A country like Ireland is steeped in history and culture, always happy to pay due respect to those musicians and singers who have perfected their craft and who carry on the ancient traditions of Irish folk music. Equally, there is a healthy appreciation of new music and new artists, whether they stick to Irish custom or forge something completely new. However, unless you are completely immersed in the music scene itself, it can be hard to keep track of all the new performers making waves on the ground.
If you’re an Irish music fan, then there are various tips and tricks you can use to stay up to date with what’s happening in that world, even if you can’t attend each and every gig or impromptu jam session in person. Here we’ll take a look some of those methods for keeping in touch.
The internet is one of the most obvious, yet also one of the most useful, arenas to explore when it comes to discovering new music of any genre. However, when it concerns an interest in music emanating from the Emerald Isle, it can be especially helpful. The nature of Irish folk music, for example, means that it is often performed to a miniscule audience in crowded venues with little space or thought for recording equipment, camera close-ups or a strict set list. The increased capacity for ordinary fans to record good quality audio or video content in these situations means that many more spontaneous performances are being recorded for posterity and enjoyment by a wider audience. Just as we’ve grown used to accessing other entertainment categories online, like classic table games or blockbuster movies, so too has the music world blossomed and expanded since the advent of the internet. There’s no question that the online realm has allowed for the democratisation of live and recorded music, and that is no less true in Ireland than elsewhere. Just as Origin and PokerCasino provide access to well-loved gaming classics alongside new and innovative takes on them, so do services like Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube allow for brand new artists to upload their work right next to well-established musicians. Dedicating some time to having a look through user-generated playlists, checking out recommended artists and listening to new work from well-known music makers on the scene is worthwhile if you want to find the hottest new Irish music to listen to at home and on the go.
Live and Kicking
Whilst the internet represents a great opportunity to discover music from afar, the good old-fashioned system of heading down to a local pub or open mic night still holds true. All types of venues play host to gigs, concerts, impromptu jam sessions and other musical events throughout the year, especially during holidays and special occasions. If you’re lucky enough to live in or be able to visit Ireland itself, then you won’t have to look far to find something happening before your very eyes. Major cities like Dublin have music everywhere, from out on the street, to inside the famous pubs strewn across the city, to within bigger venues like 3Arena, the National Concert Hall and the Aviva Stadium. People travel from all over the world to hear the sounds of this small Gaelic nation and it still holds a strong place in world music, despite its relatively small size. The festival scene is also deeply rooted in Irish culture, with events like the Puck Fair and Old Lammas Fair still taking place year on year. Newer festivals like Electric Picnic, Forbidden Fruit and Longitude are making a solid name for themselves, attracting thousands of eager fans each summer, whatever the weather.
Word of Mouth
Whether you’re a budding musician yourself or simply a fan, talking to other people who share your interests can only net you further expertise in this particular subject. Many up-and-coming artists get their break through word of mouth; as they make an impression on live audiences, these people recommend them to friends and strangers both, in person and online, therefore acting as free marketing. So, it’s worth considering joining groups, music making classes, jam sessions, musical instrument lessons and regular events at venues to get in touch with all the ‘right’ people so that you can learn more about the Irish music scene. Not only is it a great opportunity for conversation, education and shared experience, but you also might end up with access to some pretty great record collections. Combing through a real enthusiasts painstakingly assembled library of music is one of the best ways to get to grips with a genre and enjoy yourself thoroughly in the process. After all, everybody has to start somewhere, so why not avail yourself of the knowledge of those who’ve gone before?