a C.H.' REPORTER DOMINIC BEHAN, an Irish Catholic and author of a great number of street and prison ballads, sang his skittle cantata to " Christ the Worker " after evening service on Sunday in the Anglican church of the Holy Angels, Cranford, Middlesex.
Guitar and banjos accompanied the spiritual melodies and " blues " arias youngsters are now singing.
The words, often in the the slang that goes with the modern folk idiom (for example, "Give me the gold, and Jesus is sold"), were thought up by Dominic and by John Hasted, a Doctor of Science and atomic physicist at London University, who also sang the recitative parts of this attractive cantata. His baritone voice was just right for the "Christus" parts he rendered so feelingly.
Catholic interest in the perfor mance was heightened by the fact that the banjo and guitar media for religious melodies are already popularised by Fr. Duval. Si. A similar quick tempo is noticeable in the Anglican Father Geoffrey Beaumont's "Twentieth . Century 1-olk Mass", which has attracted some interest among Catholics.
Dominic told me he has only been in this country a few months.
and hopes to get to know Catholics here who might share his enthusiasm for religious themes rendered in "pop" arias.
His own background is not without a certain "glamour". Like his famous brother, Brendan Behan, author of that remarkable prison play "The Quare Fellow".
he has spent some time among the I.R.A., and in prison as a consequence of this other enthusiasm.
His rebellious streak I found most catching as catching as his tunes.
The B.B.C. found them catching too. One of his ballads, heard at the performance in question, was chosen to precede the Queen's radio and TV address last Christmas Day. The Vicar of Cranford heard it, at once invited Dominic and his skiffle troupe to come along and perform the Cantata in his church. after service. The entire performance, lasting half an hour. will go on the B.B.C. Home Service shortly.
"Christ the Worker" is a short narrative of Our Lord's life. The motif is Christ's invitation to his disciples "let's stick together till the job is done."
The job? Why, to successfully oppose the tyrants of Rome ! Dominic's Cantata could well he called "Christ the Rebel".