Hozier, full name Andrew Hozier-Byrne, (b. 1990), is an Irish musician. He has been influenced by folk, soul, blues and African music and often focuses on religious and political themes. He is also an admirer of the poet Seamus Heaney. His albums have included Hozier; Wasteland, Baby!; and Nina Cried Power. The singles “Take Me to the Church” and “Nina Cried Power” were international hits. The former is about Russian homophobia; the latter is about the struggle against oppression. Hozier is a member of Home Sweet Home, an organization formed by Irish celebrities, which works on homelessness. As well, he supported the Irish abortion referendum and has donated royalties to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Black Lives Matter movement. He is an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Hozier was raised a Quaker in County Wicklow. Now an agnostic, he retains a great admiration for Friends. He mentions especially the Quaker beliefs of looking for God in each person and the Peace Testimony. He adds that when he was a child, he studied the pattern in the carpet during Meeting for Worship, but as an adult, he thinks he would get more out of the worship.

Hozier is a remarkable artist. His “Nina Cried Power” namechecks many of my heroes: Curtis Mayfield, Patti Smith, John Lennon, Pete Seeger. Like people in the video of the song, it had me weeping.

Here is a link to “Nina Cried Power”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2YgDua2gpk

Gary Sandman

July 2021

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