Irish Folk Music Feat – Caoineadh Songs

Folk music in Ireland is not very popular until collections from George Petrie and others were found in the 18th century. It also gained its popularity when Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann organized their Fleadh Cheoil music festival. Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann is an organization that promotes music, song, dance and language of the Ireland artists like the Clancy Brothers whose success is best seen in the United States towards the end of 1950 to early 1960. In 1970, folk music is combined with rock and roll and punk just like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys is doing today.

Caoineadh songs are the most famous among folk music. The term Caoineadh means crying, and as such, it portrays emotions like sadness, sorrow and pain. Most often that not, its lyrics tells about departure of an individual because of political or financial reason. It may also define a man’s lost love. Many Caoineadh songs originated from The Troubles of Northern Ireland since it was there where the British military is located at that time.

One famous example of Caoineadh songs is Danny Boy (written in 1910). It storied about a woman being sad because his man will be off to war. It interpreted a father’s pain for his soldier son, too. Seamus Kennedy has his own rendition of this song. The song entitled Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye (in early 1900) is also a famous Caoineadh song sang by famous singers like Karan Casey and Joan Baez. Unlike Danny Boy, this song is against war.

Mildred K. Pearson

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