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Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs

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GUEST,Les the thread jumper 27 Apr 03 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,PJ Curtis 27 Apr 03 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Les the thread jumper 27 Apr 03 - 06:09 AM
GUEST 27 Apr 03 - 10:58 AM
Charley Noble 27 Apr 03 - 12:27 PM
belfast 27 Apr 03 - 01:54 PM
CraigS 27 Apr 03 - 07:08 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 03 - 07:57 PM
belfast 28 Apr 03 - 06:20 AM
IanC 28 Apr 03 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Les the thread jumper 28 Apr 03 - 02:44 PM
Liam's Brother 28 Apr 03 - 09:54 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 03 - 10:43 PM
belfast 29 Apr 03 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Claire 29 Apr 03 - 03:44 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Apr 03 - 10:09 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 03 - 10:25 PM
GUEST,The Curator 09 Mar 05 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,The Curator 09 Mar 05 - 08:37 AM
Brakn 09 Mar 05 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,mick 09 Mar 05 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,The Curator 09 Mar 05 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh 09 Mar 05 - 12:17 PM
PoppaGator 09 Mar 05 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Claire Z 09 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 09 Mar 05 - 04:35 PM
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Subject: Irish Folk Songs and Irish Music Hall so
From: GUEST,Les the thread jumper
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 04:30 AM

Without wanting to be too purist about what is and what is not a Folk song, do many songs we call Irish Folk songs have their origin in Irish Music Halls? If this is the case does an achive of such songs exist and does it contain lots more songs we may not have heard?


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs and Irish Music Hall so
From: GUEST,PJ Curtis
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 05:19 AM

Dear Les,
The great legacy of folk and traditional songs that originate in Ireland have no connection with Music Hall as there never was no tradition of music hall in Ireland. (other than theatre in Dublin) There were , however many songs which gained popularity in the USA (Ill Take You Home Again Kathleen/ Galway Bay/ Does Your Mother Come From Ireland/ How Are Things In Glockamarra etc) in and around the turn of the 19th/20th century where 1st generation Irish and Irish/Americans performed in American music hall and vaudville.
pjc


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs and Irish Music Hall so
From: GUEST,Les the thread jumper
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 06:09 AM

Thanks PJ. Only in Dublin? I am not doubting you, I guess it's an easy thing to find out. The reason I raise the question is, that many of the funny songs that people like the Clancy's recorded in the 60s and 70's seem very tightly constructed with lots of clever word play and internal rhymes etc. and sound more like the product of a literate tradition rather than an oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs and Irish Music Hall so
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 10:58 AM

Hi Les,
The tradition from which the Clancy Bros drew their vast repertoire was the product of a vibrant oral (rural and urban) inheritance which drew from local traditional songs, stories and poetry in both the English and Irish language. Every locality had at least one bard-poet/song-maker who praised, satirised and pilloried. . There are many (Con Fada O'Driscoll from Cork comes to mind) who continue this tradition today.
The professional travelling musicians who would have played at fairs, hurling matches and other such social occassions, would also have been songmakers who carried their music and songs from place to place. Other songs came in from England and Scotland...but I can assure you that music hall did not exist for 95% of the population.
Yes, there was theatre in Dublin and Cork in which some of these songs were sung but for the most part they were to be heard at house dances and parties, pubs and ceilies.
I dont give the whole picture of course but perhaps other will add to this thread.
pj

I


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 12:27 PM

Seems like another thread where blanket assertions will not hold water, to mix metaphors.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: belfast
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 01:54 PM

Although PJCurtis is certainly correct in emphasizing the private party as a major forum for performance I suspect that he is underestimating the extent to which concerts and variety performances of all forms pervaded the country at the end of the 19th century. Johnny Patterson, for example, wrote very much in the music hall tradition – "The garden where the praties grow", "Off to Philadelphia in the morning" and so on. Mind you, I think he actually performed in, of all things, a circus. As a clown. And he also played the pipes. But my point is that every town had a hall (many of which were later converted to cinemas) in which all kinds of entertainment were presented – from straight theatre to musical concerts.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: CraigS
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 07:08 PM

You've also got to remember that not a lot happens in Ireland - so all the local newspapers tend to put out song lyrics, which are usually absorbed into the tradition if they are good enough. The Irish Post does a special Christmas number with the best songs of the year published in it. And there are an awful lot of songs written by ex-pat Irishmen on building sites in London because they can't find anything better to do (eg. And down the glen came MacAlpine's men). My memory says that there were two theatres in Dublin, and one in Cork, in Victorian times. But most "music hall" performances were staged in geggies (portable tented theatres) that travelled the country staging performances at 1d per person, 1/2d for children - so while the shows were there, the music halls were not.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 03 - 07:57 PM

By 1875 there were over three hundred music halls in London alone, with hundreds more scattered across the British Isles. Frequently named The Empire or The Hippodrome, they became favorite hangouts for people of every class and persuasion. In time, all music hall performances followed a basic format.

