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Exploring the session space

12 ‘Traditional Irish music here tonight’: exploring the session space Daithí Kearney It is a Tuesday night, November 2010, approaching half past nine in a bar in east Cork. Two television screens show European Champions League soccer matches featuring teams from the English Premier League. A scattering of people are gathered around watching with varied levels of interest; many are regulars in that they come here when the team they support is playing, or simply for a quiet pint. Séamus, the manager, is behind the bar, greeting many by name and knows their drinks

in Spacing Ireland
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Place, society and culture in a post-boom era

Ireland is a turbulent place. This book engages readers with the contours of transformation of Irish society through a series of distinct episodes and sites where change can be confronted. The content of the book intersects with the boom and bust themes to explore the economic and social implications of the recession. The processes are as diverse as cross-border development, farming knowledges, food movements, and the evolution of traditional Irish music. The modernisation of Irish society during the Celtic Tiger and its subsequent demise was a 'spatial drama' involving transformation in the material landscape and the imaginative representation of the island. The first part of the book explores the revolving intersections of identity politics with place. It tracks the discovery of the ghost estate and the ways in which it has been implicated in debates about the Irish economic crash, complicating ideas of home and community. After a discussion on immigration, the book discusses the role of migrants in filling labour and skill shortages. The second part pays attention to questions of mobility and consumption in urban and rural contexts. The new Irish motorway network, free time, leisure and holidaying in the lives of lone parents during the Celtic Tiger, and the role of National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) are discussed. The third part explores diverse cultural practices and some longstanding representations of Ireland. An autobiographical tour of the pub session, National Geographic's representations of Irish landscape and the current Irish imagination are the key concepts of this part.

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The story of a voice

The chapter concentrates on the music of Sinéad O’Connor, encompassing all her albums from The lion and the cobra up to I’m not bossy, I’m the boss, with particular attention to key songs and video performances. It analyses her extraordinary vocal performances in relation to ideas about femininity in traditional Irish music and in popular music. It considers the evolution and significance of her image, especially her rejection of aspects of conventional feminine beauty. Her treatment of trauma, Catholicism, colonialism and her protests against child abuse are also detailed here. The chapter traces an ongoing negotiation in her work between the individual female artist and the idea of the collective.

in Five Irish women
Open Access (free)
Crossing the margins

. Crucially, analysis would also need to engage with the potential for traditional music to create ‘spatial illusions’ (Tuan 1977: 14) – for example, the association (in much contemporary cinematic discourse) of certain instruments with certain landscapes. The methodological economy of politics/poetics has its parallels in other critical and cultural fields. But the real point is that, as this example shows, the spatial imagination might prove beneficial for archipelagic studies. Traditional Irish music could be profitably compared in these terms to other ‘traditional

in Across the margins
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that can bring them honour and respect. The history of cultural distinction, of new influences and changing styles, from both inside and outside the country, is exemplified in traditional Irish music. While we might think something is completely indigenous, it is more often a mélange of local and global music flows. It was the ways in which performers were open to outside influences, particularly how they incorporated ‘foreign’ instruments which flowed into Ireland, and the ways in which they combined these with local and regional styles, that became central to the

in Are the Irish different?
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between the US and Europe. Traditional Irish music has similar international connections. Migrants from Ireland to the US in the early twentieth century, such as fiddle players Michael Coleman and Paddy Killoran, were among the first to have their music and style of playing recorded (Spencer 2010). Those recordings preserved particular forms of traditional Irish music that, in turn, were copied in Ireland and elsewhere. For example, Scott Spencer suggests that since most of the early recorded fiddlers were from Sligo, the Sligo style has now become dominant around the

in Ireland and migration in the twenty-first century
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Geographies of the post-boom era

varying extents with the boom and bust themes to explore the economic and social implications of the recession in terms of processes as diverse as cross-border development, farming knowledges, food movements, and the evolution of traditional Irish music. Observations on the overarching theme of ‘change’ run through the case studies and topics addressed in this collection, which are also attentive to the relationships between space, place, landscape, identity and society. In both historical phases – boom and bust – the modernisation of Irish society during the Celtic

in Spacing Ireland

and lived out within male workplaces, community pubs and clubs and at Gaelic games. A specific diasporian gendered way of life was constructed based on a male-dominated hierarchical Catholic Church and an Irish nationalist politics. This was marked by the playing of the national anthem at public gatherings and the obligatory response in terms of a military-style stance, the high visibility of the Irish flag, the tricolour, at social events, the consumption of traditional Irish music, recalling the blood sacrifices of male Irish heroes and the 4147 Inglis–Are the

in Are the Irish different?

critic put it. If we are not to fall back on mystical notions of ‘national culture’, we must begin with the cultural political economy of globalisation in seeking an explanation. I find it helpful to start my alternative reading with a travel story of my own. If you were to visit Ireland you might wish to travel with ‘Ireland’s cheap fares airline’, Ryanair. If you made a telephone booking you would be politely put on hold and left listening to the rousing theme music from Riverdance, as much flamenco and Broadway as ‘traditionalIrish music. From this postmodern

in The end of Irish history?
Childhood visits to Ireland by the second generation in England

or hurling match going on, we were never invited. Then he would come over and pick us up. It sounds almost like an immersion, let’s take these children and immerse them in their own culture. I don’t think it was, it was like Sunday school and Saturday morning pictures. They were just glad to get us off their hands, convenient, childcare basically. It wasn’t for Irish culture, as you wouldn’t find it there anyway, certainly not the popular conception of Irish culture. There was no traditional Irish music, if you heard anything you would hear country and western

in Migrations