The Song House Book of Irish Songs for Choirs
This book includes 12 songs, from Easy to Fairly challenging. The first one was arranged 20 years ago, and I have been drawn to arranging beautiful songs from Ireland ever since. All these arrangements have proved their value, having been sung and loved by many choirs. Several songs have become singers’ favourites.
My philosophy as an arranger of songs for choirs, is that ALL the parts must contain something of interest. As with everything else, one can take on the challenge of democracy. The arrangement must enhance and express the original song, must be musical and have quality, and also be fun to sing for the singers.
Which songs are included?
There are 2 original songs by Lindsey Williams: I am Raftery and Donegal Blue – the lyrics of this one were inspired by the epic view of Muckish Mountain, from The Song House in Co Donegal.
Then some fairly well known folk songs: On Raglan Road, Here’s a Health to the Company, The Rocky Road to Dublin, and The Irish Blessing.
The Isle of Innisfree, a 50s song with touching sentiment, made famous by Bing Crosby
Since living in the Gaeltacht in Co Donegal over the last few years, I have been learning Irish and have made simple arrangements of 3 songs in this beautiful language: Bog Braon, Nead na Lachan, and Mise Raifteiri (I am Raftery)
The Wintry West, with lyrics by Robert Burns
I Sing the Life, The tune is called Planxty Irwin, with beautiful soul filled lyrics by Jane Mayers.
Finally, there is a fantastic song written by Andrew Roddy- When the Ice Came. If I quote the chorus, you will see its perspective:
I am older than the mountains and the valleys
I am older than the rivers and the seas
I am older than the language and music
I am older than the pictures in your dreams
You can hear some of the songs on Youtube. There will be audio files available for all songs, over the next few months.