Danny Boy: The Legend Of The Beloved Irish Ballad

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9780762411245: Danny Boy: The Legend Of The Beloved Irish Ballad

Everyone can hum this haunting Irish ballad that inevitably brings a tear to the eye. The most requested Irish song, it has been recorded by a variety of performers ranging from Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, and Kate Smith to the Pogues. The complete story of this moving tune has been shrouded in mystery until now. Where did "Danny Boy" originate, who actually wrote the lyrics, and is it even Irish? Acclaimed novelist, actor, memoirist, screenwriter, playwright, and raconteur, Malachy McCourt, turns his Irish eye to the song's complex history and myths in an eloquent ode to this classic. He traces the evolution of the music, which is one of more than 100 songs composed to the very same tune, including the familiar "Londonderry Air," and explores the enduring mystique of "Danny Boy" in an unforgettable tribute that brilliantly weaves history with folklore.

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About the Author:

County Limerick native Malachy McCourt is the authority to tell the history of Ireland. He has written several books, including the best-selling A Monk Swimming, Singing My Him Song, Danny Boy, Voices of Ireland, and The Claddagh Ring. Complementing his literary work, McCourt is also a skilled actor. He appeared in the television series Oz and in feature films such as The Bonfire of the Vanities. He lives in New York City.

From Library Journal:

St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching, and millions of Americans will be gathering to celebrate their Irish heritage. Most of them would have difficulty naming any Irish song beyond "Danny Boy" which is ironic considering that the songwriter was an Oxford-educated English barrister who never set foot outside his native country. In a rambling but entertaining narrative, actor McCourt (Singing My Him Song) explores not only the 1913 marriage of Frederick Weatherly's lyrics to the Derry Air but also the origins of the music, the continuing attraction of the song, and even the mystery of the narrator. Who is bidding farewell to Danny? Is it his father? His mother? Perhaps his homosexual lover? All are weighed and evaluated with the kind of attention devoted to sacred texts. The work concludes with a select discography, including performances by Papa John Creech, Bing Crosby, and Elvis Presley, among others. One person who could name any number of Irish songs is ethnomusicologist and acclaimed Irish singer Moloney (Ph.D., Univ. of Pennsylvania). Drawing on Irish and Irish American songs to illustrate the tale, Moloney surveys the experiences of Irish immigrants to 1900. His brief book includes song lyrics and specific song histories and is accompanied by an 18-song CD. Using music as a framework, Moloney explores why Irish Catholics and Protestants left the old country and their respective lives once they landed here. Concentrating primarily on Irish Catholics, Moloney's text focuses on Irish encounters with prejudice ("no Irish need apply") and the post-Civil War transition into the middle class. It is an oft-told tale but one that Moloney hopes will inform contemporary Irish Americans confronting a new generation of immigrants. McCourt's book is recommended for popular song collections in public libraries, while Moloney's should find a place in history and popular culture collections. Christopher Brennan, SUNY at Brockport Lib.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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