Saturday 25 February 2023

Shannon Marie Harney sings The Border...

Shannon Marie Harney sings The Border...

We have released a new recording of the O'Sullivan/Edwards song, The Border.

The setting, the melody, is by Sue Edwards - who is well known to the autoharp community, of course.

And it is a very autoharp friendly melody - chords are G C D.  We have added a little Middle 8 section, Chords Em C G D.

Sue took a lyric of mine from my song lyric book, Love Death and Whiskey, pages 44-45, and set it.  I have always really liked this setting, and its embrace of repetition.  The patterns of repetition in the lyric interweave with the patterns of repetition in the melody.  Highlighting different phrases - different words and different melodic phrases.  It is the kind of repetition you would exploit in a song lyric, but not in a poem.  Very much the whole being greater than the sum.

The singer is Shannon Marie Harney.  I have said that my stuff is not a typical part of Shannon Marie's repertoire.  And, at first, she sang this song almost in rock chick mode - which I liked, and might have been happy with.

But we gave Shannon Marie her studio time - the song asserted itself, and took its own direction. 

I hope Sue Edwards is happy with the result.

The obvious links are pasted in below - but the song can be found wherever you look for your music...

I have also pasted in the Chordify link, so that you can see the pattern of the chords.  And the Google Books link to the song lyric book.

My thanks to Sue Edwards, to Shannon Marie Harney, and to Danny Yates, City Sound Studios.




Provided to YouTube by CDBaby

The Border · Shannon Marie Harney

 ℗ 2023 Patrick Joseph O'Sullivan, Sue Edwards

 Released on: 2023-02-22

Auto-generated by YouTube.









Chordify, Shannon Marie Harney, The Border


Love Death and Whiskey - 40 Songs

By Patrick O'Sullivan · 2010

Patrick O'Sullivan

February 2023

Sunday 22 January 2023

Irish Diaspora Studies and... The Male


Irish Diaspora Studies and...

Versions of this message have appeared on various platforms, in connection with other parts of my lives...

This version is a compact tidy - I hope it is coherent...

One starting point might be an aside at the end of my Introduction to Volume 4 of The Irish World Wide, p15...

O’Sullivan, P. (1995) ‘Introduction: Irish Women and Irish Migration’, in O’Sullivan, P. (ed.) Irish Women and Irish Migration. London & Washington: Leicester University Press (The Irish World Wide), pp. 1–22.


'Yet you cannot deconstruct only one half of the dyad, woman/man. If I

can imagine a volume on Irish Women and Irish Migration quite other than

the one you have in your hands, I can equally well imagine a volume on

Irish Men and Irish Migration which would be the companion to this one.

That volume would bring into Irish Studies and Irish Migration Studies the

critical study of men and masculinities.  Certainly we now need studies of

Irish migration which give the variable of gender its proper due.'


So...  That thought has been in the back of my everchanging mind, as we have tracked Irish Diaspora Studies throughout the intervening years...

We can begin with two songs.  A drinking song.  And a temperance song.

As a little music project, before Christmas 2022, we did two Stephen Foster songs:  one a drinking song, and the other a temperance song...

There are notes here and here...

And little videos here and here...

Video link

Video link

Yes, I am not in good voice...  It is winter.

The drinking song, 'When the bowl goes round...', music by Stephen Foster, lyric by George Cooper, uses a strange phrase in the chorus,  'jolly fellows'.

'We'll all be jolly fellows'.  It felt like there was more to know...

I have now found a book by Richard Stott...

Stott, R. (2009) Jolly Fellows: Male Milieus in Nineteenth-Century America. Johns Hopkins University Press (Gender Relations in the America).

...which is a study, page 1, of 

'a distinctive male comportment that consisted of not just fighting but also heavy drinking, gambling and playing pranks. Men who engaged in such behavior were called “jolly fellows.” Although the jolly fellows were a subset of the male population, whenever men, especially young men, gathered in milieus that were all male or where women were rare, such conduct could occur. Such behavior was tolerated, even condoned, by men who were not themselves drinkers, fighters, or gamblers...'

Richard Stott does not seem to have been aware of this particular Stephen Foster song when he wrote his book, and picked its title.  It seems that Stephen Foster and George Cooper, writing in the 1860s, found that phrase, 'jolly fellows', still there in the ether.  And maybe by then - Richard Stott, the cultural historian, suggests - the age of the 'jolly fellows' was over...  He maps the development of a 'civilizing process' (Norbert Elias) that will, eventually, lead to Prohibition.  A drinking song, followed by a temperance song.

I find myself putting the, 'jolly fellows', from this Foster drinking song, alongside the 'boon companions' of 'Comrades, fill no glass...', the second Foster song I prepared for Christmas 2022.

The point for Irish Diaspora Studies is that Richard Stott has absorbed, seamlessly, the research and comment on Irish male violence into his study of nineteenth century American male violence - male violence, accepted, useful, controlled, directed?  There they are, the references we would expect, Carolyn Conley, “The Agreeable Recreation of Fighting,”, Patrick O’Donnell, Irish Faction Fighters of the Nineteenth Century,  William Carleton, Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry.  Edward “Ned” Harrigan and Mulligan's Guards.  And so on...

In turn, Richard Stott's book should take its place alongside all those other studies of the Irish male, and the Irish-American...

It is worth searching for Richard Stott's book - because I found it Open Access.  It is readily available.

Patrick O'Sullivan

Visiting Professor of Irish Diaspora Studies, London Metropolitan University

January 2022