The Wide Range of Music in Ireland

10 Dec

               Before I came overseas I was often asked, “What made you choose to study in Ireland?”  After considering the question for a bit, I realized that although there were a few factors that played a role in my decision, the main reason was simply for the music.  Ireland has such a distinct, authentic music scene that I wanted to be completely immersed in.  I had not studied or even listened to much traditional Irish music before although I am a fan of a few modern Irish bands, of course.  I wanted to take this blogging opportunity to discuss what I’ve learned about music while living here as well as how it has altered my taste in music.  The Irish consider music as an integral part of their culture, so I wanted to ensure I didn’t overlook the music scene while living in Dublin.

            Walking into O’Donoghues pub for the first time was quite the experience.  It was the one of the first times I got to listen to live, traditional Irish music and I got a sense of true Ireland.  It’s fascinating how the traditional music withstood wars, the Great Famine, major emigration in the past, has made a complete revival, and has since become a major influence in much of today’s popular music.  The folk genre is soaring right now in America as it should be and it makes me proud to know that it derives mainly from the roots of Irish music. 

  I had the opportunity to listen to Jim Carroll, the Irish Times music column writer, talk earlier this year about the increasing popularity of Irish bands due to easy access that the Internet gives.  At that time, I was stuck in my small box of only listening to a few bands in the Indie genre.  I wasn’t completely willing to spread my wings and dive into the Irish music that Jim suggested to us.  However, I came to Ireland with afresh mindset and was determined to discover some new music.  After loving the traditional music that pubs like O’Donoghues had, I wanted to support some more local music.  I went to Workman’s Club one night recently where I listened to the Delorentos play, a local favorite.  Earlier, I discovered the hauntingly beautiful Lisa Hannigan’s modern tunes with a strong Irish history embedded within them.  Although these bands don’t necessarily go under the category of Irish folk music, the influence of folk on them is undeniable.

This is one of Lisa Hannigan’s songs called I Don’t Know.  It is a very modern song but I appreciate how the music she makes is very unique but still has hints of folk music in it.  The instrument she plays during this song (and many others) is the piano accordion.  The accordion is a popular traditional instrument in Ireland.  The way Lisa brings in ties of traditional Irish instruments like the accordion and fiddle in a lot of her music shows her appreciation of her culture. 

These two artists are only the beginning of my newfound love for not only traditional Irish music, but all kinds of musicians coming out of Dublin and Galway alike. 


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