The Sing Street Band
“Sing Street” is the Power of Music
By Skip Sheffield
“Sing Street” could have been the story of my life, except it is set in Dublin, Ireland.
Writer-director John Carney has created another fable about the positive power of music, which he previously explored in “Once” and “Begin Again.”
This time it is a coming-of-age tale about a Dublin teenager, Conor (fresh-faced newcomer Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), whose family has fallen on hard times in the mid-1980s. His father Robert (Aiden Gillen) is an architect, but his commissions have dried up. Mother Penny (Maria Doyle Kennedy) has been cut back to part-time employment. Conor’s older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) has dropped out of college. To cut back on expenses, Conor’s parents pull him out of his pricey Jesuit school and enroll him in the state-supported Christian Brothers School on Synge Street.
The new school proves troublesome. Conor is harassed by bullies and reprimanded by Brother Baxter (Don Wycherly) for not having regulation black shoes. The truth is Conor’s family can’t afford them.
On the positive side Conor meets beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton). In an effort to impress her, he offers her a role in his music video. The problem is he has no band. Conor has to improvise. With the help of his geeky new friend Darren (Ben Carolan), he puts together a band and goes for it.
This is where I really relate to “Sing Street.” As a young teenager I had no athletic abilities and I didn’t much enjoy the company of academic eggheads. With the help of my friend Marty Caron, I learned how to play guitar at age 14, which is the same age as Conor. At 15 Marty and I put together a band. It wasn’t to impress any girl in particular, but I learned girls in general like guys who play in bands. Music changed my life, and I have never let it go. I never will. I think John Carney understands.