Batt O’Connor, Mickey Dunne, guest singer Laura Johnson and Traditional Irish Music

August 5, 2010

Today was a beautiful day for traditional Irish music. After our first taste of it at Scholar’s Pub, we were certainly excited for more.

Though we were disappointed by our harpist and her husband falling sick, we ended up with two fabulous musicians giving us our own private concert in our small, stone-walled classroom at the University of Limerick. Batt O’Connor and Mickey Dunne. For simplicity sake, let me give a mini-bio of each man:

Batt O'Connor gave the class some background history on traditional Irish music and played the bouzuki, an Irish instrument with roots in Greece.

Batt O’Connor- a singer and muscian from Gleann Na nGealt, a valley in the Dingle Peninsula in Co. Kerry, in the South West of Ireland. Batt brought his bouzuki, an instrument with roots in Greece that was formatted to play Irish music. The look and sound of it reminded me of a cross between an acoustic guitar and a banjo. His personal website can be found here.

Mickey Dunne playing the Uilleann Irish bagpipes, also called "elbow pipes" because the flow of air for sound is controlled by both arms, as opposed to Scottish bagpipes, which are controlled by blowing air into them from the mouth.

Mickey Dunne– a musician who I’ve personally witnessed playing multiple instruments, including the Irish Uilleann bagpipes (the “elbow” pipes), the fiddle, the flute and the tin whistle. Dunne’s family hails from Limerick and he, along with his daughters, created a CD with great self-penned compositions and traditional music. Not only is he an excellent bagpipe player, but he also makes them.

O’Connor and Dunne told us that there are several types of traditional Irish songs. Here are just a few of them:

1. love songs

2. immigration songs.

3. rebel songs

4. praise of place songs

5. political/patriotic songs

6. drinking songs

7. children’s songs

Our very own Laura Johnson, who has spent most of the trip entertaining us with her beautiful voice and Irish pub songs, sang “Wild Rover” along with the musicians. Watch it here! I’d really like all of us to learn it and sing it together. I think that’d be great fun.

Laura Johnson, USF student and oral storyteller, via Irish pub songs.

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