted to get into the whole meaning of the song before she did the vocal, which was amazing.

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Imelda May has recorded a duet with Dignam

Imelda May has recorded a duet with Dignam

Imelda May has recorded a duet with Dignam

"I'd met her a couple of times because she had her own show on RTE and we were on the show. But when you meet people in those situations you're not really seeing the real person.

"When she came up to the house she brought her daughter, and Violet was out playing with my grandkids on the street. It was a real personal thing. I really appreciated the fact that she did that.

"The song itself is totally different to anything else that's on the album. It's like an Irish ballad type, traditional song."

Although The Man Who Stayed Alive is a solo album, Christy says he did it with the full blessing of the other members of Aslan.

"I love Aslan and Aslan were totally supportive of the whole thing," he says. "That's one thing I have to give the lads, because I don't know if I'd be that accommodating if one of them were doing a solo album. But with this album it meant that I could really keep it personal."

"When the pandemic hit and we all had time on our hands I got in touch with Don Mescall, who is a songwriter and producer. I always admired him as a songwriter, and Too Late For Hallelujah is one of his songs that Aslan covered.

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"Don did most of the writing. He read my autobiography and we talked about my life, and he really got into my head. When he was writing the songs, he was writing them from my perspective. It's amazing the way he did it."

Christy and Don also teamed up with former EMI Ireland record company chief Willie Kavanagh to together a collection of songs that personally expressed where he felt he was in his life.

The album was predominantly recorded at Don's studio and home in Cavan, which was a former church, but quite a few of the vocals were also recorded in Christy's kitchen at his Dublin home when he was well enough to work in between chemotherapy sessions for a terminal illness.

"Working on the album was huge for lifting my spirits," he says.

Although he was unable to perform due to the Covid restrictions and lockdowns, Christy has a positive view of the pandemic, which inspired another of his new songs called High.

"High is kind of about the pandemic," he says of the song. "I was trying to look at the positives of it, and there were loads of positives. Because we are isolating, I didn't get to see the grandkids for a good while, but we got really close then when we were allowed to see each other.

"I'm living here nearly 30 years and there were neighbours I'd never met. I've only met them through the pandemic. There was a great community spirit going around and it reminded me of the old Finglas years ago when you knew everybody, you knew all your neighbours."

Christy Dignam's solo album, The Man Who Stayed Alive, is out now.

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