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The March playlist rolls on…here are the lessons we have done so far:
- Symphony #6 “The Storm” // Beethoven
- The William Tell Overture // Rossini
- Symphony #101 “The Clock” // Haydn
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring // Bach
IRELAND’S FAVORITE TUNE
My brother did fancy genetic testing recently – the kind where you swab your cheek and send your DNA off for analysis. I have always wanted to do this but am way too
cheap frugal to actually pull the trigger — so this was great news for me!
The bulk of my family history was no surprise: English/Scottish/Welsh. I have had enough sun burns in my life to confirm this. #aloe
However there was one unexpected slice on the pie: turns out we are almost ¼ Irish. This is totally interesting to me! I have always loved green, so it makes sense. #sarcasmfont
And the timing could not be more perfect because tomorrow we celebrate the lads and lassies of the great Emerald Isle. I feel so connected to me people.
In honor of the Day-O’-Green, I have the quintessential piece of Irish music for you: Londonderry Air, otherwise known as Danny Boy. And we are going to have to just get over the fact that London is in the title, which is English, not Irish. Agreed? It’s complicated.
The tune’s origin is mysterious and undocumented, as is the case for many folk tunes. The true composer is lost to history, which is a shame.
The lyrics to Danny Boy were written by English poet Frederic Weatherly. (Please click that link. I feel it’s important for you to enjoy Fred’s wig & stache.) He originally set his words to a different tune but wasn’t pleased with the result. His Irish half-sister sent him the Londonderry Air tune, and Weatherly saw his opportunity. He modified his poem slightly to fit the meter, and voila – music history was born. The piece was published in 1913 and began to spread.
The combination of the longing nature of the lyrics and the melancholy tune spoke to people as World War I was escalating. It also became an anthem for Irish immigrants who were abandoning the familiar in search of a better life. People resonated with the piece, and it slowly embedded itself into Ireland’s cultural fabric.
This tune is one of the most beautiful ever. But I won’t lie – the lyrics aren’t exactly a ball of laughter. They are great for discussion with older students, but younger students will benefit most from enjoying the Londonderry Air tune and making the connection of how it associates with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.
As always I have a few versions for you!
Traditional instrumental (linked at the 4:00 mark, where the piece begins):
With the lyrics, from the late Eva Cassidy. One of my favorite voices of all time:
And because I never like to be predictable 😉 —-> The King:
Enjoy teaching your kids about Ireland’s favorite tune!