With the arrival of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, now is the perfect time to celebrate the music of the Emerald Isle.
A new collection Music of Ireland - Welcome Home was released March 2, with both CD and DVD/CD versions of the release serving as companion media for the two-part Public Television (PBS) special aired this month. Ireland is a small island in the north Atlantic, but its musical influence is as mighty as any nation on the planet. While U2, Van Morrison, Bell X1, The Saw Doctors, The Corrs and The Cranberries are among my favorite of Ireland's musical exports in the rock era, there are countless more artists worth embracing that draw on the traditional Celtic roots of Ireland.
Music of Ireland boasts more than a dozen selections showcasing the authentic spirit of a sound that has influenced Americana folk, bluegrass and modern rock. When those mostly unfamiliar with traditional Irish music have asked me why I enjoy it so much, I tell them it is a combination of the rousing sing-alongs, jigs and haunting ballads performed courtesy of a palette of fiddles, mandolins, banjos and various other instruments that magically blend with the voices and melodies that are seemingly part of the DNA of those who come from Ireland.
The Music of Ireland features new material from Grammy Award-winners Moya Brennan, The Chieftains and Sinead O'Connor, as well as Academy Award-winner Glen Hansard (The Swell Season), Damien Rice, tenor Ronan Tynan, Damien Dempsey, Andrea Corr (who is the lead singer and plays tin whistle with The Corrs) and more. From O'Connor's fusion of traditional Celtic and world music styles in her "Song to the Siren" to the gorgeous blend of Uilleann pipes, fiddle, flute and Irish harp that enhance a collaboration between The Chieftains and Moya Brennan ("Lullaby for the Dead"), this fine disc serves as both an introduction for the uninitiated or a welcome addition to long-time fans of Irish music.
There are several ways to get either the CD or DVD (which features a bonus music CD of material not included on the regular CD release) version of Music of Ireland - Welcome Home. Shoppers can get them at Barnes and Noble stores that sell music, and can also purchase the tracks digitally via Amazon.com. And they will be bundled as a bonus gift for those who donate to their favorite PBS station during pledge drives.
For more information, visit http://www.musicofireland.com/.
And Happy St. Patrick's Day!