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James Galway's Top 5 Irish Favorites

Flutist James Galway picks his favorite Irish songs. IMG Artists hide caption

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With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, who better to recommend a few Celtic favorites than Sir James Galway. The Belfast-born musician, with over 30 million records sold, is the most recognized flutist today. After more than 45 years on the concert stage and in the recording studio, Galway maintains his beautiful, round tone and effortless breath control. Sir James is a great interpreter of Mozart, but he doesn't thrive on the classics alone. Galway grew up listening to Irish music, and for the holiday he chose a few of his favorites.

James Galway's Top 5 Irish Favorites

The Chieftains: Celtic Harp

Carolan's Concerto [Live]

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1. "Carolan's Concerto"

  • Song: Carolan's Concerto [Live]
  • from Celtic Harp
  • by The Chieftains

This is from my old friend Derek Bell. He comes from north of Ireland, from Belfast, and I grew up with Derek at school. At the Royal College of Music, he was composing like mad, playing the oboe, and he was a wonderful piano player. He taught himself the harp, just to get a job in an orchestra where he was playing the oboe. But he noticed that he was playing the oboe rather more than the harp player was playing the harp. So when the position became vacant, he bought a harp, learned it up quick, and got the job. And then he joined with the Chieftains.

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Song
Celtic Harp
Album
Celtic Harp
Artist
The Chieftains
Label
RCA
Released
1993

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Sinead O'Connor: Sean Nos Nua

Molly Malone

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2. "Molly Malone"

  • Song: Molly Malone
  • from Sean-Nós Nua
  • by Sinead O'Connor

Then I thought we should have Sinead O’Connor. She’s such an icon of Irish pop. And, she does a very good version of Molly Malone

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Song
Sean-Nós Nua
Album
Sean-Nós Nua
Artist
Sinead O'Connor
Label
Roadrunner
Released
2002

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Enya: Shepherd Moons

Marble Halls

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3. "Marble Halls"

  • Song: Marble Halls
  • from Shepherd Moons
  • by Enya

Enya’s record Shepherd Moons is great. She sings the song “I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls,” which is from the opera The Bohemian Girl by Michael Balfe—one of the most popular operas ever in Ireland. Balfe was born in Dublin in 1808, and was great at inserting ballads into his operas. And it’s beautiful the way Enya has arranged this one.

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Song
Shepherd Moons
Album
Shepherd Moons
Artist
Enya
Label
Wea
Released
1991

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At the Movies cover photo

Queen of the Slipstream

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4. "Queen of the Slipstream"

  • Song: Queen of the Slipstream
  • from At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits
  • by Van Morrison

And then there’s Van Morrison. What can you say? I love anything by him. And, like me, he’s from Belfast.

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Song
At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits
Album
At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits
Artist
Van Morrison
Label
EMI
Released
2007

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Her Infinite Variety cover

Briar and the Rose

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5. "The Briar and the Rose"

  • Song: Briar and the Rose
  • from Her Infinite Variety: Celtic Women in Music & Song
  • by Various Artists

I’ve been enjoying the compilation called Her Infinite variety: Celtic Women in Music and Song, especially the group Niamh Parsons and the Loose Connections. They do a beautiful arrangement of “The Briar and the Rose.”

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Song
Her Infinite Variety: Celtic Women in Music & Song
Album
Her Infinite Variety: Celtic Women in Music & Song
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Green Linnet
Released
1998

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