You have no doubt heard a million times already that St. Patrick's Day isn't that big a deal in Ireland. They don't dress like leprechauns. They don't demand you kiss them. They certainly don't drink green Miller Light. It's noon on St. Patrick's Day at the Music Times offices, and we already heard an estimated 786 Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys tracks over the weekend. No fault meant to the groups' music, but they feature a total of one Irish-born member. We hoped to teach you something about actual, traditional Celtic music
Disclaimer: We owe most of this list to the expertise of Tom Moon, author of 1,000 Albums You Should Listen To Before You Die. Thanks to working our way through his tome, we learned of many traditional acts that we would not have otherwise, and several of those are reflected below. So for your legitimate Irish St. Patrick's Day celebration, we present:
01) The Chieftains
Any story on traditional Irish music in modern times has to begin with The Chieftains. The group has impressed many a figure in pop culture, including Stanley Kubrick, who had the group contribute to his 1975 film Barry Lyndon, and its track "I Know My Love" (featuring The Corrs) rose as high as no. 37 on the UK charts. The band's Celtic style has earned it six Grammys and 12 additional nominations.
02) De Danann
De Dannan continues well in the footsteps of The Chieftains, providing a number of lively jigs and reels and other traditional Celtic dance forms. The band is perhaps best known as a launching pad for Irish vocalists, including Dolores Keane and Mary Black. As Moon points out in his book, Black's vocals bring magic to both the energetic and somber parts of Celtic lore.
03) The Dubliners
We didn't deny that Irish folk don't enjoy a good night of drinking...just that they didn't need a Catholic holiday to do so. The Dubliners began as a "pub band" and continued as one for the rest of their careers. The tracks they produced are obvious for a night of happy drinking, such as "Drink It Up Men," and "Rare Auld Mountain Dew." Bet you didn't know your favorite soda was named after Irish moonshine, huh?
If you really need some mainstream rock to get you through St. Patrick's Day, go for U2 or The Cranberries. No, it isn't quite drinking music, but yes, they are official Irishmen.