A diverse decade of Irish music
What a decade! While the Celtic Tiger roared immigrants flocked to Ireland, and their influence can be heard in the music made by many Irish artists on my best of the decade list. (When we return in January, we will name the best CDs from Irish American artists so no one on this side of the Atlantic is left out!)
Of course, technology changed the music business as digital downloads killed record shops during this decade, making a lot of these import albums easy to get online. It makes one wonder what format an artist will use to deliver a collection of songs to us 10 years from now!
Speaking of technology, check out the best of the decade music page on IrishCentral.com. It is there you will find in depth analysis of each album listed here, along with interviews with their creators.
You also have a chance to vote for your favorites on this list and enter to win a night on the town with Black 47 in Times Square this New Year’s Eve.
AfroCelt Sound System: “Volume 3: Further in Time”
The blueprint of this decade of global assimilation began with a band of Irish and African musicians that began to jam in Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. Released on June 18, 2001, the Afro Celt Sound System’s “Volume 3: Further in Time” was 70 minutes and 42 seconds of wicked international grooves that sounds like nothing that came before or after it.
Indian dhol drumming converges with furious uilleann pipe trills as Cork poet Iarla O’Lionaird calmly lays his gorgeous prose over this dance party.
Peter Gabriel and Robert Plant do guest vocals in performances that are better than anything they’ve done on their own, but it is the brilliant chemistry of cultures that creates a new, thrilling take on Irish music.
Luka Bloom: “Innocence”
Christy Moore’s kid brother gets lost in the music and begins a Middle Eastern chant in the middle of “Gypsy Music” as flutes and bongo take the listener into a Moroccan rug market.
Musically, “Innocence” is an international album, a possible reflection of a time in Irish history that saw the country playing host to immigrants hoping to roar with the Celtic Tiger.
“He stood and let the music glow, underneath his skin/He felt longing for Algeria, and loving for this song/How the music of a stranger helps the dreamer move along/The carpenter and the fiddler became the best of friends/And Mohamed lives in Galway, where the music never ends,” he sings on “No Matter Where You Go, There You Are.”
There are many songs written about the Irish missing their homeland in a strange place. This song might be the first one written from the perspective of someone missing home while living in Ireland.
The Saw Doctors: “The Cure”
These Tuam lads have always been the bog’s answer to Bruce Springsteen. They spent the last 20 years spinning endearing stories with a reporter’s eye for detail and a saxophone always at the ready. The band once again chronicled Irish life in their unique way.
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