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Quiz about Thoroughly Modern Traditional
Quiz about Thoroughly Modern Traditional

Thoroughly Modern Traditional Trivia Quiz

Traditional Irish Music in the 20th Century

Traditional Irish music is the indigenous music of the island. With the emergence of strong influences from Britain and the USA, the question is whether traditional music was still relevant & influential in the second half of the 20th century?
This is a renovated/adopted version of an old quiz by author Vermic

A multiple-choice quiz by pollucci19. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
pollucci19
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
26,424
Updated
Jan 14 24
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
148
Awards
Editor's Choice
Last 3 plays: sonicblast (4/10), CardoQ (10/10), Guest 136 (6/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. The ultimate expression of Irish folk singing is called sean-nos. Which of the following best represents sean-nos?


Question 2 of 10
2. Sean O'Riada, a prime driver of traditional Irish music in the mid-20th century, was influential in bringing which traditional Celtic instrument to the fore? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Whilst Sean O'Riada had a big hand in revitalizing traditional Irish music in the mid-20th century, which group, formed by Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy, were credited with taking it to international awareness? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. The group Anuna bought Ireland's choral music to the fore when they became associated with which notable dance troupe?


Question 5 of 10
5. In which field of music is the Irish composer Seoirse Bodley a significant artist? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Affectionately known as the "Girl From Donegal" which of the following singers has been described as "Ireland's First International Pop Star"? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Irish country music emerged from the showband scene.


Question 8 of 10
8. One of the most successful purveyors of Celtic rock was which of the following bands, whose first hit was "Whiskey in the Jar" in 1972? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Which Irish group, led by the late Shane MacGowan, helped to popularize the Celtic punk genre of music? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Born Eithne Padraigin Ni Bhraonain, which Irish artist gained international acclaim for her fusion of New Age music sensibilities with traditional Celtic harmonies? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The ultimate expression of Irish folk singing is called sean-nos. Which of the following best represents sean-nos?

Answer: Unaccompanied vocals

Sean-nos means "in the old style" and it is used to showcase a singer's voice. Unaccompanied means without instruments and, usually, without another voice. A true sean-nos singer will be able to vary the melody of each verse without affecting the lyrics. This is important because the lyrics are almost viewed as being sacred to the song. The word "caoineadh" is used to describe a lament.

While this question is not entirely in line with the road this quiz is to take, I have used it as a means to lay the groundwork for the rest of the information to follow. Irish folk music (as distinct from traditional) is not old (roughly 200 years old) and, as a result, the changes to it over that time have not been significant. That said, both folk and traditional Irish music had suffered significant downturns by the start of the 20th century, with the former all but disappearing. There was a short revival of traditional Irish music in the early 1900s however, the fortunes for both changed markedly in the middle of the century, thanks to the work of artists such as Sean O'Riada and the Chieftains. This was built upon in the 1960s by Donald Lunny and Christy Moore. This spurred on the Clancy Brothers to break ground in the United States, opening the doors for acts such as Van Morrison, Hothouse Flowers and Sinead O'Connor to follow.
2. Sean O'Riada, a prime driver of traditional Irish music in the mid-20th century, was influential in bringing which traditional Celtic instrument to the fore?

Answer: Bodhran

Traditional Irish music was built around a mixture of ballads, laments and good old drinking songs. The music, itself, was made up of hornpipes, reels and jigs. To deliver the music a range of instruments were used. The accordion and the concertina were fairly common, as was the Irish fiddle, an instrument that had been played constantly since the 8th century. The bagpipes, which are commonly associated with Scotland, also have a long history in the Irish music scene.

The bodhran is a circular framed drum, which Irish Music magazine editor Ronan Nola claims evolved from the tambourine during the mid-19th century. That said, the name has been seen in English documents that go as far back as the 17th century. On the other hand, the name bodhran means "drum", so it could have been any shape and this is not proof that the earlier mentions resemble the instrument that Nola proclaims. One of the points that Nola also puts forth as proof is that there is a distinct lack of notable Irish drummers recorded during those days.

