Lullabies and Battle Cries: Music, Identity and Emotion among Republican Parading Bands in Northern Ireland 9781785339226

Set against a volatile political landscape, Irish republican culture has struggled to maintain continuity with the past,

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Table of contents :
Contents
Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction: Entering the Field
Chapter 1 Theoretical Overview
Chapter 2 Historical Background
Chapter 3 The Bands: History, Context and Methodology
Chapter 4 Parading Identities
Chapter 5 Defining Communities by How They Sound: Rebel Music and Republican Politics
Chapter 6 It Was Music That Kept Their Spirits Free Emotion and Memory in Rebel Mu
Chapter 7 Memorializing Immortality: Commemoration, Narrative and Political Ritual
Conclusion: The Musical Construction of Remembrance
Appendices
Bibliography
Index
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Lullabies and Battle Cries

DANCE AND PERFORMANCE STUDIES General Editors: Jonathan Skinner, University of Roehampton and Helena Wulff, Stockholm University Advisory Board: Alexandra Carter, Marion Kant, Tim Scholl In all cultures, and across time, people have danced. For performers and spectators, the expressive nature of dance opens up spaces where social and political circumstances are creatively negotiated. Grounded in ethnography, this series explores dance, music and bodily movement in cultural contexts at the juncture of history, ritual and performance in an interconnected world. Volume 1 Dancing at the Crossroads: Memory and Mobility in Ireland Helena Wulff

Volume 8 Choreographies of Landscape: Signs of Performance in Yosemite National Park Sally Ann Ness

Volume 2 Embodied Communities: Dance Traditions and Change in Java Felicia Hughes-Freeland

Volume 9 Languid Bodies, Grounded Stances: The Curving Pathway of Neoclassical Odissi Dance Nandini Sikand

Volume 3 Turning the Tune: Traditional Music, Tourism, and Social Change in an Irish Village Adam Kaul

Volume 10 Collaborative Intimacies in Music and Dance: Anthropologies of Sound and Movement Edited by Evangelos Chrysagis and Panas Karampampas

Volume 4 Dancing Cultures: Globalization, Tourism and Identity in the Anthropology of Dance Edited by Hélène Neveu Kringelbach and Jonathan Skinner

Volume 11 Staging Citizenship: Roma, Performance and Belonging in EU Romania Ioana Szeman

Volume 5 Dance Circles: Movement, Morality and SelfFashioning in Urban Senegal Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

Volume 12 Singing Ideas: Performance, Politics and Oral Poetry Tríona Ní Shíocháin

Volume 6 Learning Senegalese Sabar: Dancers and Embodiment in New York and Dakar Eleni Bizas

Volume 13 Lullabies and Battle Cries: Music, Identity and Emotion among Republican Parading Bands in Northern Ireland Jaime Rollins

Volume 7 In Search of Legitimacy: How Outsiders Become Part of the Afro-Brazilian Capoeira Tradition Lauren Miller Griffith

Lullabies and Battle Cries Music, Identity and Emotion among Republican Parading Bands in Northern Ireland

q

Jaime Rollins

berghahn NEW YORK • OXFORD www.berghahnbooks.com

First published in 2018 by Berghahn Books www.berghahnbooks.com © 2018 Jaime Rollins All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without written permission of the publisher. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Rollins, Jaime, author. Title: Lullabies and battle cries : music, identity and emotion among republican parading bands in Northern Ireland / Jaime Rollins. Description: New York : Berghahn Books, 2018. | Series: Dance and performance studies ; Volume 13 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2018002588 (print) | LCCN 2018005515 (ebook) | ISBN 9781785339226 (ebook) | ISBN 9781785339219 (hardback : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Music--Political aspects--Northern Ireland. | Marching bands--Northern Ireland. | National characteristics, Northern Irish. Classification: LCC ML3917.N65 (ebook) | LCC ML3917.N65 R65 2018 (print) | DDC 781.5/9909416--dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018002588 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN: 978-1-78533-921-9 hardback ISBN: 978-1-78533-922-6 ebook

