Songs of Emigration: Storytelling Through Traditional Irish Music

Through traditional music Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki relays some of the adventures, misadventures, and emotions experienced by Irish emigrants. The focus is on songs about leaving Ireland, sometimes focusing on the reasons for leaving (a man who is driven from his land by English persecution); sometimes revealing what happened upon arrival (an immigrant drafted into the Union army during the Civil War); and sometimes exploring the universal feeling of homesickness of a stranger in a strange land (a factory worker in London missing his home in County Clare). The presenter discusses the historical context of these songs, interspersing their stories with tunes from Ireland that made their way into New England's musical repertoire, played on his fiddle or guitar.