Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kinda Like Line Dancing with Hips: Black 47 and "Funky Ceili"

Today's song is by Black 47, a Celtic rock band from New York City with roots in reggae, hip hop, folk and jazz. Known for their Irish Republican sympathies, their name refers to 1847, the worst year of the Irish famine. Their music was initially embraced by both right- and left-leaning people as they sang songs with socialist lyrics and about everyday life in America, but their outspoken opposition to the Iraq War and other topics garnered them controversy and their outspoken Irish republicanism led to a reluctance by UK labels to promote or support their albums overseas. A series of tragedies also befell various band members in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After 9/11, the band began to play regular and emotional gigs in Manhattan to allow people grieving over the tragedy to have a voice. Their albums have almost all been critically praised, with their music given as examples of how Irish music can rock, and their lyrics drawing comparisons with Irish author James Joyce. Black 47 announced their disbanding after exactly 25 years of making music, and they released their final album, Last Call. Their disbanding is, according to their statement, not due to any internal band dissension but because they want to go out at the top of their game and on their own terms. This song, Funky Ceili, can be found on their 1993 album Fire of Freedom.