‘John Lennon Bus’ gives Cork children chance to make music

Yoko Ono says late Beatle would have backed project to bring music to people

It may have been The Who who penned Magic Bus but it's the legacy of former Beatle John Lennon that has created a different kind of "magic bus" – one that travels Europe offering young people a chance to record their own music.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus arrived in Knocknaheeny on Cork's northside on Thursday as part of a fortnight-long visit to Ireland to offer children the opportunity to create, perform and record their compositions with professional sound engineers.

The bus, complete with a high-tech recording studio, was unveiled by Yoko Ono in Liverpool in May where she spoke about the importance of music to everyone and said "this is precisely the kind of project John would have loved".

The bus is based at Terence MacSwiney Community College in Knocknaheeny. Deputy principal Phil O'Flynn said students such as Dena Purcell, Josh Crean and Darren O'Leary were thrilled to have the chance to record their material. Róisín Donohoe (16) from Kinsale and Róisín Fahy (16) from Blarney Road were part of a group of eight who composed and produced their own song on the bus before making a video that will be put on Youtube.


Fahy said: “Everybody had their say in what kind of sound we wanted and then it just went from there. Some people worked on the melody and some worked on the lyrics and we just pieced it together.”

Donohoe added: “It is so exciting to write a song and produce a music video of it all in one. My dream is to be a professional singer so this an incredible experience for me.”

Sound engineer Ryan L'Esperance from California said the bus was free for students who get to use the latest technology and equipment donated by Apple. "John Lennon was a songwriter, he was a wonderful activist and . . . we want to carry on John's legacy as much as possible to help support music education and arts in technology in general and that's why the bus is here in Cork and next week in Dublin," he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times