Riverdance: Representing Irish Traditional Music.
New Hibernia Review, 13.
As the archetypal example of the globalization and commodification of Ireland
and Irish culture, Riverdance can justly be described as one of the emblems for
the now rapidly fading Celtic Tiger. The show also was arguably one of the primary
catalysts in the transformation of Irish traditional music from a primarily
geographically (and ethnically) situated music into what Mark Slobin has
described as an “affinity interculture.” Now, participation in the music is governed
by choice, and the possibility of “becoming Irish music” is open to all.
This connection between the show and the tradition has been utilized and
emphasized in a range of contexts, from tourist promotional literature5 to academic
course descriptions and writing.6 The link with tradition has also been
adverted to by its composer Bill Whelan himself.7 In the show’s promotional
material, Sam Smyth’s description of Riverdance as a “two-hour celebration of
traditionalmusic and dance” appears to conflate the two.8 In the same vein, Fintan
O’Toole has noted that what “made Riverdance so exhilarating was the sense, not somuch of invention as of recognition,” a recognition that traditional
music “defined the cultural space in which the whole show operated.
||Riverdance; Irish Traditional Music;
||Arts, Celtic Studies & Philosophy > Music
Dr. Adrian Scahill
||01 Oct 2009 09:00
|Journal or Publication Title:
||New Hibernia Review
||Centre for Irish Studies, University of St. Thomas
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