21 March 2004

Happy Latin Music

Not Latin language this time; I'm branching out. If you like Latin rhythms, lots of percussion, and hot jazz vocals, check out Pink Martini. It's an eclectic ten-member band from Portland who play energetic and fun music. Lizzy and I heard them play with the Spokane Symphony tonight, and after two numbers I knew I had to get the CD. Their first CD is called Sympatique, and their second CD, which is supposed to be titled Hang on Little Tomato (the title song was inspired by a 1960's-era Heinz ketchup ad) is soon-to-be released.

18 March 2004

Happy Irish Songs

I'll bet you thought there weren't any, didn't you? Well, the sad news is that the internet access here is really slow tonight, so I wouldn't be able to post anything before midnight. So you'll just have to wait until next year to find out what the happy Irish songs are.

17 March 2004

Sad Irish Songs

I promise I'll post happy ones tomorrow. But here are some songs to remind us that Ireland is not a land of green beer and soda bread or Guinness and oysters. It's a country that has seen much suffering, and I'm not just talking about the Potato Famine. Here are some song lyrics that reflect that view of Irish history (some have midi links at the bottom of the page):

There Were Roses
This is an oft-performed song written fairly recently about conflict in Northern Ireland.

The Reason I Left Mullingar
Finding your fortune overseas is not all it's cracked up to be, lads.

Only Our Rivers Run Free
Definitely one of the more depressing songs in the repertoire.

The Bantry Girls' Lament
The English just loved to send Irish boys off to foreign countries like Spain and France to fight.

Irish Ways and Irish Laws
Pretty much everyone in Northern Europe tried it, but you can't keep the Irish down.

The Rights of Man
The tune is famous in trad (this being Irish traditional music, not traditional Catholic) circles, but the words are hardly ever sung.

Irish music fans whose internet connection can support streaming media will want to check out RadioCelt. The traditional music section is pretty good. Not all of it is strictly traditional; Enya does not belong in any trad section and An Dochas uses digeridoos, but it's mostly absolutely beautiful stuff and virtually ad-free. Most of the music is Irish, but you'll hear some Scottish, Welsh, and English music, as well as stuff from Celtic communities in Spain, France, and North America. (Yes, there are Celtic tribes native to Spain and northern France/Belgium.)

16 March 2004

Counting Down

It's just like the great big scoreboard in O'Doherty's that counts down to St. Patrick's Day! Here's your Irish link for the day before the great, green party: Irish phrases.
Tir gan teanga, tir gan anam.

15 March 2004

Beware the Ides of March!

Watch out for "friends" named Brutus!
A Footnote

For any of you musicians who fancy yourselves composers, the website Lizzy mentioned yesterday is holding a competition for the composition of a march for bagpipes. The winning tune will be named "Templar Knights of the Holy Land" and will be played in the Official Grand Priory Church to commemorate the Templars who fell in battle in the Holy Land during crusades. Entries due 25th of July 2004!

14 March 2004

They're everywhere!

No, not 7-Eleven. The Templars. Matt over at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping posts about the Ordo Militia Templi, a Templar lay-Order which is recognized by the Catholic Church.

Recently (on another of my grail quests) I found this group: Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem Knights Templar. I have a sneaking suspicion that this order is not recognized by the Catholic Church, but it's pretty interesting. And they have some spiffy heraldry!

12 March 2004

Some Irish Cheer

Yes, it's lent, but we're not supposed to look like we're fasting, right? So, leading up to St. Patrick's Day, I'm going to post some links and songs full of good Irish cheer. My first link and song is from an aquaintance of mine, Robbie O'Connell, singer-songwriter extraordinaire. His mother was a sister of the famous Clancy Brothers. He wrote this song based on his own experience plying his trade in the USA. As a singer of Irish songs, I sympathize. I've sung "Danny Boy" quite enough times to be tired of it. And "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" was written by an American-born Jew, not unlike several songs often thought of as Irish.

"You're Not Irish"

When first I came to the USA with my guitar in hand
I was told that I could get a job singing songs from Ireland
So I headed up to Boston, I was sure it would be alright
But the very first night I got on the stage, I was in for a big surprise
They said:

You’re not Irish, you can’t be Irish, you don’t know “Danny Boy”
Or “Toora Loora Loora” or even “Irish Eyes”
You’ve got a hell of a nerve to say you came from Ireland
So cut out all the nonsense and sing “McNamara’s Band”

To tell the truth I got quite a shock and I didn’t know what to say
So I sang a song in Gaelic, I thought that might win the day
But they looked at me suspiciously and I didn’t know what was wrong
Then all of a sudden they started to shout “ Now sing a real Irish song”

The next day I was on my way, for Chicago I was bound
I was ready to give it another try and not let it get me down
From the stage they looked quite friendly but I’d hardly sung one word
When a voice called out from the back of the room and what do you think I heard?

Now I’ve travelled all round the country, but it’s always been the same
From LA to Philedelphia, and from Washington to Maine
But sometimes now I wonder if it’s a secret society
And it doesn’t matter wherever I go, they’ll be waiting there for me

You’re not Irish, you can’t be Irish, you don’t know “Danny Boy”
Or “Toora Loora Loora” or even “Irish Eyes”
You’ve got a hell of a nerve to say you came from Ireland
So cut out all the nonsense and sing “McNamara’s Band”