You have your choice and all are right as being “THE” authentic Irish music.
The Bard, The Rover, The Farmer. These were the carriers of the torch, the passer ons of the tradition of Irish music. The harp, the fiddle, a squeezebox, the pipes, later on a flute or whistle these were the tools of the early player.
Real Irish Music
They played music to dance by, jigs, reels, hornpipes, or songs for the soul in airs and slow airs. The music was passed down father to son, mother to daughter, learned by listening and reproducing the tunes. A legacy almost lost. Thankfully organizations like Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann organized and promoted the tradition of Irish music. Their work comes to fruition each year seen and is heard at classes, regional Fleadhs, culminating with the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil each August.
Then there are the singers. Again there are old songs passed on from generation to generation, sung in the native tongue these are the old songs these are the “Seanos songs” most who think they know Irish songs have never heard Seanos. It is a beautiful at times haunting style sung in a particular way
Add to these traditions beautiful musical arts like lilting, whistling, and storytelling, and you might get a glimpse of real irish music. I have to laugh sometimes. I’ll be at a session with fantastic musicians going at it full tilt, when some expert on Irish music will wonder when they will start playing real Irish music. You know, when Irish eyes are smiling, Mother Macree, or Danny boy. Now thats a story thats already been written (Traditional Irish songs the best Irish songs)
Readers of this humble blog well know I am a sucker for Irish folk music. The legends of the resurgent folk gender of the sixties who revived and reshaped Irish folk will forever be real Irish music to me. Luke Kelly, Jim McCann, Tommy Makem, Paddy Reilly, giants all. But I’m sure if you asked them what real Irish music was they would go back to those traditions passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. As Pete ST. John so aptly wrote “raised on songs and stories”
Cheers, and check out a session near you.