With St. Patrick’s Day just days away, what better way to celebrate the luck of the Irish than taking a look at Irish music! So, grab your beer, do a jig, we’re going to find a pot of gold at the end of this musical rainbow.
History of Irish Music
Did you know traditional Irish music actually was born out of oral tradition? It’s true. Like stories, songs were passed on from generations by listening to songs and repeating them, without really writing the lyrics or melody down on paper.
But what we consider traditional Irish music began some 2,000 years ago with the Celts and actually has some influences from Egypt. Egypt? Yep. The harp we hear in Irish music is actually a nod to an ancient Egyptian tradition. Harpists were very important to Irish history as they were employed to create music for nobles and tribe or clan leaders known as a chieftain. However, that all changed in the early 1600s when native chieftains fled from invaders and made their way to Europe.
Then, in the 1760s, the need for writing these songs came to a head as collectors began gathering these songs. You can actually view some of these tunes at the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin.
The music of Ireland made its way around the world thanks to Irish emigration. When more and more Irish came to the United States, so did their music. In fact, in the 1920s, traditional music was recorded for the first time in the U.S. and made available for those Irish living elsewhere. Fiddle-players were of large musical influence and the Irish sounds began to be influenced by other genres as it also influenced the music and culture around it.
Today, the influence of traditional Irish tunes can be found in music through the use of instruments like the fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle, Celtic harp, uilleann pipes, and bodhrán.
What to check out some musicians that still play homage to their Irish roots?
Famous Bands With Irish Roots
Don’t limit your scope of Irish music to bagpipes–unless, of course, that’s your thing. Check out this list of awesome bands that got their start in Ireland:
- Dropkick Murphys: While from Boston, these Celtic rockers are big on paying homage to their Irish roots. A fan favorite in the punk community, Dropkick Murphys’ mainstream stardom began with their song, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”
- U2: Formed in 1976, U2 started their road to stardom in Dublin. With the talents of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., U2 has produced 14 studio albums.
- Van Morrison: We love and know him for “Brown Eyed Girl” but did you know Van Morrison is also Irish? It’s true, this Northern Irish singer-songwriter, instrumentalist and record producer grew in popularity in the 1960s and hasn’t stopped being loved by the world.
- The Script: This 2007 Irish rock band took over the music scene with their hit song, “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.” They first released music in 2008.
Do a Jig at RIVER STREET JAZZ CAFE.
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