The geographical and physical characteristics of the Inishowen peninsula have resulted in the music being quite unique. Inishowen’s close proximity to Scotland and its relative isolation, even within Donegal, means that much of the movement of its people over the centuries has been by sea rather than by land. Among the older musicians the influence of Scottish music can be heard, together with the lift and drive of the great Northern style.
The music was very much associated with dancing and so the repertoire served this purpose. Listening tunes were confined to airs, marches and popular tunes of the day.
As elsewhere, traditional music in Inishowen in recent decades has become much less associated with dancing. There is more focus on performance and listening. The repertoire has become broader, and playing styles have changes through the influence of teachers and wider influences in Irish traditional music.
The most popular outlet for performance nowadays is the session, although the ‘house gathering’, involving music, song and dance,l is still part of our culture. In Inishowen, traditional music has always sat comfortably alongside contemporary music. Most music sessions will include singing of traditional folk songs and contemporary songs.
ITMP is working to maintain the connection between music song and dance.
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