The tale of Langley and Homer Collyer, eccentric brothers who died 1947, inspired one of the most poignant songs on Declan O'Rourke's new album 'Mag Pai Zai.' "The plaintive piano-based song is an ode to brothers, co-written incidentally with my own brother, Edward," says the Irish top-ten songwriter. The Collyer brothers collected over 130 tons of objects that crowded their Harlem, Manhattan brownstone. After Homer went blind in the early 1930s, Langley took care of him, meanwhile devising elaborate traps to keep burglars and bill collectors alike out of their house and protect his collections.
O'Rourke says, "There was an eeriness to it that warranted further
investigation. Most articles I read were focused on their obsessive
compulsive disorder but I was interested by the bond between the
brothers." Ultimately, one of Langley's own booby traps fell on him
while he was crawling through a tunnel in his house, immobilizing him,
and he was unable to feed his brother. He continues, "Somebody
anonymously tipped off the police and they investigated it: it was a
huge media circus. The police couldn't get in. There was a wall of stuff
to stop their entry. It took 10 days of digging to get to the other
O'Rourke new album 'Mag Pai Zai' – already top ten in Ireland – is his debut release in the States. It comes out September 24 via digital download and October 8 in stores. O'Rourke has earned comparisons to Glen Hansard, Ron Sexsmith, Rufus Wainwright, and Van Morrison.
Declan O'Rourke tour dates
September 21 – Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel
September 22 – Hamden, CT – Ireland's Great Hunger Museum
September 25 – New York, NY – The Cutting Room
September 29 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse Music Hall