Rónán Ó Snodaigh plays bodhrán, the Irish frame drum. For most traditional Irish musicians bodhrán's are the bane of their existence, often played poorly by people who can do nothing else, but in Rónán's hands, the bódhrán is a expressive instrument brought to life by a master who is willing to show you how to really play it. [more inside]
"Surprisingly, Black Books has no affliction with the BBC whatsoever; created by Dylan Moran (who also plays the lead) and Graham Linehan, the show was filmed at Teddington Studios and broadcast on Channel 4. It centers around Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), the careless, grumpy, wine-inhaling owner of Black Books, his friend Fran (Tamsin Greig) and his assistant shop keeper Manny (Bill Bailey). Specked with a few fun cameos by people not yet famous at the time, this show is a hilarious roller coaster ride that will make you laugh until you cry." Black Books: 4 Reasons the British Sitcom Remains a Classic [more inside]
"An unusual article recently appeared in the magazine of the Royal Statistical Society and American Statistical Association. It featured web-like diagrams of lines connecting nodes, a hallmark of research that analyzes networks. But each node, rather than being a plain dot, was the head of a burly, red-bearded Viking sporting a horned hat, his tresses blowing in the wind." [more inside]
The Roader’s Digest is ‘the most complete archive of information on the British and Irish road networks on the web.’ from the A1 to the R999; from the B3306 to the B855, they probably have a description of it. [more inside]
The Dead Zoo Gang "Over the last several years, millions of dollars worth of antique rhino horns have been stolen from natural history museum collections around the world. The only thing more unusual than the crimes is the theory about who is responsible: A handful of families from rural Ireland known as the Rathkeale Rovers." (Via)
Delivering ten-minute chunks of surreal Irish humor, Soupy Norman may be the best series you've never seen. [more inside]
The Bluffer's guide to Irish folk: 20 songs from the last 50-odd years of Irish traditional music.
A translated version of Avicii's "Wake Me Up" recently broke the record for highest number of views for an Irish language video. It's just the most popular example of the headline-grabbing music videos being made at Coláiste Lurgan, an Irish language summer school for teenagers. Their other popular videos include An tAdh 'Nocht (Get Lucky), Tóg Amach Mé (Wagon Wheel), Pompeii, and Amhrán na gCupán (When I'm Gone). Interview with the school's manager here, setting out his mission. See more songs on YouTube and Bandcamp.
What Is Going on With the Accents in Game of Thrones? Gawker beanplates the accents used on-screen by the actors in Game of Thrones. Like most fantasy television shows, Game of Thrones is largely populated by English actors speaking with English accents. This is because Americans are still unconvinced that England is a real country, and associate English speech patterns with kings and magic and sorcery and frequent stabbings. [more inside]
The new James Joyce commemorative coin has a typo. "While the error is regretted, it should be noted that the coin is an artistic representation of the author and text and not intended as a literal representation."
"[The Loyal Yiddish Sons of Erin]'s biggest event was the annual Erev St. Patrick's Day Banquet. It was a formal gala at the Americana Hotel, complete with a big band, kosher corned beef and green bagels." American-Irish-Jews still celebrate St. Patrick's Day: “It’s an American-Irish holiday, surely not Jewish. It has nothing to do with Jewish people. But I’m Irish, and I have a feeling for it.” [more inside]
folkinfo.org is a database of English-language folk songs. Each song is listed with its respective lyrics, sheet music, Roud Index number, midi file, and historical information. The database also provides song information in abc notation. Placed into an abc converter, one can generate sheet music in a variety of forms and scales.
Perhaps the greatest Irish band in history. They came from Liverpool, a city with an Irish population so large that it's known as "The Real Capitol of Ireland," and with an accent, "Scouse," that betrays its Irish influence. There were four in the band, and three were of Irish descent. [more inside]
"Dead Bears" is a photographic collection by artist Michael Fortune documenting the regional Irish habit of erecting stuff animals wearing local Gaelic sporting colours as territorial markers. [more inside]
After more than 15 years on hiatus, the punk-spawned, world-music-defining Dead Can Dance released their eighth album Anastasis one month ago. The reunited act are on a world tour. [more inside]
A girl upon the shore did ask a favour of the sea;For nearly 20 years, Newfoundland group Great Big Sea have been creating acoustic Celtic folk-rock covers and interpretations of traditional Newfoundland and Labrador sea shanties, folk, fishing and party songs, which draw from the island's rich 500-year-old multicultural (Irish, English, Scottish and French) heritage. [more inside]
"Return my blue eyed sailor boy safely back to me.
