What is “Music of Pakistan” ?

Music of Pakistan

Music of Pakistan
Music of Pakistan
Music of Pakistan

The Music of Pakistan includes diverse elements ranging from music from various parts of South Asia as well as Central Asian, Persian, Turkish, Arabic and modern-day Western popular music influences. With these multiple influences, a distinctive Pakistani sound has been formed.

In poetry, the ghazal is a poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain. Each line must share the same meter. Etymologically, the word literally refers to “the mortal cry of a gazelle”. The animal is called Ghizaal, from which the English word gazelles stems, or Kastori haran (where haran refers to deer) in Urdu. Ghazals are traditionally expressions of love, separation and loneliness, for which the gazelle is an appropriate image. A ghazal can thus be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation of the lover and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 10th century Persian verse. It is derived from the Persian qasida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are more stringent than those of most poetic forms traditionally written in English. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central theme of love and separation. It is considered by many to be one of the principal poetic forms the Persian civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.

The ghazals can be sung both for men and women, as an expression of love/beauty.

The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century under the influence of the new Islamic Sultanate courts and Sufi mystics. Exotic to the region, as is indicated by the very sounds of the name itself when properly pronounced as ġazal. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Urdu poetry, today, it has influenced the poetry of many languages. Most Ghazal singers are trained in classical music and sing in either Khyal or Thumri.

Qawwali is the devotional music of the Chishti Sufis. Qawwali is a vibrant musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years in India. Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines throughout the India, it has also gained mainstream popularity. Qawwali music received international exposure through the work of the late Aziz Mian, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and sabri brothers, largely due to several releases on the Real World label, followed by live appearances at WOMAD festivals. Listeners, and often artists themselves are transported to a state of wajad, a trance-like state where they feel at one with God, generally considered to be the height of spiritual ecstasy in Sufism. The roots of Qawwali can be traced back to 8th century Persia, however, Qawwali in the form we know it today was essentially created by Amir Khusrau in the late 13th century.

During the 1st major migration from Persia, in the 11th century, the musical tradition of Sama migrated to South Asia, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Rumi and his Mevlana order of Sufism have been the propagators of Sama in Central Asia. Amir Khusrau of the Chisti order of Sufis is credited with fusing the Persian and South Asian musical traditions, to create Qawwali as well as the classical music tradition. The word “Sama” is used in Central Asia and Turkey, for forms very similar to Qawwali while in Pakistan, the formal name used for a session of Qawwali is “Mehfil-e-Sama”.

A group of qawwali musicians, called Humnawa in Urdu, typically consists of eight or nine men—women are usually excluded from traditional Muslim music as respectable women are traditionally prohibited from singing in public gatherings. although these traditions are changing —including a lead singer, one or two side singers, one or two harmoniums (which may be played by lead singer, side singer or someone else), and percussion. If there is only one percussionist, he plays the tabla and dholak, usually the tabla with the left hand and the dholak with the right. Often there will be two percussionists, in which case one might play the tabla and the other the dholak. There is also a chorus of four or five men who repeat key verses, and who aid and abet percussion by hand-clapping. The performers sit in two rows—the lead singer, side singers and harmonium players in the front row, and the chorus and percussionists in the back row.

Hamd’ is also used extensively in Christian religious music from Pakistan and all over the world where people from this region are found.’Hamd’ isn’t the exclusive domain of any religion. As pointed out – it denotes praise to God, it is more extensively used in the Muslim world. It is usually used in conjunction with the Sanna and referred to as ‘Hamd – o – Sanna’.

The dafli, also popularly known as daf, dappler or tambourine, is a must for weddings. Made of wooden ring with a double row of bells and a playing surface with a 10″ diameter, our dafli is a perfect accompaniment to the dholki. The pleasant sound of the dafli will elevate the tempo and mood of all celebrations. Easy to play with no beforehand practice required – with these daflis anyone can add to the music played in weddings and other celebrations.

Classical music of Pakistan is based on the traditional music of South Asia which was patronized by various empires that ruled the region and gave birth to several genres of classic music including the Klasik and Hindustani classical music. The classical music of Pakistan has two main principles, ‘sur’ and ‘lai’ (rhythm). The systematic organization of musical notes into a scale is known as a raag. The arrangement of rhythm (lai) in a cycle is known as taal.

The major genres of classical music in Pakistan are dhrupad and khayal. Dhrupad is approaching extinction in Pakistan despite vocalists like Ustad Badar uz Zaman, Ustad Hafeez Khan and Ustad Afzal Khan have managed to keep this art form alive.

There are many families from gharanas of classical music who inherited the music from their forefathers and are still performing.

Pakistani folk music deals with subjects surrounding daily life in less grandiose terms than the love and emotion usually contained in its traditional and classical counterpart. In Pakistan, each province has its own variation of popular folk music.

Pakistan has created many famous singers in this discipline such as the late Alam Lohar, who was very influential in the period of 1940 until 1979: he created the concept of “jugni” and this has been a folk song ever since, and he sang heer, sufiana kalaams, mirza, sassi and many more famous folk stories. Other famous folk singers include Sain Zahoor and Alam Lohar from Punjab and Allan Fakir and Mai Bhaghi from Sindh, Akhtar Chanal Zahri from Baluchistan and Zarsanga from North-West Frontier Province who is considered the queen of Pashto folk music.

The music of Balochistan province is very rich and full of varieties due to the many different types of languages which are spoken in the province, including Balochi, Pashto, Brahui, Persian and Saraiki. Balochi music stems basically from Persian Music due to the close proximity of Iran. Although Balochi singers have still not made a mark on the Pakistani music scene, there are many Balochi singers and these include;Faiz Mohammad Faizok, baloch. winner of a world singing competition award.Who Was a great Balochi Folk Singer.Ali Reza Askani, Aref Baloch, Asim Baloch.

Music from the Punjab province includes many different varieties. The traditional music utilizes instruments like the dhol, flute, dholak, and tumbi. The most commonly recognized form of Punjabi music, bhangra, is based on drum rhythms of the dhol. Its modern popularity has led to the use of new instruments and electronic sound sampling. Bhangra is a Punjabi folk dance that has become popular all over Pakistan. Bhangra and Punjabi folk songs have been an integral part of the fertile provinces cultural history and many themes are related to harvest and cultivation. Others still draw on the poetic history of the province which transcend ethnic and religious boundaries. The late Alam Lohar is noted for contributing in Punjabi music since the formation of Pakistan until his death in 1979 and popularising the music term Jugni and the Punjabi instrument Chimta.

Potohari has a rich tradition of poetry recital accompanied by sitar, ghara, tabla, harmonium and dholak. These poems are often highly lyrical and somewhat humorous and secular in nature, though religious sher are also recited.

The Late Alam Lohar and Arif Lohar are notable Punjabi singers of Pakistan.

Music from Sindh province is sung in Sindhi, and is generally performed in either the “Baits” or “Waee” styles. The Baits style is vocal music in Sanhoon or Graham (high voice). Waee instrumental music is performed in a variety of ways using a string instrument. Waee, also known as Kafi, is found in the surrounding areas of Balochistan, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Common instruments used in Sindhi regional music include the Yaktaro, Narr, and Naghara.

The predominant language found in Pakistan’s Northern Areas has an extensive oral history which dates back several thousand years. With the increase in tourism to Pakistan’s Northern Areas and increased domestic as well as international awareness of the local folk music, the Shinha folk traditions have managed to stay alive and vibrant. A dardic language with considerable Persian influence is found in Pakistan’s Chitral region in the North West of the country. Khowar folk music had considerable patronage particularly during the rule of the Mehtars in the last century. Folk music in this region has remained relatively pure and unscathed by modern influences due to the relative isolation of this district. The arrival of many refugees from the adjacent Nuristan province of Afghanistan and the subsequent increase in commercial activity in Chitrali bazaars allowed this local form of music to flourish in the past few decades.

Persian is spoken mainly in the North West of Pakistan but there are also considerable Persian speaking inhabitants in Pakistan’s major urban centres of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Music from Hazara Division is sung in Hindko, and is generally performed in either the “Maheyay” or “sher” styles.

Pakistani music in the 21st century revitalized itself.

In 2013 Atif Aslam became the 1st Pakistani pop singer to perform at The O2 Arena London twice & was also named in 2012 among top performers of Dubai alongside Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Il Divo, Gotye, Evanescence & Swedish House Mafia.

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What is “Kanika Kapoor” ?

Kanika Kapoor

Kanika Kapoor
Kanika Kapoor
Kanika Kapoor

Kanika Kapoor is an Indian Punjabi Sufi folk singer from the United Kingdom.

In 2012, Kanika released her 1st music video. The music was by Dr. Zeus and the song featured the rapper. She has a passion for designer dresses. she was born in logfor.

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What is “Gurdas Maan” ?

Gurdas Maan

Gurdas Maan
Gurdas Maan
Gurdas Maan

Gurdas Maan is an Indian singer, songwriter, choreographer, and actor. He is considered one of the most notable figures in the world of Punjabi music. He was born in Giddarbaha village of the Indian state of Punjab and gained national attention in 1980 with the song “Dil Da Mamla Hai.” Since then, he has gone on to record over 34 albums and has written over 305 songs. in 2013 he announced the launch of his YouTube channel http://www.YouTube.com/GurdasMaan to stay connected with his fans via video blogs and old as well as new music videos.

Gurdas Maan was formally educated in D.A.V College, Abohar & Malout, Punjab. After completing his education there, his parents enrolled him in a further education institute in Patiala. As a keen sports enthusiast Maan was fascinated by the National Institute of Sports in the city; this prompted him to join the N.I.S. and gain a Masters degree in physical education.

He took part in youth festivals organized by universities and won several awards for his singing and acting, always supported by his friends. He competed in many athletic events and won medals including a bronze at the National Championship as well as achieving a black belt in judo.

