music

If Ever You Go...My Map of Dublin in Song

Bookcover: Noel Purcell: a biography by Philip BryanWhen I think of Dublin in song, the popular ballads that were the soundtrack to my childhood, spring to my mind, the songs I would have heard adults around me singing as they went about their work.

My favourite is The Dublin Saunter. I think of my parents, in their courting days on Grafton Street, when they had less cares in the world. This song was written by a Dublin man for a Dublin man. Leo Maguire (1903 –1985), a Radio Éireann broadcaster who ran weekly radio show, the Walton's Programme for thirty years.  He wrote over one hundred songs, including this one for Noel Purcell (1900–1985).  Noel is fondly remembered for his variations of the role of old sailor with a long white beard, in over fifty Hollywood films in 1950s and 1960s. He was given the Freedom of the city of Dublin where there is a road named in his honour.

A 'Killer' Show: Live in Dublin

Day and Age by the KillersThis Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.

A 'Killer' Show: Live at the o2 Arena and Phoenix Park Dublin

The Killers released their new album 'Direct Hits', a best of collection recently. Their previous album 'Battle Born' hit the shelves in late 2012 and gave me the opportunity to see them play live not once but twice during 2013! It was very interesting seeing them perform in two very different venues. They are equally amazing to listen to in the enclosed environs of the o2 arena and the outdoor setting of the Phoenix Park in July. Both venues providing great sound quality and listening experiences for fans. My boyfriend and myself attended their sell-out show in the o2 in February, the tickets were a gift for my boyfriend’s birthday, and he had a fantastic night, particularly listening to his all time favourite song 'Mr. Brightside'. The rock band’s show was energetic and called for lots of dancing throughout the night.

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker

NutrackerThis Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.

I recently saw a Christmas bucket list of things everyone should do before the Christmas holidays and one in particular caught my eye; see a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. This entry jumped out at me because I received tickets for my birthday to see The Monica Loughman Ballet School perform The Nutcracker in the Convention Centre, Dublin. Dublin City Public Libraries has many items in stock that will allow you to accustom yourself to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. There are children's books that will allow little ones to become familiar with the story behind this ballet and there are also CDs in the Music Library which allow you to hear the incredible and awesome compositions of this 19th century Russian genius. I particularly recommend Swan Lake for the uninitiated.

Lou Reed

Lou Reed passed away on the 27th of October 2013.

Lou Reed Transformer album cover

He was one of the most influential figures in rock music. His first band The Velvet Underground is probably solely responsible for any "Indie Music" we hear today. However he is most famous for two songs, "Walk on the Wild Side" and Perfect Day". The former was a hit in 1972. A most unusual chart song with sparse arrangement of an infectious backing vocal, two note bass line and spoken styled melody of  lyrics about transsexuals and prostitution inspired by characters of the pop artist Andy Warhol's hangout, The Factory. The song surfaced again in 1990 as it's memorable bass line was sampled by A Tribe Called Quest as the backbone of their song "Can I kick it?". The latter was "Perfect Day" (the b side to Walk on the Wild side) which had a resurgence in the film Trainspotting and was released by an all star cast as a charity single in 1997. Both songs were featured on the album Transformer.

Katy Perry- A 'Roar' ing Success?

This Post was submitted by our Guest Blogger, Amy Connolly.

Teenage DreamsWith the release of Katy Perry’s new album Prism this week I can’t help but look forward to her return to Ireland.  I have been listening to her two previous studio albums in anticipation of the new release.  The Video and Music Awards (VMAs) offered a small taster of how good her Prism tour could be with Perry’s performance of her new single "Roar". She certainly appears to be roaring back to her chart topping success following a very public divorce from English comedian Russell Brand in 2012. 

Right: 'Teenage Dream'.

Who Feared to Wear the Red Hand Badge! Songs and Poems of 1913 Lockout

Image from A Capital in Conflict, Dublin City and the 1913 Lockout. Copyright: Dublin City Library & ArchiveThe Lockout 1913 inspired many poems, ballads, songs and rhymes. Many of which were published in The Irish Worker. These poems and ballads provide a vivid portrait of the conditions faced by Dubliners during the Lockout, the battle between the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and the Dublin Employers’ Federation and the key personalities of the time.

As part of the City Hall Springtime Lectures Francis Devine and Fergus Russell performed ballads and songs of the 1913 Lockout. Songs include 'Freedom's Pioneers' by James Connolly and 'The Red Hand Badge' by AP Wilson.

Right: Image from A Capital in Conflict, Dublin City and the 1913 Lockout. Copyright: Dublin City Library & Archive

Songs of Murder, Madams and Mayhem

To celebrate Culture Night 2013 Marino Library held an evening of Dublin ballads with Anne and Niamh Buckley. The sisters delighted the packed audience with ballads that ranged from hearbreaking to gruesome. With these songs of murder, madams and mayhem perhaps staff member Anne is falling under the influence of the ghost of Marino born Bram Stoker and the library's Gothic Literature Collection!

If you'd like to hear more, good listeners are always welcome at An Góilín, Traditional Singer's Club based in The Teacher's Club, Parnell Square, Dublin. 

Niamh Buckley and Anne Buckley

The Bonny Light Horseman

The Bonny Light Horseman is a traditional English lament from the Napoleonic wars. This version is from Oisín and Geraldine MacGowan's 1980 LP Over the Moor to Maggie. Planxty also recorded a version on their 1979 album After the Break.

Listen to Anne Buckley and Niamh Buckley singing 'The Bonny Light Horseman', a traditional English lament from the Napoleonic wars, in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

Pirate Jenny

Pirate Jenny is from The Threepenny Opera by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill. It was adapted from The Beggar's Opera (1728) by John Gay and was first performed in Berlin in 1928. Check availability The Collected Plays of Bertolt Brecht in the library catalogue.

Listen to Anne Buckley and Niamh Buckley sing 'The Pirate Jenny' from The Threepenny Opera in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

The Spoons Murder

The Spoons Murder is a grisly murder ballad written by an extraordinary Cork man, Con "Fada" Ó Drisceoil. Con is a singer, songwriter and accordian player and member of The Four Star Trio. Con's humourous songs and ballads are published in Spoons Murder and other mysteries which also features a CD (2006).

Listen to Anne Buckley singing 'The Spoons Murder' in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

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