Five Favorites: Irish Folk Songs

Five Favorites

Here’s another foray into my eclectic tastes in music!


“I’ll Tell Me Ma” by Van Morrison and the Chieftains. This is the song that spawned my search for Irish music on YouTube this weekend. My parents have the album on both CD and cassette tape so I grew up with it. Doing a search on just the song “I’ll Tell Me Ma” led me to several other groups.


“Star of the County Down” by Orthodox Celts. A Serbian band singing Irish and Scottish ballads — I love the harmonies which remind me of Eastern Orthodox church music. This is also a favorite tune of mine.


“Rocky Road to Dublin” by the High Kings. Apparently, I was under a rock 5 years ago (or living in Montana) when these boys burst onto the folk scene. They’ve got a pedigree for folk music — one is the son of one of the Clancy Brothers and two performed in Riverdance in addition to being on Broadway. Yet another has toured with other bands. I love their version of this song.

Contrast this with the version that the Rolling Stones did with the Chieftains which has some riffs of “Satisfaction” in it.


“The Little Beggarman” by the High Kings. I love the puirt à beul (“mouth singing” — it’s kind of scat-singing in jazz) and the little bits of choreography in this one.


“Marie’s Wedding” by the High King. More lovely puirt à beul in this one and I love that they’re doing it conversationally in the beginning. You also get to hear the individual voices which is another wonderful thing about their version.

Here’s the Chieftains version with Van Morrison.

Go love up Hallie.