In one of his stage plays, he performed a song he had written called “Dil Da Mamla Hai.” The play was seen by a producer for Doordarshan Kendra, Jalandhar, the producer who thought the song to have potential approached Maan with a proposition for a TV performance of the song to which Maan agreed. When the song was aired on 31 December 1980 it gained national attention and Gurdas Maan became a national figure. The success of the song attracted the attention of HMV who wanted to record and release it. With HMV Maan eventually released his debut album a year later in 1981. When Maan began his career as a solo performer in India, the music industry was dominated by duet artists and he reportedly declined many offers to become part of a duet as he wished to perform and become a successful solo artist. The film Gurdas Mann starred in, “Mamla Garbar Hai” was directed by Hari Dutt.

During his early career he also wrote and directed TV programs such as POP Time for the Doordarshan Network in Delhi.

Gurdas Maan is often credited with raising Punjabi folk music from a regional level mostly in the Punjab to gain international recognition. His album Apna Punjab won Best Album at the 1998 Asian Pop and Media Awards held in Birmingham. Maan won Best Song for the title track and Best International Artist the same year. In addition to these awards, Maan more recently won three music awards of Best Lyrics, Best Song (“Heer”), as well as Best Singer of the Year at the ETC Channel Punjabi Music Awards on 6 March 2005 (Ravinder).

Gurdas Maan received an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Wolverhampton on 7 September 2010. Maan performed at the Royal Albert Hall for two nights in April 2011 as part of his UK tour. This was the 1st time Maan performed at the Royal Albert Hall, an opportunity that very few artists come across.

On other fronts, Maan has starred in blockbuster Bollywood films and has received numerous awards, including the Jury’s Award, presented to him by the president of India in 2005.

In 2009 he won “Best International Album” at the UK Asian Music Awards for Boot Polishan.

Gurdas Maan is best known as an actor for his performances in two films: Waris Shah-Ishq Da Waaris, which was nominated as India’s selection for the Academy Awards, and Shaheed-E-Mohabbat (1999). The 1st was by Sai Productions, which tells the real-life story of Boota Singh.

Gurdas appeared in the hit film Shaheed Udham Singh, in which he played the role of Bhagat Singh, a revolutionary, with no prejudices based on religion, caste or creed. As a singer Maan has worked with music directors such as Laxmikant Pyarelal, Bappi Lahiri, Anu Malik, Nadeem Sharvan, Amar Haidipur, Charanjeet Ahuja, and Jaswant Bhanwra.

He starred alongside Juhi Chawla in the epic Des Hoyaa Pardes, an emotional film illustrating the tragedies faced by the people of Punjab in the 1980s. He adopted the role of a son of a well-respected Jatt (bilingual separatist) Gurdev Singh Somal. He falls in love with a high-ranking police officer’s daughter. Before the wedding, the father is murdered by separatists. This tale soon twists into the inevitable demise of Gurshaan (Gurdas Maan). This movie was based on actual events.

Aside from singing in Punjabi, he is fluent in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Haryanvi and Rajasthani. As an actor he has performed in Punjabi, Hindi and Tamil movies, but he is best known for his starring role in Waris Shah-Ishq Da Waaris, a depiction of the Punjabi poet Waris Shah during the creation of his epic poem Heer Ranjha, again co-starring Juhi Chawla and Divya Dutta. Waris Shah-Ishq Da Waaris was also the 1st Punjabi movie which was nominated for OSCAR Awards 2006. He made a special appearance in Veer-Zaara with Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta.

He has appeared in Ucha Dar Babe Nanak Da, Mamla Garbar Hai (1984), Long Da Lishkara (1986), Qurbani Jatt Di (1990), Pratigya (1990), Roohani Taaqat (1991), Saali Adhi Ghar Waali (1992), Wanted: Gurdas Maan Dead or Alive (1994), Kachehri (1994), and Zindagi Khoobsoorat Hai (2002).

Maan is married to Manjeet Maan and has one son, Gurikk who has done his schooling at Yadavindra Public School and Mayo College. He also studied at Eton College. He has two brothers of which one is Paramjit Bahia and another isn’t known.

At a village near Karnal, Haryana, India on 20 January 2007 Maan was involved in a car accident in which his Range Rover was hit and severely damaged by a truck. Maan escaped with minor injuries on his face, hands and chest. His driver Ganesh was injured seriously but recovered soon after.

This was the 2nd car accident of two that Gurdas Maan was involved in. The 1st accident was a head-on collision between Maan’s vehicle and a truck on 9 January 2001 at a village near Rupnagar, Punjab. In this accident Maan’s driver Tejpal died. Maan later admitted that his driver asked him to wear his seat belt minutes before the accident. Maan believes that if it had not been for his driver’s advice, he would have been dead as well. Later he wrote and performed a song “Baithi sade naal savari utter gayi” dedicated to his driver, who was also his good friend.

In a newspaper interview Maan revealed to the Express & Star, that he is an avid supporter of Manchester United football club.

Gurdas Maan started his career as an employee of Punjab State Electricity Board.

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What is “Claudio Abbado” ?

Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado
Claudio Abbado

Born in Milan, Italy, Abbado is the son of the violinist and composer Michelangelo Abbado, who was his 1st piano teacher, and the brother of musician Marcello Abbado. After studying piano, composition, and conducting at the Milan Conservatory, at age 16, in 1955 Claudio Abbado studied conducting with Hans Swarowsky at the Vienna Academy of Music. He also spent time at the Chigiana Academy at Siena. In 1958 he won the international Serge Koussevitsky Competition for conductors, at the Tanglewood Music Festival, which resulted in a number of operatic conducting engagements in Italy, and in 1963 he won the Dimitri Mitropoulos Prize for conductors, allowing him to work for five months with the New York Philharmonic.

Abbado made his dxbut at La Scala in his hometown of Milan in 1960 and served as its music director from 1968 to 1986, conducting not only the traditional Italian repertoire but also presenting a contemporary opera each year, as well as a concert series devoted to the works of Alban Berg and Modest Mussorgsky. He was instrumental in increasing accessibility to the working-class. He also founded the Filarmonica della Scala in 1982, for the performance of orchestral repertoire in concert.

He conducted the Vienna Philharmonic for the 1st time in 1965 in a concert at the Salzburg Festival, and became the principal conductor in 1971. He served as music director and conductor for the Vienna State Opera from 1986 to 1991, with notable productions such as Mussorgsky’s original Boris Godunov and his seldom-heard Khovanshchina, Franz Schubert’s Fierrabras, and Gioacchino Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims.

In 1965, he made his British debut at the Halle Orchestra, followed, in 1966, by his London Symphony Orchestra debut. He continued to conduct on a regular basis with the London Orchestra, until 1979. From 1979 to 1988 he became the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and from 1982 to 1986 he was principal guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With both orchestras, Abbado made a number of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon.

In 1989, the Berlin Philharmonic elected him as their chief conductor, to succeed Herbert von Karajan. In 1998, he announced that he would be leaving the Berlin Philharmonic after the expiry of his contract in 2002.

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2000 and the treatment led to the removal of a portion of his digestive system.

In 2004 he returned to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic and performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 in a series of recorded live concerts. The resulting CD won Best Orchestral Recording and Record of the Year in Gramophone Magazine’s 2006 awards. The Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic established the Claudio Abbado Composition Prize in 2006 in his honour.

After recovering from cancer, he formed the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2003 and their concerts have been highly acclaimed. He also serves as music director of the Orchestra Mozart of Bologna, Italy.

In September 2007 he announced that he was cancelling all of his forthcoming conducting engagements for the “near future” on the advice of his physicians but two months later he resumed conducting concerts with an engagement in Bologna. In July 2011, aged 78, he declared himself to be in good health.

Abbado’s son is the opera director Daniele Abbado. From his relationship with the violinist Viktoria Mullova, he is the father of her oldest child, Misha. His nephew, Roberto Abbado, is also a conductor.

Abbado has performed and recorded a wide range of Romantic works, in particular Gustav Mahler, whose symphonies he has recorded several times. He is also noted for his interpretations of modern works by composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Giacomo Manzoni, Luigi Nono, Bruno Maderna, Thomas Adler, Giovanni Sollima, Roberto Carnevale, Franco Donatoni and George Benjamin.

In 1988, he founded the music festival Wien Modern, which has since expanded to include all aspects of contemporary art. This interdisciplinary festival takes place each year under his direction.

Abbado is also well known for his work with young musicians. He is founder and music director of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (1986). He is also a frequent guest conductor with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe with whom he recorded a cycle of Franz Schubert symphonies to considerable acclaim. More recently, he has worked with the Orquesta Sinfxnica Simxn Bolxvar of Venezuela.

He was known for his Germanic orchestral repertory as well as his interest in the music of Gioacchino Rossini and Giuseppe Verdi.

Claudio Abbado has received many awards and recognitions among which the Grand cross of the Lxgion d’honneur, Bundesverdienstkreuz, Imperial Prize of Japan, Mahler Medal, Khytera Prize, and honorary doctorates from the universities of Ferrara, Cambridge, Aberdeen, and Havana.

In 1973, he won the Mozart Medal awarded by Mozartgemeinde Wien, and the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1994.

He has won 1997 Grammy Award in the Best Small Ensemble Performance category for “Hindemith: Kammermusik No. 1 With Finale 1921, Op. 24 No. 1″ and 2005 Grammy Award in the Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra) category for “Beethoven: Piano Cons. Nos. 2 & 3″ performed by Martha Argerich.

In April 2012, Abbado was voted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame, and in May of the same year, he was awarded the conductor prize at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.

On 30 August 2013, he was appointed to the Italian Senate as a Senator for life by President Giorgio Napolitano because of his “outstanding cultural achievements”.

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What is “Music of Wales” ?

