Vagabonds of the Western World(s): Continuities, Tensions and the Development of Irish Rock Music.
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This study examines the compositions and performance practices of three Irish rock musicians professionally active during the ‗classic‘ rock period of 1968-78. The primary research question focuses on establishing the intellectual and artistic depth of the musicians‘ respective works. Using theories of popular musicology, hybridity, the national, of space, place and the black Atlantic, the research argues that Irish rock musicians crafted a unique musical culture which responded both to critical international cultural transformations, and to the contemporary realities of Irish political, cultural and social life. The research initially provides a detailed assessment of the infrastructural realities facing rock musicians in Ireland. This evaluation historicizes and contextualizes the subsequent analyses, which focus on various dimensions and outcomes of rock practice. Analytical investigation begins with examination of key texts‘ hybrid nature; it is argued that these texts simultaneously combine a range of international and indigenous Irish musical ideas. The study then focuses on rock musicians‘ complex and ambivalent responses to prevailing ideas of Irish national culture and imagining. Subsequently, I concentrate on the processes and implications of artists‘ interfacing Irish and black cultural ideas in rock performance and composition. Primarily, the study signals the intellectual profundity of ‗first-wave‘ Irish rock music and practice. It also offers a prototypical methodology for the critique of Irish rock; it is hoped that such a method can be utilised in order to ameliorate popular music cultures‘ exclusion from serious debates about the validity and achievements of contemporary Irish culture.
KeywordsIrish rock music