Sure, you may stumble upon traditional Irish folk music playing at a pub or at a parade with today (March 17) being St. Patrick’s Day, but there’s clearly more types of music coming out of Ireland. Musicians like The Cranberries, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Glen Hansard and Damien Rice are known worldwide, all having their own style.
We can imagine you’re geared up for the day. You have your green on. You’re destined to have a couple (it being a “school night” and all) celebratory pints after work. But 5 pm just can’t get here fast enough to cheers Saint Patrick for banishing the snakes out of Ireland.
Maybe this list of Irish musicians and bands will help keep the momentum of the day going (and listen to these artists on our Spotify playlist):
1. James Vincent McMorrow
Dublin musician James Vincent McMorrow is a one-man band: singing, playing guitar, keyboard, banjo and drums. His treacle-laced voice sings of running away with his love in the song “If I Had a Boat.”
The Dublin band Villagers came together in 2008, made up of Conor O’Brien, Tommy McLaughlin, Danny Snow, James Byrne and Cormac Curran. Their breakout hit “Becoming a Jackal” tells a story of survival.
3. Red Empire
The Dublin band Red Empire just released their debut album Inhale. Lead singer Craig Cahill, bass player Damien Allen, Gar McCarthy on keyboards and guitars, and brothers Richie and Deco Connolly on guitar and drums, respectively, make up the band. Their single “Deliver Me” starts with a strong guitar riff, softening into a ballad about being inspired by another person.
4. Dirty Epics
The four-piece pop punk rock band Dirty Epics, originally from County Wicklow and now based in Dublin, is made up of lead singer Sarah Jane Wai, bass player Richie Power, Darren McCoy and guitar and Gary Nethaway on the drums. Sarah Jane, who goes by S.J., is a girl on a mission in the ska-like song “Let’s Be Alone.” She’d make a good ally to Jessica Jones.
5. Girl Band
Girl Band does not have any girls in it. We repeat, no girls. The indie rock quartet was formed in Dublin in 2011 and is made up of lead singer Dara Kiely, guitarist Alan Duggan, bass player Daniel Fox, and drummer Adam Faulkner. We’ll continue with the theme of no girls on deck, sharing their single simply called “Paul.”
6. Róisín Murphy
Irish singer and songwriter Róisín Murphy has been performing since the ’90s, in and out of bands, and is now a solo artist. Her 2015 album Hairless Toys was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. The video for her whispery single “Exploitation” comes across almost like performance art.
7. Lisa Canny
Lisa Canny hails from County Mayo. Canny was presented with her first banjo at the age of five. She studied traditional Irish music for years during her adolescence, eventually developing her own sound as she matured. Canny’s raw natural talent shines through in her single “Lifeline.”
You may remember Irish singer Hozier from the hit single “Take Me to Church” and from an Anglophenia post we did last year: Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer starred in his video “Someone New.” Hozier sings about playing around, with lyrics like, “I fall in love just a little, oh a little bit, every day, with someone new.”
If you’re craving a sound that’s a little more traditional, the Dublin band Color//Sound includes that bit of twang in their song “To the Countryside.” They’re in search of a green, green paradise. Hmm, that shouldn’t be too hard on the Emerald Isle? The alternative band is a trio, including Brendan McGlynn, Oisin Furlong, and Ben Roe.
10. Maria Doyle Kennedy
You may know the actress as Siobhan Sadler, a.k.a. Mrs. S., from Orphan Black, amongst other roles. But Doyle Kennedy is also a songstress who has been performing for over 20 years, even putting her pipes to work on Orphan. The below clip shows her doing her thing on stage.
Speaking of Doyle Kennedy, she also stars in Sing Street, a Dublin-set film hitting theaters on April 15. The story follows 14-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who starts a band to impress a girl.
If you’re texting your friends to start a band right about now, you’re not alone. You can take a peek at the below for some tips on making a band:
While Sing Street might be a bit of fiction, love has definitely been the inspiration for many songs to come about and probably more than a few bands getting together.
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