Irish Folk Music by Women

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Traditional Irish music by female artists.

Irish Folk Music

Irish Folk music has always been a part of the nation’s culture. It is a form of music that is passed down from generation to generation. Irish Folk music is usually sung in bars and pubs, and is often about the drinking culture, or about love and loss.

What is Irish Folk Music?

Irish folk music is the traditional music of the island of Ireland. It is often compared to other Celtic music traditions, such as Scottish and Welsh folk music. Although there are many similarities between these traditions, there are also some important differences.

Irish folk music is characterised by its use of traditional instruments such as the fiddle, drums, and tin whistle. It is also usually sung in Irish, though English is also sometimes used. The songs often deal with topics such as love, loss, and emigration.

One of the most important aspects of Irish folk music is its tradition of storytelling. This is evident in both the lyrics of many songs and in the way that instrumental tunes are often passed down from generation to generation.

Irish folk music has undergone something of a revival in recent years, with many young people taking an interest in learning traditional instruments and songs. There are now many festivals and events dedicated to Irish folk music all over the world.

The Origins of Irish Folk Music

Irish folk music has been around for centuries and is an important part of Irish culture. Though the genre has undergone some changes over time, it still retains its original roots.

Most of the folk songs that are popular today date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. At that time, the majority of the population was rural, and music was often passed down from generation to generation orally. As a result, many of the songs that are commonly sung today have been adapted or borrowed from other cultures.

One of the most significant changes to Irish folk music came about in the 20th century when new technologies made it possible to record and distribute music. This allowed for a wider dissemination of Irish music and helped to spark a renewed interest in the genre.

Today, Irish folk music is enjoyed by people all over the world. Though it may have changed over time, it still retains its original charm and beauty.

The Instruments of Irish Folk Music

There are many different types of instruments that are used in Irish folk music, some of which are unique to the genre. The most commonly used instruments include the following:

-The fiddle is by far the most popular instrument in Irish folk music and is typically played as the lead melody instrument.

-The accordion is another popular choice, providing a continuous harmony and rhythm.

-The flute and penny whistle are often used for melodic ornaments and solos.

-The bodhran is a traditionalIrish drum that is used to provide rhythm, particularly in slower tunes.

-The guitar is sometimes used as an accompaniment instrument, but can also be played as a solo instrument.

Other instruments that are sometimes used in Irish folk music include the uilleann pipes, concertina, banjo, and mandolin.

Women in Irish Folk Music

Though often overshadowed in the field of Irish music by such legends as The Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners, women have played an integral role in the development and perpetuation of Irish folk music. Women in Irish Folk Music examines the lives and careers of some of the most influential women in the genre, providing an essential overview of the history of Irish folk music.

The Role of Women in Irish Folk Music

Women have always played an important role in Irish music, from the early days of street singing and ballad sellers, to the rise of the female stars of today. In the folk music scene, women have always been at the forefront, performing both solo and in groups. Many of the most well-known Irish folk songs were written by women, and there are many all-female groups performing traditional Irish music today.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Irish traditional music, and women have been at the forefront of this revival. Female musicians are once again taking to the stage and bringing traditional Irish music to new audiences. These performers are keeping the rich musical heritage of Ireland alive while also creating new and innovative interpretations of traditional songs.

The following is a list of some of the most well-known female performers in Irish folk music today:

Cara Dillon – One of the most acclaimed singers in Irish folk music, Cara Dillon has won numerous awards for her recordings. Her beautiful voice has brought new life to traditional songs, and her albums are must-haves for any fan of Irish music.

The McKrells – This all-female group is based in New York state, but their love for Irish music knows no bounds. The McKrells perform lively renditions of traditional tunes, as well as original compositions inspired by their Celtic roots.

The Dingle Sisters – Hailing from County Kerry in Ireland, The Dingle Sisters are one of the most popular all-female folk groups currently performing. Their thrilling live shows have won them a devoted fan base, and their albums are filled with beautiful renditions of traditional Irish songs.

Famous Irish Folk Music Women

Irish folk music has a rich history full of strong female performers. Here are some of the most famous women in Irish folk music.

The Clancy Sisters: The Clancy Sisters were an Irish folk group that achieved widespread success in the 1950s and 1960s. The group consisted of Joan, Louise, and Peggy Clancy, and their cousins Mary and Frances Black. They are considered to be some of the most influential folk musicians of their time, and their music has been covered by many artists over the years.

The Corrs: The Corrs are a contemporary Irish folk group consisting of sisters Andrea, Sharon, and Caroline Corr. The group has achieved international success with their blend of traditional Irish music with pop sensibilities. They have released eight studio albums and have sold over 55 million records worldwide.

Enya: Enya is an Irish singer-songwriter who specializes in New Age and Celtic-influenced music. She gained widespread popularity in the late 1980s with her debut album Enya, which featured the hit song “Orinoco Flow”. She has released eight studio albums to date and has sold over 75 million records worldwide.

Eileen Ivers: Eileen Ivers is an American-born fiddler who specializes in traditional Irish music. She is considered to be one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation, and her mother was also a well-known fiddler in her own right. Ivers has released eleven solo albums and has toured with various artists including Sting, Riverdance, and Emmylou Harris.

The Future of Irish Folk Music by Women

There is no doubt that Irish folk music has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. This is in part due to the fact that more and more people are interested in their cultural heritage, and also because the music itself is incredibly beautiful and moving. What many people don’t realize, however, is that women have played a vital role in the folk music scene for centuries. In fact, some of the most famous and influential folk musicians of all time have been women.

As we enter a new era of Irish folk music, it is important to remember the contributions of women to the genre. These women have shaped the sound of Irish folk music for generations, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians. Here are just a few of the most influential women in Irish folk music:

The Chieftains: One of the most iconic and influential Irish folk bands of all time, The Chieftains were founded by Paddy Moloney in 1961. The group has included many different members over the years, but one constant has been fiddler Mairead Nesbitt. Nesbitt joined The Chieftains in 2002 and has been an integral part of their sound ever since. She is a true virtuoso on her instrument, and her playing style has helped to define The Chieftains’ sound.

Karney: Karney is a relatively new group, but they are already making waves in the Irish folk music world. The band is fronted by twin sisters Kate and Anne-Marie O’Callaghan, who sing and play guitar and mandolin respectively. Their harmonies are truly angelic, and their songwriting captures the heartbreak and hope of modern Ireland. Karney is a band to watch out for in the coming years – they are sure to take the Irish folk world by storm.

Altan: Since forming in 1987, Altan has been one of the most successful traditional Irish bands ever. The group was founded by husband-and-wife team Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh (fiddle) and Ciarán Tourish (tin whistle), who are still members today along with guitarists Mark Kelly and Dáithí Sproule. Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh’s stunning fiddle playing is a major reason for Altan’s success – she is one of the most gifted traditional musicians working today.

These are just a few of the many incredible women who are making waves in Irish folk music today. With their talent and passion, they are helping to ensure that this beautiful genre will continue to thrive for generations to come.

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