Music of Wales

Music of Wales
Music of Wales
Music of Wales

Wales has a history of folk music related to the Celtic music of countries such as Ireland and Scotland. It has distinctive instrumentation and song types, and is often heard at a twmpath, gŵyl werin (folk festival) or noson lawen (a traditional party similar to the Gaelic “Cxilidh”). Modern Welsh folk musicians have sometimes reconstructed traditions which had been suppressed or forgotten, and have competed with imported and indigenous rock and pop trends.

Music in Wales is often connected with male voice choirs, such as the Morriston Orpheus Choir and Treorchy Male Voice Choir, both enjoying a world wide reputation. This tradition of choral singing has been expressed through sporting events, especially in the country’s national sport of rugby, which in 1905 saw the 1st singing of a national anthem, Wales’ Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, at the start of an international sporting encounter.

A tradition of brass bands dating from the Victorian era continues, particularly in the South Wales Valleys, with Welsh bands such as the Cory Band being one of the most successful in the world.

The 20th century saw many solo singers from Wales become not only national but international stars. Ivor Novello, who was a singer-songwriter during the First World War. Also, opera-singers such as Geraint Evans and later Delme Bryn-Jones found fame post World War II. The 1960s saw the rise of two distinctive Welsh acts, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey, both of whom defined Welsh vocal styles for several generations.

In more modern times there has been a thriving musical scene. Bands and artists which have gained popularity include acts such as Man, Budgie, and solo artist John Cale in the early 1970s and solo artists Bonnie Tyler and Shakin’ Stevens in the 1980s. These were followed by a wave of acts in the 1990s and early 21st century which produced a credible Welsh ‘sound’ embraced by the public and the media press of Great Britain. Such acts included the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci; the latter two bands being notable for many of their songs’ lyrics being in Welsh.

Wales has a history of using music as a primary form of communication. As early as 1187, medieval chronicler Geraldus Cambrensis stated that the Welsh sang in as many parts as there were people, and even that quite small children could harmonise.

The oldest known traditional songs from Wales are those connected to seasonal customs such as the Mari Lwyd or Hunting the Wren, in which both ceremonies contain processional songs where repetition is a musical feature. Other such ceremonial or feasting traditions connected with song are the New Year’s Day Calennig and the welcoming of Spring Candlemas in which the traditional wassail was followed by dancing and feast songs. Children would sing ‘pancake songs’ on Shrove Tuesday and summer carols were connected to the festival of Calan Mai.

For many years, Welsh folk music had been suppressed, due to the effects of the Act of Union, which promoted the English language, and the rise of the Methodist church in the 18th and 19th century. The church frowned on traditional music and dance, though folk tunes were sometimes used in hymns. Since at least the 12th century, Welsh bards and musicians have participated in musical and poetic contests called eisteddfodau; this is the equivalent of the Scottish Mod and the Irish Fleadh Cheoil.

Welsh traditional music declined with the rise of Nonconformist religion in the 18th century, which emphasized choral singing over instruments, and religious over secular uses of music; traditional musical styles became associated with drunkenness and immorality. The development of hymn singing in Wales is closely tied with the Welsh Methodist revival of the late 18th century. The hymns were popularised by writers such as William Williams, while others were set to popular secular tunes or adopted Welsh ballad tunes. The appointment of Henry Mills as a musical overseer to the Welsh Methodist congregations in the 1780s saw a drive to improve singing throughout Wales. This saw the formation of local musical societies and in the 1st half of the 19th century Musical primers and collections of tunes were printed and distributed. Congregational singing was given further impetus with the arrival of the temperance movement, which saw the Temperance Choral Union organising annual singing festivals, these included hymn singing by combined choirs. The publication of Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol by John Roberts in 1859 provided congregations with a body of standard tunes that were less complex with unadorned harmonies. This collection began the practice of combining together to sing tunes from the book laid the foundation for Cymanfa Ganu, hymn singing festivals. Around the same period, the growing availability of music in the tonic sol-fa notation, promoted by the likes of Eleazar Roberts, allowed congregations to read music more fluently. One particularly popular hymn of this period was “Llef”.

In the 1860s, a revival of traditional Welsh music began, with the formation of the National Eisteddfod Society, followed by the foundation of London-area Welsh Societies and the publication of Nicholas Bennett’s Alawon fy Ngwlad, a compilation of traditional tunes, in the 1890s.

Although choral music in the 19th century by Welsh composers was mainly religious, there was a steady body of secular songs being produced. Composers such as Joseph Parry, whose work Myfanwy is still a favourite Welsh song, were followed by David Jenkins and D. Emlyn Evans, who tailored songs specifically for the Victorian music market. These secular hymns were embraced by the emerging male voice choirs, which formed originally as the tenor and bass sections of chapel choirs, but also sang outside the church in a form of recreation and fellowship. The industrial workforce attracted less of a jollity of English glee clubs and also avoided the more robust militaristic style of music. Composers such as Charles Gounod were imitated by Welsh contemporaries such as Parry, Protheroe and Price to cater for a Welsh fondness of dramatic narratives, wide dynamic contrasts and thrilling climaxes. As well as the growth of male voice choirs during the industrial period, Wales also experienced an increase in the popularity of brass bands. The bands were popular among the working classes, and were adopted by paternalistic employers who saw brass bands as a constructive activity for their work forces. Solo artists of note during the nineteenth century included charismatic singers Robert Rees and Sarah Edith Wynne, who would tour outside Wales and helped build the country’s reputation as a “land of song”.

In the twentieth century, Wales produced a large number of classical and operatic soloists of international reputation, including Ben Davies, Geraint Evans, Robert Tear, Bryn Terfel, Gwyneth Jones, Rebecca Evans and Helen Watts, as well as composers such as Alun Hoddinott, William Mathias and Karl Jenkins. From the 1980s onwards, crossover artists such as Katherine Jenkins, Charlotte Church and Aled Jones began to come to the fore. Welsh National Opera, established in 1946, and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, launched in 1983, attracted attention to Wales’s growing reputation as a centre of excellence in the classical genre.

Composer and conductor Mansel Thomas OBE, who worked mainly in South Wales, was one of the most influential musicians of his generation. For many years employed by the BBC, he promoted the careers of many composers and performers. He himself wrote vocal, choral, instrumental, band and orchestral music, specialising in setting songs and poetry. Many of his orchestral and chamber music pieces are based on Welsh folk songs and dances.

After World War II, two significant musical organisations were founded, the Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, both were factors in Welsh composers moving away from choral compositions to instrumental and orchestral pieces. Modern Welsh composers such as Alun Hoddinott and William Mathias produced large scale orchestrations, though both have returned to religious themes within their work. Both men would also explore Welsh culture, with Mathias setting music to the works of Dylan Thomas, while Hoddinott, along with the likes of Mervyn Burtch and David Wynne, would be influenced by the poetic and mythical past of Wales.

The 1960s saw important developments in both Welsh and English language music in Wales. The BBC had already produced Welsh language Radio programmes, such as Noson Lowen in the 1940s, and in the 1960s the corporation followed suite with television shows Hob y Deri Dando and Disc a Dawn giving Welsh acts a weekly stage to promote their sound. A more homely programme Gwlad y Gan was produced by rival channel TWW which set classic Welsh songs in idyllic settings and starred baritone Ivor Emmanuel. The Anglo-American cultural influence was a strong draw on young musicians, with Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey becoming world famous singers; and the growth of The Beatles’ Apple Records label saw Welsh acts Mary Hopkin and Badfinger join the roster. Not to be outdone, the short lived Y Blew, born out of Aberystwyth University, became the 1st Welsh language pop band in 1967. This was followed in 1969 with the establishment of the Sain record label, one of the most important catalyst for change in the Welsh language music scene.

The 1970s and 1980s were a less influential time for Welsh popular music, with many Welsh acts, such as Bonnie Tyler and Shakin’ Stevens, being commercially successful but through mimicking American music styles such as Motown or Rock and Roll. The Welsh language scene saw a dip in commercial popularity, but a rise in experimentation with acts such as punk band Trwynau Coch leading into a ‘New Wave’ of music. Bands that followed, like Anhrefn and Datblygu, found support from BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel, one of the few DJ’s outside Wales to champion Welsh language music. In the 1990s, the Welsh pop scene flourished, with the emergence of Manic Street Preachers and the Stereophonics, who although not singing in Welsh, brought a sense of Welshness through iconography, lyrics and interviews. The same period saw Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygnotic Mynci, bilingual bands that were successful enough to bring the Welsh language to an English speaking audience.

Early musical traditions during the 17th and 18th century saw the emergence of more complex carols, away from the repetitive ceremonial songs. These carols featured complex poetry based on cynghanedd, some were sung to English tunes, but many used Welsh melodies such as ‘Ffarwel Ned Puw’. The most common Welsh folk song is the love song, with lyrics pertaining to the sorrow of parting or in praise of the girl. A few employ sexual metaphor and mention the act of bundling. After love songs, the ballad was a very popular form of song, with its tales of manual labour, agriculture and the every day life. Popular themes in the 19th century included murder, emigration and colliery disasters; sung to popular melodies from Ireland or North America.

The most traditional of Welsh instruments is the harp, and is considered the national musical item. The triple harp is a particularly distinctive tradition: it has three rows of strings, with every semitone separately represented, while modern concert harps use a pedal system to change key by stopping the relevant strings. It has been popularised through the efforts of Nansi Richards, Llio Rhydderch and Robin Huw Bowen. The penillion is a traditional form of Welsh singing poetry, accompanied by the harp, in which the singer and harpist follow different melodies so the stressed syllables of the poem coincide with accented beats of the harp melody.

The Robert ap Huw manuscript documents 30 ancient harp music pieces that make up a fragment of the lost repertoire of the medieval Welsh bards. The music was composed between the 14th and 16th centuries, transmitted orally, then written down in a unique tablature and later copied in the early 17th century. This manuscript contains the earliest body of harp music from anywhere in Europe and is one of the key sources of early Welsh music.

Another distinctive instrument is the crwth, also a stringed instrument of a type once widespread in northern Europe, it was played in Wales from the Middle Ages, which, superseded by the fiddle, lingered on later in Wales than elsewhere but died out by the nineteenth century at the latest. The fiddle is an integral part of Welsh folk music.

