The Lambeg drum used during loyalist marching season in Northern Ireland could help bridge the divide between nationalists and unionists.

The Lambeg drum is one of the loudest musical instruments in the world and is frequently used during Orange Order marches in Northern Ireland on July 12, but it is now winning fans in nationalist communities thanks to a new music video. 

In June 2021, however, songwriters Willie Drennan and David McClean shared a music video for "The Lambeg Boogie," which fuses the drum with electric guitars and Irish dancing.

Amalgamating two distinct cultures in the hope of inspiring reconciliation following months of turmoil in Northern Ireland, the song is ardently non-political. 

"Everybody shout, shake it all about, Lambeg Boogie makes you feel all right." 

The feelgood song and music video received widespread praise on a variety of social media platforms back in 2021, with viewers praising it for how it blends the two cultures. 

The song earned praise from both sides of the divide in Ireland. 

Dublin-based poet Ciarán Ó Coigligh described the song as an "excellent gesture of reconciliation," while former Alliance Party leader Lord John Alderdice said that it was a "brilliant piece of fusion."

Drennan told the Guardian that he wrote the song simply as a fusion of traditional Ulster-Scots music, blues, and rock and said that he wasn't trying to make a statement. However, he said that he is delighted with how the song has been received. 

"It’s refreshing to do something that cuts across politics. We weren’t trying to make a statement … but the fact that it does is a bonus," Drennan said. 

The Ulster-Scots musician hopes that music can help bring people together in Northern Ireland and has previously performed with the Lambeg at Irish music festivals. 

The uplifting song was released at a time of political upheaval in Northern Ireland due to the fallout from the Northern Ireland Protocol agreed during the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

* Published in 2021, updated in August 2023.