Forgive me if I ask too much, I will not ask for more,
but I shall weep until he sleeps safe upon the shore."
"Over in Ireland, mention Chris ‘The Viper’ Tordoff of the Hardy Bucks, and everyone immediately thinks comedy. But when Tordoff’s mock-commentary of Olympic sailing went viral" (video, 3 1/2 min.) "most international media failed to get the joke." Often compared to the Canadian hit TV show Trailer Park Boys (previously here & here), Hardy Bucks is an Irish mockumentary TV show "set in a small town in West Ireland, following the misadventures of five hapless men down on their luck, trying to leave their backwards rural hometown and attempt to reach Galway to sample modern civilization". As a series of largely improvised webisodes, it went on to win the 2009 Storyland competition held by Irish national broadcaster RTÉ, which then commissioned nine TV episodes (two seasons) and a Xmas special. [more inside]
What kind of an Eeget are ya? Not sure what MeFi will make of this wry little monologue, or indeed what the World-Wide World will make of the chap's accent, but it has humour, and truth, and I know plenty of people who 'spake' just like that...
O'Brien is tryin' to learn to talk Hawai'ian / To his Honolulu Lou / He's sighin' and cryin' / And all the time he's tryin' / Just to say "I love you true" / He's sighin' and lyin' in Irish and Hawai'ian / To his wife and Lulu, too . . Meanwhile, another gent from the Emerald Isle was indulging in blissful fantasy: Sure the shamrocks were growing on Broadway / Every girl was an Irish colleen / And the town of New York was the county of Cork / All the buildings were painted green / 'twas only an Irishman's dream. Happy St. Patrick's Day! [more inside]
Hailed as heroes in Mexico for fighting with and defending the country against American invasion and reviled as traitors in the US for desertion, about 50 Irish immigrants were hung en masse after defeat in the Mexican-American War. A musical collaboration by The Chieftains, Ry Cooder and Latino musicians tell the history of the 'San Patricios'. (Related NPR story) For more background on the San Patricios, the fascinating documentary Saol John Riley, part 1 and part 2 follows Kerry singer songwriter Charlie O'Brien as he revisits sites associated with Patricio leader John Riley to discover the revolutionary hero's fate. [more inside]
Conceived at the Global Irish Economic Forum in 2009 as a way to engage with the Irish diaspora, the Irish government's Certificate of Irish Heritage program opened to applicants this fall. The €40 (€100 framed) certificate is a document that officially recognizes one's Irish heritage, and is aimed at those with Irish ancestry who do not qualify for Irish citizenship. Though initial reports indicated some tourist discounts would be attached, it confers no legal or financial benefits. [more inside]
"So I admire those artists that are actually spiritually concerned. And have the balls to be concerned about that, and not concerned with fuckin’ George Bush’s dick. It’s very hard to sing when you’ve got someone’s dick in your mouth.” She shoots a mischievous grin before adding, 'I’ve tried.'" Sinéad O’Connor on the pope, her music, dating, buying condoms, and everything in between.
Toward the Within is the only official live album of the eclectic music group, Dead Can Dance. Recorded in one take in November of 1993, the performance was later released as an album and video. The latter includes short interviews with the heads of the group, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, interspersed with the songs.
Video track list: [more inside]
Video track list: [more inside]
This is not an attempt to tweet mindlessly the entire contents of Ulysses, word-for-word, 140 characters at a time. That would be dull and impossible. What is proposed here is a recasting or a reimagining of the reading experience of this novel, start to finish, within the confines of a day-long series of tweets from a global volunteer army of Joyce-sodden tweeps. (previously!)
Irish dancing flash mob in Sydney's Central Station. The dancers included twenty members of the Riverdance show and dancers from local Irish dancing schools.
"Today we're talking to a real Irishman about the financial crisis in Ireland - so what exactly is going on over there?" "Do you really want to know? Well I'll tell you" A remarkable and succint description of where we are post global recession. Warning - quite sweary.
