As a daughter of an Irish immigrant father, my youth was subjected to my dad’s love of Irish Traditional music. He absolutely loved his Irish music, and would play it loudly and proudly all day long–we had every album of the The Chieftains, Paddy Reilly, The Makem Brothers, Christy Moore–just to name a few.
Eventually my dad learned how to make mixed tapes from the records of these artists and soon had his own ‘playlist’ blasting on a tape recorder in the kitchen. He listen to these tapes all day long; even when we left the house he brought a few of these tapes with him in the car. He drove me and my friends to activities in my tween and early teen years and he only played his traditional Irish mixed tapes. I wasn’t allowed to listen to pop music, only Irish traditional music. So you can imagine this created a lot of resentment on my part, and being young I didn’t understand that it was through this music he connected with his homeland.
But now flash forward and I am driving my kids to activities. And I heard the song “Castle on the Hill” by Ed Sheeran when I was driving around my children, and I was immediately transported back to my childhood. Not only did this song bring back memories of my stays in Ireland with family and friends– but the lyrics, tune and rhythm of the song reminded me of those car rides shared with my dad so many years ago.
So when I got home, I sampled the rest of Ed Sheeran’s album Divide and subsequently downloaded it– the ENTIRE album.
And now when I am driving around my 10-year-old-daughter and her friends to activities, we all sing along to his songs. They request that I play Ed Sheeran and I happily oblige. They love the tunes: ‘Castle on the Hill,’ ‘Nancy Mulligan,’ and ‘Galway Girl.’ My fourteen-year-old-daughter also loves Ed Sheeran and we have bonded over his music.
Ed Sheeran’s music takes me back to my childhood, and his traditional sounds in his album Divide create a bond and a connection to the memory of my dad. My dad died when I was twenty, so he never got to meet his grandchildren. And although they may not have physically met their grandfather– the stories I tell about my dad as we drive around listening to Ed Sheeran– passes on his legacy, love of Ireland and love of traditional Irish music to his grandchildren. I think my dad would have loved Ed Sheeran’s music and would be proud of Ed Sheeran for embracing the legacy of his Irish grandfather and passing on the traditional Irish music legacy to the next generation.
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