A brief selection of traditional dance, music and song from the last 50 years. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but more of a taster of the many and varied facets of the culture, intending to give an idea of what is out there. Hopefully a slightly more accurate portrayal than the usual stereotyped Paddywhackery that is forced upon people around St. Patrick’s Day. Not a single silly green hat in sight.
The Kesh Jig / The Bothy Band. (4min.)
The classic trad super group. Took what Planxty started to new high-octane heights.
Paddys Panacea (Stick to the Cratur [poteen]) sung / Tom Lenihan. (1min. 40s)
Some wonderful west-coast singing here which celebrates the transformative properties of alcohol.
Have You Been to Carrick (slow air) / Seamus Ennis. (3min. 7s.)
The slow air is often given less attention than the more up-tempo jigs and reels of Irish music. If you haven’t already been treated to the beauty of a slow air, then check this out, from the man who gave Planxty the nod of approval.
Bucks of Oranmore / Matt Molloy & Donal Lunny (2min. 6s.)
Two members of The Bothy Band here giving it socks, with Donal Lunny on bouzouki, a Greek instrument that had only been introduced to Irish music a few years previously.
Raggle Taggle Gypsy & Tabhair Dom Do Lámh / Planxty (4 min. 29s.)
The band that made traditional music cool in the early 70s.
Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill (3 min. 12s.)
These lads have been playing together for donkey’s years and you can spot their sound a mile away. Hayes, from Clare, moved to the States where he, in his own words, ‘abused the music a bit’ in a trad-rock fusion group with Chicago born Cahill. He later decided to go back to the heart of the music and teamed up with Cahill again to make this stunning music.
The Octopus Jig / The Dubliners (1 min. 14.)
This list couldn’t have happened without the Dubliners, but everyone knows what they sound like so here they are doing something funny.
The Pigeon On The Gate/Lafferty's/The Morning Dew / Kevin Burke & Micheall Ó Dhomhnaill (5min. 2s.)
More stunning playing from two more Bothies.
Craigie Hill / Dolores Keane (4min. 21s.)
This is one of the most popular songs in the Irish singing tradition, sung here by Dé Dannan’s Delores Keane.
Tom King Sean Nos Dancer (2min. 20s.)
Sean Nós is a form of dance, and is to the more mainstream Irish dancing as hurling is to GAA football: more fun, more expressive, and not just made up a few years ago and called ‘traditional’.
Comical genius, song / Barry Gleeson (1 min. 53s.)
Barry Gleeson here, distinctive Dublin singer of the famous acting family, singing a delightful song about a newly recruited young police officer, whose advances are ridiculed by a young lady.
Reels/ De Dannan (6min.36s.)
One of the super groups to follow Planxty and The Bothy Band, Dé Dannan are introduced here by Nicholas Carolan of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Some splendid accordion here from Máirtín Ó Connor, who once came out the the amazing quip, “If you’ve the right key you can get into any flat.”