SINGER-songwriter Joshua Burnside has released the title track of his upcoming EP.
‘Late Afternoon in the Meadow..', is a lament to North Belfast, and feelings of growing up without opportunities, though it is laced with Belfast colloquialisms and hopes for a brighter future in a community that was cast aside from the development of Belfast by city planners.
‘Late Afternoon in the Meadow’ opens with the haunting lyrics of witnessing a suicide from the Clifton Street bridge onto the Westlink.
“Unfortunately I’ve had the experience of being in traffic when someone did jump off the bridge, which is a very depressing reality, and it’s been something that comes back to me a lot,” he said.
North Belfast has always been a place which has resonated with Joshua, though he is not from there originally, hailing from Comber, but has lived in Belfast for many years. Joshua said he was speaking with a friend who works as an architect, who told him how when the motorway was being planned in Belfast, the government deliberately built these huge concrete motorways to carve up areas of the city to separate them.
Speaking on the deliberately divisive planning, Joshua said: “I was talking with a friend who is an architect, and he was talking about the redesign of the city during the Troubles. The way the city is laid out, some areas are consistently more deprived than others.
"There’s an injustice there, and there are parts of the city that are rundown and empty, and that was because the city was totally redesigned to accommodate car drivers and those who lived out in the middle-class suburbs.
"It was done intentionally; the city planners and architects and MI5 all had a hand in the designing of it because they wanted to cut off these communities from the centre. Before the Shankill, the Falls, and North Belfast were all straight roads into town, but these concrete motorways cut them all off, and the effects of it are still playing out today.”
I have a new song out today. It is called ‘Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)’ pic.twitter.com/jCjj8PGnmS— Joshua Burnside (@JoshuaBurnside) September 16, 2022
The lyrics in ‘Late Afternoon in the Meadow’ reflect this, and so much of the recent history of Belfast, how communities were divided not only by politics, religion and peace lines, but also by the very architecture of the city itself.
This river of concrete
Cut the City in two
So you never knew me
And I never knew you
But I can’t imagine why
Anyone would do that
Tell me brother, why?
Why’d you do that?
The song also features many aspects of life growing up in North Belfast, with the song’s protagonist also mentioning having played for Cliftonville in his youth.
The single release also features a music video, shot and coloured by Nathan Magee, opening with a vintage film of a garden, vibrant with life and colourful flowers, followed by shots of men designing motorways and roads over the city.
It is this contrast which the EP gets its name from, being based on the painting by the father of Impressionism Pissarro who is named in the song and whose painting – ‘Late Afternoon in Our Meadow’, painted in 1887, inspires the song and EP’s title.
Joshua is currently residing in Paris, recording his third album which is due to be released in 2023. The EP is due to be released on November 12.
This December will also see Joshua playing The Ulster Hall in Belfast on December 23 with support from the band Lemoncello.