The Job of Songs
a feature documentary film
In Doolin, an isolated village teetering on the western edge of Ireland, a community of musicians seeks refuge from a long history of loneliness by turning to the tunes of their ancestors.
Directed by Lila Schmitz
Produced by Fengyi Xu
Cinematography & Co-Produced by Anika Kan Grevstad
The Job of Songs was born of a feeling. When I traveled to Ireland for the first time, chasing my ancestral roots, I stepped into a session in Doolin, County Clare and the feeling overwhelmed me. I could not describe it in words, yet there was something so important and gripping in those moments spent in the pub. The community. The history. The music. It did not leave me. I wanted to capture this feeling the best way I know how-- and so this film came into being.
We spent time in County Clare getting to know the musicians and music lovers of the area, hearing stories and forging relationships. We were so fortunate to earn the trust and time of our subjects and spent four weeks exchanging stories and tunes with the vibrant community.
My grandmother says that the Irish keep everything inside, never burst, and then die. That’s how it was when she was being raised by Irish immigrants in Chicago, and that’s how it was when her parents were being raised in Kerry, Ireland: just don’t say anything. And so, music is a way for us to unleash our feelings so that we may express the unspoken. Luka Bloom says, “The job of songs can sometimes be to entertain, but it's this thing of giving people who don't have songs permission to feel things that are really deeply ingrained in them-- that they don't necessarily intellectually understand.” Music grants us this freedom in ways that benefit not only ourselves but also those in our communities. It is creation, not destruction. I’d like to describe the feeling that led me here, but as is the nature of the beast, words do not capture, so I present to you The Job of Songs.
- Lila Schmitz, Director