Saturday, September 22, 2007

Irish music. continued

Today I've been sorting through back shelves and storage boxes -- there's a leak in the roof, so I'm having to move things I've not looked at in a while, and listening to music I've turned up that've not heard in good while too. One result of this is that I've just been playing music by Gaelic Storm, and by Noirin ni Riain.That's quite a bit of creative tension and creative distance, though both find their roots in the music of Ireland.

On Vox de Nube, ni Riain offers multilayered chant, mainly Greogorian, some Byzantine and some old Irish text. Gaelic Storm is raucous modern Irish folk rock songs, with a few trad tunes thrown in for good measure. Gaelic Storm were the steerage band in the movie Titanic, and this is that warp speed playing applied to more contemporary songs. The creative distance -- not distance in a negative sense, just in a thought provoking one -- illuminates pictures of very different aspects of Ireland.

There are elements of both of these views in the many musics of Ireland. Though the two albums work well and they are really well played and sung, they neither one of them are what would be my first choice, although each of them is what people often think of as representative of Celtic music. John Doyle, Cathie Ryan, Danu, Altan -- those are along the lines you'll more likely find me listening to and writing about. To borrow a line from another fine songwriter, Adrienne Young, those musicians work the territory of life lived ' in between the heart beats.' As do Gaelic Sotrm and Noirin ni Riain, of course. Just differently.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time this line of thought from me will come as no surprise. If you'd like to know a bit more about what I think on the subject, this post Irish music, Irish landscape will give you the clue. It has pictures too.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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