See also Welsh Bagpipes, Pibgorn and Crwth.

Welsh folk is known for a variety of instrumental and vocal styles, as well as more recent singer-songwriters drawing on folk traditions.

By the late 1970s, Wales, like many of its neighbours, had seen the beginning of a roots revival, the beginnings of which can be traced back to the 1960s folk singer-songwriter Dafydd Iwan. Iwan was instrumental in the creation of a modern Welsh folk scene, and is known for fiercely patriotic and nationalistic songs, as well as the foundation of the Sain record label. The Festival Interceltique de Lorient saw the formation of Ar Log, who spearheaded a revival of Welsh fiddling and harp-playing, and continued recording into the 21st century. A Welsh session band, following in the footsteps of their Irish counterparts Planxty, Cilmeri recorded two albums with a uniquely Welsh feel. Welsh folk rock includes a number of bands, such as Moniars, Gwerinos, Blue Horses, Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion and Taran.

Sain was founded in 1969 by Dafydd Iwan and Huw Jones with the aid of funding from Brian Morgan Edwards. Originally, the label signed Welsh singers, mostly with overtly political lyrics, eventually branching out into a myriad of different styles. These included country music, singer-songwriters (Meic Stevens), stadium rock (The Alarm) and classical singers (Aled Jones, Bryn Terfel).

Related Sites for Music of Wales

What is “Music of Scotland” ?

Music of Scotland

Music of Scotland
Music of Scotland
Music of Scotland

Many outsiders associate Scottish folk music almost entirely with the Great Highland Bagpipe, which has indeed long played an important part of Scottish music. Although this particular form of bagpipe developed exclusively in Scotland, it isn’t the only Scottish bagpipe, and other bagpiping traditions remain across Europe. The earliest mention of bagpipes in Scotland dates to the 15th century although they are believed to have been introduced to Scotland as early as the 6th century by the Gaels of Ireland. The pxob mhxr, or Great Highland Bagpipe, was originally associated with both hereditary piping families and professional pipers to various clan chiefs; later, pipes were adopted for use in other venues, including military marching. Piping clans included the MacArthurs, MacDonalds, McKays and, especially, the MacCrimmon, who were hereditary pipers to the Clan MacLeod.

Stringed instruments have been known in Scotland from at least the Iron Age; the 1st evidence of lyres outwith the Greco-Roman world were found on the Isle of Skye, dating from 2300 BC, making it Europe’s oldest surviving stringed instrument. Bards, who acted as musicians, but also as poets, story tellers, historians, genealogists and lawyers, relying on an oral tradition that stretched back generations, were found in Scotland as well as Wales and Ireland. Often accompanying themselves on the harp, they can also be seen in records of the Scottish courts throughout the medieval period. Scottish church music from the later Middle Ages was increasingly influenced by continental developments, with figures like 13th-century musical theorist Simon Tailler studying in Paris, before returned to Scotland where he introduced several reforms of church music. Scottish collections of music like the 13th-century ‘Wolfenbxttel 677′, which is associated with St Andrews, contain mostly French compositions, but with some distinctive local styles. The captivity of James I in England from 1406 to 1423, where he earned a reputation as a poet and composer, may have led him to take English and continental styles and musicians back to the Scottish court on his release. In the late 15th century a series of Scottish musicians trained in the Netherlands before returning home, including John Broune, Thomas Inglis and John Fety, the last of whom became master of the song school in Aberdeen and then Edinburgh, introducing the new five-fingered organ playing technique. In 1501 James IV refounded the Chapel Royal within Stirling Castle, with a new and enlarged choir and it became the focus of Scottish liturgical music. Burgundian and English influences were probably reinforced when Henry VII’s daughter Margaret Tudor married James IV in 1503. James V was a major patron of music. A talented lute player he introduced French chansons and consorts of viols to his court and was patron to composers such as David Peebles (c. 1510–1579?).

The Scottish Reformation, directly influenced by Calvinism, was generally opposed to church music, leading to the removal of organs and a growing emphasis on metrical psalms, including a setting by David Peebles commissioned by James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray. The most important work in Scottish reformed music was probably A forme of Prayers published in Edinburgh in 1564. The return from France of James V’s daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots in 1561, renewed the Scottish court as a centre of musical patronage and performance. The Queen played the lute, virginals and was a fine singer. She was brought many influences from the French court where she had been educated, employing lutenists and viol players in her household. Mary’s position as a Catholic gave a new lease of life to the choir of the Scottish Chapel Royal in her reign, but the destruction of Scottish church organs meant that instrumentation to accompany the mass had to employ bands of musicians with trumpets, drums, fifes, bagpipes and tabors. The outstanding Scottish composer of the era was Robert Carver (c.1485–c.1570) whose works included the nineteen-part motet ‘O Bone Jesu’. James VI, king of Scotland from 1567, was a major patron of the arts in general. He rebuilt the Chapel Royal at Stirling in 1594 and the choir was used for state occasions like the baptism of his son Henry. He followed the tradition of employing lutenists for his private entertainment, as did other members of his family. When he came south to take the throne of England in 1603 as James I, he removed one of the major sources of patronage in Scotland. The Scottish Chapel Royal was now used only for occasional state visits, as when Charles I returned in 1633 to be crowned, bringing many musicians from the English Chapel Royal for the service, and it began to fall into disrepair. From now on the court in Westminster would be the only major source of royal musical patronage.

There is evidence that there was a flourishing culture of popular music in Scotland the late Middle Ages, but the only song with a melody to survive from this period is the “Pleugh Song”. After the Reformation, the secular popular tradition of music continued, despite attempts by the kirk, particularly in the Lowlands, to suppress dancing and events like penny weddings. This period saw the creation of the cexl mxr of the bagpipe, which reflected its martial origins, with battle-tunes, marches, gatherings, salutes and laments. The Highlands the early seventeenth century saw the development of piping families including the MacCrimmonds, MacArthurs, MacGregors and the Mackays of Gairloch. There is also evidence of adoption of the fiddle in the Highlands with Martin Martin noting in his A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland (1703) that he knew of 18 players in Lewis alone. Well-known musicians included the fiddler Pattie Birnie and the piper Habbie Simpson. This tradition continued into the nineteenth century, with major figures such as the fiddlers Neil and his son Nathaniel Gow. There is evidence of ballads from this period. Some may date back to the late Medieval era and deal with events and people that can be traced back as far as the thirteenth century. They remained an oral tradition until they were collected as folk songs in the eighteenth century.

The earliest printed collection of secular music comes from the seventeenth century. Collection began to gain momentum in the early eighteenth century and, as the kirk’s opposition to music waned, there were a flood of publications including Allan Ramsay’s verse compendium The Tea Table Miscellany and The Scots Musical Museum (1787 to 1803) by James Johnson and Robert Burns. From the late nineteenth century there was renewed interest in traditional music, which was more academic and political in intent. In Scotland collectors included the Reverend James Duncan and Gavin Greig. Major performers included James Scott Skinner. This revival began to have a major impact on classical music, with the development of what was in effect a national school of orchestral and operatic music in Scotland, with composers such as included Alexander Mackenzie, William Wallace, Learmont Drysdale, Hamish MacCunn and John McEwen.

After World War II traditional music in Scotland was marginalised, but remained a living tradition. This marginal status was changed by individuals including Alan Lomax, Hamish Henderson and Peter Kennedy, through collecting, publications, recordings and radio programmes. Acts that were popularised included John Strachan, Jimmy MacBeath, Jeannie Robertson and Flora MacNeil. In the 1960s there was a flourishing folk club culture and Ewan MacColl emerged as a leading figure in the revival in Britain. They hosted traditional performers, including Donald Higgins and the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, beside English performers and new Scottish revivalists such as Robin Hall, Jimmie Macgregor, The Corries and the Ian Campbell Folk Group. There was also a strand of popular Scottish music that benefited from the arrival of radio and television, which relied on images of Scottishness derived from tartanry and stereotypes employed in music hall and variety. This was exemplified by the TV programme The White Heather Club which ran from 1958–67, hosted by Andy Stewart and starring Moira Anderson and Kenneth McKeller. The fusing of various styles of American music with British folk created a distinctive form of fingerstyle guitar playing known as folk baroque, pioneered by figures including Davy Graham and Bert Jansch. Others totally abandoned the traditional element including Donovan and the Incredible String Band, who have been seen as developing psychedelic folk. Acoustic groups who continued to interpret traditional material through into the 1970s included Ossian, Silly Wizard, The Boys of the Lough, Battlefield Band, The Clutha and the Whistlebinkies.

The development of a distinct tradition of art music in Scotland was limited by the impact of the Scottish Reformation on ecclesiastical music from the sixteenth century. Concerts, largely composed of “Scottish airs”, developed in the seventeenth century and classical instruments were introduced to the country. Music in Edinburgh prospered through the patronage of figures including the merchant Sir John Clerk of Penicuik. The Italian style of classical music was probably 1st brought to Scotland by the cellist and composer Lorenzo Bocchi, who travelled to Scotland in the 1720s. The Musical Society of Edinburgh was incorporated in 1728. Several Italian musicians were active in the capital in this period and there are several known Scottish composers in the classical style, including Thomas Erskine, 6th Earl of Kellie, the 1st Scot known to have produced a symphony.

In the mid-eighteenth century a group of Scottish composers including James Oswald and William McGibbon created the “Scots drawing room style”, taking primarily Lowland Scottish tunes and making them acceptable to a middle class audience. In the 1790s Robert Burns embarked on an attempt to produce a corpus of Scottish national song contributing about a 3rd of the songs of the The Scots Musical Museum. Burns also collaborated with George Thomson in A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs, which adapted Scottish folk songs with “classical” arrangements. However, Burns’ championing of Scottish music may have prevented the establishment of a tradition of European concert music in Scotland, which faltered towards the end of the eighteenth century.

