Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Ahern, Sean. “Let the Shillelagh Fly: The Dropkick Murphys and Irish American Hybridity.” In Hardcore, Punk, and Other Junk: Aggressive Sounds in Contemporary Music, ed. Eric James Abbey and Colin Helb, 21-33. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphys create a hybrid Irish American identity through the appropriation of traditional folk songs and instruments, connecting their real home town of Boston with a fantasized homeland of Ireland. The Dropkick Murphys often perform and record covers of Irish folk songs. Their cover of the ballad The Fields of Athenry, about a man forcibly removed from his homeland, thematically fits in with their original material about the importance of home, family, and nationality, and supports the band’s working-class “underdog” image. Bagpipes, tin whistles, and other elements of traditional Irish folk music are frequently used by the band. In comparison, references to Boston are much more specific in Dropkick Murphys songs. Specific Boston sports teams, public transit lines, music venues, and individuals are mentioned to create a sense of the specific Irish American community of the band’s hometown. The hybrid identity created by the Dropkick Murphys reimagines what it means to be Irish American for a new generation further removed from their familial homeland.

Works: Dropkick Murphys: The Fields of Athenry (24-25), The Wild Rover (25), The Rocky Road to Dublin (25).

Sources: Traditional: The Fields of Athenry (24-25), The Wild Rover (25), The Rocky Road to Dublin (25).

Index Classifications: 2000s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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