This book is dedicated to Paul, Fáelán, Séraphine and Ari

Contents

List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgements

q ix

xi

xii

List of Abbreviations xiii Introduction Entering the Field Chapter 1 Theoretical Overview

1 17

Chapter 2 Historical Background 40 Chapter 3 The Bands: History, Context and Methodology

62

Chapter 4 Parading Identities

88

Chapter 5 Defining Communities by How They Sound: Rebel Music and Republican Politics

117

Chapter 6 It Was Music That Kept Their Spirits Free: Emotion and Memory in Rebel Music

139

Chapter 7 Memorializing Immortality: Commemoration, Narrative and Political Ritual

162

viii  ■  Contents

Conclusion The Musical Construction of Remembrance

188

Appendices 205 Bibliography 231 Index 249

Illustrations

Figures 3.1 A band marches with a typical colour party line-up: the Tricolour at the front, two Sunbursts (or one Sunburst and one Starry Plough) behind, and finally the flags of the Four Provinces, 2016.

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3.2 A different band marches with an abbreviated colour party: the Tricolour in front followed by the flags of the Four Provinces, 2008.

76

4.1 Tipping the flags as a sign of respect, 2007.

91

4.2 Crowds gather before the parade begins, 2009.

94

4.3 Showing solidarity with the Basque and Palestine communities: both the Palestinian and the Basque flags can be seen carried by both the band’s colour party and parade participants in the background, 2009.

105

4.4 An example of a bass drum painted with paramilitary images, 2008.

106

4.5 Another example of paramilitary images painted onto bass drums, 2009.

106

5.1 A mural of Bobby Sands and Che Guevara, 2009.

120

5.2 A twist on the Free Derry Wall, 2009. The Free Derry Wall is a gable remnant from a house located in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, not far from the city centre. In January 1969, John Casey painted on it the slogan ‘You are now entering Free Derry’ to indicate a no-go area within the Bogside and Creggan neighbourhoods as violence increased. The surrounding houses were eventually demolished, but the wall remains as a monument to Derry’s history during the Troubles.

126

x  ■  Illustrations

5.3 A poster in Derry demonstrating support for the people of Palestine, 2009.

126

6.1 A flyer advertising a rebel night at a Belfast bar, 2008.

151

6.2 A snapshot taken during a ‘rebel night’ in the Devenish bar, Easter 2006.

152

7.1 Playing a solo song, which is often an integral part of the speeches. 168 7.2 A poster advertising the events for Seamus Woods’ commemoration, 2008.

169

7.3 An example of a militaristic-style uniform, 2009.

175

7.4 An example of a non-militaristic or casual uniform, 2008.

176

7.5 A photo of Bloody Sunday commemoration marchers showing solidarity with Gaza, 2009.

182

7.6 Members of the Belfast Basque Committee publicizing support and awareness at the Bloody Sunday commemoration parade in 2009.

182

Table 5.1 Examples of Irish folk songs, historical songs and rebel songs.

135

Map 4.1 Map of the Falls Road showing the route of the Easter parades. The start and ending locations of the first and second parades are marked (both finish in Milltown Cemetery), and the direction of both parades is marked with a black arrow. The site of the plaque commemorating Pearse Jordan on Hugo Street is noted; James Connolly’s house is not far from this location.

89

Preface

q

As Northern Ireland endeavours to remain stable in a post-conflict era, the meaning of Irish republicanism is changing and its position is being reassessed. Set against the volatile history of the country’s political landscape, Irish republican culture has struggled to maintain continuity with the past, affirm legitimacy in the present and generate a sense of community for the future. Despite extensive research on politics, conflict and identity in Northern Ireland, there remains a gap in anthropological understandings of the political, emotional and commemorative roles that republican marching bands play in the region, both in the cultures of nationalism and republicanism and in the wider society. This book seeks to address this lacuna by examining the interplay between music, memory and identity in republican parading bands. It examines the role of memory in the display of republican identity in rebel music-making and community commemorations and explores the significance of emotion in contributing to and reflecting republican principles. It asks what are the political undercurrents in commemorations; how does rebel music continue to be utilized in a post-conflict climate; how are memories evoked and drawn upon to engage and educate younger generations and contextualize present conditions; and how does the veneration of republican heroes mediate belonging and identity? Rebel parade music provides a foundational idiom of national and republican expression and acts as a critical medium for shaping new political identities within continually shifting dynamics of republican culture.

