The parades may not be happening, but not all is lost.
Ireland’s treasures extend much further than a yearly parade, infinite green fields, and a superior pint of Guinness. The Emerald Isle has bred an impressive amount of talent in the realms of poetry, acting, sport, and, of course, music.
For an island that occupies such little space on the planet, it has had an immeasurable impact on culture. Enya, a musician born in Gweedore, a district in Donegal with a population of 4,500, went on to sell 75 million records, win four Grammys, and earn a nomination for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. U2, Van Morrison, and Sinead O’Connor, whose legend-status speaks for itself, are just a few other iconic Irish musicians.
In more recent years, acts such as Kodaline, Hozier, and Dermot Kennedy have all been added to the list of Irish success stories, as they tour worldwide and even appear on Ellen.
For this years Paddy’s day, we’ve compiled a list of five exciting Irish artists for you to check out while you’re avoiding crowds and staying safe at home:
This indie-punk band is truly on the rise, making it on both Coachella’s and Glastonbury’s line-up this year (before the former was canceled) after the release of their debut album, Dogrel, last April. Thanks to that record, they went from being a significant part of Ireland’s underground scene to one of the most exciting indie acts out there. Influenced by an interesting blend of Irish trad music, poetry, and punk, the band creates a romantic depiction of Dublin, with their purposefully rough production and brogue singing. They also recently released a documentary about their journey so far.
The rap group Hare Squead have been described as a blend of “hip-hop, soul and pop in a way that feels both soothing and full of energy.” Their EP, Supernormal, was released in 2016, which led to a collaboration with Goldlink on a remix of their hit “Herside Story.” That song, in particular, garnered a significant amount of success outside the local scene.
Since then, the group’s had some internal issues, resulting in the trio going from three members to two and taking an 18-month absence from the spotlight. But members Tony and Lilo continued to make music, releasing their single “100 Miles” in 2019, and they’re due to release more this year.
Marcus is an indie-pop singer-songwriter and the freshest on this list, having only released his debut single last month. However, most artists don’t arrive with such a strong debut. The song’s poetic lyricism shows Marcus’ exceptional songwriting ability, and the unique production and cinematic video demonstrate his artistic potential, confirming he’s definitely one to watch.
Biig Piig, an Irish singer-songwriter whose career started with her drunkenly freestyling at a party in 2015, blends the sounds of jazz, lofi hip hop, and neo-soul. Her two EPs, Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol 1, and A World Without Snooze, Vol 2, are packed with youthful themes such as friendship, romance, and work. She spent her childhood between Spain and Ireland before ending up in London, and she brings her multicultural background to her music by gently transitioning between English and Spanish in her songs.
Kojaque is an Irish rapper who has slowly been building a following since 2015. His first album, Deli Daydreams, highlights the artist’s story-telling ability, with each track portraying the life of an average Deli worker, their contemplations on love, the mundanity of working life in Dublin, and a story about escapism. Last year, he was named one of 100 artists to watch by NME, who praised how he “weaves social realist tales that pull no punches, yet his delivery is caramel smooth.”
In 2015, Kojaque started a record label with singer-songwriter Kean Kavanagh called Soft Boy Records , which has grown to include a full roster of Irish talent, including fellow rapper Luka Palm.
These artists are just a small representation of the vast musical talent coming from Ireland. But the diversity within this list alone suggests that, as Irish music continues to influence and be influenced by global trends, talent in all genres will continue to appear, with each artist possessing a quirk that wouldn’t be the same without their secret ingredient: Irishness.