Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
A day when typically many have celebrated perhaps a bit too much, all that is Irish, green and is in a beer glass. Most of us don’t have much reason to be celebrating this year I know, but if anyone knows about making through tough times it’s the Irish. Clichés and all it is recognized in most places as more of a secular fun day than the traditional church ceremonies by Irish Catholics. The Patron Saint gives the public an official holiday in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Monserat. In my Mother’s native province of Newfoundland it is also a public holiday that gets moved to the nearest Monday to give people a long weekend, as they really know how to party! I understand from my best friend Steve who is of Irish descent the parts of the world that party and carry on is not the same way it is celebrated in most of Ireland at all.
While in 2020 the gatherings may be cancelled there still will be some, albeit smaller ones than usual where the music of the Emerald Isle will be blaring out of if not pubs, clubs and bars perhaps just peoples homes. You’ll hear the worst renditions of Danny Boy ever sung by a bunch of drunken Irish wanna be’s. Karaoke singers will be belting out the classic St. Paddy’s Day songs and every musician with even a hint of the Gaeltacht blood will be (hopefully) working a small stage or a even just a stool somewhere in the world. If you are housebound, here is your own private bit of Irish music for March 17 or 16th in Newfoundland! I will indulge in a few of the classic style songs and then list just a sampling of the impressive list of artists that hail from Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“Song for Ireland“, the wonderful Mary Black.
“Fiddlers Green” by the consummate Irish group The Irish Rovers.
“Whisky in the Jar” by the legendary Irish Folk band The Dubliners.
“Poor Paddy Works on the Railway” is a traditional Irish Folk song, a rousing rendition from The Pogues.
“Drunken Lullabies” as no list is complete without an original song from Flogging Molly
“Rose Tattoo” while we are talking ‘Celtic Punk’ (above song) we must add the American band the Dropkick Murphys. Named after a professional wrestler not as I had thought, the Rugby Football move. Which incidentally, unlike my pal Steve I never quite mastered the “bouncing the ball before you kick it” thing back in the day when we played the game. However, Steve played Varsity as well so it has to be the Irish blood as they have played Rugby Football since the mid 1800’s.
“The Night Pat Murphy Died“, Newfoundland’s own Great Big Sea. No longer playing together (some great solo stuff from the members) but they have an amazing repertoire of nine albums and the actor Russell Crowe is quite the fan and sometimes even a band member.
The ultimate classic pub drinking song to many is “Drunken Sailor” sung here by The Irish Rovers among a thousand others. It is a traditional folk song classified as a “Sea Shanty” and based on the very old Irish song “Óró sé do bheatha abhaile” (Oh-ro You’re Welcome Home) sung here by Seo Linn.
As nations there is little doubt both Northern Ireland and Ireland punch above their weight, there’s a pun in there if you want it. Many know the obvious Irish singing and playing artists as in the above mentioned list, and one of the most famous Rock bands of all time is U2, formed in Dublin in 1976. Also one of the best selling artists of all time at close to 170 million albums sold they have produced 14 studio albums and released 67 singles. They have 22 Grammy Awards, 7 Brit Awards and countless other accolades including being second only to the Rolling Stones (for bands) in box office income making them some of the richest recording artists on the planet. With so many great songs it would take several blogs to even put a dent in the list so I will just go with “One” released in 1991 on the album ‘Achtung Baby’.
Van Morrison was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland (August 31, 1945) and has a voice unmatched by very many. Once again too many great songs to mention and I’m going to go with one of my favourites that not many will know “Spanish Rose” was written by Morrison and released on the controversial and legal nightmare ‘Blowin Your Mind’ in 1967 (it’s a long story destined for a future blog). While we are here, the wonderful vocalist Ottilie Patterson (January 31, 1932-June 20, 2011) was born in Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland and sang for many years with the Jazz master Chris Barber. Another great was Ruby Murray, (March 29, 1935-December 7, 1996) born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She had a #1 hit in the UK with “Softly Softly“. More recently there are artists such as Rebekah Fitch and Lee Rogers.
Getting back to Ireland again we can listen to the recently departed Dolores O’Riordan who sang with The Cranberries (“Zombie“, 1994) for many years. There is also Christy Moore, Enya, Sinéad O’Connor, Hozier, The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy and I could go on but just one more Imelda May.
References; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, Secondhandsongs.com,
images; https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/proud-irish-st-patricks-day, https://www.u2.com/index/home
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