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 Post subject: The humour of Ennis...
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:00 am 
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https://www.rte.ie/archives/2018/0704/9 ... mus-ennis/


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:14 am 
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Thank you for sharing this. It was very enjoyable to watch and hear.

Now that I've heard both Ennis and Leo Rowsome play "Danny Boy" (the latter refers to it as "The Derry Air"), I wonder why do so many Irish musicians regard this time with such disdain? I suppose that it may have been overplayed in the past, but that doesn't seem to be the case now.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:35 am 
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In Miltown in 1982, the man who was teaching the class I was in didn't go to Ennis' lunchtime recital on the back of this saying 'last time he played Danny Boy, does he think we're feckin tourists?'

Ennis' own intro points to him associating the tune with, well, a particular part of his audiences and doesn't take it too serious. But like Rowsome, he was a working musicians and both occasionally played tunes because they were popular with (parts of)their audiences.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:05 am 
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Thanks. I think I get it now: so it signals the divide between the elite, inner circle of people in-the-know vs. "the unwashed masses"?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:18 am 
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I don't know, does it? Different target audiences with different tastes and different expectations, as perhaps a less divisive way of looking at it?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:58 am 
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Yes, that sounds like the best way to look at it. I think you're right about both of them knowing that they had to play certain well liked tunes because they were in it as professionals. I love both their versions of this piece.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:21 am 
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I dislike the tune because it's associated with sentimental irish american hoodoo. It's not "really" an irish song, in that it's "londonderry air" (note the name) with lyrics by an English lawyer. In that sense it's the colonial oppressor's vision of the oppressed. It's like the minstrel show in the US, in which white people pretended to be black people. It's the colonizer's view of the colonized.

Also it's a lovely melody but it's been rendered trite by the vast and relentless machinery of American pop culture. It happens all the time: you hear a song, you think "hey that's pretty good" and six months later it's playing in elevators, supermarkets, parking garages, mall; it's on commercials and it's used to trigger some obvious emotion in TV shows. By that point I want to cut my throat every time I hear it. A good example would be the Leonard Cohen song "hallelujah," which was good but which has been rendered trite by relentless overuse. "Danny Boy" is like that, only worse.

That's my take anyway. I'm sure someone will correct me


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:09 am 
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Well, at least it evokes a strong emotional response in you. (For what it's worth, when Leo Rowsome played it, he introduced it as "The Derry Air.")


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:18 am 
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I can understand how there would be strong feelings about a tune closely associated with a northern county whose very name is disputed.
Perhaps the tune should be renamed after the older composition that it originally developed from, "Aislean an Oigfear."


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:47 pm 
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Smoking in the recital hall. I'd forgotten how it used to be everywhere.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:23 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I dislike the tune because it's associated with sentimental irish american hoodoo. It's not "really" an irish song, in that it's "londonderry air" (note the name) with lyrics by an English lawyer.

The words to the song are English in origin and relatively modern (1910 or 1913, depending on how you look at it). But the tune is Irish and old. I never hear it called the "Londonderry Air" either in Ireland or amongst musicians in the UK. It is sometimes referred to as the "Derry Air" but of course, because of its association with the words, it's usually just "Danny Boy". But that doesn't stop it from being an old, Irish melody.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:03 am 
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Anyone recognise any of the people listening to Ennis? I think I see Bill Thomas at 6:21, Damien Woodings at 6:55, and possibly Dave Williams at 7:13 with a cassette recorder in the front row sitting besides Paddy Mills? I could be completely wrong, this was 40 years ago after all


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