Acknowledgements

q

The completion of this research would not have been possible without the support and guidance of Professor Fiona Magowan, to whom I owe the greatest thanks. I would also like to thank Dr Dominic Bryan for his comments and observations throughout my research. To those at Berghahn, for their patience, diligence, support and professionalism, I am extremely thankful. I am grateful to my friends and family and those who offered words of kindness, inspiration and, most importantly, babysitting. Above all I am indebted to my husband and children, whose constant encouragement, gentle nudges and positive attitudes kept me motivated. I apologize for all the times I shouted. I am also grateful for the welcome and generosity I have received by the republican community and I do not wish them to be jeopardized because of anything I have written.

Abbreviations

AOH Ancient Order of Hibernians CAIN Conflict Archive on the Internet CIRA Continuity Irish Republican Army DUP Democratic Unionist Party FF Fianna Fáil FG Fine Gael GAA Gaelic Athletic Association ICA Irish Citizen Army INF Irish National Foresters INLA Irish National Liberation Army IRA Irish Republican Army IRB Irish Republican Brotherhood IRSM Irish Republican Socialist Movement IRSP Irish Republican Socialist Party NICRA Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association NISRA Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency OC Officer Commanding OIRA Official Irish Republican Army OO Orange Order ÓSF Ógra Shinn Féin PIRA Provisional Irish Republican Army RA Republican Army (slang) RFB Republican Flute Band RIC Royal Irish Constabulary RIRA Real Irish Republican Army RSM Republican Socialist Movement RUC Royal Ulster Constabulary SAS Special Air Service SDLP Social Democratic and Labour Party SF Sinn Féin UDA Ulster Defence Association UVF Ulster Volunteer Force

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Introduction Entering the Field

q

Derry, August 2008 The streets were already crowded around the Creggan shops when I arrived, despite being early. It was the first big parade I had attended as a participant and I felt conspicuous in my band uniform. My shirt, which was white, shortsleeved, button-down and too big on me, had the phrase ‘They were faithful and they fought’ embroidered in green above the front pocket. My trousers were black polyester with a green stripe running down the side of both legs. The side drum I carried, with a black leather strap looped over one shoulder, was heavy and made me walk with a slight limp as I avoided bumping into people. All around me, conversation was buzzing. In the background, I could hear the rata-tat-tat of the drums and the slightly fainter flutter of flutes as band members warmed up their instruments before the parade. I finally located my band on one of the streets bordering Bishop’s Field. Many of them stood in small groups chatting amongst themselves. A few of the more senior members, including the band’s leader, Jim, hovered between the band and a few official-looking parade stewards standing at the intersection of the road where the parade would officially form. I was relieved to have finally found the band, and several members smiled at me as I sought out the other drummers. Brandon was tapping out complicated rhythms while his cousin, Jay, tried to keep up. I went and stood near Liam, who was smoking a cigarette and looked bored. This parade was an annual commemoration parade honouring and remembering the ten men who died on hunger strike in Long Kesh prison in 1981, and it was the first time the

