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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Stavanger Bill Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive (243* d) RE: Which Irish Troubles Songs are Offensive 15 Nov 01

Hi Jed,

Good question and reading through the input you've received, I'd agree with everything said so far. The band that plays here in Stavanger do "rebel songs" but mostly from 1916 Easter Week Rising and before. A good song is a good song irrespective. There is a song called "Irish Molly" (totally a-political re text)which although a Dublin song, uses the same tune as the "Sash". One night the band started playing it and there was a group of about seven in from Ireland and before a word was sung they were up and off.

Matt McGinn used to get requests for "The Sash" and "Kevin Barry" at the same venue - he kept both quiet by singing "Kevin Barry" to the tune of "The Sash".

The funny thing about "Rebel" songs is that there only appears to be "sensitivity" in relation to Irish rebel songs. Some of the titles you list date back to the 1798 rebellion and I cannot for the life of me see how anyone could object to those and at the same time applaud Scottish songs relating to the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745. To me they are historical and generally uncensored glimpses of the times and events to which they refer.

One interesting example of how one of the "other sides" songs are adopted, is a Boer folk song called "Sarie Marais", this was a song that came to notice during the Boer War, as it was sung by Boer prisoners of war. Text was non-political the British in latter years not only stole the song but also the collective name of the people who sang it. "Sarie Marais" is the "regimental" march of the "Royal Marines Commando" (i.e. if you can have a regimental march without being a regiment??) "Life on the Ocean Wave" is the march of the Royal Marine Corps.

Ask the guy you are arranging the gig through if there are any prevailing sensitivities, what sort of material is normally played, then on the night just weigh up the audience and go for it.

Good luck and best wishes.


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