Twenty-four different accents in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT)
Molly Malone may have been selling more than cockles and mussels out of that wheel barrow. The Guardian reports on a recently rediscovered bawdier version of the song from about 1790. Google Books has a version from 1816 that looks similar (p. 194).
Iris Robinson [wiki] is, at the time of writing, under acute psychiatric care in a Belfast hospital, after a BBC Northern Ireland documentary revealed that she had, at the age of 59, solicited £50,000 from two property developers to help fund a business run by her 19-year-old lover, Kirk McCambley.
Since 1980, the Celtic Media Festival has brought together people who broadcast, and now Webcast, in Celtic languages. Videoblog Gwagenn.TV provides a report (with autoplaying video) from the 2009 festival whose clips and interviews are spoken and subtitled variously in Breton, French, English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish, Catalan, and Basque, not all of which are actually Celtic. [more inside]
Shane MacGowan is the face and name most often associated with The Pogues. Unraveling Shane's psyche would require a book-length study but the crux of his identity lies somewhere in that conflict between English experience and Irish heritage. The abbreviated story of his life starts with his birth in England, but he was raised in Ireland, and moved back to England some years later. He won a scholarship to the renowned Westminster School, where he was possibly enrolled alongside Thomas Dolby and other notable people. MacGowan was involved with drugs and publicized hooliganery before being in a band, the first of which was The Nipple Erectors in 1977. [more inside]
Where do you wanna meet, Fahey's Bar or the Dragon Lounge? How an ordinary San Francisco bar adapted to shifting demographics by developing a dual personality.
The Táin lithographs In 1967 Louis le Brocquy was commissioned to illustrate Thomas Kinsella's translation of the great Irish prose epic the Táin Bó Cuailnge. The resulting collaborative volume is widely acknowledged as the great Irish Livre d'Artiste of the twentieth century; Le Brocquy's "brush drawings merged seamlessly with the text; stark, fluent images, they expressed with great economy of means an epic breadth, evoking the movement of vast masses of people. Individual participants in the drama were also pulled into close focus."
Today marks the first National Famine Memorial Day in Skibbereen, Co. Cork. Actually the first day in a week of activities (.pdf), Skibbereen was one of many areas in western Ireland hard-hit by the famine (or Great Hunger). [more inside]
The Bothy Band - Ireland's finest traditional folk ensemble - rip it up in 1977. (SLYT) [more inside]
During a vacation in Ireland this past February, I bought an album of music by Shaun Davey, called "Beal Tuinne". I hadn't heard a single cut (but you can!), but a gent at the CD table at the Seamus Begley concert said it was the best Irish music CD in a decade. [more inside]
Write Your Own Irish Memoir! Francesco Marciuliano, creator of Medium Large and writer for Sally Forth presents his Irish Memoir generator I Can't Find Me Legs: A Tale of Growing Up Poor, Catholic and Eventually Blind in Ireland.
In Mamas Kitchen was born in the experience of living in New York where a bodega exists within blocks of a Jewish deli which is around the corner from an Italian salumeria which shares space with Chinatown which abuts Soho's gourmet stores. While this speaks of the legendary variety available in New York, it also tells of similarity, for in every bodega, every salumeria is someone shopping for the food that sustains physical life with a recipe that nourishes our hearts.
At One Minute Languages you can learn greetings, talking about names, counting, and more in Catalan, Danish, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Luxembourgish, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.
Virtual Vaudeville [shockwave] Watch a 3D simulation of legendary comedian Frank Bush in a vaudeville performance from a variety of perspectives. Switch between any of eight perspectives at any time and read the extensive hypermedia notes to gain a richer understanding of the performance in its historical context.
Frank Harte is considered to be one of the greatest balladeers and song collectors in the Irish musical tradition. He specialized in the songs of Dublin City and saw himself as a "storyteller in song". [more inside]
In Parentheses is a collection of many ancient, medieval and classic texts from all over the world, many of whom are hard to find anywhere, let alone on the internet. There are translations from Greek, Old Norse, Medieval Irish, Japanese, Incan, Old French, Medieval Latin and many more! As well as all that they have papers in medieval studies and vaguely decadent and orientalism series. Adding to that there's a linguistics section with wordlists and language flash cards in languages such as Icelandic, Quechua, Basque, Classical Armenian and a whole bunch more. [flashcard links go to pdf files]
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