I thought that this may be of interest, the topic of
Irish/Traditional music and politics has been discussed
on IrTrad-L before..
---------------------------- Text of forwarded message -----------------------
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 1994 19:11:09 -0500
Sender: Discussion About News and Articles From and About Ireland
<[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The Language Question
WN: Can you say anything about the resurgence of Irish
traditional culture, language and music, particularly
in the North? Is there a danger, as some have suggested,
that it may be an alienating factor between the nationalist
and loyalist communities?
BDM: You know, I'm tempted to take a hard line on the last
question and say I don't care if it is. I've had it though..
(I've removed text more relative to the Northern problems)
(as not to offend anyone on IrTrad-L)
Yes, there has been, from the time of the hunger strike, a
very dramatic resurgence of Irish culture. And I think that,
while the seeds of it were always there, with people like myself
people like Gerry Adams--I mean I've been able to speak the
Irish language since I was eleven, and my cultural ties go
back much longer than my political ties. I was reared as a child
on Ireland's culture. The fact that it has become outwardly
popular again--my own belief was because of the intensity of
the communal grief at the time of the hunger strike and the
need to find some way of expressing that. That's the only way
that I can explain the explosion of the search for a means
of expressing a nation's grief. We couldn't find enough language
teachers to keep up with the demand in the community for Irish
language classes. Every town, every village, every street, every
small community had people who wanted to learn the fiddle, the
tinwhistle, the bodhran.
Nobody orchestrated it. It seemed like after years and years in
which people, like myself who were in the minority in the
language movement and in Comhaltas Eireann and all the groups
plodding away at retaining the cultural aspect, it all of a
sudden exploded and we couldn't keep it down. Now you can go to
a bar in Belfast and sit down and find more people who wear a
*fainne* (a very small gold circle that indicates you are
bilingual); you can sit down and speak to people in Irish, but
now we hear that our speaking Irish is upsetting our Protestant
neighbors! Well, it wouldn't upset them if they'd learn to
speak it themselves!
(more text deleted) ... there are many
Protestants who are involved in Irish music and Irish culture and
Irish language and *have been* long before this present 20 year
phase of struggle and they have maintained that involvement right
through 20 years of political upheaval. It doesn't offend them
in the least.
(more deleted text)
... why suppress our national culture in the
interest of the working class, when, again, it's not our national
culture that is dividing the working class?
(BDM is Bernadette Devlin-MacCaliskey)
This touched on traditional Irish music .. I hope I've offended none.