From the mid-nineteenth century classical music began a revival in Scotland, aided by the visits of Chopin and Mendelssohn in the 1840s. By the late nineteenth century, there was in effect a national school of orchestral and operatic music in Scotland, with major composers including Alexander Mackenzie, William Wallace, Learmont Drysdale and Hamish MacCunn. Major performers included the pianist Frederic Lamond, and singers Mary Garden and Joseph Hislop.

After World War I, Robin Orr and Cedric Thorpe Davie were influenced by modernism and Scottish musical cadences. Erik Chisholm founded the Scottish Ballet Society and helped create several ballets. The Edinburgh Festival was founded in 1947 and led to an expansion of classical music in Scotland, leading to the foundation of Scottish Opera in 1960. Important post-war composers included Ronald Stevenson, Francis George Scott, Edward McGuire, William Sweeney, Iain Hamilton, Thomas Wilson, Thea Musgrave and James MacMillan. Craig Armstrong has produced music for numerous films. Major performers include the percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Major Scottish orchestras include: Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBC SSO). Major venues include Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Usher Hall, Edinburgh and Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh.

Pop and rock were slow to get started in Scotland and produced few bands of note in the 1950s or 1960s, though thanks to accolades by David Bowie and others, the Edinburgh- based band 1-2-3, active 1966–71, have belatedly been acknowledged as a definitive precursor of the progressive rock movement. However, by the 1970s bands such as the Average White Band, Nazareth, and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band began to have international success. The biggest Scottish pop act of the 1970s however (at least in terms of sales) were undoubtedly the Bay City Rollers. Several of the members of the internationally-successful rock band AC/DC were born in Scotland, including original lead singer Bon Scott and guitarists Malcolm and Angus Young, though by the time they began playing, all three had moved to Australia.

Scotland produced a few punk bands of note, such as The Exploited, The Rezillos, The Skids, The Fire Engines, and the Scars. However, it wasn’t until the post-punk era of the early 1980s, that Scotland really came into its own, with bands like Cocteau Twins, Orange Juice, The Associates, Simple Minds, Maggie Reilly, Annie Lennox, Hue and Cry, Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Big Country, The Proclaimers and Josef K achieved critical acclaim. Since the 1980s Scotland has produced a more or less constant stream of important rock and alternative rock acts.

The 1980s also saw the rise of Scottish progressive rock/metal, with Marillion receiving worldwide recognition. Bands such as these have given inspiration to countless hundreds of 21st-century Scottish rock bands resulting in the fruitful and diverse underground music culture present in Scotland today. Most recently, Scottish piping has included a renaissance for cauldwind pipes such as smallpipes and border pipes, which use cold, dry air as opposed to the moist air of mouth-blown pipes. Other pipers such as Gordon Duncan and Fred Morrison began to explore new musical genres on many kinds of pipes. The accordion also gained in popularity during the 1970s due to the renown of Phil Cunningham, whose distinctive piano accordion style was an integral part of the band Silly Wizard. Numerous musicians continued to follow more traditional styles including Alex Beaton.

A more recent trend has been to fuse traditional Celtic with world music, rock and jazz. This has been championed by musicians such as Shooglenifty, innovators of the house fusion acid croft, Peatbog Faeries, The Easy Club, jazz fusion bands, puirt a’ bhxil mouth musicians Talitha MacKenzie and Martin Swan, pioneering singers Savourna Stevenson, Heather Heywood and Christine Primrose. Other modern musicians include the late techno-piper Martyn Bennett (who used hip hop beats and sampling), Hamish Moore, Roger Ball, Hamish Stuart, Jim Diamond, Sheena Easton and Gordon Mooney.

Scotland produced many indie bands in the 1980s, Primal Scream, The Soup Dragons, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Blue Nile, Teenage Fanclub, 18 Wheeler, The Pastels and BMX Bandits being some of the best examples. The following decade also saw a burgeoning scene in Glasgow, with the likes of The Almighty, Arab Strap, Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, The Delgados, Bis and Mogwai. Glasgow hard rock band Gun were originally active from the late 80′s to late 90′s, and almost achieved high level success. (Their excision from all histories of modern Scottish music is notably peculiar.) The late 1990s and 2000s has also seen Scottish guitar bands continue to achieve critical or commercial success, examples include Franz Ferdinand, Biffy Clyro, Travis, Calvin Harris, KT Tunstall, Amy Macdonald, Paolo Nutini, The View, Idlewild, Shirley Manson of Garbage, Glasvegas, The Fratellis, and Twin Atlantic.

Scottish extreme metal bands include Man Must Die, Cancerous Womb, Neonatal Death and Cerebral Bore.

Scotland has a strong jazz tradition and has produced many world class musicians since the 1950s, notably Jimmy Deuchar, Bobby Wellins and Joe Temperley. A long-standing problem was the lack of opportunities within Scotland to play with international musicians. Since the 1970s this has been addressed by Edinburgh clubowner Bill Kyle and enthusiast-run organisations such as Platform and then Assembly Direct, which have provided improved performance opportunities.

Perhaps the best known contemporary Scottish jazz musician is Tommy Smith. Again, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival brings some of the best jazz musicians in the world to Scotland every year, although, increasingly, other cities also run international jazz festivals.

Though often derided as Scottish kitsch, the accordion has long been a part of Scottish music. Country dance bands, such as that led by the renowned Jimmy Shand, have helped to dispel this image. In the early 20th century, the melodeon was popular among rural folk, and was part of the bothy band tradition. More recently, performers like Phil Cunningham (of Silly Wizard) and Sandy Brechin have helped popularise the accordion in Scottish music.

Though bagpipes are closely associated with Scotland by many outsiders, the instrument is found throughout large swathes of Europe, North Africa and South Asia. The most common bagpipe heard in modern Scottish music is the Great Highland Bagpipe, which was spread by the Highland regiments of the British Army. Historically, numerous other bagpipes existed, and many of them have been recreated in the last half-century.

Bagpipe competitions are common in Scotland, for both solo pipers and pipe bands. Competitive solo piping is currently popular among many aspiring pipers, some of whom travel from as far as Australia to attend Scottish competitions. Other pipers have chosen to explore more creative usages of the instrument. Different types of bagpipes have also seen a resurgence since the 70s, as the historical border pipes and Scottish smallpipes have been resuscitated and now attract a thriving alternative piping community.

The pipe band is another common format for highland piping, with top competitive bands including the Victoria Police Pipe Band from Australia, Northern Ireland’s Field Marshal Montgomery,Rep of Irelands Laurence o,Toole pipe band, Canada’s 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band and Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, and Scottish bands like Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band and Strathclyde Police Pipe Band. These bands, as well as many others, compete in numerous pipe band competitions, often the World Pipe Band Championships, and sometimes perform in public concerts.

Scottish traditional fiddling encompasses a number of regional styles, including the bagpipe-inflected west Highlands, the upbeat and lively style of Norse-influenced Shetland Islands and the Strathspey and slow airs of the North-East. The instrument arrived late in the 17th century, and is 1st mentioned in 1680 in a document from Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian, Lessones For Ye Violin.

In the 18th century, Scottish fiddling is said to have reached new heights. Fiddlers like William Marshall and Niel Gow were legends across Scotland, and the 1st collections of fiddle tunes were published in mid-century. The most famous and useful of these collections was a series published by Nathaniel Gow, one of Niel’s sons, and a fine fiddler and composer in his own right. Classical composers such as Charles McLean, James Oswald and William McGibbon used Scottish fiddling traditions in their Baroque compositions.

Related Sites for Music of Scotland

What is “Folk music of Ireland” ?

Folk music of Ireland

Folk music of Ireland
Folk music of Ireland
Folk music of Ireland

The folk music of Ireland is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres in Ireland.

In A History of Irish Music, W. H. Grattan Flood wrote that, in Gaelic Ireland, there were at least ten instruments in general use. These were the cruit (a small harp) and clairseach (a bigger harp with typically 30 strings), the timpan (a small string instrument played with a bow or plectrum), the feadan (a fife), the buinne (an oboe or flute), the guthbuinne (a bassoon-type horn), the bennbuabhal and corn (hornpipes), the cuislenna (bagpipes – see Great Irish Warpipes), the stoc and sturgan (clarions or trumpets), and the cnamha (castanets). There is also evidence of the fiddle being used in the 8th century.

There are several collections of Irish folk music from the 18th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that ballad printers became established in Dublin. Important collectors include Colm x Lochlainn, George Petrie, Edward Bunting, Francis O’Neill, Canon James Goodman and many others. Though solo performance is preferred in the folk tradition, bands or at least small ensembles have probably been a part of Irish music since at least the mid-19th century, although this is a point of much contention among ethnomusicologists.

Irish traditional music has survived more strongly against the forces of cinema, radio and the mass media than the indigenous folk music of most European countries. This was possibly due to the fact that the country wasn’t a geographical battleground in either of the two world wars. Another potential factor was that the economy was largely agricultural, where oral tradition usually thrives. From the end of the 2nd world war until the late fifties folk music was held in low regard. Comhaltas Ceoltxirx xireann and the popularity of the Fleadh Cheoil (music festival) helped lead the revival of the music. The English Folk music scene also encouraged and gave self-confidence to many Irish musicians. Following the success of The Clancy Brothers in the USA in 1959, Irish folk music became fashionable again. The lush sentimental style of singers such as Delia Murphy was replaced by guitar-driven male groups such as The Dubliners. Irish showbands presented a mixture of pop music and folk dance tunes, though these died out during the seventies. The international success of The Chieftains and subsequent musicians and groups has made Irish folk music a global brand.

Historically much old-time music of the USA grew out of the music of Ireland, England and Scotland, as a result of cultural diffusion. By the 1970s Irish traditional music was again influencing music in the USA and further afield in Australia and Europe. It has occasionally been fused with rock and roll, punk rock and other genres, as in certain recordings of Horslips, Thin Lizzy, The Corrs, The Chieftains, Enya, Clannad, Riverdance, and Van Morrison.