2  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

parade was held in Derry instead of Belfast. The theme of the parade was: ‘Civil Rights, Equality, Freedom: The Struggle Continues’. Speeches, public panel discussions, charity football matches, music and youth events and tours were scheduled over the few days leading up to the parade. The parade stewards came over and spoke quickly to Jim, then headed off towards Linsfort Drive, the road intersecting where we gathered and on which the parade would pass by; our band would then integrate into the main body of the parade as it passed. Jim nodded to Elise, who called out to Liam and Steve, and the four of them began to gather everyone into the band’s typical parade block formation: the colour party (flag-bearers) at the front, followed by two lines of three drummers, the two bass drummers, and finally the twelve flute players. When Jim was satisfied that everyone was in place, he went and took his own place as a ‘fluter’ at the back. Waiting our turn to merge into the parade seemed to take an age. There were hundreds of people taking part: some carried flags; some held banners for various republican organizations or political groups (including Ógra Shinn Féin, Sinn Féin’s youth wing); some carried photographs or name placards of the hunger strikers or others who had been killed during the Troubles. The name placards also included the age of the person when they died, and there was an overwhelming majority of children represented. There were fourteen republican bands participating in this parade. Finally, the stewards waved us forward and we were off. We were the second to last band in the parade line up. Jim called out the first song, ‘Mairead Farrell’, about an IRA volunteer who was killed in Gibraltar in 1988. To my left Brandon played out the drum rhythms that heralded the beginning of a song. The cadence finished and, on cue, I lifted my sticks and the band began to play. The force of the sound and the melancholic melody of the song made my heart swell, and I heard the lyrics in my head: ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep / I am not there, I do not sleep / Do not stand at my grave and cry / When Ireland lives, I do not die.’ We had only recently mastered this song and I was nervous that we would make mistakes that would lead to a musical pile up, but the band seemed to be holding it together well so far. Directly in front of me, our colour party marched steadily and slowly, the Irish Tricolour in front. The parade route was long, and though the day had started out overcast and cool it quickly turned warm and sunny. I was glad the band had decided not to wear our heavy jackets. The drum seemed to get heavier as the parade went on, winding down through Creggan’s slopes into the Brandywell, and when there was a lull between songs, I found myself wishing for the next tune to be called out so as to pass the time more quickly. I was aware that people lined the streets almost the entire parade route, watching us intently. As I marched past, I tried to discern their expressions. Many were difficult to read, but they looked solemn and respectful. Some appeared happy, while others appeared to

Introduction  ■  3

be sad, particularly when they read the placards with children’s names and ages up ahead. I felt an odd sense of pride in marching with the band despite the fact that I was not a native citizen of this country, nor did I consider myself a republican. I walked a little straighter and paid more attention to my playing. As we made our way into the field near the Gasworks where Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin, was due to give a speech, I was struck by the huge posters of the hunger strikers’ faces, spaced at intervals around the edge of the field. Lines of political ex-prisoners, dressed in white button-down shirts, black ties and black trousers, stood still and solemn. One by one, the bands entered the field and dispersed. Some headed for the chip van to buy food, some sprawled on the grass, exhausted by the long march. The National Hunger Strike March had ended. Ógra Shinn Féin’s national organizer, Barry McColgan, later commented: The huge turnout at the march has inspired everyone present; it will no doubt bring many new members and also encourage activists to go out and increase their activism, ensuring the successful conclusion of our struggle.1 This commemorative act of parading has become an annual ritual and is representative of many commemorative parades that occur throughout the calendar year in Northern Ireland. A variety of elements serve to reinvigorate support for the republican movement: music that evokes remembrance and an emotional narrative of republican history; political speeches that motivate and inform Sinn Féin supporters and recruits; and the performance of parading that enacts and reflects core tenets of multiple republican identities comes together in a powerful ritual that has cultural and political implications on republican society in Northern Ireland. This book is an anthropological examination of identity, music and commemoration expressed through the context of republican parading bands in Northern Ireland. As Northern Ireland endeavours to maintain its post-conflict status, the meaning of Irish republicanism is changing and its position is being reassessed. Among the rocky terrain of the country’s political landscape, Irish republican culture has struggled to maintain continuity with the past, legitimacy in the present and a sense of community for the future. Throughout this book I will analyse how identity is mediated and group belonging is established through commemorations – like the commemorative parade described in the beginning of this chapter – that venerate and remember republican heroes. Music is almost always played at commemorations and is used as an idiom of political expression and a medium for educating younger republican generations about republican history. Narratives and memories of the past infiltrate all aspects of community identity and everyday life and create a republican historical narrative around which politics and identities are formed.

