Music Journey
23, Jul
Irish Music

The Irish music

The Irish music is distinctive and has had an influence on many other genres of American music. It was brought to America in 1800s, when millions fled Ireland’s famine and were forced to emigrate to New York, Chicago, Boston, and New York.

The story of Irish music is told through Irish music. A wonderful collection entitled “Bringing it All Back Home: The Influence of Irish Music” was published 20 years ago. It featured many of the Irish songs that were popularized in American Culture, such as Kilkelly and The Lakes of Pontchertain. Kilkelly is one the most saddest songs ever composed. It is composed of letters written by a father in England to his son starting in 1860. They tell him about the deaths in their family and how wonderful it would be to meet the son again.

The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem revived Irish music in America in the 1960s with songs such as Will Ye Go Lassie Go or Roddy Mc Corley. The Clancy Brothers had a significant influence on Bob Dylan’s folk singing style. These instruments are used often in Irish traditional music: fiddle, guitars, uileann pipes and accordion (piano, button, bodhran flute, tin whistle harp, and possibly piano). One of my favorite sounds is the voice. This is Sean Keane singing Ellis Island and Sinead O’Connor from her 2002 album Sean Nos Nua. Sean nos is the traditional Irish singing style, sometimes called comhaille.

Clannad sang in Irish during the 1970s, and Planxty emerged as one of the first groups to do so. I spent several summers at the Loch an Iuir Gaeltacht, County Donegal. Clannad performed for college students when I was there. At the time, I was just 11 years old. Teach Leo was only 4 miles from Crolly. They were great – that was before Enya’s album Watermark gained huge worldwide acclaim.

Although I was a violinist and pianist, I also learned classical music in school. James Eddie Mc Cluskey, a grandfather from County Monaghan, played the fiddle. He also taught me two Irish tunes: The Boys of the Bluehill (and The Dawning of the Day). He used to talk about “An Chualainn”, which I was able to access online. Modern technology is amazing!

The fusion of traditional Irish music

The fusion of traditional Irish music with rock and roll has been a trend since the 1970s. This began with The Pogues, Horslips and Thin Lizzy in the 1970s. Shane Mc Gowan performed Fairytale of New York in 1987 with Kirsty Mc Col. U2, Van Morrison and The Cranberries are just a few of the many successful groups in recent years.

You can divide Irish music into drinking songs, such as Dirty Old Town and Whiskey In the Jar. There are also songs that serve as emigrant songs, such as Roddy Mc Corley and Arthur Mc Bride. Love songs include Down by the Sally Gardens (WB Yeats), and Will Ye Go Lassie Go. Thin Lizzy covered it. The Fields of Athenry’s most well-known Irish song is actually called a Famine Song, although it is still sung at rugby matches and football matches.

Amazingly, all the songs and music above have survived the years. These songs are an integral part of Irish culture. Matt Molloy from the Chieftains gave a concert flute and a microphone to Catherine Coleman, a NASA astronaut who will soon be playing traditional music on a mission to space. According to reports, she said to Matt Molloy that her music “always brings me to a special spot so I thought I would bring yours to one.”

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