Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BBC Four - Folk Hibernia

I was round at a fiddle-playing friend's house this evening. He tipped me off about this programme on BBC Four which he'd recorded on Sky + . It'll be an eye-opener for many of you as it touches on post-Partition Ireland of the 1920s, which the programme calls a 'pseudo-Gaelic society' and the nationalism, religion and politics of the time, and how these defined what came to be understood as 'Irish music'. The programme's interviews include stories of an urban élite who were dismissive of the authentic rural stuff and who chose instead to tell rural folk how it was going to be.

There are still big lessons to be learned from the mistakes that were made south of the border... and perhaps similar mistakes were made on our side of the border. In our case by a Unionist establishment who were preoccupied by political Britishness, at the expense of cultural Ulsterness? Terrorist campaigns and (at best disinterested) 'Direct Rule" British governments made matters worse. Really interesting programme and plenty of food for thought.

Available here on BBC iPlayer


Citizen_69 said...

Haven't watched the show yet but what annoys me is that us urban Belfast protestants seemed to have decided at one point (or was it decided for us?) that traditional 'Irish' music belongs to 'the other side' and that our musical culture consists solely of fifes & drums... but is it not true that ulster scots introduced the fiddle/violin and traditional reels into Ireland?

Mark Thompson said...

C69 - as a friend of mine constantly says, "there's a piece of work to be done on this". Keep an eye on the blog as there might be some more on this very issue later in the year...