Irish music and in some cases on a broader scale called Celtic(which can include Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and even Galicia) is a type of music that has the ability to transcend many cultures. Reasons can vary from Celtic peoples being spread all over the globe throughout history to a general awareness of what Irish music embodies. Irish music is most definitely folk music, and it is full of history, love, sorrow, happiness, and appeals greatly to our senses regardless of ethnicity or culture. Ireland is also a nation of storytellers, arguably some of the best in the world, and many of these stories are portrayed through song and in them there is much use of clever humor that can put a smile on anyone’s face. Ireland’s tragic history is not specific to Ireland itself, for all over the world are there “little Irelands” where the peaceful are exploited and used, which is one way in which various cultures relate to Irish music. One thing that is of note which is quite literally amazing is nations like China and Japan, both of which are historically non-Celtic nations, are recently fascinated with Irish and Scottish music and dance. The Scottish pipes are now found in Japan along with full pipe bands and Japanese dressed like Scottish highlanders. In China, Irish dancing is found in certain areas and Irish teachers are being flown over to help teach and instruct. Irish music simply does not segregate or discriminate. Maybe it is because of the history of the Celtic peoples, constantly pushed from their homes by imperialist nations such as Rome and the Angles and Saxons, pushed to the very edges of the continent.
I have had some personal experiences in the sharing of the Celtic music and how it affects all kinds of people. More than once have I been playing the Highland pipes in one park or another and have had total strangers come up to me and tell me how much they love the music and to even go as far as saying that it made their day. What shocked me the most was that it has been people from various backgrounds and ethnicities, not just those with Irish or Scottish heritage. On a personal level it made me feel like I was doing something right in terms of giving something back to others. It was rewarding to know that a lot of hard work and practice was being appreciated by people whether they knew me or not. I have also found that the pipes strike something in children especially. If I have been playing close to some younger kids they seem utterly fascinated and they stare at your fingers and sometimes the looks on their faces just make you want to smile.
Overall Irish music, and as mentioned before to use a broader term Celtic music, is very welcoming and heartwarming. It has the ability to touch something in all of us on either emotional levels or even spiritual. Whether it is the Irish love of nature, dance, song, drink, or the humor of life that reaches someone on a personal level, it would be hard for someone to deny any liking to it whatsoever. I believe that if one lends a true ear to the Irish music, he or she will be able to find something in it that can make life a little easier.
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