Monday, May 19, 2008

now playing: In Search of Ancient Ireland dvd

In search of Ancient Ireland

In Search of Ancient Ireland is a sort archeological and sociological timeline of a program, approximately 170 minutes worth of consideration about what we know, and what we don’t known and how reliable all that information is, of the places and people of pre history up through the Viking presence in the twelfth century. This encompasses the time of the great legend such as the Tain, both when they were written and when they were supposed to have occurred, as well as the coming of Christianity, the time of Saint Patrick, and the time of time of Brian Boru.

It’s a narrative constructed mostly through interview and landscape -- not a talking heads show, this, but historical studies reveal against the, or rather as part of landscape and handed down legends and art . It’s organized into three sections, called Heroes, Saints, and Warriors, the first having to do with prehistoric time, the second with Ireland as a center of learning and faith, and the third showing the changes of the Norman invasion.

You’ll learn why the dark ages may have been really dark, and where Saint patrick lived and walked, and how it might have been for for monks in isolated places to see the long ships of the Vikings approach. You’ll get a taste of the interweaving of history and legend, which is good, and not hear much of Saint Bridgid, which is not so. There’s also not a lot of music. You’ll hear plenty of music in the varied irish accents of the scholars interviewed, though.

This program was broadcast on public television in America several years back.
I’ve been viewing on dvd these last few days because I’ve just been speaking with Deborah Robins and Peter Ashlock, who are producing a series called The Music of America: History through Musical Traditions, to air on PBS 2010. I’ll be doing a story on their work in an upcoming issue of the folk music magazine Dirty Linen. One of the people working with Robins and Ashlock on that project is Leo Eaton, who directed and produced In Search of Ancient Ireland.

more about The Music of America here

more on the folk and world music magazine Dirty Linen here

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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