Irish Music in Sudbury

Irish Music and Dancing
trad dancing music in Sudbury

Each week a trad. session is held in the orange room, at the back of The Laughing Budda on Elgin St. in Sudbury. Any musician is welcome, no matter their skill level and encouraged to join in playing the music. Sometimes there are a lot of tunes played and sometimes there are songs that are sung. Other times there is less music and more discussion about the tunes, where they came from and who was noted for bringing them to life. It is always a relaxing evening.

The Wild Geese, who make up a lot of the session players, are usually the band playing for the local ceili that is held every 8 weeks or so. It always is fun to sit on stage and watch the carryon of the newcomers to Irish set and ceili dancing. Even more brilliant is to see the smiles on everyone’s faces, after the ceili and to have people come up and thank the band for playing.

Music classes are held as demand dictates. Sometimes they are in a class structure and other times in a “one on one” format. Fees will vary.

There is always the question about where does Irish music come from?

Irish Music group visiting Sudbury

A simple answer would be that the Irish Traditional Music being played today evolved from the peasantry of the 17th century, the ordinary people who passed the tradition aurally. But then again it could be argued that there is nothing simple about the evolution of Irish music. What follows are a few brief words on the topic from the website of

Songs in any culture teach you about the history of that culture. Long before people in Ireland began writing ballads in English, there were thousands of songs and ballads in Irish. The history of Irish music has been influenced by the political fluctuation within Ireland. Periods of strife destroyed all but the most fragmentary evidence of activity prior to the 16th Century.

Irish traditional music is the music of the people and the communities they live in. It is handed down orally and by ear, from one generation to the next. It’s origins were more prevalent in the rural areas of Ireland and not so obvious in the urban centre’s (like Dublin). Today it is considered a “Living Tradition” as evidenced by the many variations and ornamentations that various musicians bring to the music.

Irish Music Accordian

Irish Folk Music is the music and song in the national heritage. It includes older Irish songs and melodies, the Anglo-Irish songs and ballads of the countryside, and a rich vein of dance music. At its’ roots is a reliance on melodic line for effect. In Gaelic speaking Ireland song entered into every aspect of life. From birth, thru schooling, thru love and marriage. It was a reflection of one’s work and was the final send off in keening for the dead.

The most popular musical instrument in ancient Ireland was the Harp (cruit). It was featured in the earliest myths and legends. Prior to 1920, traditional music was usually played in the home or at gatherings, seldom being heard on the stage with two or more musicians. In the west of Ireland, on summer evenings, people gathered at the Crossroads, playing their music and

Irish Music Whistle

Many Irish traditional musicians who had emigrated to America in the 1920s and 1930s found full time employment as professional musicians and began recording on 78 Rpms. The recordings of fiddlers such as Michael Coleman, Paddy Killoran and James Morrison, concertina player William Mullaly and Uillean Pipers, Patsy Touhey, and Tom Ennis, had a great impact on
the future shape of traditional music in Ireland. The 'Ceili Band' emerged in the late 1930s with instruments like the accordion, banjo, concertina, fiddle and flute, later adding drums and piano.

In modern times, songwriters and musicians have joined old poems and new melodies, or they have taken old airs and wrote new lyrics to create a new song. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are considered, by some, to be the single largest influence on the modern Traditional Folk genre of aspiring young talent, that has come out of Ireland.

Another vein of traditional music developed under the auspices of Sean O'Riada. His group Ceoltóirí Chuallann revived the 18th Century harp music of Turlough O'Carolan and other old airs and tunes. The Chieftains, most of who played with O'Riada, developed from this group.

With the modern influences of old traditions, in the music of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, and Sean O'Riada, other genres have developed within Irish and Celtic music. More discussion about Irish music, the challenges that Irish music has faced over the centuries, its’ various revivals and its’ influences can be found by visiting the Visit Ireland's Website.

man with Irish accordian