All cultures begin with a story, and on St. Patrick's Day, we remember the tale of a holy man leading the snakes out of Ireland. Just one of the many, many Celtic tales of yore.
Irish history and culture has stayed alive even through the darkest times – changing religions, conquerors, famines – through intricately spun yarns turned into songs, jigs and reels.
Out of this history came the Pogues, a mix of young English and Irish musicians.
The music scene in 1982 was a changing landscape. Still evolving out of the 1970s punk underground, the music the Pogues created seemed worlds away from the chance meeting of bandmates Shane MacGowan and Spider Stacy in the loo at a Ramones gig in 1977.
Their music wasn't a stretch from the traditional Celtic song and dance. Their songs still encompassed life in the olden days – the green, vibrant landscape, being down on your luck or merely the color of some passing girl's eyes. It was when and where they were making music.
What the Pogues were doing was keeping their heritage alive in a new way, mixing the traditional with the present. The UK was embattled in Irish and English conflict and the steel and coal industries – the lifeline of employment – were literally being ripped apart. Hate crimes were a daily occurrence.
A blend of traditional Celtic music, laced with punk and rock elements, old school musicians and listeners were unsure at the beginning about this new fusion. In such a chaotic political climate, it almost seemed like heresy. Many traditionalists were turned off.
In a March 13, 2012 interview on Southern California Public Radio, Pogues accordionist James Fearnley says the Celtic/punk mix "was odd, and I think galvanizing for people to listen to," and at first, many Irish listeners didn't care for it. "For some of them, it was difficult, but we quickly won them over because we were doing it honestly."
Eventually accepted by the older generation, the Pogues have since become the seminal modern Celtic band, giving the green light for others to take up the bodhrán and tin whistle and electric guitar.
The Pogues, who may have seemed to some the heretics of their time – and they were probably OK with that – were merely carrying on the tradition of writing rich and finely woven tales of life, love and death within the verses of their songs.
Warning: this mixtape may contain adult language.
Mixtape: Twinkle Twinkle: St. Patty's Day with the Pogues
- "Planxty Noel Hill"
- "Streams Of Whiskey"
- "The Sunnyside Of The Street"
- "A Pair of Brown Eyes"
- "I'm A Man You Don't Meet Everyday"
- "If I Should Fall From The Grace With God"
- "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"
- "Dirty Old Town"
- "Whiskey In The Jar" w/ the Dubliners
- "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge"
- "Rain Street"
- "The Body Of An American"
- "Fairytale Of New York" w/ Kirsty MacColl
- "Sally MacLennane"
- "Wild Cats Of Kilkenny"
- "The Broad Majestic Shannon"
- "The Irish Rover" w/ the Dubliners
- "Mountain Dew"w/ the Dubliners
- "Sit Down By The Fire"
Twinkle VanWinkle ponders, creates and discovers cool stuff about music, movies, food, fashion and so forth. Her thoughtful writings and interactives give great advice about healthy food, cooking tips, DIY projects, fashion and more. She'll teach you a thing or two about music as well. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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