IRISH-IN-CHICAGO-L ArchivesArchiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2007-08 > 1186204079
From: Nan Brennan <>
Subject: Re: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Tommy Makem
Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 00:07:59 -0500
The lyrics to Four Green Fields are below your comments
On Aug 3, 2007, at 7:40 AM, Rosaleen Scanlon wrote:
> A note on the song "Four Green Fields"
> The song is a political song. The woman is a pseudonym for Ireland
> The woman in the song is Mother Ireland. Her 4 Fields are the 4
> provinces of
> Ireland ("one of them in bondage"). her sons are the men of Ireland
> fought for Irish Feedom.
> In 15th and 16th century Ireland political messages were passed
> from person
> to person via song
> and poetry.Another example is the Poem "My Dark Rosaleen"(Roisin Dubh)
FOUR GREEN FIELDS
"What did I have?" said the fine old woman
"What did I have?" this proud old woman did say
"I had four green fields, each one was a jewel
But strangers came and tried to take them from me
I had fine strong sons, they fought to save my jewels
They fought and died, and that was my grief" said she
"Long time ago" said the fine old woman
"Long time ago" this proud old woman did say
"There was war and death, plundering and pillage
My children starved by mountain valley and sea
And their wailing cries, they shook the very heavens
My four green fields ran red with their blood" said she
"What have I now?" said the fine old woman
"What have I now?" this proud old woman did say
"I have four green fields, one of them's in bondage
In stranger's hands, that tried to take it from me
But my sons have sons, as brave as were their fathers
My fourth green field will bloom once again" said she
>> From: Nan Brennan <>
>> To: ,
>> Subject: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] Tommy Makem
>> Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007 17:01:52 -0500
>> I remember first seeing Tommy Makem solo at the Tom McAuley's Emerald
>> Isle on Rush St in the early 70s.
>> DOVER, New Hampshire (AP) _ Irish singer, songwriter and storyteller
>> Tommy Makem, who teamed with the Clancy Brothers to become stars
>> during the folk music boom, has died of cancer. He was 74.
>> Makem died Wednesday in Dover, New Hampshire, where he lived for many
>> years, his son Conor said Thursday. He had battled lung cancer.
>> The Irish-born Makem, who came to America in the 1950s to seek work
>> as an actor, grew to international fame while performing with the
>> band The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. The brothers, also from
>> Ireland, were Tom, Liam and Paddy Clancy.
>> Armed with his banjo, tinwhistle, poetry, stagecraft and his baritone
>> voice, Makem helped spread stories and songs of Irish culture around
>> the world.
>> He brought audiences to tears with ''Four Green Fields,'' about a
>> woman whose sons died trying to prevent strangers from taking her
>> fields. Other songs included ''Gentle Annie'' and ''Red Is the
>> ''He just had the knack of making an audience laugh or cry... holding
>> them in his hands,'' Liam Clancy told RTE Radio in Dublin, Ireland.
>> The New York Times wrote in 1967 that the four singers ''have become
>> unofficial national minstrels of Eire, Raggedy-Andy musical
>> ambassadors, an eight-legged, ambulatory chamber of commerce for the
>> green isle they love so well. ... At one point, Irish teenagers were
>> paying as much homage to them as to the Beatles.''
>> After touring for about nine years as The Clancy Brothers and Tommy
>> Makem, he struck out on his own, but he remained friends with the
>> brothers. Tom Clancy died in 1990 and Paddy in 1998.
>> Back in the 1950s, Makem and his friends, saw their first few albums
>> _ ''The Rising of the Moon'' and a collection of drinking songs _ as
>> a fluke.
>> In a 1994 Associated Press interview, Makem recalled he was
>> astonished when the Gate of Horn in Chicago offered him more money to
>> sing for a week than he was getting for acting with a repertory
>> ''I was the opening act for Josh White. I felt sort of silly, coming
>> out and singing unaccompanied, and then Josh coming out and almost
>> making the guitar talk,'' he said.
>> As their fame spread, they appeared on ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' and
>> other major TV shows, and headlined concerts at Carnegie Hall and
>> London's Royal Albert Hall.
>> A young Bob Dylan was one of the folksingers who got to know Makem
>> and the Clancys during the early 1960s.
>> ''Topical songs weren't protest songs ...,'' Dylan wrote in his
>> memoir ''Chronicles Volume One.'' ''What I was hearing pretty
>> regularly, though, were rebellion songs, and those really moved me.
>> The Clancy Brothers _ Tom, Paddy and Liam _ and their buddy Tommy
>> Makem sang them all the time.''
>> In 1992, Makem and the Clancys were among the stars performing in a
>> gala tribute to Dylan at New York's Madison Square Garden. Eric
>> Clapton, George Harrison, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Tracy Chapman
>> and Dylan himself also took part.
>> President Mary McAleese of Ireland led the tributes to Makem after
>> his death. ''Always the consummate musician, he was also a superb
>> ambassador for the country, and one of whom we will always be
>> proud,'' McAleese said.
>> Even while battling cancer, he was maintaining a performance
>> schedule, and he visited Belfast last month to receive an honorary
>> degree and returned to his native Armagh.
>> His son Conor accompanied Makem on the Ireland trip.
>> ''He had very much wanted to get over there,'' Makem said. ''I think
>> he knew it might have been his last time over.''
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