Your thoughts on the song "Danny Boy" for a TV documentary

Hi there,

One of the most famous songs in the world, ‘Danny Boy’, is 100 years old this year and to celebrate the occasion, Tyrone Productions is producing an hour-long television documentary for broadcast on BBC and RTE this autumn.

 

In the documentary, we’ll be telling Danny Boy’s intriguing story, but we also want to show what the song means to people all over the world. 

Do you have a special connection to ‘Danny Boy’?  What makes it so powerful?  Do you have a funny, quirky or poignant story about this iconic song?  Perhaps it reminds you of a particular person ... an occasion ... or a time in your life? 

 

If you have a “Danny Boy moment” which you’d love to share with the nation, then we’d love to hear from you.  Please email your story, plus your name and address and a contact phone number to dannyboy@tyroneproductions.com

 

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Marie McDonald

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My story goes back 30 or 40 years, but I still tell it when people belittle the song....
"Foolishly, I once remarked to my mother how out of touch and sentimental the old Irish songs like 'Danny Boy' were.  Well, I was taught a quick lesson on that.  It was not just the song itself, which was sung by people who lived a much harder life than I had.  It was not just about our family who came from Ireland with the old ways.  It was about all the people, all the times- good and bad, and the gatherings that went with it.  
 
  From 19th century immigrant songs to Tin Pan Alley, the Irish way with a song was still with us - it was just growing in a different direction and with good reason !  My Lord, I stood on the shoulders of giants! From that moment on I realized why these songs touched the soul of millions of people, and I slandered them no more....Though a young man, I now understood why this song meant so much to so many..."
(and I included it decades later, on my first album)
From the album: "Irish Song: Traditional & Sean Nós"
liner notes
by Michael C. O'Laughlin

Danny Boy is an English poem, written by an English poet and set to the melody of "Londonderry Air".  As a Celtic musician, I refuse to play or sing it at Irish events.  



Adam Sweet said:

Danny Boy is an English poem, written by an English poet and set to the melody of "Londonderry Air".  As a Celtic musician, I refuse to play or sing it at Irish events.  

Reply: How narrow can you get about this 'ecumenical 'documentary. Open your mind and try watching it, and then think again! ' The melody is an old Irish (Celtic) folk tune and the words are by an Englishman. What's the problem!!

Thanks for all the replies.

The documentary will be aired on RTE  9:35pm on Monday 11th November and 10:35pm on BBC 1 NI.

Let me know what you think!

Kind Regards,

Marie

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Adam Sweet said:

Danny Boy is an English poem, written by an English poet and set to the melody of "Londonderry Air".  As a Celtic musician, I refuse to play or sing it at Irish events.  

Hi Adam, the documentary does indeed tell the story of Englishman Fred Weathely's lyrics, but we delve much deeper into the history of the 'Derry Air', the travelling fiddlers who carried the tune all over the world until Weathelys lyrics were added by him in 1913.

A lot of hard work and research went into this documentary, you should check it out and let me know what yo think, RTE 9:35pm Monday 11th Nov, or BBC 1 NI at 10:35pm.

It will also be aired on BBC4 date to be confirmed.

Cheers

Marie

Fred Weatherly was indeed an Englishman, and probably never set foot in Ireland, however he captured the pain of an Irish parent bidding his or her child farewell,  probably for the last time.  Derry or Londonderry Aire is a traditional Irish melody. There were dozens of other lyrics applied to the tune before Weatherly's lyric.  The sentiment is purely Irish. It's more closely associated with Ireland than any other country. I was once asked to sing it by  Mairead Corrigan, the Nobel winning peace activist from Northern Ireland.  

The only problem with the song is that it's the only one many folks associate with Ireland, so it's one of the most requested songs.   A song may be the only thread that connects someone to  Ireland. I don't want to be the one that breaks the connection.

Adam Sweet said:

Danny Boy is an English poem, written by an English poet and set to the melody of "Londonderry Air".  As a Celtic musician, I refuse to play or sing it at Irish events.  

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