Like all traditional music, Irish folk music has changed slowly. Most folk songs are less than two hundred years old. One measure of its age is the language used. Modern Irish songs are written in English and Irish. Most of the oldest songs and tunes are rural in origin and come from the older Irish language tradition. Modern songs and tunes often come from cities and towns, Irish songs went from the Irish language to the English language.

Unaccompanied vocals are called sean nxs and are considered the ultimate expression of traditional singing. This is usually performed solo (very occasionally as a duet). Sean-nxs singing is highly ornamented and the voice is placed towards the top of the range. A true sean-nxs singer will vary the melody of every verse, but not to the point of interfering with the words, which are considered to have as much importance as the melody. To the first-time listener, accustomed to pop and classical singers, sean-nxs often sounds more “Arabic”, “Persian” or “Indian” than “Western”.

Non-sean-nxs traditional singing, even when accompaniment is used, uses patterns of ornamentation and melodic freedom derived from sean-nxs singing, and, generally, a similar voice placement.

Caoineadh/kˠi:nʲɪ/ is Irish for a lament, a song which is typified by lyrics which stress sorrow and pain. Traditionally, the Caoineadh song contained lyrics in which the singer lamented for Ireland after having been forced to emigrate due to political or financial reasons. The song may also lament the loss of a loved one. Many Caoineadh songs have their roots/basis in The Troubles of Northern Ireland with particular reference to the presence of the British military during this period. Examples of Caoineadh songs include: Far Away in Australia, The Town I loved So Well and Four Green Fields.

Caoineadh singers were originally paid to lament for the departed at funerals, according to a number of Irish sources.

Irish traditional music was largely meant for dancing at celebrations for weddings, saint’s days or other observances. Tunes are most usually divided into two eight-bar strains which are each played as many times as the performers feel is appropriate; Irish dance music is isometric. (16 measures are known as a “step”, with one 8 bar strain for a “right foot” and the 2nd for the “left foot” of the step. Tunes that aren’t so evenly divided are called “crooked”.) This makes for an eminently danceable music, and Irish dance has been widely exported abroad.

Traditional dances and tunes include reels, hornpipes (4/4 with swung eighth notes), and jigs (double and single jigs are in 6/8 time), as well as imported waltzes, mazurkas, polkas, and highlands or barndances (a sort of Irish version of the Scottish strathspey). Jigs come in various other forms for dancing – the slip jig and hop jig or single jig are commonly written in 9/8 time, the slide in 12/8. (The dance the hop jig is no longer performed under the auspices of An Coimisiun.) The forms of jig danced in hardshoe are known as double or treble jigs (for the doubles/trebles performed with the tip of the hardshoe), and the jigs danced in ghillies/pomps/slippers/light shoes are known as light jigs.

The concept of ‘style’ is of large importance to Irish traditional musicians. At the start of the last century, distinct variation in regional styles of performance existed. With increased communications and travel opportunities, regional styles have become more standardised, with soloists aiming now to create their own, unique, distinctive style, often hybrids of whatever other influences the musician has chosen to include within their style.

Due to the importance placed on the melody in Irish music, harmony should be kept simple, and instruments are played in strict unison, always following the leading player. True counterpoint is mostly unknown to traditional music, although a form of improvised “countermelody” is often used in the accompaniments of bouzouki and guitar players. Much of the local character of a style comes from the type of decoration that is added to a tune.

The guitar was used as far back as the 1930s 1st appearing on some of the recordings of Michael Coleman and his contemporaries. The bouzouki only entered the traditional Irish music world in the late 1960s. The word bodhrxn, indicating a drum, is 1st mentioned in a translated English document in the 17th century,. The 4-string tenor banjo, 1st used by Irish musicians in the US in the 1920s, is now fully accepted. The saxophone also featured in recordings from the early 20th century most notably in Paddy Killoran’s Pride of Erin Orchestra. Cxilidh bands of the 1940s often included a drum set and stand-up bass as well as saxophones. Traditional harp-playing died out in the late 18th century, and was revived by the McPeake Family of Belfast, Derek Bell, Mary O’Hara and others in the mid-20th century. Although often encountered, it plays a fringe role in Irish Traditional music.

Instruments such as button accordion and concertina made their appearances in Irish traditional music late in the 19th century. There is little evidence for the concert flute having played much part in traditional music. Traditional musicians prefer the wooden simple-style instrument to the Boehm-system of the modern orchestra. The mass-produced tin whistle is common too.

The piano is commonly used for accompaniment. In the early 20th century piano accompaniment was prevalent on the 78rpm records featuring Michael Coleman, James Morrison, John McKenna, PJ Conlon and many more. On many of these recordings the piano accompaniment was woeful because the backers were unfamiliar with Irish music. However, Morrison avoided using the studio piano players and hand-picked his own. The vamping style used by these piano backers has largely remained. There has been a few recent innovators such as Josephine Keegan, Brian McGrath, Ryan Molloy and others.

The Uilleann pipes are a distinctive Irish musical instrument. Some of the earliest recordings of this instrument were made by Francis O’Neill on the Edison cylinder recordings featuring Patsy Touhy.

One of the most important instruments in the traditional repertoire, the fiddle is played differently in widely varying regional styles. It uses the standard GDAE tuning. The best-known regional fiddling traditions are from Donegal, Sligo, Sliabh Luachra and Clare.

The fiddling tradition of Sligo is perhaps most recognisable to outsiders, due to the popularity of American-based performers like Lad O’Beirne, Michael Coleman, John McGrath, James Morrison and Paddy Killoran. These fiddlers did much to popularise Irish music in the States in the 1920s and 1930s. Other Sligo fiddlers included Martin Wynne and Fred Finn.

Notable fiddlers from Clare include Mary Custy, Yvonne Casey, Paddy Canny, Bobby Casey, John Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Peadar O’Loughlin, Pat O’Connor, Martin Hayes and P. Joe Hayes.

Donegal has produced James Byrne, Vincent Campbell, John Doherty, and Con Cassidy.

Sliabh Luachra, a small area between Kerry and Cork, is known for Julia Clifford, her brother Denis Murphy, Sean McGuire, Paddy Cronin and Padraig O’Keeffe. Contemporary fiddlers from Sliabh Luachra include Matt Cranitch, Gerry Harrington and Connie O’Connell, while Dubliner Sxamus Creagh, actually from Westmeath, is imbued in the local style.

Modern performers include Kevin Burke, Maire Breatnach, Matt Cranitch, Paddy Cronin, Frankie Gavin, Paddy Glackin, Cathal Hayden, Martin Hayes, Peter Horan, Sean Keane, James Kelly, Mairxad Nx Mhaonaigh, Brendan Mulvihill, Mairead Nesbitt, Gerry O’Connor, Caoimhxn x Raghallaigh, and Paul O’Shaughnessy.

Related Sites for Folk music of Ireland

What is “Music of Cornwall” ?

Music of Cornwall

Music of Cornwall
Music of Cornwall
Music of Cornwall

In medieval Cornwall there are records of performances of ‘Miracle Plays’ in the Cornish language, with considerable musical involvement. Also minstrels were hired to play for saints day celebrations. The richest families (including Arundell, Bodrugan, Bottreaux, Grenville, and Edgcumbe) retained their own minstrels, and many others employed minstrels on a casual basis. There were vigorous traditions of morris dancing, mumming, guising, and social dance.

Then followed a long period of contention which included the Cornish Rebellion of 1497, the 1549 Prayer Book Rebellion, the Persecution of Recusants, the Poor Laws, and the English Civil War and Commonwealth. The consequences of these events disadvantaged many gentry who had previously employed their own minstrels or patronised itinerant performers. Over the same period in art music the use of modes was largely supplanted by use of major and minor keys. Altogether it was an extended cultural revolution, and it is unlikely that there were not musical casualties.

However, a number of manuscripts of dance music from the period 1750 to 1850 have now been found which tell of renewed patronage, employment of dancing masters, and a repertoire that spanned class barriers. Seasonal and community festivals, mumming and guising all flourished.

In the 19th century, the nonconformist and temperance movements were strong: these frowned on dancing and music, encouraged the demise of many customs, but fostered the choral and brass band traditions. Some traditional tunes were used for hymns and carols. Church Feast Days and Sunday School treats were widespread—a whole village processing behind a band of musicians leading them to a picnic site, where “Tea Treat Buns” were distributed. This left a legacy of marches and polkas. Records exist of dancing in farmhouse kitchens, and in fish cellars Cornish ceilidhs called troyls were common, they are analogous to the fest-noz of the Bretons. Some community events survived, such as at Padstow and at Helston, where to this day, on 8 May, the townspeople dance the Furry Dance through the streets, in and out of shops, even through private houses. Thousands converge on Helston to witness the spectacle. The Sans Day Carol or “St Day Carol” is one of the many Cornish Christmas carols written in the 19th century. This carol and its melody were 1st transcribed from the singing of a villager in St Day in the parish of Gwennap: the lyrics are similar to those of “The Holly and the Ivy”.

In Anglican churches the church bands were replaced by keyboard instruments (harmonium, piano or organ) and singing in unison became more usual.

Folk songs include “Sweet Nightingale”, “Little Eyes”, and “Lamorna”. Few traditional Cornish lyrics survived the decline of the language. In some cases lyrics of common English songs became attached to older Cornish tunes. Some folk tunes have Cornish lyrics written since the language revival of the 1920s. Sport has also been an outlet for many Cornish folk songs, and Trelawny, the unofficial Cornish national anthem, is often sung by Cornish rugby fans, along with other favourites such as “Camborne Hill” and “The White Rose”. The Cornish anthem that has been used by Gorseth Kernow for the last 75 plus years is “Bro Goth Agan Tasow” with a similar tune to the Welsh national anthem (“Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”) and the Breton national anthem (“Bro Gozh ma Zadox”). “Bro Goth Agan Tasow” isn’t heard so often, as it is sung in Cornish. Another popular Cornish anthem is “Hail to the Homeland”.

