In 1998 Hideo Kojima changed everything. In Metal Gear Solid, Kojima and his team at Konami created a game which many accounts, stands as one of the most influential and integral moments in what has become a multibillion dollar videogame industry. With Metal Gear acting as the catalyst, the contemporary videogame model is now defined by games which have more and more of a modern reciprocal antagonistic relationship with the film industry, an industry that games have forever tried to harness and emulate. Metal Gear, with its moral, philosophical and psychological undertones coupled with high production values and that Hollywood-esque aesthetic and visceral aptitude, propelled action games and CD based video game limitations to new, then unfathomable heights, bridging the gap between what is perceived as merely a videogame and what is art. In the iconic Solid Snake voiced by David Hayter, Kojima had created one of the coolest Hollywood action heroes of all time on his first real attempt.
Now as rather naive, bored and easily entertained teenage recluses, all of us here at the TGL rather religiously played ‘Metal Gear Solid’ many times, MANY TIMES and to this day still occasionally drop in and out of the game to remind ourselves of how good it actually was. With its rerelease on the Playstation Store in Europe more recently, we now have another excuse to play this great videogame. Now, this is a videogame were speaking about here, not a beautifully intricate musical symphony or a celebrated canvas by a brilliant renaissance master. But yet, this game and its philosophy, touches an inner artistic nerve and through its modern sequels and adaptations it continues to do so to this very day. Metal Gear Solid broke the mould and its dedication to convoluted story telling but facile emotional character attachment is something that has surely inspired every single story based videogame since.
For me, the greatest moment in any videogame I’ve ever played is at the end of Metal Gear Solid. The ending credits are accompanied by the song ‘The Best is yet to Come’, a musical moment which so appropriately embodies the spirit and depth of Metal Gear Solid. As we reach forward to push the power switch on our Playstations off upon the games completion, Dr. Naomi Hunter with a determined and salient adamancy reminds us that we should not be controlled by our genes or indeed the forces that appear to, at life’s face value at least, hold us back. She teaches us to live and accompanied by ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ it makes for a powerful moment, a powerful experience. And for those of you who don’t already know ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is an Irish song. To think that you’ve spent between 10 to 15 hours playing one of the greatest videogame ever made only to be greeted with an ending song that’s IRISH or ‘as Gaeilge’ is incredible and as a proud Irishman, it’s the greatest feeling. The fact that the song is so very Irish in its portrayal is also a source of great pride and honour. Written and produced by Konami’s Rika Muranaka, it features the beautiful and solemn Irish vocal of Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, a traditional and new age Irish singer song writer originally from Gweedore Co. Donegal. With a career that spans almost two decades and three solo albums, Aoife has worked with some of Ireland’s most recognized indigenous musical talents such as Phil Coulter, Brian Kennedy and the great Paul Brady. ‘The Best Is Yet to Come’ was recorded at the Beech Park Studio in Rathcoole Co. Dublin and was engineered by Philip Begley. As well as featuring in the original Metal Gear Solid, the song re-emerges in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots upon Snake’s epic, unbelievable nostalgic and melancholic return to Shadow Moses. ‘The Best is Yet To Come’ is arguably one of gaming’s greatest moments, never mind Irish gaming moments.
TGL were honoured to recently get the opportunity to interview Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, the voice of ‘The Best is yet to Come’ and speak to her about her love of music, the importance of the Irish language on her music and of course her experiences working on Metal Gear Solid. Here’s the interview in full.
The Gaming Liberty: Aoife Ní Fhearraigh, please tell TheGamingLiberty.com and its community a little bit about yourself and your career in music up to now……..
Aoife Ní Fhearraigh: I am from Gweedore, Co. Donegal, a Gaeltacht area where Irish (Gaeilge) language is spoken. I am the youngest of a family of eight. Music was taught in the primary school where I attended and I was encouraged to learn to play some musical instruments and learn songs. I entered singing competitions locally and at national level and achieved awards over a period of ten years. I had many great experiences learning traditional songs over the years and I then had the opportunity to record them. To date, I have released 4 albums and travelled to Europe, Japan and the US.
TGL: We understand that you have had the honour to perform and work with some of the biggest names in the Irish music scene for example Phil Coulter, Brian Kennedy. Please tell us a little about your experiences working on the Irish music scene.
Aoife: Since releasing my first album in 1991 (Loinneog Cheoil which was first released on cassette accompanied by Dervish) this gave me the opportunity to perform and work with other artists such as Phil Coulter, Tim Wheater, Máire Brennan, Liam Lawton, Manas Lunny and others. It was an honour to work and tour with these artists.
TGL: How important is the role of the Irish language in your music and your day to day life?
Aoife: Gaeilge (Irish) is my first spoken language and most of my collection of songs which I learned from local traditional singers who have since sadly passed away are sung in this language. I received all of my education through the medium of Gaeilge (Irish) and I speak the language on a daily basis. I am proud to share this wealth of songs and language with the world.
TGL: How did you first get involved in Metal Gear Solid all the way back in the late 1990’s? How were you approached to get involved in the project and by whom?
Aoife: My manager at that time was Leon Brennan (Máire Brennan’s brother) and I believe that Máire was asked to record the track but was not available. I was then approached to record the song ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ and was delighted to work on the project (my good luck).!!
TGL: What was your first reaction to the fact that you’re vocal would be used for a videogame?
Aoife: It was certainly something new for me and a great opportunity to sing on a videogame, especially in my native language. The exposure to an audience that probably would never have heard of me or my music has certainly been beneficial.
TGL: Whose idea was it to sing the vocal to ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ as Gaeilge? What was it about the Irish vocal that the game developers in Japan liked so much do you think?
