Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

Continuing with our theme this month, today’s band comes to us from Armagh, Northern Ireland. Formed in 1993 by brothers Cíaran and Dermot O’Hagan, Waylander originally envisioned their style to resemble that of an ’80s metal band. As if by accident, or perhaps fate, the first song they wrote turned out to be more in the Celtic style. Indeed, according to the metal-archives website, most of the band’s lyrics focus on Celtic mythology, folklore, and history. Though obscured in many biographies found online, the group endured several lineup changes before settling on Cíaran O’Hagan (vocals), Dermot O’Hagan (guitars), Den Ferran (drums) and Jason Barriskill (bass) and recording their debut demo, “Once Upon an Era” in late 1994.

In late 1995/early 1996, the band recorded their second demo “Dawning of a New Age” after removal of bassist Jason Barriskill. He was replaced by Michael Proctor and the band went on to add Máirtín Mac Cormaic on the tin whistle to give their sound a decidedly Celtic-folk feel. This turned out to be a boon for the band’s popularity throughout Ireland, Scotland and England. Then in 1998, they hooked up with Century Media Records and renowned producer Andy Classen at his Stage One Studios in Germany. They recorded and released their debut album “Reawakening Pride Once Lost” to ‘excellent reviews,’ according to their website. By 2008, Waylander had released their latest album Honour Amongst Chaos.

Check out “Born to Fight” from their 1998 Reawakening Pride Once Lost album.

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Happy St. Patrick’s week!

Albeit one day late, today’s installment comes from none other than one of the most famous and successful bunch of musicians to ever come out of Ireland, indeed of all time– U2. This iconic group of rockers has been entertaining the masses since forming in 1978. Although they didn’t know much about playing music at the time, this quartet knew they had something special right from the start. All that had to happen to get these guys together was for Larry Mullen, Jr. to post a want ad on the bulletin board at the school they all attended. By practicing in Mullen’s kitchen in Dublin, they whittled the six respondents to the ad down to five and they had their band. Next, they decided on a name. Not knowing much about music at the time, they called themselves ‘Feedback’. They began as a cover band, until, according to Wikipedia, their growing popularity drew four of the band members together, causing the fifth, Dik Evans, to feel like an outcast and leave the band onstage during a show. From there, as they say, the rest was history.

I felt like I had no choice but to pick one of the most famous of their legendary Irish rock anthems. Sunday Bloody Sunday became one of the band’s signature songs. Heavily laden with emotion, the lyrics speak to one of the most horrific events in Ireland’s tumultuous history. ‘Blood Sunday‘ began as a planned civil rights march by protesters in the city of Derry in Northern Ireland on Sunday, January 30 1972. Northern Ireland at the time was in a battle against internment by the British and would-be civil rights marchers feared military action that would aim to stop the event. In the end, 14 protesters were shot and killed that day by British troops. Granted civil rights can be an incendiary, divisive issue, but by all accounts, the people that died that day were fed up and wanted what any free-thinking human being wants: freedom. Despite the deeply emotional issues about which this particular song was written, U2 remains one of the most widely respected and best selling bands of all time. Although I do not own any of their albums, my own Irish heritage cannot help but draw me into their mesmerizing charisma and sound.