March 9, 2006


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Celebrating soul, Dublin style
The Commitments, from the hit same-named movie, come to Tupelo
By Richie Victorino

The Irish are the blacks of Europe; at least that’s the argument used in the 1991 Alan Parker film The Commitments. The film chronicles the birth of a cover band, made up of Dublin guys and gals, who aim to put their slant on soul music; a.k.a. Dublin Soul.

“The Irish are the blacks of Europe. Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland. North Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin,” said Jimmy Rabbite (played by Robert Arkins).

In the film, Rabbitte is on a mission to bring soul to Ireland. He places an ad in a local Dublin newspaper and eventually meets up with a group of unlikely musicians who eventually become The Commitments. Rabbitte becomes their manager.

The film takes you through the ups and downs of the band’s rocky road: backstage fights, barroom brawls and eventual breakup.

The Commitments became more than just a feature film. It became a launching pad for The Commitments as an actual working-class band.

The world had embraced The Commitments as more than just a group of actors, and by 1993 the band obliged the masses.

The Commitments leaped off the silver screen and landed on stages across the globe. They haven’t stopped touring since. They’ve sold millions of copies of live albums as well as the soundtrack to the film.

Alas, not every cast member from the movie is still a member of The Commitments; some have gone their separate ways.

Andrew Strong, for example, who, at 16, played the passionate, youthful, though extremely egotistical lead singer Deco Cuffe, went on to do his own thing and is currently embarking on an Australian tour of his own.

But guitarist Kenneth McCluskey, who played Derek “The Meatman” Scully, and drummer Dick Massey, who played Billy “The Animal” Money, have continued to tour with The Commitments.

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at

The Commitments perform at Tupelo Music Hall on Wednesday, March 15. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Tupelo Music Hall is located at 2 Young Road, Londonderry, 437-5100.

For more on the band, go to

The Hippo has a pair of tickets to the show. To win them, send an e-mail to and tell us how many members of the band that Joey “The Lips” Fagan hooked up with in the movie. The winner will be selected at random from among the correct responses. Deadline is midnight Sunday, March 12. The winner will be notified March 13.