- -  Day # 4  + +

EU > Ireland > Killarney

Irish music

Killarney, IE (View on map)

My intention was to dedicate my article of the day to Irish music but the day was simply not as musical as expected. I did however hunt for stories and came up with the following.


U2 are not invariably appreciated in their home country. The biggest problem people seem to have with this well-known band is the fact that the band have acquired fiscal residence abroad and are not paying taxes. Also, the work they do for charity is said to be really minimal compared to the revenues they themselves are claimed to make out of their music. A bit of a let down, given the enormous popularity of U2 worldwide. I suspect what U2 are doing is simply not compliant to Irish overall culture, which promotes modesty as an important personal asset.

Thanks to Fiaha (20), I find out that traditional Irish music is predominantly instrumental and that it originally did not include lyrics. Fiddle (violin), accordeon, uilleann pipes and buhran, a kind of tambourine, are among the instruments played in traditional music sessions. These sessions are most likely taking place at people's homes, among friends or in pubs. Traditionally, Sunday was the best day for making music, and that once again happened in the pub. After going to church, women would cook and men would go to the pub. Music would keep the man busy until dinner was served and - eventually - a new working week started.

Protest and hope
When lyrics entered the arena, they served to elegantly protest against the English suppression and were mostly of ambigious nature. Martin (19, owner of a pub in Killarney, photo) and Jerry (56 and three quarters) confirm my suspicion that, also beside song lyrics, Irish oftentimes say things that are 180 degrees opposite to what they really mean. This `fa?on de faire` does not have any apparent origin. It may have come from times when England oppressed the Irish nobody accepts that as the main reason why they do it. Also, the Irish tend to talk in double negations. One of the expressions I have been hearing a lot is "I`m not too bad at all", in reply to the question whether that person was doing alright. The abundance of rain was referred to by bus driver George (over 50) as "liquid sun". Likewise, many an Irish song contains lots of negative stories, but they are sung in the happiest possible atmosphere.

Fascinated by the enviable ability to mix positives and negatives to end up with a positive outlook, I end my day with a pint of Guiness and.. a musicless night in the pub because the musicians cancelled their performance.

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