Global Sounds
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Ireland Special

by Yuko Tanaka

Isehara, Kanagawa, Japan

From SIF SATELLITE 45, Fall 1996

Enya, U2, Elvis Costello, Sinead O'Connor. These are just a few of the countless musical stars to come out of that green land, Ireland. In this issue's column, we'll take a look at the Irish music scene by introducing 5 bands in chronological order.

The Chieftains

Since their debut in 1963, the Chieftains have stuck to the path of traditional Irish music. The band was formed out of a 1950s group called Sean O'Riada. The traditional music the Cheiftains play on the fiddle, flute, harp, and bodhran is a sound that touches something deep within us. Their albums from the 1970s are their best.

De Dannan

De Dannan debuted in 1975. While of course they can play traditional Irish dance music, they are well known for changing the Beatles' "Hey Jude", with their own particular sensibility and technique, into a peppy instrumental piece. They have also experimented with a fusion of Yiddish or gospel music with Irish traditional sounds.

Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott, founder of Thin Lizzy, was the son of an Irish mother and a Brazilian father. I believe we can say that they were the first band to succeed (in 1973) on a global scale with rock music played in a traditional Irish style.

Hot House Flowers

As European Blacks, they provide soul music that even rock fans can fully enjoy. During the '80s, Irish music became not just a mixture of traditional and rock styles, but rather became, unlike American or British music, something which could be appreciated by a global audience. It also became something that hilighted the individual musician's feeling, more than simply an Irish feeling.

My Little Fun House

Entering the 90s, the generation that grew up listening to U2 took the lead, and made Irish rock completely their own. From their perspective, the Irish dialect fits together well with music, and simplicity, youth, and a bit of "outlaw" spirit live well in the music.


Music Magazine July 1996

The Roots of Rock, Vol 2.

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