Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Living in America" / Black 47

I'm feeling the St. Paddy's Day love.  I've been swamped with editing the very excellent Frommer's guide to Ireland non-stop (deadlines, deadlines) and my daughter just flew over to Dublin to visit some friends (who convinced her that the iconic St-Patricks-Day-in-Dublin experience was best viewed on TV, to avoid the crowds. Hunh?). This summer we'll all be going over to Cork when she does another summer program over there. Erin go bragh!

But for the moment, all I have is the estimable Larry Kirwan and his Celtic rock/bar band Black 47, who distill it all through the perspective of the Irish diaspora living in New York.  I think of all the Irish nannies and firefighters I've known through the years, and this is about as astute a piece of social commentary as you'll ever hear.

Granted, this song came out in 1993 (on their Fire of Freedom album) before the Celtic Tiger years lured so many ex-pat Paddies back to the emerald isle. And then it all went south in 2008, and . . . well, the Irish have always had a knack for surviving hardship. They've done it before and they'll do it again.
"And it's mammy, dear / We're all mad over here" -- how perfectly Kirwan catches the tone of desperation and crazy humor. Background: Kirwan is from County Wexford, though the band's co-founder Chris Byrne is from Brooklyn. Formed in 1989, the band is now officially disbanded, but their smart, politically engaged, totally danceable music will live on and on.
May the road rise under your feet et cetera.....

1 comment:

NickS said...

It sounds like you've been a good mood, which is nice to hear.

Also, between this and the previous Black 47 song that you've posted, I've ordered a copy of the album.