Wednesday, March 19, 2008


My article on Horslips!

Here's the abstract for "Horslips in Irish Musical and Literary Culture," in the peer-reviewed online journal of Irish Studies, Estudios Irlandeses 3 (2008): 132-42. Scroll down at Issue 3 at this site, and you can read all 7000 words via htm or pdf formats. My thanks have been expressed at Come Back Horslips to its movers and shakers. Guaranteed jargon-free, unless I quote some know-it-all critic with tenure.

Abstract. This essay examines the literary impact of a musical electric-folk band. Horslips combined psychedelic, and hard rock with Irish traditional motifs and Celtic narrative themes. Spanning the decade from 1970 to 1980, their success and decline followed the trajectory of the countercultural movement, which came late to Ireland. The band’s revival of mythic characters and historical events drawn from the Irish past attracted fans from all over the island, as well as the diaspora; many young people gained an appreciation of their Irish heritage for the first time, as Horslips became the first electric folk-rock band to fuse disparate genres, and to succeed as an Irish-based independent collective who controlled the graphics, marketing, distribution, and promotion of their music. They inspired the likes of U2 and the Irish punk and new-wave rock musicians who followed them, and without the pioneering efforts of Horslips, Irish music and culture today may never have reached its current success, three decades later.

Keywords. Horslips, Irish popular music, Irish traditional music, Cheryl Herr, John Kelly, Patrick McCabe, Paul Muldoon, Gerry Smyth.

My Horslips article

Photo: Horslips in 1972

2 comments:

Fionnchú said...

I add this comment via, as she well knows, "the indefatigable Lora Lee Templeton" from her post on CBH-GB, March 18. Go raibh maith agat-- ceart go leor, nach bhfuil é?

And Mr Fionnchu...I will have a folded, much worn and tattered copy of that article (probably just that last page of it, above the footnotes) carefully treasured in the shopping cart that surely waits me in my future...along with a copy of Aaron McMullan's bestselling Dance Polyhymnia -- Booker Prize winner of 2013 and all. Kirsten Dunst in the movie...and perhaps a poster of Ryan O'Sullivan's Wembly concert (The encore with Johnny Fean joining Ryan and band onstage racked up tons of You Tube points within hours of posting...) But of all these things I will have in that purloined cart, along with the newspapers and the cans of catfood, your paper and its acknowledgment of all that has gone on here will be the one I will pull out and treasure whenever I need that lift of the spirits that a good friend's recognition can bring.

Gary Brady said...

Thanks for drawing attention to the article. I got into Horslips at the time via their albums though I'm Welsh rather than Irish. I'm sure other non-Irish Celts appreciated them too. I'm a sucker for popular culture wrapped in a broader historical and cultural awareness. Horslips were good fun (craic?) and an education at one and the same time.