Sean O'Riada was an Irish composer who sought to revive traditional Irish music. To this end, his works married both traditional Irish music with modern sounds. He became a household name during the 1960s with his endeavours with the band known as Ceoltoir Chualann, a traditionalist music ensemble that included some members who would later form the formidable band, the Chieftains. Their collaborations were sparse but bright in texture, with an emphasis on traditional instruments. Whilst he also played the harpsichord, it was the bodhran that he felt was a vital piece and, as a result, he would play the instrument while holding centre stage.

Sadly, O'Riada passed away in 1970 at the tender age of forty, however, his passion had inspired a new wave in roots revival and the bodhran became a vital instrument for acts such as Robin Morton in The Boys of Lough, Christy Moore in Planxty and Johnny McDonough from De Dannan.
3. Whilst Sean O'Riada had a big hand in revitalizing traditional Irish music in the mid-20th century, which group, formed by Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy, were credited with taking it to international awareness?

Answer: The Chieftains

Paddy Moloney was one of the original members of Sean O'Riada's Ceoltoiri Chualann ensemble in 1960. Two years later he developed an itch to start his own band and soon gathered Potts and Tubridy. He would also add David Fallon and Martin Fay to the list.

Their music was, predominantly, instrumental, built around the Irish bagpipe and, whilst they held a strong following in their homeland, they struggled to break ground internationally. That all changed when Stanley Kubrick's film, 1975's "Barry Lyndon", won the Oscar for Best Music and Original Score. The Chieftains had made a significant contribution to the film's soundtrack, which included Paddy Moloney's arrangement of O'Riada's "Women of Ireland". Suddenly the band found themselves on the mainstream charts in the United States.

Their reputation was further enhanced by their collaborations with Van Morrison, which produced the critically acclaimed album "Irish Heartbeat" in 1988. During their career, the band would earn themselves six Grammy Awards and have the Irish government bestow the title of "Ireland's Musical Ambassadors" upon them in 1989.
4. The group Anuna bought Ireland's choral music to the fore when they became associated with which notable dance troupe?

Answer: Riverdance

In a nutshell, choral music is written for voices rather than instruments. Basically it is created for an unaccompanied choir. Anuna has, since, become Ireland's national choir.

Apart from a period during the Renaissance, choral music in Ireland had little to show for itself in the way of history prior to the 20th century. Anuna was founded by Michael McGlynn in 1987 as the choir An Uaithe, a name that was derived from three ancient forms of Irish music - Suantrai, meaning lullaby, Geantrai, meaning happy song and the lament, Goltrai. The name was changed to Anuna in 1991 for easier pronunciation.

The group performs with between eleven and fourteen singers and they will utilize the whole stage in a production that involves movement, costumes, candles and an ethereal sound created purely by voices. Most of the compositions are provided by McGlynn with the aim to explore and then redefine traditional Irish songs into a modern form.

Anuna gained international attention with their association with Riverdance between the years 1994 and 1996. They would perform the opening choral for the act and the key number from that piece, "Cloudsong" was one that they performed at the opening of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. The "Riverdance: Music from the Show" (1995) album strongly features the group. It paved the way for them to do collaborative work with The Chieftains, Sting and Elvis Costello.
5. In which field of music is the Irish composer Seoirse Bodley a significant artist?

Answer: Classical

Before embarking on the importance of Bodley in both classical and traditional Irish music, it is important to understand the state of classical music in Ireland in the lead up to his arrival. Taken from the late 19th century through to Irish independence in the early 20th, there were strong anti-British sentiments about anything linked to the monarchy. Misguidedly, classical music was one of those links and it endured a severe decline. This began to change with the emergence of an Irish broadcasting system in 1920 which, in turn, led to the creation of the Radio Eireann Orchestra.

Bodley, born in 1933, was an avid attendee of those concerts and hastened to get his music degree in 1952. Described as a chameleon, Bodley's work would change on a regular basis as he explored different styles. One commentator stated that he virtually changed styles every decade. As a consequence, his work has been categorized into five distinct phases or periods. For the purpose of this quiz, the most significant period was his third phase.

