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.)

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