When I was younger, the rest of my family loved Van Morrison and the Chieftan’s Irish Heartbeat. A collection of traditional Irish songs did not appeal to a 10 year old kid who would rather listen to R.E.M. Never mind that one of the songs contained lyrics in Gaelic. I just couldn’t connect to songs that were part of a world I knew little about (or cared about at the time.)
For lots of reasons, growing up I was always confused about whether I had Irish blood on my mother’s side. (As it turns out, I do.) It wasn’t until later, I began to appreciate Irish Heartbeat and other traditional Irish music. Once I understood where I came from, it became easier to get beneath the songs and the sound. I also began to see similarities between the early protest of Bob Dylan and the Irish rebel songs. These songs contained a different voice, but were similar in spirit. With that in mind, it makes sense that The Pogues updated traditional Irish music with punk rock – another form of music that started out as rebellious.
I’m hoping that with tomorrow being Patty’s Day, I will hear some good live Irish music. I’m not exactly betting on it. Sometime ago, “live Irish music” turned into “guy with an acoustic guitar playing Simon & Garfunkel with ‘Whiskey in the Jar'” and “The Irish Rover”‘ thrown in for good measure. I have serious doubts that I’ll have hear “Rocky Road to Dublin”, “Galway Races”, or “Star of the County Down” in any of the bars I’m going to go.