Cornish dances include community dances such a ‘furry dances’, social dances, linear and circle dances originating in karoles and farandoles, and step dances – often competitive. Among the social dances is ‘Joan Sanderson’, the cushion dance from the 19th century, but with 17th-century origins.

Cornish music is often noted for its similarity to that of Brittany; some older songs and carols share the same root as Breton tunes. From Cornwall, Brittany was more easily accessible than London. Breton and Cornish were mutually intelligible. There was much cultural and marital exchange between the two countries and this influenced both music and dance.

Cornish musicians have used a variety of traditional instruments. Documentary sources and Cornish iconography, bombarde (horn-pipe), bagpipes and harp. The bodhrxn (crowdy crawn in Cornish) and fiddle (crowd in Cornish) were popular by the 19th century. In the 1920s there was a serious school of banjo playing in Cornwall. After 1945 accordions became progressively more popular, before being joined by the instruments of the 1980s folk revival. In recent years Cornish bagpipes have enjoyed a progressive revival.

Modern Cornish musicians include the late Brenda Wootton, the Cornish-Breton family band Anao Atao, the late 1960s band The Onyx and the 1980s band Bucca. Recently bands Sacred Turf, Skwardya and Krena, have begun performing electric folk in the Cornish language.

Kyt Le Nen Davey, a multi-instrumental Cornish musician, established a not-for-profit collaborative organisation, Kesson, to distribute Cornish music to a world audience. Today, the site has moved with the times, and now provides individual track downloads, alongside traditional CD format.

Pioneering Techno artist Richard D. James is a contemporary Cornish musician, frequently naming tracks in the Cornish language. Along with friend and collaborator Luke Vibert and business partner Grant Wilson-Claridge, James has crafted a niche of ‘Cornish Acid’ affectionately identified with his home region.

Bands such as Dalla and Sowena are associated with the noz lowen style of Cornish dance and music, which follows the Breton style of uncalled line dances. Troyls, usually called in a ceilidh style, occur across Cornwall with bands including the North Cornwall Ceilidh Band, The Brim, the Bolingey Troyl band, Hevva, Ros Keltek and Tros an Treys.Skwardya and Krena play rock, punk and garage music in the Cornish language. The Cornwall Songwriters organisation has since 2001 produced two folk operas ‘The Cry of Tin’ and ‘Unsung Heroes’. Also Cornwall has a selection of up and coming young bands such as “Heart in One Hand” and “The small print”.

The underground scene includes rappers Hedluv + Passman, multi-instrumentalist Julian Gaskell and alternative folk/skiffle duo Zapoppin’.

Sic, the singer of the Dutch pagan folk band Omnia hails from Cornwall and wrote a song named Cornwall about his homeland. During gigs by Omnia the Cornish flag is displayed on stage when this song is performed.

In 2012 the folksinger and writer Anna Clifford-Tait released ‘Sorrow’, a song written in Cornish and English.

The Cornwall Folk Festival has been held annually for more than three decades and in 2008 was staged at Wadebridge. Other festivals are the pan-Celtic Lowender Peran and midsummer festival Golowan. Cornwall won the PanCeltic Song Contest three years in a row between 2003 and 2005.

Cornish music radio can be found on “Radyo an Gernewegva” and features such artists as Dalla, Bagas Degol, Cam Kernewek, Leski, Ahanan, Julie Elwin, Phil Knight, Ryb an Gwella, Sowena, Captain Kernow and the Jack and Jenny Band, Quylkyn Tew, Gwenno, Skwardya and Trev Lawrence.

Related Sites for Music of Cornwall

What is “Celtic music” ?

Celtic music

Celtic music
Celtic music
Celtic music

Celtic music is a broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. It refers to both orally-transmitted traditional music and recorded music and the styles vary considerably to include everything from “trad” music to a wide range of hybrids.

These two latter usage patterns may simply be remnants of formerly widespread melodic practices.

Often, the term Celtic music is applied to the music of Ireland and Scotland because both lands have produced well-known distinctive styles which actually have genuine commonality and clear mutual influences. The definition is further complicated by the fact that Irish independence has allowed Ireland to promote ‘Celtic’ music as a specifically Irish product. However, these are modern geographical references to a people who share a common Celtic ancestry and consequently, a common musical heritage.

These styles are known because of the importance of Irish and Scottish people in the English speaking world, especially in the United States, where they had a profound impact on American music, particularly bluegrass and country music. The music of Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany, Galicia, Cantabria and Asturias and Portugal are also considered Celtic music, the tradition being particularly strong in Brittany, where Celtic festivals large and small take place throughout the year, and in Wales, where the ancient eisteddfod tradition has been revived and flourishes. Additionally, the musics of ethnically Celtic peoples abroad are vibrant, especially in Canada and the United States. In Canada the provinces of Atlantic Canada are known for being a home of Celtic music, most notably on the islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. The traditional music of Atlantic Canada is heavily influenced by the Irish, Scottish and Acadian ethnic makeup of much of the region’s communities. In some parts of Atlantic Canada, such as Newfoundland, Celtic music is as or more popular than in the old country. Further, some older forms of Celtic music that are rare in Scotland and Ireland today, such as practice of accompanying a fiddle with a piano, or the Gaelic spinning songs of Cape Breton remain common in the Maritimes. Much of the music of this region is Celtic in nature, but originates in the local area and celebrates the sea, seafaring, fishing and other primary industries.

In Celtic Music: A Complete Guide, June Skinner Sawyers acknowledges six Celtic nationalities divided into two groups according to their linguistic heritage. The Q-Celtic nationalities are the Irish, Scottish and Manx peoples, while the P-Celtic groups are the Cornish, Bretons and Welsh peoples. Musician Alan Stivell uses a similar dichotomy, between the Gaelic and the Brythonic (Breton/Welsh/Cornish) branches, which differentiate “mostly by the extended range (sometimes more than two octaves) of Irish and Scottish melodies and the closed range of Breton and Welsh melodies (often reduced to a half-octave), and by the frequent use of the pure pentatonic scale in Gaelic music.”

There is also tremendous variation between Celtic regions. Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany have living traditions of language and music, and there has been a recent major revival of interest in Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Galicia has a Celtic language revival movement to revive the Q-Celtic Gallaic language used into Roman times. Most of the Iberian Peninsula had a similar Celtic language in pre-Roman times. A Brythonic language was used in parts of Galicia and Asturias into early Medieval times brought by Britons fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions via Brittany. The Romance language currently spoken in Galicia, Galician, has many words of Celtic origin and is closely related to the Portuguese language used mainly in Brazil and Portugal. Galician music is claimed to be Celtic. The same is true of the music of Asturias, Cantabria, and that of Northern Portugal (some tell even traditional music from Central Portugal can be labeled Celtic).

The oldest musical tradition which fits under the label of Celtic fusion originated in the rural American south in the early colonial period and incorporated Scottish, Scots-Irish, Irish,Welsh, English, and African influences. Variously referred to as roots music, American folk music, or old-time music, this tradition has exerted a strong influence on all forms of American music, including country, blues, and rock and roll. In addition to its lasting effects on other genres, it marked the 1st modern large-scale mixing of musical traditions from multiple ethnic and religious communities within the Celtic diaspora.

In the 1960s several bands put forward modern adaptations of Celtic music pulling influences from several of the Celtic nations at once to create a modern pan-celtic sound. A few of those include bagadox, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Steeleye Span and Horslips.

In the 1970s Clannad made their mark initially in the folk and traditional scene, and then subsequently went on to bridge the gap between traditional Celtic and pop music in the 1980s and 1990s, incorporating elements from New Age, smooth jazz, and folk rock. Traces of Clannad’s legacy can be heard in the music of many artists, including Enya, Donna Taggart, Altan, Capercaillie, The Corrs, Loreena McKennitt, Anxna, Riverdance and U2. The solo music of Clannad’s lead singer, Moya Brennan has further enhanced this influence.

Later, beginning in 1982 with The Pogues’ invention of Celtic folk-punk and Stockton’s Wing blend of Irish traditional and Pop, Rock and Reggie, there has been a movement to incorporate Celtic influences into other genres of music. Bands like Flogging Molly, Black 47, Dropkick Murphys, The Young Dubliners, The Tossers introduced a hybrid of Celtic rock, punk, reggae, hardcore and other elements in the 1990s that has become popular with Irish-American youth.

Today there are Celtic-influenced sub genres of virtually every type of popular music including electronica, rock, metal, punk, hip hop, reggae, new age, Latin, Andean and pop. Collectively these modern interpretations of Celtic music are sometimes referred to as Celtic fusion.

Outside of America, the 1st deliberate attempts to create a “Pan-Celtic music” were made by the Breton Taldir Jaffrennou, having translated songs from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales into Breton between the two world wars. One of his major works was to bring “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” back in Brittany and create lyrics in Breton. Eventually this song became “Bro goz va zadox” (“Old land of my fathers”) and is the most widely accepted Breton anthem. In the 70s, the Breton Alan Cochevelou (future Alan Stivell) began playing a mixed repertoire from the main Celtic countries on the Celtic harp his father created.Probably the most successful all inclusive Celtic music composition in recent years is Shaun Daveys composition ‘The Pilgrim’. This suite depicts the journey of St. Colum Cille through the Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and Galicia. The suite which includes a Scottish pipe band, Irish and Welsh harpists, Galician gaitas, Irish uilleann pipes, the bombardes of Brittany, two vocal soloists and a narrator is set against a background of a classical orchestra and a large choir.

