Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Dirty Rotten Shame - Ronnie Drew RIP.

I know I'm a bit late on this one but I just wanted to pay my respects to the late, great Ronnie Drew; a musical legend, a cultural icon, and an all-round true Irishman.

I was introduced to Ronnie and the Dubliners through my father, who's an enormous Ronnie fan, and who was also "raised up on Odlums and Brian Boru". So whilst I may not be of that generation myself, Ronnie was every bit as much a part of the musical landscape of my own childhood, as it was my dad's formative years.

As a child Ronnie was a fun character, he had that croaky, gravelly voice and he looked like Santa Claus. As I grew older, I began to appreciate his music on numerous different levels, the jolly singalong songs, or course, and the great ballads and folk songs, moments of Irish history and Irish lives, people and places and times which, like Ronnie himself, have since passed but shall forever be immortal.

Alongside Ronnie's music, there's the larger-than-life persona of Ronnie himself. That deep, raspy baritone, rare aul Dublin voice, the trademark Castro-esque beard, and a strong sense of social justice, both in Ireland and elsewhere, which permeated his music. No wonder, then, that he had become quite vocal about the new Ireland which he saw as far more materially orientated, and a sprawling anonymous Dublin which, he said, had lost its character and sense of humour.

Such a statement from any other Irish celebrity would have immediately spawned controversy, but then Ronnie was the voice of Dublin, and more so, the voice of generations of Irish men and women, a voice which shall echo through the ages.

So good man yerself Ronnie, hope you're doing well.
Rest assured I shall be mixing the barley and the grape in your honour.

Viva La Quinte Brigada - Performed by Ronnie Drew, written by Christy Moore.

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