Traditional Irish Music
- Ireland is nicknamed the "Emerald Island", but it could as well be called the "Singing Emerald". Indeed, Irish music is one of the richest traditional music in the world. It is either merry, mind-blowing, danceable and moving, thanks to the great variety of instruments, like the bodhran (to pronounce [bo-rône]), a goat-skin drum, the fiddle, the Irish bagpipes or "uillean pipes", or the tin whistle, a six-holed brass flute. No wonder that one of Ireland's symbols is the harp ! By the way, you can go to Dublin to admire it at the library of the prestigious Trinity College.
- There are two types of Irish traditional music : the famous ballads, nostalgic and melancholic most of the time, and more festive songs. Every week there are traditional music sessions in Irish pubs, as in the Johnnie Fox's, the Auld Dubliner, or the O'Donoghue's in Dublin. Irish pubs are a fundamental custom, so it's impossible to travel to Ireland without going to a pub, to get up from your seat and dance the jig !
- Irish music is known worldwide, so you must have heard a traditional Irish song in one of your favourite movies at least. Some are part of the collective musical heritage : Molly Malone (covered by the Dubliners), Women of Ireland (which cover by the Chieftains was on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lindon), or The Wild Rover, which tradition requires that you knock the table four times with your pint during the chorus ! P.S : always drink responsibly.
Ireland & Rock'n Roll
Ireland is also the land of rock : some rock stars are amongst the most influential people in the world. Everyone knows U2, Bob Geldof and Gary Moore of course. But have you ever heard of Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher, or Phil Lynott, the leader of Thin Lizzy ? Other bands don't hesitate in blending Irish traditional instruments with more metallic sounds of punk, as the Pogues do. Rock'n roll is not dead yet, not in Ireland at least ! A museum in Dublin is entirely dedicated to rock music : The Irish Rock'n Roll Museum Experience.
Ireland's Female Voices
Last but not least, what would be Irish music without its wonderful, stirring, otherworldly female voices ? The most famous of them is undoubtedly Enya, whose new age songs and ethereal voice have been featured in many movies, including the Lord of the Rings. It must be said that the fantastic atmosphere of the saga is the perfect match for Enya's enchanting musical style. Others have been a model for new generations of singers, like Mary Black. Her voice was so pure according to the What Hi-Fi? magazine that it has even been used as a reference in order to measure the quality of Hi-Fi systems ! Other vocalists became legends of rock music, like Sinéad O'Connor and her moving cover of Prince's song, Nothing Compares 2 U, and the late Dolores O'Riordan, the legendary voice of the Cranberries.
Ready to let yourself be carried away by music ? Make the most of a job in Dublin or an internship in Cork to discover the other treasures of Irish music.