During Bodley's third phase, which began in the 1970s, he started to delve into traditional Irish music and melding it with avant-garde stylings from other parts of Europe. The results were considered to be groundbreaking. His most significant works during this time were "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" (1972), the orchestral score "A Small White Cloud Drifts Over Ireland" (1975) and the song cycle "A Girl" (1978). The lyrics for the latter were written by Brendan Kennelly. In an extract from Gareth Cox's "Irish Music in the 20th Century" (2003), musicologist Axel Klein described Bodley's work as "the most coherent and challenging use of traditional music in a modern context". Klein put forward that Bodley didn't merely try to marry traditional into a contemporary form, that he challenged the construct, and created a different "musical material".
6. Affectionately known as the "Girl From Donegal" which of the following singers has been described as "Ireland's First International Pop Star"?

Answer: "Bridie" Gallagher

"A Mother's Love is a Blessing" was written by Thomas Keening and it is listed as one of Ireland's favourite poems. It was put to music and recorded by Bridgett "Bridie" Gallagher as her debut single in 1956. It catapulted her to international acclaim.

Bridie's songs, which would later be categorized as country and Irish, were mainly ballads and included such works as "At the Close of an Irish Day" (1958), "The Homes of Donegal" and "Rose of Kilkenny" (both 1960) and the stirring "The Boys of County Armagh" (1957). The latter would sell an incredible 250,000 copies, making it, at the time, Ireland's biggest selling single. Her work would pave the way for the likes of The Bachelors, Val Doonican, Them, Eire Apparent and Gary Moore.

The other artists named above as answer options have all been Irish winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. Dana in 1970, Linda Martin in 1992 and Niamh Kavanagh achieved her win in 1993.
7. Irish country music emerged from the showband scene.

Answer: True

First came the big bands, imitating the likes of America's Glenn Miller. These were called dance bands in Ireland, contained 10 to 15 members, and were extremely popular during the 1940s and 1950s.

Approaching the 1960s the popularity of instrumentals was on the wane and bands with vocalists were on the rise. Big bands became showbands, generally, employing two singers and reducing their brass section from eight to ten members, down to two or three. Their popularity was staggering that by the mid-1960s there were in the vicinity of 800 showbands performing across Ireland, either on a full-time or part-time basis.

Later in the 60s and early 1970s, a second wave of showbands appeared, bringing alternate genres into their repertoires. Bands like the Real McCoy and the Chessmen were mixing blues, soul and rock into their setlists. These proved popular in the urban areas of Ireland while performers such as The Cotton Mill Boys and Buckshot, who were singing country and western tunes, dominated in the rural areas. Out of the latter emerged bands such Big Tom and the Mainliners and Larry Cunningham and the Mighty Arons, who shelved the idea of imported country and western tunes and began producing similar songs of loneliness employing and reworking traditional Irish works. In this they created the hybrid now known as country and Irish.

The mid-1970s saw the disappearance of the showbands. There were a number of factors that contributed to their demise but two of the key ones were the advent of disco and the opening of smaller venues, such as hotels, to music. The final nail came in 1975, when three members of the Miami Showband were murdered by the Ulster Volunteer Force while they were making their way home from a gig in Banbridge. This put the fear of travel into showbands and their numbers reduced significantly.

Country and Irish, however, remained but it was now in the realms of small outfits, duos and solo artists.
8. One of the most successful purveyors of Celtic rock was which of the following bands, whose first hit was "Whiskey in the Jar" in 1972?

Answer: Thin Lizzy

Whether or not Celtic rock, the incorporation of Celtic themes and instrumentation into a rock and roll sound, was created in Ireland is moot and is not the regard of this question. What isn't disputed is that it became the foundation upon which a number of mainstream Irish acts were able to build their reputation. Horslips were one of the earliest Irish bands to utilize traditional Irish reels and jigs in their work. They had great success at home but their fortunes abroad were limited due to their desire not to tour.

Thin Lizzy were formed in 1969 and released their first, self-titled, album in 1971. The album attracted little attention and the band's sound was described as mellow. They gained attention the following year when their record label, Decca, released their rollicking version of a traditional Irish folk song "Whiskey in the Jar". The single topped the Irish charts and reached number six in England. The irony is that the band was upset about the release as they felt "it was not their true sound".

