The Music of Ireland with Cat Dowling

The Music of Ireland with Cat Dowling


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Music is a universal language of the soul. Whether to express joy or sorrow, to rouse to battle or soothe to sleep, to give jubilation for the living or of wailing for the dead, music is the outpouring of the heart. Join acclaimed musician and performing songwriter - Cat Dowling - to uncover music’s role on this isolated island.

We will start in the Celtic era with music in pre-Christian Ireland through to the period of the powerful Gaelic kingdoms. We will see how music permeated all areas of life: law, medicine, literature were all linked to music. Then we will move on to the seventeenth century to meet O’Carolan, one of Ireland's most famous harpists. He was the first to travel house to house to entertain the gentry and solidified music’s importance in the Irish national identity.

Irish music has had vast influence around the world, and in this seminar, we will look closely at its impact in America. Many Irish, Scots Irish, and French settled in the Appalachian mountain region in the US as well as in Cape Breton in Canada in the eighteenth century. These immigrants clung to their music to remind them of home and went on to compose a whole new body of innovative melodies, which evolved into what we know as Blue Grass.

The Irish have also significantly contributed to popular musical culture, starting with The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers, and later, contemporary acts such as Clannad, The Cranberries, U2, Thin Lizzy, Sinead O’Connor all taking their place on the world stage. Be prepared to be entertained in this fun, lively and educational discourse, and be ready for some surprise performances thrown in for good measure.

Catherine Dowling has always been a voyager, advocate of roads less travelled, and avid seeker of knowledge. With a BA in Philology and Business she speaks four languages fluently - English, French, Spanish, and Gaelic. She is a contemporary musician, composer, singer, and performer. Her works have been aired on How to get Away with Murder, CSI Miami, The Witches of East End, and Alan Ball's production of Banshee. An upcoming project will include original music works on the greatest women in Irish History in both English and Gaelic. She has a deep passion for history with her uncle Daniel Dowling being a local Kilkenny historian and author of numerous highly-acclaimed history books on the Kilkenny and Waterford areas. The birth place of her father is the location of the first Land League meeting in the late 1870s in South Kilkenny and boasts a collection of over 25,000 books. With over 15 years working as a history guide, prepare to be mesmerized by her knowledge, wit, and charm as well her ability to bring the human touch to the history of Dublin and Ireland.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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