4  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

Finding the Field My interest in republican bands and their music began when some friends and I went out one night to a local student bar in Belfast in 2001. A song came through the speakers, and though I did not recognize it my friends immediately cheered and began singing along. I was bemused by the reaction, particularly when I glanced round the room and noticed a few people getting up and leaving, apparently in disgust. A few even booed. I turned to the friend beside me and asked why the song was provoking such a reaction. ‘It’s the “Fields of Athenry”,’ he told me, ‘It’s about the Famine, but most people think it’s a republican song. The people who walked out were probably Protestant.’ I was amazed that a song could produce such strong reactions, but I had only been living in Belfast for a few months and only knew the surface details of what is commonly known as ‘the Troubles’.2 Intrigued, I began learning more and sought out republican rebel songs by attending venues where republican rebel groups played. At first I made these journeys with friends who had Irish names and whose families had republican histories, but as I wanted my research to reflect ‘how two sides of an encounter arrive at a delicate workable definition of their meeting’ (Crick 1982: 25), I felt this would be less complicated if I met and found my own contacts and connections. I was interested in how playing this music reinforced republican identity and how much of the music seemed to recount republican tragedies, yet few people seemed to find the songs sad or depressing. Instead, they seemed to regard the songs as a form of narrative history and motivation for the republican movement. Eventually, as I made plans to begin formal research, I attended concerts and commemoration events on my own. In addition to rebel music groups who regularly played gigs with a standard of guitar, bass guitar and drums in select bars around Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland, I discovered republican parading bands that accompany commemorations and other republican events. The parading bands played much of the same musical repertoire as the rebel groups, who exclusively played in bars and social halls, but the parading bands marched on the streets in uniform at commemorations and occasional fundraising events using only flutes and drums. I was surprised to realize that not many people outside of republicanism knew of the parading bands’ existence, though they played an integral part at commemorative ceremonies. In a country as geographically small (and as extensively studied) as Northern Ireland, I feel that investigation of republican bands provides key insights into how identities are negotiated, manipulated and perceived within the culture of republicanism in Northern Ireland. By using republican bands as a focus, it is possible to witness how identities are negotiated and played out, how music is utilized to inform identity and political opinion through emotional expression, and how political rituals such as commemorations offer structure, a sense of belonging and support for the republican movement.

Introduction  ■  5

Despite extensive research on Northern Ireland, there remains a gap in scholarly analysis of the role that republican parading bands play both in the cultures of nationalism and republicanism and in wider society. Although definitions of republicanism are contested, the majority of republicans today would say that the primary goal of the movement is to see an end to Northern Ireland being a part of the United Kingdom, and for the ‘island to be reunited and independent’.3 The splits that have occurred in the republican movement reflect the diversity of strategies in achieving that goal. The shifts from militarism to politics in different periods of history are embedded in the ideologies of different groups and are often at the roots of these splits. Though there has been a proliferation of research on the Troubles, anthropology has largely ignored republican identity and its myriad expressions within music, parading and commemorative events.4 With the inauguration of a devolved government in May 2007, the splintered factions of republicanism have been adjusting to a post-peace process. Some factions, such as Sinn Féin, have since chosen mediation through politics and actively discourage violence as a political agenda. Far from denouncing their use of tactical violence in the past, they draw on historical narratives that legitimize their current position. As will be explained through these chapters, modifying this new role has required negotiation not only with other political players in Northern Ireland, but also within the republican movement itself. There are four key issues addressed in this book. The first is how identities are mobilized and politicized in the contexts of community music-making and commemoration. The second looks at emotional processes and their manifestations and embodiments in ritual efficacy and performance in both parading and in a social context. Thirdly, memory and how it is employed as a means of developing historical narratives and engaging with the past for republican political and cultural purposes is discussed. Finally, the concepts of ritual and commemoration and the advancement of political agendas through the commemorative process are examined. This book sets out to reveal the underlying layers that make up republican ideals through a context that has remained somewhat of a mystery to the wider world. S.S. Larsen, who has explored political and cultural division in Northern Ireland through parading, writes: ‘as you move throughout Northern Ireland society you can see and hear the division, expressed through colours, objects and tunes’ (1982a: 139). Larsen’s observation points out the varied methods of communication that are used to express identity in ‘the North’, as it is commonly referred to by republicans and nationalists.5 Painted kerbstones, flags, slogans and symbols graffitied on walls denote territory, while murals and memorials construct a landscape of subtle division. With changes that have been taking place within Northern Ireland’s government and society, I investigate how these subtle divisions and associated symbols are being renegotiated through republican