However, the success of that single may have influenced a change in style for the band, as their third album, "Vagabonds of the Western World" (1973) saw the emergence of the attitude and swagger that would become one of the band's trademarks. Despite this, it would be another four years after "Whiskey..." that the band would chart again outside of Ireland. That landmark was achieved with "The Boys are Back in Town" (1976), which blazed a trail across the globe for the band.

Their main songwriter was Phil Lynott, who drew heavily on Celtic mythology and his own personal experiences for inspiration. The band would dissolve in 1983, however, they never lost track of their traditional roots and this was reflected in numerous album tracks, the most notable being the seven minute medley of traditional Irish songs, "Roisin Dubh", which closes out their 1979 LP "Black Rose: A Rock Legend".
9. Which Irish group, led by the late Shane MacGowan, helped to popularize the Celtic punk genre of music?

Answer: The Pogues

Whilst the term "Celtic" covers the Irish, the Welsh and the Scots, it is important to remember that each region had its own sound, traditions, dialects and ways of doing things. In respect to Celtic punk the Irish interpretation of the genre would differ markedly to that of the Scots. I would like to cut-off another possible point of contention here in that The Pogues could also be deemed to be Anglo-Irish. Even though their hearts and souls would always be in Ireland, they were formed in Kings Cross in London and played most of their early gigs there.

The Pogues were not the earliest exponents of Celtic punk, a fusion that introduces a punk rock attitude to elements of traditional Celtic folk music. Whilst it is moot, a number of scholars would point to The Skids, a Scottish band, after adding strong folk elements to their 1981 album "Joy". At that point in time, The Pogues were still in their formative stages and had not yet defined their sound.

Once they did launch, their creations were not well received in traditional Irish music circles. One critic dubbing them "the greatest disaster ever to hit Irish music". However, by the time of the release of their first album "Red Roses for Me" (1984) attitudes began to change and their subsequent albums, "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" (1985) and "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" (1988) won the doubters over. Original songs such as "Sally MacLennane" (1985) and the perennial Christmas favourite "Fairytale of New York", a duet with Kristy McColl, won the doubters over and had them proclaiming The Pogues as invigorators of the folk genre. Their reputation was further cemented by their collaboration with The Dubliners and their own take on "The Irish Rover" (1987).

Celtic punk carries themes that are either political in nature or culturally based. You should not be surprised if the lyrics involve drinking, praise for the working class or pride in heritage. Bands in this genre will not hesitate to utilize traditional instruments such as Irish bagpipes, tin whistles and accordions.
10. Born Eithne Padraigin Ni Bhraonain, which Irish artist gained international acclaim for her fusion of New Age music sensibilities with traditional Celtic harmonies?

Answer: Enya

"New Age" music has no strict definition, so much so that, in 1987, Billboard magazine dictated that it was "the most startling successful non-defined music ever to hit the public consciousness". It wears on its lapels such genres, loosely described, as chill-out, ambient, world and space music, among others. Many have indicated that it was made for meditation, relaxation and other forms that involve an element of spirituality.

Enya's one-of-a-kind music, that possesses an ethereal and dreamy quality, is drawn into this genre. She relies heavily on classical music and traditional Celtic sounds. This should come as no surprise as her roots are planted firmly in Irish folk music. In Irish folk, melody is central and this lies at the core of Enya's work. Her upbringing did not encumber her either as both of her parents were professional musicians. In addition, Enya, along with a number of her siblings and two of her uncles formed the backbone of the legendary Irish group Clannad.

Enya left Clannad in 1982 to pursue a solo career. Despite her first two albums, "Touch Travel" (1984) and "The Celts" (1986), failing to succeed, the record label Warner Brothers saw enough to convince them to sign her on. If that move was masterful, then their next was a stroke of genius... they allowed her artistic freedom and did not interfere with her work. They were rewarded when Enya produced the highly successful "Watermark" LP (1988), which propelled her to international acclaim. The album was boosted by the amazing single "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)". Success continued to with her subsequent albums "Shepherds Moon" (1991) and "The Memory of Trees" (1995), to the point that, in 2023, Enya remains as Ireland's second biggest selling music act, surpassed only by U2.
Source: Author pollucci19

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