Saturday, August 20, 2011

Muirsheen Durkin

The Irish folk song "Mursheen Durkin" tells the story of an emigrant from Ireland who goes to mine for gold in California during the California Gold Rush, 1849. The song is about emigration, although atypically optimistic for the genre. The name "Muirsheen" is a good phonetic approximation to the pronunciation of "Máirtín" (Martin) in the West of Ireland; it could alternatively be construed as a diminutive of "Muiris" (Maurice). A pratie is a potato, the historical staple crop of Ireland. "America" is pronounced "Americay", to rhyme with "stray", "away", etc.
The air to which it is sung is "Cailíní deasa Mhuigheo" (pretty girls of Mayo), which is a popular reel dating from the 19th century.
Johnny McEvoy's remake of the classic song which made him famous back in the 60s here it is brought up to date by Johnny and Sharon Shannon

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