Modern music may also be termed “Celtic” because it is written and recorded in a Celtic language, regardless of musical style. Many of the Celtic languages have experienced resurgences in modern years, spurred on partly by the action of artists and musicians who have embraced them as hallmarks of identity and distinctness. In 1971, the Irish band Skara Brae recorded its only LP, all songs in Irish. In 1978 Runrig recorded an album in Scottish Gaelic. In 1992 Capercaillie recorded “A Prince Among Islands”, the 1st Scottish Gaelic language record to reach the UK top 40. In 1996, a song in Breton represented France in the 41st Eurovision Song Contest, the 1st time in history that France had a song without a word in French. Since about 2005, Oi Polloi (from Scotland) have recorded in Scottish Gaelic. Mill a h-Uile Rud (a Scottish Gaelic punk band from Seattle) recorded in the language in 2004.

Several contemporary bands have Welsh language songs, such as Ceredwen, which fuses traditional instruments with trip-hop beats, the Super Furry Animals, Fernhill, and so on. The same phenomenon occurs in Brittany, where many singers record songs in Breton, traditional or modern (hip hop, rap, and so on.).

Related Sites for Celtic music

Culture of the Isle of Man

Culture of the Isle of Man

Culture of the Isle of Man
Culture of the Isle of Man
Culture of the Isle of Man

The culture of the Isle of Man is influenced by its Celtic and, to a lesser extent, its Norse origins, though its close proximity to the United Kingdom, popularity as a UK tourist destination, and recent mass immigration by British migrant workers has meant that British influence has been dominant since the Revestment period. Recent revival campaigns have attempted to preserve the surviving vestiges of Manx culture after a long period of Anglicisation, and significant interest in the Manx language, history and musical tradition has been the result.

The official language of the Isle of Man is English. Manx Gaelic has traditionally been spoken but is now considered “critically endangered”.

The Manx Gaelic language is a Goidelic Celtic language and is one of a number of insular Celtic languages spoken in the British Isles. Manx Gaelic has been officially recognised as a legitimate autochthonous regional language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, ratified by the United Kingdom on 27 March 2001 on behalf of the Isle of Man government.

The Manx language is closely related to the Irish language and Scottish Gaelic. By the middle of the 20th century only a few elderly native speakers remained: the last of them, Ned Maddrell, died on 27 December 1974. By then a scholarly revival had begun to spread to the populace and many had learned Manx as a 2nd language. The 1st native speakers of Manx in many years have now appeared: children brought up by Manx-speaking parents. Primary immersion education in Manx is provided by the Manx government: since 2003, the former St John’s School building has been used by the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh (Manx language-medium school). Degrees in Manx are available from the Isle of Man College and the Centre for Manx Studies. Manx-language playgroups also exist and Manx language classes are available in island schools. In the 2001 census, 1,689 out of 76,315, or 2.2% of the population, claimed to have knowledge of Manx, although the degree of knowledge in these cases was presumably varied.

In common use are the greetings moghrey mie and fastyr mie which mean good morning and good afternoon respectively. The Manx language uses afternoon in place of evening. Another frequently heard Manx expression is traa dy liooar meaning time enough, and represents a stereotypical view of the Manx attitude to life.

In recent years, the Anglo-Manx dialect has almost disappeared in the face of increasing immigration and cultural influence from the United Kingdom. A few words remain in general use, but apart from the Manx accent, little remains of this dialect and it is seldom heard on the island in its original form today.

The earliest datable text in Manx, a poetic history of the Isle of Man from the introduction of Christianity, dates to the 16th century at the latest.

Christianity has been an overwhelming influence on Manx literature. Religious literature was common, but surviving secular writing much rarer. The Book of Common Prayer and Bible were translated into Manx in the 17th and 18th centuries. The 1st Manx Bible was printed between 1771 and 1775 and is the source and standard for modern Manx orthography. The 1st printed work in Manx, Coyrle Sodjeh, dates from 1707: a translation of a Prayer Book catechism in English by Bishop Thomas Wilson.

With the revival of Manx, new literature has appeared, including Contoyryssyn Ealish ayns Cheer ny Yindyssyn a Manx translation of Alice in Wonderland by Brian Stowell, published in 1990.

For centuries, the island’s symbol has been its ancient triskelion, a device similar to Sicily’s Trinacria: three bent legs, each with a spur, joined at the thigh. The Manx triskelion does not appear to have an official design; government publications, currency, flags, the tourist authority and others all use different variants. Most, but not all, preserve rotational symmetry, some running clockwise, others anti-clockwise. Some have the uppermost thigh at 1200, others at 1130 or 1000, etc. Some have the knee bent at 90x, some at 60x, some at closer to 120x. Also, the degree of ornamentation of the leg wear and spur varies considerably.

The three legs are reflected in the island’s motto : Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, traditionally translated from Latin as Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand, or Whichever way you throw it, it will stand.

The origin of the Three Legs of Man is explained in the Manx legend that Manannan repelled an invasion by transforming into the three legs and rolling down the hill and defeating the invaders.

Variations on the Manx triskelion are still in use on the coats of arms belonging to the different branches of the ancient Norwegian noble family that ruled Mann until the 13th century. This particular version belongs to the Skancke branch of the Skanke family. The name stems from skank, the Norwegian version of the word shank, or leg. The Norse royal family of Man stayed on the island for some years after the death of Magnus III and the beginning of Scottish rule. The family’s emigration only came after the final attempt on the part of the Manx at restoring the old Sudreyar dynasty in the 1275 uprising against the Scots. This revolt failed disastrously, ending in the deaths of hundreds of rebels, including the last Norse King of Mann, Godred VI Magnuson when the Manx suffered defeat in the decisive Battle of Ronaldsway, near Castletown. When the Norse-Manx royals arrived in Norway they took service as nobles of the Norwegian king, quickly becoming knights, landlords, and clergy under the Norwegian Crown.

The predominant religious tradition of the island is Christianity, and the ancient Christian Church of the island is today part of the Church of England. The diocese has an unbroken history from 1154 to the present day, during which there have been many changes in tradition and detail. As with all ancient Anglican churches, the diocese was once part of the then mainstream of western Christian tradition, the Roman Catholic Church. The diocese has been part of the national churches of Norway, Scotland, and England. It has also come under the influence of Irish religious tradition. Since 1541 its bishop and 28 parishes have been part of the Province of York.

Other Christian churches also operate on Mann. The 2nd largest denomination is the Methodist Church, which is close in size to the Anglican diocese. There are eight Roman Catholic parish churches, under the authority of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool. Additionally there are five Baptist churches, four Pentecostal churches, the Salvation Army, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, two United Reformed churches, as well as other Christian churches in addition to these. There are also many other faith organisations on the island.

Particularly, there is a small Muslim community on the island, with a Mosque in Douglas, which is regularly attended several times a day by local worshippers and there is a small Jewish community on the island, with a synagogue in Douglas.

Prior to the 15th century, little can be determined about the character of music on the Isle of Man. There are many carved crosses from this era, but they depict a total of two musicians, one lur player and a harpist. Songs from this era may have had Scandinavian origins; some also bear similarities to Irish and Scottish music. The song Reeaghyn dy Vannin, is very similar to a lullaby from the Hebrides and is also said to have been a ritual dance during the Scandinavian era.

Church music is the most documented Manx music of the 19th century. The 1st collection of Manx church songs was printed in 1799, and was followed by many other collections, though it wasn’t until the 1870s and 1880s that Manx music began to be published in any great quantity, as drawing-room ballads, religious songs, and choral arrangements all became popular. The proliferation of this music coincided with a boom in the tourism industry for the Isle, and Manx music-hall and dance-hall songs and dances saw increased demand.

By the 20th century instrumental music accompanied most worship on the Isle of Man. Later in the 20th century, Manx church musical traditions slowly declined.

The 1970s folk revival was kickstarted, after the 1974 death of the last native speaker of Manx, by a music festival called Yn xhruinnaght in Ramsey.

The Manx Heritage Foundation has a dedicated Manx Music Development Team comprising a Manx Music Specialist who works with the IOM Department of Education to encourage the development of Manx music in the school curriculum and a Manx Music Development Officer, who works to promote Manx Music and Dance in the wider community. CDs by bands, soloists and Gaelic choirs are being produced all of the time.

The name of Isle of Man is eponymous after Manannxn mac Lir, a Celtic sea god, according to an old Irish lexicon. A further tidbit of Manx mythology provides that Manannan, who was “the 1st man of Man, rolled on three legs like a wheel through the mist” (O’Donovan, the translator of the glossary. Manannan was called “The Three-Legged Man” (Manx: Yn Doinney Troor Cassgh) and all the inhabitants were three-legged when St. Patrick arreived. (* It may be noted in passing that O’Donovan also records an Irish lore about Lon, the three-armed one-legged smith. see under Glas Gaibhnenn).

A “traditionary ballad” entitled Mannanan beg mac y Leirr; ny, slane coontey jeh Ellan Vannin account of the Isle of Man”)(dated to 1507-22), states that the Isle of Man was once under the rule of Mannan, who used to impose a token tax from the island folk, until St. Patrick came and banished the heathen. One quatrain runs: “It wasn’t with his sword he kept it/ Neither with arrows or bow. / But when he would see ships sailing, / He would cover it round with a fog.” (Str. 4) “. So Mannanan here is said to have raised a mist or fog to conceal the whole island from detection (cf. Fxth fxada). The fee or rent that Mannanan demanded was a bundle of coarse marsh-grass like rushes (leaogher-ghlass), to be delivered every “Midsummer Eve” (1 August) (orig. text, Manx: Oie-Lhoine; dictionary lhuanys, lhunys “lammas”, i.e., Manx equivalent of Lugnasad).

In the Manx tradition of folklore, there are many stories of mythical creatures and characters. These include the Buggane, a malevolent spirit who according to legend blew the roof off St Trinian’s Church in a fit of rage; the often helpful but unpredictable Fenodyree; the Glashtyn who may be a hairy goblin or water-horse who emerges from his aquatic environs; and the Moddey Dhoo, a ghostly black dog who once wandered the walls and corridors of Peel Castle and frightened the guards on duty.

Related Sites for Culture of the Isle of Man