A Dirty Old Town

A couple of weeks ago I was in a bar high in the Wicklow Mountains outside Dublin listening to a band, they were encouraging their audience to sing-a-long to ‘Dirty Old Town’, a popular tune on the Irish traditional music scene. One of my companions on the evening commented that it wasn’t an Irish song they were familiar with; there is a good reason for this, it’s not an Irish song. Written by Ewan MacColl who was born to Scottish parents in Manchester, England, it was written about Salford a town close to his birthplace. Yet most of the people in the room that night either thought or presumed the song was Irish. Part of the reason for this misapprehension is that the Irish band The Dubliners recorded the song, indeed their version is the best known one.

Reinvention, taking ideas from elsewhere and adapting them as well as learning about other’s best practice was, in many ways, the theme of that weekend. I was attending the annual Taan Worldwide global meeting, being held in Dublin for the first time.

Read the full article on the Levy McCallum website…