Profs & Pints Charlottesville: How Song Shaped Ireland

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Tuesday, March 12 2024 5:30 PM 8:00 PM EDT

Profs and Pints Charlottesville presents: “How Song Shaped Ireland,” an exploration of the Emerald Isle through its music, with Christopher Dobbins, associate professor of music at Washington and Lee University and teacher of courses on Ireland’s music and literature.

Gear up for Saint Patrick’s Day by developing an ear for Éire and music that sheds light on Ireland’s history, culture, and influence on the rest of the world. No previous musical experience is required—all you’ll need is be interested in Ireland and a love of learning.

Professor Christopher Dobbins, who has taught a course on Ireland’s music and literature to students traveling abroad to study there, will take us on a journey through time from the public-house origins of Ireland’s traditional music right up to current bands like Flogging Molly.

He’ll discuss what makes Irish music distinct from that of other parts of the world and how some of its key features can be heard even in classical music by Irish composers.

Much of the talk will focus on Irish music associated with specific places and events. You’ll learn about the melodies tied to West Kerry and songs that tell stories about Irish emigrants’ longing to be back home. We’ll look in depth at songs tied to Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising, war for Independence, and Civil War.

You’ll learn about new instruments, artists, and genres and the contributions of artists such as Sinead O’Connor, the Pogues, the Cranberries, Davy Spillane, The Boys of the Lough, the Bothy Band, and The Swell Season.

Professor Dobbins will end his talk by asking the audience to take a musical test: “Irish or Not?” Everyone on hand will feel at least a little more Irish by the time they go home. (Tickets must be purchased in advance at $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. No door tickets are available. Doors open to talk attendees at 5 pm and the talk itself starts at 6 pm.)

Image: From an 1845 calotype photograph of Irish harpist Patrick Byrne (Scottish National Gallery / Wikimedia Commons).