At least she didn’t wear white

9 12 2011

One of my favorite kooks in music, Sinead O’Connor, just tied the knot for the fourth time.  She donned a pink gown which was revealing enough to show her many tattoos.  That seems to be the part of the story the media is covering.

I’m more interested in Sinead as an artist.  There’s never been anyone like her and, as far as I’m concerned, there never will be.  She’s lead quite a crazy personal life and has some deep-seated personal issues — don’t we all to some degree? — that seem to surface with her eccentric behavior.  I’m surprised she’d do a Vegas wedding.  Perhaps, with the pink dress and tacky ceremony, she’s showing a more mainstream feminine side of herself.

I wish her the best this time around and hope she makes some more music soon.


La Fhéile Pádraig Shona Daoibh

17 03 2011

Looking around, reading people’s Facebook walls and posts, listening to the radio and listening to talk amongst my friends, it seems — and I recognize this is patently obvious — that St Patrick’s Day is about drinking. More broadly, for the average American, it’s about having fun.

My St Patrick’s day has evolved — and I’m not patting myself on the back or anything — from me drinking beer out of a plastic bowler hat and trying to pick up girls at the pub, to having a sip of whiskey, eating a nice meal, and sharing time with my wife and daughter.

Moreso than in my twenties, in the last few years, I’ve gotten fairly reflective on March 17. I wonder what it must have been like for my Irish ancestors to leave everything — they probably were leaving because there was nothing left for them in Ireland — to come to America. I imagine that would be pretty sad and quite stressful for them. I think it probably took guts to do that.

Unfortunately, those people are so long gone that I’ve never had a chance to hear their stories. I am left to make guesses about the lives they lived. Imagining their stories takes up much of my thoughts and feelings on SPD.

There’s little left for me of the party hard approach to St Patrick’s Day. Mostly, I don’t miss it, but a small part of me wishes it wasn’t Lent, that I had taken the day off work and hit the bars in downtown Detroit for an all day whiskey fest.

What I do have that I can celebrate is the music. It’s impossible to think about this day and not think about all the great music that came from, is inspired by or is about Ireland. Is there a nation that has better folk music than that tiny island?

Artists that have been and will be in heavy rotation today are Sinead O’Connor, the Pogues (I know they’re not really Irish), the Chieftains, and an assortment of lesser-known performers.

Irish music is the only music I’ve seen that can convey misery and the joy of life simultaneously. The music makes you glad to be alive and even grateful for the misery that sometimes comes with living.

If you’re celebrating the day, have a wonderful St Patrick’s Day. Crank some great music and love life.

Irish run Guns N’ Roses off the stage

3 09 2010

I’m not condoning the throwing of “missles” but it’s about time someone told Axl Rose he should be grown up enough to show up on time for work.

Against famine and the crown…

15 03 2010

St. Patrick’s Day, for good and bad, is very intense holiday. Heaped atop its sacred origins — a celebration of the Christianization of Ireland and, as a result, much of barbarian western Europe — are all the Yankee-Paddy traditions: paper shamrocks, bad green beer, silly hats, “Kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirts, and hundreds of thousands of non-Irish celebrating their Irishness by getting pissed.

I’ve moved from celebrating the day with loads of beer and whiskey to a more quiet, contemplative family meal. It sounds lame to some, I’m sure, but for us the day is more about reflecting on the great Irish and Irish-American people that came before us, that gave us the opportunities we have today. Without those brave souls who knows what sort of life my wife, daughter and I would be leading (assuming we were here at all.)

Still, I can’t resist some of the trappings of the day. A guilty pleasure of mine is listening to Dropkick Murphys. It’s cliche, I know, especially if you’re Boston-area Irish. But the Murphys are irresistible high-octane, Gaelic punk, and the only time it’s really fitting to listen to them is this time of year. This song, “Fields of Athenry,” is an old Irish rebel tune and one of my favorites by DM.

In the run up to the 17th

12 03 2010

St. Patrick’s Day, or Lá Fhéile Pádraig in Irish, is coming up next week.  Lots of the Irish-for-a-day crowd will be celebrating all weekend.  I’m not as into the holiday as I had been in years past.  Still, though, it means something to me.  I was thinking about the great Irish or at least Celtici-flavored music that I like and the Pogues came immediately to mind.  What a great band!  Too bad Shane Macgowan’s such a mess.  He’s a great vocalist (for that style.)  This song’s quite typical of the energy and quality of the Pogues’ work in their heyday.

Lennon’s and McCartney’s rebel songs

17 03 2009

In 1972, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney responded to the civil unrest (civil war, really) in Northern Ireland, “the Troubles,” by writing their own rebels songs.  Both Britons  essentially called for Britain to withdraw from the province, McCartney being a bit more straight forward in that regard.

Characteristically, McCartney softened the message with some positivity ( “Great Britain, you are tremendous, no one knows like like me…”) but Lennon went right for the throat (“A land full of beauty and wonder was raped by the British brigand! Goddamn! Goddamn!”)

McCartney has been accused of being the more conservative of the two former partners, but it’s pretty hard to argue that the call for withdrawal from Ireland, way back in 1972, was a conservative viewpoint.

Personally, I like “Luck of the Irish” better as a song.  The tune is great.  Some of the lyrics are lazy and corny; the references to leprechauns and the blarney stone.  McCartney’s lyrics weren’t a whole lot better, but his is a pretty good rock tune.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)

17 03 2009

Here are a few lovely Irish tunes from my favorite Irish artist, Sinead O’Connor, one of ’em with my other favorites, the Chieftains.