Friday, March 04, 2005

Some good Irish... reggae?

I've been really digging this one song I heard on's Shite'n'Onions station.

The song is called "Mise Eire" (mee-sheh air-uh, or "I am Ireland") and it's by a group called
Seanchai And The Unity Squad, from their new album, Rebel Massive. The group is New York Irish, with (apparently) a hip-hop angle.

Now, I'm not really interested in hearing Irish guys rap. But this song doesn't go that way - it's Irish reggae. I've been hearing for ages that the Irish people love reggae and Jamaican culture in general, and Shane MacGowan spent as much time talking about reggae as he did talking about punk and Irish folk in his wonderful book,
A Drink with Shane MacGowan. It didn't make any sense to me at all. After all, the Irish are drunks, not potheads, right?

You know what? It completely works. I don't know what I was missing, but this song figured it out for me. The beat is smooth and uplifting. The words have an easy political bent, not too obnoxious, and the chorus is catchy as hell. Each verse is sung by a different member of the group, including a guest appearance by Shane, with everyone joining in for the chorus, and the result feels like a pub sing-along on a clear breezy night, with a pint glass raised in every hand and a drunken, brotherly joy in every heart.

Mise eire, mise eire, I love this land, every woman and every man.
Mise eire, mise eire, a worker's republic, an everlasting peace.

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