6  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

parading bands and the commemorations in which they participate. As band music rings out in neighbourhoods and city streets, how are messages of community, history, tradition, tragedy, intimidation and territory communicated and expressed? In what ways do republican parading bands reflect the ethos of republicanism, and what does the music that they play reveal about their perception of republican history and their position in the North? Just as Kay Kaufman Shelemay has queried in her own work on music and memory, I ask: ‘What is remembered through music? How are the memories transformed during musical performance into meaningful acts of commemoration?’ (1998: 12). Music has long been a privileged sphere of cultural expression in Northern Ireland and a key marker in manifesting republican and nationalist identity. In particular, republican rebel songs provide a conduit that connects the republican community through the process of commemoration via the cultural mnemonic of music, which assists in strengthening the republican historical narrative. Here, I question and analyse the transmission of republican principles, beliefs and emotions that are communicated in republican rebel music and through commemorative events. Parading bands are in a unique position to encourage the participation of young people in the republican movement by bringing politics to the streets in a public display of identity and dedication to their political cause.

Methodology and the Construction of Ethnography I had accumulated quite a few contacts in the republican community through previous research (Rollins 2006) and found that personal introductions through a mutual friend fared much better than ‘cold’ introductions. Within a couple of months I compiled a short list of possible bands to approach across Northern Ireland. Through further meetings and consistent attendance at commemoration parades and band practices, I narrowed my study to four bands: one each in the two major cities of the North, Belfast and Derry, and two residing in smaller, semi-rural communities. I conducted occasional interviews with band members outside these four bands and some of those interviews are quoted in this research; this ‘additional data’ provides a more rounded view of band life in general. Initially, my methodology consisted mainly of observation and, as familiarity grew, interviews. Informal interviews were conducted in many places with a variety of people associated with republican parading or the republican movement in general. Where possible, these interviews were recorded using a minidisc recorder while also taking notes by hand, but in some instances, where the interviewee felt uncomfortable being recorded or where there was too much background noise for the recorder to pick up our voices for example, handwritten notes were taken to record the information. Semi-structured interviews worked well in a casual setting, and this method was preferred, because it encourages

