Póló's Desert Island Discs
Here are some of my current candidates:
sung by Jacques Dutronc. This is a tremendously evocative song, recreating the atmosphere of Paris in the early morning hours - markets gearing up, produce arriving from the provinces, late night clubs closing, zany mix of people in the streets.Bohemian Rhapsody
by Queen. This group, and Freddie Mercury in particular, had a unique talent and were by far the best popular group I have heard.Dublin in the rare oul' times.
Not a great song in either words or melody, but tremendously evocative for anyone who was brought up in, or had connections with Dublin city in the 20th century, and particularly in the 50s and 60s.Danny Boy
A tremendously underrated melody due to its overexposure in all sorts of situations, not least the latter stage of wedding receptions. Rated by Eamonn Ó Gallochóir as the most perfect melody in the world, due in no small part to its beautiful chord progressions. This song has stood the test of time despite being publicly murdered more than a gross of cat's lives worth.Mise Éire
Seán Ó Riada took a series of traditional Irish melodies and wove them into an orchestral tapestry to accompany Louis Marcus's restoration of archive film stock of Irish history since the introduction of film. For us in the sixties, starved of any real feel for the material, which was dealt with in a biased and superficial way in our school history books, this was cinema at its greatest, wave upon wave of visual and audio soul and roots washing over us from the screen. Unforgettable.Teanga na nGael
Aodh Ó Domhnaill has written many first class satirical songs, none of which have got the airing they are due. One of these was a lament for the decline of the Irish language and a critique of the ersatz pidgin we now have to put up with on the national airwaves. An evergreen, as relevant today as when it was written in the mid 1970s. I toyed with including here "EEC" by the same author, equally relevant today and to the point, but I opted for culture in the final analysis. The line "ba dhóbar dó tachtadh ag iarraidh a theanga a lúbadh mórthimpeall séimhiú" is an unforgettable tonguetwister in itself and increasing in relevance exponentially. That clinched it.Anything played by Dannie O'Donnell
Dannie was the greatest traditional fiddler I have ever heard bar none. He combined the traditional strain with classical and blues influences, beautiful bowing and the occasional harmonic to produce unforgettable and unbeatable music. Unjustifiably neglected. Tiocfaidh a lá.Any Irish slow air on the piano by Nóra Ní Dhomhnaill
This is a very tricky musical area. The temptation to frills is almost irresistable. What you need is stark simplicity to bring out the melody and a bit of push and pull to spice it. Go maire tú é.Chef de Cabinet
This is by way of indulgence, and not findable in any published media. I wrote this in the early seventies, when I used to bring my guitar (no not harp) to the party, and was under the mistaken impression that I was going to a party to be attended by a senior management person who had just become a "chef de cabinet" in our newly joined EEC in Brussels. It subsequently turned out he was a head of a directorate or somesuch and, anyway, he never turned up at the party. Still I like the song.