Tag Archive | Ireland

Kate: The Irish Traditional Music Archive

Today I met with a traditional singer and librarian at the Irish Traditional Music Archive for an interview. I entered through this unsuspecting row house across from a lovely green park.


Inside was a treasure trove of books, scores, recordings, and films of traditional music. I could’ve spent hours browsing the collection, and a plan to return again to spend more time exploring the archives, but today I was here for an interview.

I had a lovely time speaking with the librarian at the archive about her experience growing up and singing in Donegal, and how she became involved with organizing a singing circle in Inishowen as means to encourage people to keep singing.

image (1)

Hearing different singer’s perspectives on the tradition has been fascinating. Some find it Read More…


Kate: Singing in Dublin

I’ve finally arrived in Ireland and my research is going better than I could’ve hoped for!  Already I’ve been to two singing sessions, one in the heart of Dublin and another in the seaside suburb of Howth, as well as a concert put on by a more mainstream Irish singer inside a beautiful church in Dublin.  The next session I’m aware of isn’t until this Friday, so my task until then is to start scheduling and carrying out interviews.
The sessions have been fascinating thus far, consisting of people sitting around the pub drinking pints and taking turns sharing songs.  It is apparent that everyone is there to have a good time, but there is little talking and the songs are listened to with a sense of great seriousness.  People often close their eyes and seem to be almost in a state of meditation, only breaking the silence to say words of encouragement or maybe sing along for a phrase.  I saw a lot of the same faces at both sessions and was amazed by the encyclopedic memory of some singers- many seemed to be familiar with almost every song and I probably heard close to 100 songs!

I was also the youngest person there by close to 20 years, and many seemed amused that a young American girl traveled all this way to Read More…

Kate: On Tour

It is just under three days until I board my flight to Dublin, and I am starting to feel the usual pre-travel mix of excitement and nervousness.  I leave Bennington on Tuesday to swing by my home (in Mystic, CT), quickly pack up my stuff and head to Logan Airport on Wednesday morning.

I made up this dorky calendar to keep track of the different singing events I’m planning on attending.  Most are casual singing gatherings occurring in pubs, while a few are concerts performed by more high-profile traditional singers, and Read More…

Kate: Folk Singing in Ireland

My name is Kate McCann and I am a senior spending FWT 2014 conducting research for my thesis in anthropology.  In a nutshell, my thesis explores the practice of Irish traditional song in contemporary society, and how the tradition’s changes and manifestations relate to the state of Irish and global society currently.

(To get an idea of what Irish song sounds like, check out this video.  It is an unaccompanied style of singing done in both the English and Irish language, and an emphasis is placed more on the words and story than the performer or act of performing.)

Read More…