Irish Country Music - Accordion
The Accordion was invented by Friedrich Buschmann in 1822 in Berlin, Germany and was called the Handäoline. Cyrill Demian (1772–1847) of Vienna created another version of the accordion with buttons in 1829. His patent of the name 'Accordion' was officially granted in May 1829 and many credit Cyril Demian with the invention of the accordion while others give credit to Friedrich Buschmann's invention. Today there are many variations of the accordion, some with buttons and others with keyboards, essentially they are all constructed in a similar manner, two boxes separated by a bellows.
It is a very popular instrument in modern Irish country music and is available in different forms. The two row button accordion as shown in the picture below is popular with traditional Irish country accordion players. There are several types of accordions available, for example the Melodeon and Concertina versions are also popular in Irish traditional music as well as the piano accordion which is often played by marching bands popular all across Ireland. Traditionally the accordion was popular with the lower classes as opposed to the harp which was played more by the upper classes. The accordion comprises three components, these are:
The Bellows. These are squeezed which in turn pushes air through to the reeds
The Keys or Buttons. These are pressed producing the notes
The Reeds. The reeds vibrate inside the body of the accordion and make the sound
Traditional Irish Music - Image of a Traditional Irish Accordion
Irish Country Music - Tin Whistle
The tin whistle or metal whistle as shown in the image below is very popular in Irish country music and the whistles are made from a variety of materials including brass, steel and aluminium. Most Irish school children are taught to play the tin whistle, for most it is their first experience of playing a musical instrument.
Irish Country Music - Picture of an Irish Tin Whistle
Irish Cuntry Music - Fiddle
The fiddle is a vital component of Irish country music and it is played in a variety of styles depending on the region of Ireland where the fiddle is played. The regions of Ireland with particular fiddling traditions are Sligo, Donegal, Clare and Sliabh Luachra which is a small area between the counties of Kerry and Cork.
Irish Country Music - Picture of an Irish Fiddle (Gaelic: Fidil)
Irish Country Music History - Irish Diaspora
What is diaspora? Diaspora is defined as 'the movement or settlement of people away from their ancestral homeland'. The Irish Diaspora are descendants of the native Irish immigrants forced to move away from their native country for a variety of reasons including conflict and more recently in the 19th century due to the great Famine, known in Gaelic as 'An Gorta Mor'. The Irish diaspora spread all over the world and it is estimated that globally there are more than 80 million Irish Diaspora! Some are second or third generation Irish whilst others are fifth and sixth generation Irish! The Irish Diaspora have kept their culture, heritage and traditions alive through traditional music. St Patrick's day is a celebration of Irish culture and traditional Irish music forms a huge part of this now globally celebrated event.
List of Popular Irish Country Music Singers
Irish country music is famous all over the world and Irish country singers are like 'gods' in their native counties. Daniel O'Donnell from Kincasslagh in Country Donegal even has his own museum in the local town of Dungloe, County Donegal. Fans arrive everyday from England and America hoping to catch a glimpse of one of Donegal's most famous sons. The following list of country music singers is from this popular music genre:
Irish Country Music - Facts
Country and Irish developed as sub-genre to Irish folk music and its most successful performer is Daniel O'Donnell who achieved success in England, America and Australia
Bridie Gallagher is commonly known as 'Ireland's 1st International Pop Star'. She made Irish Folk music popular in 1956
Clannad, Sinead O'Connor, Van Morrison and Enya are responsible for making Irish folk songs popular in the late 20th century by creating a fusion between traditional Irish music and rock music
The word 'Jig' comes from the French word 'giguer' which means to jump
A light jig is the fastest of all the jigs, danced in ghillies (soft shoes). It is performed in 6/8 time
Slip jigs (performed in 9/8 time) are sometimes referred to as the 'Ballet of Irish Dance' as it is danced in soft shoes and dancers are mainly on their toes like they are in ballet
Single jigs are the least commonly performed jig and are usually in 6/8 but occasionally in 12/8 time
The reel is the most popular Irish dance followed in second place by the jig
The jig was developed in Ireland in the 17th Century
Treble Jigs are performed in hard or heavy shoes and are famous for the stomps and clicks made by the hard shoes
Margo was given the unofficial title of 'Queen of Country and Irish'
To date, Daniel O'Donnell has been the most successful artist in this genre
Daniel O'Donnell and Margo are both successful artists in the Irish Country Music genre, they are in fact brother and sister!
Irish Country Music