Second Generation Irish Musicians in England
by Sean Campbell
Published by Atrium
An imprint of Cork University Press
Second-generation Irish musicians have played a vital role in the history of popular music in England. Irish Blood, English Heart is the first full account of popular music-making amongst the Irish diaspora.
This book explores the role of Irish ethnicity in the lives and work of these musicians, focusing on Kevin Rowland and Dexys Midnight Runners, Shane MacGowan and The Pogues, and Morrissey/Marr and The Smiths. It follows the diverse 'routes' pursued by second-generation Irish musicians, tracing their different styles and personas. The book disputes the view of England's Irish as a peripheral and problematic presence, seeing the second generation as a highly active and creative presence at the forefront of both British and Irish culture.
The book includes the following previously unpublished material:
– An account of Kevin Rowland’s meetings with Sinn Féin representatives in the early 1980s, leading to his plans to perform a Dexys concert for the republican movement
– An account of The Pogues’ reception in mid-80s Ireland, when they were viewed as suspect (English) interlopers, making unwelcome incursions into Irish culture, leading to claims that the band were ‘anti-Irish racists’
– An account of The Smiths’ Irish tour in 1984, when the band received threats from paramilitary factions and were praised by An Phoblacht
Advance praise for Irish Blood, English Heart:
'Irish Blood, English Heart is a constantly intriguing and often provocative book about the complex process – and peculiar freedom – of not wholly belonging to one culture or the other' – Sean O’Hagan, The Observer
Sean Campbell is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Media at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge, UK. He was raised in an Irish family in the north of England in the 1970s and 80s. He is a musician and writer, and is the co-author of Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock (Cork University Press, 2005) His next book will be Combat Rock: Popular Music and the Troubles.