I'm fairly new to the list and am enjoying the postings immensely. Here's some
info I hope will be of use:
I've just finished directing a production of J M Synge's RIDERS TO THE SEA and
can draw a direct link between the wailing of the banshee and the caoine (keen)
of the old women for the dead. From what I gather of the caoine from Synge's
writings it is a chilling sound and only performed by women. For more info, I
suggest reading Synge's THE ARAN ISANDS; he has many descriptions of the
caoine as well as some of the Aran folklore re: the banshee.
WRENS and WRENBOYS:
I found John B. Keane's novel THE BODRHAN MAKERS to have wonderful descriptions
of the wrenboys and the wren dances of the 1950's. Also, The Chieftains'
album THE BELLS OF DUBLIN has several wrenboys tunes on it.
I have a three-cassette set called THE DUBLINERS COLLECTION that I was able to
purchase here in the states, and have seen several others of their albums
at some of the larger music stores.
Hope this is useful! - Jen