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Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekly Geeks #5: Alternative Storytelling

Yet another great activity from Dewey for Weekly Geeks #5! Our task this week is to talk about some alternate form of storytelling (meaning other than in a book).

[For those visiting from the Weekly Geeks site, my Mr. Linky post was supposed to say Irish Folk Music, not Irish FOLD Music ... oops! LOL]

Music was the first thing that popped into my mind, specifically Irish Folk Music. This could be because I'm eagerly anticipating The High Kings concert in September, or because I'm a fanatic about songs that tell stories in general.

The first song I want to mention is Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore. This song is about the mass exodus from Ireland caused by the potato famine in the mid-1800s. My 6 year old son loves this song. After listening to it several times and learning most of the words, he started asking questions about what the song was all about. That led to an explanation of Irish history that included what starvation means, what people do when there's no food to eat, and how families were separated when some decided to come to America and others couldn't afford to leave. That kind of conversation is what a GOOD song - a song that really tells a story - can engender. My Gram was born in Belfast so Irish history is a big part of my family's history. I'm thrilled that my son is interested in history and that - like me - he really listens to the words of songs; music can teach us all so many things.

Below is the video of Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore. If you'd like to read the lyrics, click here.

On a lighter note, songs can also tell funny stories. The Wild Rover is a classic Irish pub song (and yes, my 6 yr old know this too ... does that make me a bad parent?!) that tells the story of a young man (supposedly) trying to change his ways. Here are the lyrics, and below is the video.

Another song I'd like to mention is called The Black Velvet Band. It tells the story of an innocent man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here's the video and you can read the lyrics here.

There are TONS of other songs about this specific topic. The first that comes to mind is Hurricane Carter by Bob Dylan. The video is fantastic - you've got to watch it.

Are there songs that you love that tell a real story? I'd love to hear about them! Feel free to join the rest of the Weekly Geeks and put up a post on this topic. Or just post a comment and share your favorites.


Melissa said...

I love Irish Folk Music, too. Though I have to admit, it's not so much for the lyrics, but for the music itself. I love Irish music. :)

I like a lot of Sting's songs for the story reason, though. My favorite is Field of Dreams... I love the pictures he draws in that song.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

My son at 17 has just decided to learn to play the guitar( gone in 4 weeks from a noise to recognisable tunes played from music sheets) and so has suddenly decided that all my folk , blues, early Elvis, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan is cool

Love the idea of Irish Fold music...visions of ironing and making bed Jigs

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Melissa - thanks for dropping by. :) Any kind of Irish music is great - glad to find another fan. Had you heard of The High Kings before?

John - gotta love those teens ... they are such the AUTHORITY on what is cool. LOL! and yes, the idea of Irish FOLD music has kept me giggling all day!

Kerry said...

What a fantastic group. I've already emailed a local music store here in New Zealand about getting their album. And I'm jealous you're going to see them.

I love Celtic folk music, both for the music itself and for the stories the songs tell.

Do you listen to Eric Bogle? He's a Scot who emigrated to Australia and he writes some wonderful songs. His No Man's Land (aka Green Fields of France) is an amazing song. (That's not a link to the original version which tells a much, much fuller story and I recommend tracking it down.) He also wrote And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda which is a much more Australian song.

There are lots of other great songs and artists out there who tell beautiful stories with their music, but like you, the Celtic folk ballads will always capture my imagination I think.

Ana S. said...

I don't know much about Irish folk music, but I do like what I know. Thanks for sharing those videos! I especially liked Bob Dylan's.

Anonymous said...

What great video examples! Thanks.

The Irish have their own way with stories, in song and verse. The hurt really hurts, the longing really longs and the laughs are entirely private celebrations or they come right from the belly.

Ireland lost one of her great modern storytellers recently, Nuala O'Faolain. CBC Writers & Company re-broadcast an interview with her last week. It's a gem if and when you want a complement to the songs:
Also available through iTunes

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Kerry - Thanks for the great recommendations, I'll be sure to check them out. The High Kings are a very new group but they're getting lots of attention - I'm sure they'll get down your way eventually. :)

Nymeth - I learned about the Bob Dylan song/video from the movie The Hurricane; you've got to watch it if you haven't already.

Debra - Thanks for the link. I did hear about her death. I have two of her books but have not read them yet; I'll have to move them higher in the TBR pile.

Kim L said...

those are great videos. I was wondering what Irish Fold Music is, so I'm glad you solved the mystery for me :-)

Dreamybee said...

I love Irish music too! There's something about it that speaks to me the way a lot of other music doesn't. Like you, I am a lyrics person, but there is something about the Buttons & Bows' version of Inisheer that brings me to tears. I had never had that reaction to an instrumenal piece before. To me it tells a story of longing, longing for something that you once had that you will never be able to have again. You can listen to a sample of it here.

I love the CD that it is on, Dance of the Celts. Irish Music can be very hit-or-miss for me, and I love this entire album.

As far as songs that tell a story, Spancil Hill is one of my favorites. There are a lot of different versions out there, but I like the one by Ellis Island. I don't know where you are located, but if you ever find yourself in the Omaha area, go check them out. They are a lot of fun to watch! If you go here and click on the play buttons, you get 30-second samples of all of their songs. Crossing the Pond has Spancil Hill as its 3rd track, AND I just discovered that you actually get the full version of this song as a demo!

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