The Beauty of Gaelic

One of the things I love about Irish music are the songs sung in Gaelic. The language has a flowing, lyrical quality that I find quite beautiful, even though I've no idea what's being said. Today I want to present a sampling of pieces by different artists that I think are particularly fine.First, here's the Bothy Band with "Fionnghuala", which gives me chills. Do listen to this one; it's short, and utterly amazing.In a lighter vein, here's Orla Fallon with "Ni Na La", which I … [Read more...]

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The Leaving of Liverpool

"The Leaving of Liverpool" is one of the "Irish" tunes I've been listening to quite a lot, and have been learning to play on the whistle. I put "Irish" in quotations, because it isn't really Irish; it's a sailor's song, and was collected in the wild (so to speak) twice, around 1885, by two different Americans. It concerns a sailor embarking on a long sea voyage to California from Prince's Landing Stage in Liverpool, lamenting not the leaving of Liverpool but the leaving of his own true love. … [Read more...]

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Woof Guide to Popular Music: Johnny Tarr

Here's an uplifting (?) ballad of a man with a powerful thirst.I've been listening to a lot of Irish traditional music on Pandora recently, and among the groups I've discovered is a little band named Gaelic Storm. (If you've seen the movie Titanic, I gather Gaelic Storm is the band playing to the passengers in steerage.) They aren't a purely traditional band; they record their own songs as well, and they have a way of adding their own choruses in a more contemporary style to … [Read more...]

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