Considering that in the latter 19th early 20th centuries, all of Ireland was still a part of the British empire, and considering the banjo was likely introduced to Ireland in the wake of mid 19th century tour of England and Ireland by the American Irish minstrel group the Virginia Minstrels, I'd say there likely was something closely resembling the Victorian and American music hall traditions in Ireland in that era. However, very little research on the music hall/vaudeville/minstrel traditions have been done in Ireland. There wouldn't be very many musicians involved in traditional music in Ireland who would be knowledgeable about the history of the music hall and minstrel traditions.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: belfast
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 06:20 AM

There is a website which concerns itself with the lost theatres and music halls in Ireland.
Lost theatres of Ireland
As you can see, there were quite a lot of them.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: IanC
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 11:48 AM

Hi!

Based on GUEST's 27/4 10:58 post, I thought I'd do a quick survey which might give some idea of the tradition The Clancys actually drew on. This is based on 100 songs *randomly* selected from the albums in a "Clancys" discography.

The origin of their songs fall out roughly as follows:

21% Irish traditional, including 5 "rebel" and 1 "orange" song
14% Irish modern, including 4 "rebel" and 6 "music hall" songs
16% General UK/Eire traditional songs
14% English traditional
4% English modern including 2 "music hall" songs
6% Scottish traditional
3% Scottish modern
3% Ewan MacColl songs
2% Australian
2% from the USA


The remaining 15%, couldn't be sourced in the time I had available (i.e. Unknown).

This being a quick survey, I had to take "accepted" origins (like "The Nightingale" is English) and neither can I be certain of its accuracy in other ways, but I'd be willing to bet it's not far out. "Irish" music hall songs would, by the way, have been written for the English music hall too, as they were very popular at the time.

For another project, I once did a survey of the direct origin (i.e. what book or person they got songs from and where that song was collected) of all The Dubliners' songs to 1975. The Clancys have, not unexpectedly, a very much higher Irish content. The Dubliners were pretty honest about their sources and so getting the information was easier than you might think (though it still took some days' work). Surprisingly to me at any rate, they had about 20% Irish songs (mainly "rebel songs, and most of these of modern origin), 70% from English sources (including almost all of their traditional songs) and 10% from other sources (including Scotland). One of their best sources, early on, was a book called "This Singing Island".

:-)


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,Les the thread jumper
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:44 PM

thanks very much to you all, this really shows the power of the Mudcat. I would like to dig a little deaper.

A number of people have described a very rich culture of music and song in Ireland passing on old songs and generating new ones and it illustrates the continuum of music from art music, written anew by musically educated people to the oral tradition of the reshaping of songs and tunes by largely musically uneducated people.

I was most taken by Craig's point about thr role of newspapers in publishing songs. Does an achive of these newspapers exist? If so who can get their first to re-discover this treasure trove, duly crediting sources of course?


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 09:54 PM

The influence of the musical theatre on the Irish folk song tradition could fill a book let alone a Mudcat thread post.

I've been looking at Irish-American songs from vaudeville theatres and the (earlier) concert saloons for a few years now. Some New York stage songs that entered tradition include "Finigan's Wake," "Muldoon, the Solid Man" and "Get Up, Jack, John Sit Down." They are of 1860 to 1885 vintage.

Not all the traditional singers I've met think of themselves as static entities, meaning they are very open to learning new songs from outside their communities. Folk songs spread by singers from one place learning songs from another place. Sometimes that happened because people went away to work... sometimes travelers such as vaudevillians, ballad sellers and laborers brought new songs to other areas... sometimes people got songs from the printed page.

The Clancys were all actors as much as singers. They were looking for songs that would get the desired response from an audience. Songs did not have to pass a purity test to get into the Clancy's repertoire.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 10:43 PM

Dublin man Frank Harte would be a good one for the songs.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: belfast
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 09:44 AM

Les, the originator of this thread, mentions the "continuum of song". As an insight into the continuum have a look at Joyce's "The Dead". Two songs are thematically important in the story, one is "Arrayed for the bridal" (by Bellini?) and the other is "The Lass of Aughrim". The two songs, the operatic aria and the folk ballad, appear, as it were, side by side. There is no suggestion of hierarchy or even a hint that one is better than the other. Indeed there isn't even a suggestion that these are two different types of song.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:44 PM

Thanks again to all of you and to mudcat for this great conversation.

Here is what I can add. Early ballads were also published as broadsheets or as uncut booklets (basically a folded broadsheets). As I recall, these were published in the 17th-19th century's and were cheap and accessible. All classes could afford them. They generally had pictures and were sometimes used as wall coverings, or for less pure uses in the Loo after they were read.   Often a printer would change just a bit of the song and republish the song with a new name, so that they could sell another "different" song. I can't imagine that some of this material did not get out to rural Ireland.