Aoife: Irish music has always been very popular in Japan and like many different cultures you don’t have to understand the language to appreciate it. The lyrics were translated for this song and when you consider that they were written in English first, the lyrics in Gaeilge work very well with music and adds to the emotion of the song.
TGL: Are there any similarities between this style of traditional Irish music and Japanese music?
Aoife: I believe that when you listen to traditional music and songs from any country worldwide you will hear similarities. Over the centuries through emigration, many people exchanged traditions, learned from each other and we are fortunate to this day to have the access to this material. I have listened to traditional singers/songs from Japan while I visited there and I like their style very much.
TGL: The product of your work ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ was written and arranged by Rika Muranaka, who has gone on to arrange songs for subsequent Metal Gear titles. How much of an input did Rika have to the evolution of the sound aesthetic of the song?
Aoife: Having the opportunity to record a song written by Rika Muranaka has been an honour for me. She is very talented and highly regarded in his profession and has the vision of how his music works for all of the games.
TGL: Metal Gear Solid has a lot of heart; something that may not be initially evident from behind it’s all out ‘action and stealth’ façade. The message behind Metal Gear Solid is simple, we should not let ourselves be controlled by fate, we should just live everyday for what it is, embrace life and each day of our lives like it was our last. How do you think ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ compliments this message?
Aoife: Unfortunately I have never had the chance to see the videogame but if you read the English translation of the lyrics it is evident the message is live your life each day as it was your last which I would totally agree with.
TGL: How much did the Japanese developers at Konami understand about Irish music and the sound they wanted to create for ‘The Best is Yet to Come’?
Aoife: I am sure they would have had the opportunity to listen to Irish Music before making the decision and envisaged how well it would work for the game using the Gaeilge language, the choir and low whistle to give the song that haunting feeling.
TGL: Were you surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to the song and the game itself? What does the song mean to you?* Do Metal Gear fans get in touch with you quite often?
Aoife: It has been over ten years since this game was released and I still get emails from all over the world about the song and how much it means or meant to them. If you check the internet and see all the information that is available about the game or even the song itself it shows how much impact and response it has created.
TGL: Hideo Kojima at Konami is the man behind the entire Metal Gear Solid franchise. Since the release of Metal Gear Solid back in 1998, he has become one of the most celebrated developers and directors in the gaming industry. Have you ever met or spoke to Mr. Kojima
Aoife: Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to meet or speak with Mr Kojima-san. Maybe someday I will get the chance to do so.
TGL: Honestly Aoife, I think everyone here wants to know, have you ever actually sat down, picked up the controller and played Metal Gear Solid? Even if you haven’t, have you ever Youtubed ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ in Metal Gear Solid?
Aoife: Sorry no, never played any game but certainly have Youtubed it and delighted to see the amount of hits it has received and knowing that amount of people have listed to the song.
TGL: Tell us about your work on ‘Metal Gear Philanthropy’. How did you become involved in this project?
Aoife: As there are so many fans of Metal Gear Solid, so when I received an email from Daniel James from Hybrid Two/Hive Division who are a nonprofit group who produce films based on Metal Gear, I was thrilled to work with him on a track for Metal Gear Philanthropy called ‘Will there be an End’. Daniel composed the music and I composed the lyrics and melody for the song which is sung in Gaeilge (Irish) again. The film can be downloaded from www.mgs-philanthropy.net. I would recommend it.
TGL: What does the future hold for you Aoife? Tell us about your solo career and any projects you are currently working?
Aoife: Currently working on small projects but also back working in a full time job. Would like to do some more work on projects involving producing games similar to Metal Gear.
TGL: Would you like to become involved in any future Metal Gear projects?
Aoife: Absolutely, I would love to get involved with any future projects for Metal Gear. I’ll wait for the phone call.!!!!!
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
Lead Vocals – Aoife Ní Fhearraigh
Keyboards – Rika Muranaka
Low Pipe, Bouzuki – Delan Masterson
Double Bass – James Blennerhassett
Fiddle – John Fitzpatrick
Percussion – Noel Bridgeman
Chorus – Iarlaith Carter, Stephen Mailey, Eimear Noone, Meav Nt Mhaolchatha, John McNamara, Cathal Clinch, Rachel Talbot, Sinead Fay, Sylvia O’Brieniarlaith Carter, Ewan Cowley
An cuimhin leat an grá
Crá croí an ghrá
Níl anois ach ceol na h-oíche
Táim sioraí i ngrá Leannáin le smál
Leannáin le smál
Lig leis agus beidh leat
Lig leis agus beidh grá
Cuimhne leat an t-am
Nuair a bhí tú sásta
An cuimhne leat an t-am
Nuair a bhí tú ag gáire
Tá an saol iontach
Má chreideann tú ann
Tug aghaidi ar an saol is
sonas sioraí inár measc
Céard a tharla do na laethanta sin
Céard a tharla do na h-oícheanta sin
An cuimhin leat an t-am
Nuair a bhí tú faol bhrón
An cuimhin leat an t-am
Go sioraí sileadh na ndeor
an ormsa nó orainne a bhí an locht
Ag mothú caiite s’ar fán
Cén fáth an t-achrann is sileadh na ndeor
Tá áilleacht sa saol Má chuardaíonn tú e
Tá gliondar sa saol
Do you remember the love
Tormented love from the heart
It wasn’t but music at night
It is an eternal love
It is a misfortune
It is a misfortune
Go now and be remember
Go now and be in love
Remember the time
When you were satisified
Do you remember the time
When you were happy
Life is wonderful
Can you believe it
Your face says that your
Will go on forever
What happened during those
What happened during those nights?
Do you remember the time
when you were sad?
Do you remember the time
when you were weeping dear?
Myself and others were at
Our feelings were lost on
Why were we fighting for so long?
There is beauty in life
Do you believe
there is beauty in life?