In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we asked Colleen Taylor, FCRH ’12, to help us get in tune with the Irish spirit. The former co-host of Ceol na nGael, WFUV’s popular Irish radio program, selected 10 of her all-time favorites for us.
Update: On March 17, Taylor was the featured speaker at the Fordham alumni brunch prior to the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Read her talk, “Finding Ireland Outside of Its Myths.”
10. Star of the County Down
A classic folk song from the late 19th century, it’s a great one for chorusing with friends. Definitely one to pull out at the pub!
9. There Were Roses
Written by Tommy Sands during the Troubles, this is one of the most moving pleas for peace in Northern Ireland. I always need tissues handy when I listen to it. I’m particularly fond of Derry singer Cara Dillon’s version.
8. Óró Sé Do Bheatha ’Bhaile
I learned this one in the Connemara Gaeltacht. It’s a rebel song, and the title means “welcome home.”
7. Red Is the Rose
My parents taught me to appreciate this gorgeous love song. No one sings it better than the late, great Liam Clancy. The melody dates back to an 18th-century Scottish air.
6. Pastures of Plenty
Solas does an Irish version of this American classic written by Woody Guthrie. Solas was one of the first bands I discovered working at WFUV, and now I’m a dedicated fan.
5. Last Night’s Fun Set
The title speaks for itself, but this is one of my favorite sets of tunes from one of my favorite bands, the musicians who put women in traditional music on the map: Cherish the Ladies.
4. The Fields of Athenry
Written in the 1970s but set in the years of the Great Famine, this might be my favorite of the canonical Irish folk ballads. No matter how many times I hear it, I never tire of the melody. A couple of years ago, I sang this song with my family when driving though Athenry in east Galway. My favorite Irish folk band, the High Kings, however, have a much better handle on the harmonies.
3. Rare Auld Times
This is my Dublin song. “The Rocky Road to Dublin” comes in as a close second, but this beautiful ballad evokes that quintessentially Irish sense of nostalgia. The High Kings do a gorgeous rendition of this one, too.
2. Paddy in Zululand
I love this set because it represents how Irish trad has mixed with the American music melting pot. Bronx native and fiddling visionary Eileen Ivers gives traditional Irish tunes some homegrown New York flare with her rock, pop, and Afro infusions. I have a tendency to indulge my air fiddle playing with this one.
1. Morning Nightcap
In my opinion, there’s no better set to jam out to than “Morning Nightcap.” This is trad band Lúnasa’s best piece, and it’s their show-stopping finale at every concert. Wait till the final tune hits—such a foot stomper!