The Ian Gallaghers fabric - Exiled but Irish To The Core
Like the threads that stitch up a quilt Irish music has a wide array of material .
Like the fabric that covers a suit Irish music still looks and sounds great when ever and where ever you put it on .
Like the style or fashion of the times Irish music has changed direction and fused into other styles that make the diversity of Irish music such huge scene .
One of the most popular styles of music enjoyed around the nineteen fifties and sixties was the Big bands and The Swing Bands .
The Irish Showband Era is often remembered fondly by many people around the world .
As an Irish Radio producer I talk to many Irish people about music .
For some Irish exiles like Ian Gallagher who now lives in America
The Irish Showband era made a big impact on his life .
Recently when Ian Gallagher released an album of his own entitled My Ireland . The album is a collection of well loved Irish songs sung by Ian in a soft crooner kind of way . There is a slight touch of the Bid Band element there on a Glen Miller melody . All in all the album has a hallmark of
Irishness with a capital C for Class
Ian rang me from his home in New Jersy , America and we spoke of the land we love . Ireland the country of our birth . We spoke of the hard times that made us leave and we spoke of what inspired him as an artist to do this album My Ireland .
For the benefit of all music lovers and Irish exiles here is some of what we spoke about . I hope you enjoy A Walk Down A Memory With Ian .
Hello Paul . Good morning I have no idea what time it is over there . I think its in the evening sometime is it ?
Its about Six thirty . What time is it over there in the states ?
Its almost a quarter to three in the morning and I stayed up just to talk to you Paul .
Ah thatís very decent of you .
I wanted to thank you for giving me this opportunity to promote my Cd out there in Australia .
Before you went to America you originally came from Roscommon in Ireland Ian . Could you tell us some of your memories of that place ?
Well I was actually raised in a village called Arigna in County Roscommon .
Its actually lies on the short of Lough Allen which is the first Lake on the Shannon and Arigna was a mining village and it had been producing coal there since the sixteen hundreds believe it or not . A lot of people donít know that about that part of Ireland but there was a big mining industry there . The mines closed down about ten years ago around 1992. I think they could import coal cheaper from Poland than they could mine it in Arigna . So thatís the whole economics of the thing . My memories of that were people had jobs and we lived pretty good there . That would be like in the sixties in Ireland so you know we had a good time . We listened to music and the start of my dancing days was there in that area . Drumshambo was the closest village to me in that area which was County Leitrim . They had a big ballroom there and thatís where I got my first taste of the Irish Showbands and stuff like that . So I guess that formed my musical background . A little bit if Irish and a little bit of
Rock And Roll and everything else .Thatís what my childhood was .
Did any other members of your family show interest with music and perform ?
Not in my generation . The music came from my Mothers side . My Mother was in a band in her generation and my Uncle played a Bodhran and he probably was my mentor but my first instrument was a button keyed accordion I played traditional music when I was a kid and then I broke my arm in a car accident and then I picked up guitar I guess I was in my teens at that time.. Thatís when I got turned on to Rock And Roll but I came back to my musical roots probably in the late seventies . Back to the Irish music .
In Roscommon would it be true to say thereís a great love of the Gaelic football Ian .
Their Hey Day would have been in the forties I think .They havnít won too many All Irelands . I mean I think they beat Kerry once .
What was it made you leave Ireland Ian .
Well when I left Ireland in the sixties which was a long time ago there wasnít much prospects for a young man coming out of national schools . Most people had to emigrate . Our biggest export then was people .When you go back to Ireland today its hard to imagine what Ireland was like in the sixties .
There was just no work . You know unless you got a civil service job or something your prospects were not very good so you had to go to America or Australia and that was the way it was basically .Its terrible to have to say that but thatís the way it was in Ireland then . I was back there last year and I couldnít get over how much progress the country has made .
Its just unbelievable .
Youíre currently living in New Jersy in America . Whereabouts would you normally play your music over there ?
Well we actually play mainly dinner dances . We play mostly to the over forty crowd who like ballroom dancing . You know people who like to do the Irish dances like The Seige Of Ennis or The Stacks Of Barley , that type of music .
And we mix it up with a wee bit of Sinatra, some standardís, some oldies .
Some sixties and seventies . A little to interest everybody here . Thatís what its like here the people like to dance and have a good time .
We Irish exiles often connect ourselves to our land by our music and dance .
In this Album of yours it speaks well of your love for Ireland .Have you had any help selecting the songs for the album ?
No . The music on the album were songs that I really like . If you think of the track My Darling Girl From Clare which was written by Percy French who was probable Irelands greatest songwriter last century and of course he was a Roscommon man so I had to put that one on .
I mean Danny Boy is the song everybody requests in this country so if youíre going to do an album you really have to put it on .
In the old Showband days in Ireland people loved to do ballroom dancing .
Iím going back forty years ago and people loved to jive to Glen Miller music .
To a certain extent itís carried over here to this country and people at my age group still remember those days .
My Dear Irish Boy is an instrumental track on the album played by this phenomenal musician from Donegal by the name of Eamonn OíRourke .
Eamonn is one of the most sought after musicians in the New York area right now . In his thirties Eamonn plays guitar mandolin and fiddle . He has just started playing with Kathy Mattea and so he is moving on to bigger and better things . So we are wishing lots of luck to Eamonn our boy from Donegal .
How do you find it over there living in and around New York as an Irish Musician ?
Great .They love Irish music out here . Even the younger people here are still big with the Irish Music . I mean there are some fantastic groups here at the moment . Thereís a group called Cherish The Ladies which is an all girl outfit They quite famous . Theyíve played in Ireland and everywhere .
Some of the younger Celtic Rock groups here which a lot of older people are not keen on keep interpreting Irish music their own way which keeps it alive .
Irish music would die if people didnít interpret it the way they felt like it .,
So its almost like jazz Irish music . Its an old tradition and people interpret it the way they feel .
Itís been great speaking to you Ian this evening . Thanks for calling .