The versatility of Irish music

Handel – in his own hand!, ©Billy Reed/Flickr

Irish Music is generic term for music and it has been created in most various genres on the beautiful island of Ireland. The native music of this island is termed Irish traditional music. Due to the emigration, Irish music has kept few traditional elements. It influenced many styles of music, as country music in the USA and sometimes it has been fused with punk rock, pop, rock and roll and other genres. Many of these fusion artists became very popular and successful musician. This style of music is also my favorite one, so I am very delighted that I can talk about it. Let see what kind of Irish music styles are there!

Classical music

In the eighteenth century a large number of musical clubs were founded. Handel was the first one who arrived in Dublin in 1742 to oversee the first performance of his noted oratorio. John Stevenson represents the next generation of musicians who is famous for his publications of  “Irish Melodies”. He composed operas, songs, religious music, symphonies and many other types of music. His contemporaries in the musical field were Michael Kelly and Doctor Carter. Other representative musicians of Classical Irish music is: Michael W. Balfe, composer of 38 operas,  John Field, who lived in the early Romantic Era, William Vincent Wallace, the composer of six operas and Michele Esposito, who composed amazing and notable works and taught two generations.

Handel- in his own hand!, ©Billy Reed/Flickr

Traditional music

Traditional Irish music includes a lot of songs, ballads, laments and drinking songs. Traditional dance music includes hornpipes, reels and jigs. The polka started at the beginnings of the nineteenth century. Later dance-signatures included the mazurka and the highlands. A revival of the traditional music was approximately at end of the 20th century. Irish dancing was supported by the patriotic organizations and educational system. An older style of singing was for poetic songs in the Irish language. More and more people begin to play Irish music and a lot of new bands turn up, as Dervish, The Bonny Man, Caladh nua and many others.

Dervish band, ©candyschwartz/Flickr

Popular music

Performers of popular music appeared at the end of 1940s. There are some famous members of the popular music: Bridie Gallagher, ‘Ireland’s first international pop star’, Delia Murphy, who popularized Irish folk songs, The Bachelors, an all-male group from Dublin, Ruby Murray, who achieved inimitable chart success in the UK, Mary O’Hara, a  famous soprano and  many others.

Irish Showbands were an important major force in popular music, mostly in rural areas. Key to the showband’s success was particularly the ability to perform and learn songs in the record charts.

American country music was formed by mixing Irish influences with American Country music and incorporates Irish folk music. Today the most successful performer in the genre is Daniel O’Donnell. Fusion means using traditional elements in popular songs, or fusing various styles of the Irish music.  In this genre are famous Sinéad O’Connor , Clannad, Van Morrison,  Enya, famous for New Age-Celtic fusions,  Kíla, who fuse traditional Irish with rock. The most well known fusion band in Ireland was Horslips, who combined Irish music themes with heavy rock.

In 1960 began to appear artists and rock bands, such as Emmet Spiceland, Eire Apparent, Skid Row, Mellow Candle, Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher Dr. Strangely Strange, Thin Lizzy. In the mid-late 1970s appeared groups who formed during the emergence of Punk rock included The Boomtown Rats, U2, Virgin Prunes, Stiff Little Fingers, The Undertones, Aslan, and Gavin Friday. Later in the 80s Irish punk fused with traditional Irish music created new styles, as alternative rock.

U2 concert, ©jdn/Flickr

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