Publisher Museyon have kindly given me permission to reproduce a small part of my contribution to their new book ‘Music and Travel: Touring the World through Sites and Sounds’ on my own website. In the book, writers and artists with insight into particular musical scenes give a guidebook style tour through their city, describing the music, it’s origin and where to go and see it. My own part describes the trad. influenced punk scene in Dublin (and beyond), exploring bands like Blood Or Whiskey, Thin Lizzy, The Pogues, The Dubliners and Paranoid Visions. Here is a brief taste of what to expect:

The roots of Celtic Punk date back to 18th-century agricultural Ireland, where—as a break from lamenting British imperialism— folk music helped pass the drizzly winters. Much of this was first performed by solo singers, but by the time it drifted to Dublin, piercing penny whistles, staccato fiddles, and twanging banjos had been added to the heartfelt vocals. At its peak in the late 1950s, Irish folk music was an international success, and more orchestral acts like the Dubliners and the Chieftains created a spinoff genre, Celtic Fusion.

Famine, war, and economics have long led the Irish to travel—often within the bosom of their Imperial neighbor—and it was amongst expats that Celtic Punk took shape. In the 70s and 80s émigrés gathered in London’s Irish bars, celebrating their heritage with traditional music nights. Around the same time, of course, punk rock was being imported across the pond from New York City. Acts like the Pogues (a London-based group with Irish heritage) and the Skids (based in Fife, Scotland) were the first to combine the propulsive drumming and rich melodic clatter of Celtic folk with the full on electric assault of punk. The Pogues in particular made a big impact: it didn’t take long for their sound, essentially the template for Celtic Punk, to return to its spiritual home.

If that taster’s wet your appetite, then you’re going to have to hold your breath until the end of the month (disclaimer: I’ll not be held responsible if you take that literally), when the book will be released, for more. Other scenes are set to include Indipop, Berlin Trance and the haunting sounds of Istanbul.

You can order the title on pre-release here (UK – Amazon)

or here (US – Direct from the publisher)

Exert copyright Museyon Guidebooks New York, 2009.


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