Traditional&Modern Irish music
Everything you need to know
Irish culture overall is extremely special, unique, and obviously, fascinating!
Although there are many different cultural characteristics of the irish tradition, music is for sure one of the most vital ones. In earlier hundreds of years, music and narrating were the main types of excitement on an island that had not even basic accomodations like electric power. On cool, dim nights, the Irish would gather together, light a warm fire and listen to stories and tunes played by the nearby artists. Music however, has not lost its appeal in modern days. On the contrary, it is a tradition that has lasted throughout all these years and has even developed itself.
If you are wondering when all this passion for music started, then the answer lies thousands of years before. The first inhabitants of Ireland used musical instruments like pipes and special tunes for security reasons. For example, in case the tribe faced an outing danger, people played a specific tune to summon help. As the years passed though, people got to know new things, they met with different cultures and developed their first instruments into much more complex ones.
Local Ireland Music History
The beginning of the irish music can be actually dated back to the arrival of the Celts. Celts knew how to use the harp and they brought this knowledge in the island, too. Anyone who learned to play the harp was actually considered a talented person and was held in high regards by the rest of the population. The harp was followed by the development of other instruments.
Celtic Music Instruments
- Tin Whistle (pennywhistle)
- Bagpipes and Uilleann pipes
- Free Reed Instruments
- Button Accordion
- Piano Accordion
- Mandolins, citterns, bouzoukis, guitars
- Hammered Dulcimer
One of these instruments is known as the Fiddle
. The fiddle is actually one of the most used musical instruments of the celtic music nowadays. The fiddle is widely known in modern countries as a violin, although the sound that is produced by its instrument is not exactly the same. Another interesting istrument is known as Bodhran. Bodhran is actually a piece of drums which needs quite an expert musician to play it successfully.
We could not possibly forget to talk a bit more about the Harp
. Being the top traditional instrument of the country, the harp is the symbol of the traditional irish music. There is a wide variety of harps nowadays, with different sizes, shapes and colors. It is played vertically and it produces a unique and sweet melody.
Modern Irish Bands
Irish music bands have been widely known in modern days. There are many of them but some of the most popular are definitely the ''Dubliners'', the ''Cranberries'', the ''Pogues'' and of course the ''U2
'' band. Starting with the ''Dubliners'', they are considered by many the inspirators of european folk music. The ''Cranberries'', known mostly for their hit ''Zombie'', is a band that mixes rock and irish music. The ''Pogues'' known for their innovation to combine punk swag music with irish traditional instruments could not be possibly be absent from this list. Finally, we get to the dominant rock band in Ireland, the U2. U2 have won more than 20 Grammy Awards, they have sold millions of albums and they still produce and play music.
Irish music and songs can be actually divided in2 major categories. We have the quiet ballad songs and the inspirational dancing songs. One could say that there is actually a different kind of song for every circumstance in Ireland. There are love songs, war songs, rebel songs as well as dancing songs. Music is mostly instrumental but there are still many songs with lyrics, like the popular ''Dirty Old Town'' and the ''Danny Boy''.
Irish Jig Music
Another part of the music tradition in Ireand is the irish jig music. The jig is actually an irish dance accompanied by the melody produced by a fiddle. The jig consists of much hopping around and that makes it a highly happy dance. A typical irish jig consists of certain steps and hops that repeat themselves. The steps are easy enough for everyone to perform and you only need to acquire some coordination in your movements. Nowadays, there are many studios that provide lessons on traditional irish dances including the jig dance.
Although Ireland is a small island, the inhabitants know all too well how to party. During the summer period, many festivals are held in different parts of the island. The music theme of each festival is unique so you will definitely find the one that best appeals to your tastes. If are a fan of electronic music then the ADA festival is the best choice for you. This event is being held in Northern Ireland every June. If you would prefer somthing more inspirational and unique, you should really attend the ''Body and Soul'' festival. The event has a mystical atmosphere and you will be able to enjoy many musicians performing their favourite songs on stage.
Another popular festivity is called Castlepalooza. This festival is a rather new one that has not attracted a large amount of visitors yet. However, the atmosphere is really loose and it is also, the perfect opportunity for you to make new friends. Lastly, I would really like to mention the Dingle Tradfest festival commonly held in September each year. This event attracts both national and wordly known artists as well as new talented people. There will be a lot of dancing and enjoyment in this event for sure!
Apart from the majority of festivals, one can participate in various other events in Ireland. Many cooking festivals are held throughout the year. For example, there is the Galway Cook festival. The event includes cooking demonstrations, funny food tours and the tasting of different flavors. You could also, attend a film festival. One of the most famous ones is the New Year Festival in Dublin. You will come across impressive visual tricks, funny exercice activities and a lot of dancing.
Irish music is definitely one of the most important traditions in Ireland. Its unique nature and quality has led this kind of music to be listened to by the whole world. It is actually evident that music runs into the blood of the Irish people. You would be really lucky if you grabbed the opportunity and visited a festivity or other event in Ireland. It would be a unique and undeniably fascinating experience.