On a philosophical level, where does that put our traditional songs, which many consider more pure than the driven snow, and certainly untainted by the music hall or broadsheet world. I can imagine a broadsheet finding its way to a nook of Ireland, changing over the years through faulty memory or intentional "improvements", then a tune change because it sounds so much nicer with that "jig" learned in child hood, and there you go.... voila.... a traditional song.

As a singer, I seek out traditional material, and I have to admit that I would find it dissappointing to find out that the person I have been identifying with in the song, was a figment of a London printer's imagination. However, all those people that preserved the songs, through singing them generation after generation are part of the song too, and it must have struck a chord with them. That is good enough for me.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 10:09 PM

Sam Henry published a wealth of music in his newspaper column. THere's a superb collection (The Sam Henry Collection) compiled and edited by Gale Huntington. Lani Herrmann and John Moulden. It's out of print, but copies are available from John and/or Lani.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 10:25 PM

There was a shortage of formal Music halls, as in England, but every church, Chapel, meeting place, including pubs, had concerts where the locals, and maybe one outsider, would Do thier 'party pieces' many of which were "hand me downs for generations" more amatuerish than across the water but more true.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,The Curator
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:34 AM


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,The Curator
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:37 AM

Can anyone give me the words to DOES YOUR MOTHER COME FROM IRELAND. Many thanks


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: Brakn
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 08:59 AM

See this thread.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,mick
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 09:51 AM

Wouldn't percy French's songs be "music hall" -and things like Finnegan's Wake , Johnny McEldo and.......? A list is clearly required Mudcatters ,another list . List them all!


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,The Curator
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 10:07 AM

Thanks Brakn. Great Job.


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 12:17 PM

Les, you said at the beginning of this thread that some songs because of internal rhyming etc sound as if they come from more of a literate tradition rather than an oral tradition.
A lot of songs that we sing today have gone through many changes because most of them have been passed on to singers who have learned them from the singing of other singers.In doing so a word, line and even a verse will completely change and the more a song is passed on the chances are it will eventually sound like a different song. Even the air will change. I have collected songs for almost thirty years and have changed a few myself. Another reason that songs have internal rhyming and may sound as if they come from a literate tradition could possibly be that we had educated folk back two or three hundred years ago, what of the 'Weaver Poets'
Just a point or two.
cheers eoin


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 01:53 PM

"Internal rhymes" were a prominent characteristic of Irish-language poetry for centuries, equally important (or even more important) than the end-of-a-line rhyme schemes familiar to English speakers.

I'm no expert; I can't cite examples and indeed do not know a word of Irish. (Well, except for "Slainte"!) However, this is something I've read in more than one book, something upon which many experts agree.

With internal rhyming as a common practice in Irish/Gaelic poetry, dating back to pre-literate times when all songs and poems were passed along orally, it would seem that Irish oral traditions would include plenty of internally-rhymed songs, and that internal rhyming would not indicate a non-traditional source ~ quite the contrary!


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: GUEST,Claire Z
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 03:23 PM

So,I am reading this thread, and there is my name - I guess I wrote to this thread about 2 years ago - isn't that a hoot? Also, I still agree with my post -guess things haven't changed that much for me on this topic.

I am writing again because of the mention of Percy French. Last fall I learned a several of his songs, for their crowd satisfaction element. They really strike a chord with our local Irish community. I think he is a great lyricist, but his melodies borrow heavily from the music hall tradition, making them sing-along-able, but pretty vocally uninteresting and melodically uninteresting for a band to back up. Still, Percy French is a big part of the Irish sing-along tradition. Maybe we should start a new category of Irish songs... the sean nos, trad songs, and sing-along trad songs. FYI There is a Percy French site that you can google and there is a Percy French song book too.

Ok, back to work,

Claire Z


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Subject: RE: Irish Folk Songs & Irish Music Hall Songs
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 04:35 PM

Les,
The reason I raise the question is, that many of the funny songs that people like the Clancy's recorded in the 60s and 70's seem very tightly constructed with lots of clever word play and internal rhymes etc. and sound more like the product of a literate tradition rather than an oral tradition.

An ORAL TRADITION does not necessarily equate to SIMPLE songs/tunes. The Bardic tradition of Ireland and Scotland has NEVER been equalled. The Bards of Scotland, IReland, Wales, and other Celtic countries were among the most prized and talented people in those regions. The tradition of Bards goes back at least 1500 years.

These were the people who travelled across the breadth of the land passing on the messages of one region to another, swapping the news, etc. Their memories were highly developed and could keep thousands of songs and stories accurately for many decades. The greatest and the least of them were welcomed at anyone's hearth and table, and in particular that of the lords of the lands. Even then, the powers-that-be had need of the publicity machine. You may remember that most of the people of the time, including the nobility could not read or write. The PRIESTS as well as the BARDS were the only ones who could. However, due to the travelling needs, Bards needed to keep the information in their heads. It's hard enough travelling with your instrument(s), and clothing and what little food they might keep handy, but to include books or parchment would have been difficult.

Even then, people listening would have been attracted to clever word-play and such, as we do in the here-and-now.


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