Introduction  ■  7

openness by not constricting the conversation and gives the interviewee a feeling of confidence by accentuating that they are teaching me about what is important to them. I believe that, in this case, in allowing the ‘interview’ to develop naturally within the context of a conversation, band members then felt comfortable enough to explain their thoughts and emotions without feeling as if they were being scrutinized. It is also for this reason that the term ‘informant’ is not used to describe the people with whom I conducted research; as conflict, secrecy, collaboration and fear have been a part of life for so long in Northern Ireland, to use a term such as ‘informant’ would have been potentially ambiguous in a republican context. It is essential in qualitative research to develop a rapport of trust, interest and non-judgement to ensure good communication, and in locations of past or present conflict it is also essential to demonstrate discretion and to be clear about the aims and objectives of the research (see Aretxaga 1997; Feldman 1991; Jenkins 1983). It remained my goal throughout my field research to protect the people I studied and it continues in my present-day relationship with research participants. A survey study was conducted in 2009, believing that if band members found an interview uncomfortable, perhaps they would be willing to submit their views anonymously on paper. The full survey is detailed in Appendix I, and the responses are separated according to male, female and unknown respondents. (Unknown refers to those who declined to state their gender.) Band members were asked to complete as many questions as they felt comfortable answering, and as a result, many left more than a few questions blank. Many chose not to elaborate on their answers when given an opportunity to do so, but this may have been as a result of the hurried conditions under which many completed the survey. Most of the surveys were filled out at band practices during a quiet moment before members left for home, tired and anxious for dinner. Some were filled out at commemoration events in between band performances and they were sometimes called away before completing the survey. Since no names were attached to the surveys, it was impossible to track down members to finish the questionnaires later. Therefore, I believe that for most members, it was time pressures that kept them from finishing the surveys and not concern regarding divulging information. Persuading people to fill in the survey proved to be a difficult exercise, as many band members were hesitant to spend what little social time they had at practices and events performing a solitary activity. Out of 100 surveys that were sent out to eight different bands, a total of 66 were returned (covering a span of five different bands, containing members of all ages and from a variety of locations across the North). Geertz (1973: 5) asserts that anthropology is ‘not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning’, and the nature of my study involved some precarious situations that required careful consideration

8  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

and delicate balance if I was to interpret the field accurately. I often had to monitor my own reactions when confronted with potential research hazards. Specifically, I am referring to the difficulty of remaining nonpartisan in highly politicized settings. Grills notes that in ‘the context of a local culture in which “you are either with us or you’re against us”, any claim of neutrality or appeal to the ideals of social science has the potential to be cast as opposition’ (1998b: 78). This was often a concern, particularly when challenged about my own political beliefs and alliances, and especially when those challenges were presented in less than ideal locations with interviewees whose beliefs about politics were far more passionate than mine. In most instances, Heaney’s advice was followed that whatever you say, say nothing,6 but often I was pushed for signs of allegiance and dedication to a political movement. And, as Grills found in his research, I have also been faced with ‘the anger, disappointment, and, at times, outright hostility of those involved in political campaigns and crusades’ (1998b: 78). I was careful never to lie about my position, but I also did not bring it up unnecessarily. Sometimes I used humour as a way of dissolving tension and lightening the tone of the question, and this was most successful when I pointed out my outsider status. The fieldwork was begun officially in February 2008, although I had been attending parading events and chatting to attendees since September 2007. A friendship had developed with one band in particular (whom I refer to in this book as the Irish Patriots) and I often observed their practices or recorded their parading events in exchange for a copy of the footage. As Easter and the month of March approached, they began to seek additional marchers for the band and I suggested myself as a potential member. There was not enough time, according to them, for me to become a competent marcher by Easter but, by May, I had been given a uniform and told to attend practices regularly. I began as almost all but the youngest members begin: in the colour party. I had never carried a flag before. But, in my high school years in California, I had been an active member in the school’s marching band (and other music ensembles) for four years. In my junior year, I had auditioned and was accepted to an elite professional marching band but later had to drop out when they discovered I was two years younger than the age limit allowed. So I was familiar with marching bands and hard work, and my experience as a snare drummer, I thought, put me in an ideal position ten years later to learn how to become a republican band member. In fact, my early observations of band practices found me biting my tongue as inexperienced members marched out of step or drummers played with what I believed to be the ‘wrong technique’. However, I felt that by offering my opinions, I would not only be overstepping my welcome but I would be changing the course of how band members learned to play and how they engaged with their bandleader. That was something they were meant to teach me, not the reverse. As Finnegan noted:

Introduction  ■  9

It thus takes some detachment as well as self-education to envisage music right across the spectrum from ‘pop’ to ‘classical’ as equally valid, for this means refusing to accept any one set of assumptions about the ‘true’ nature of music and instead exploring each ‘world’ as of equal authenticity with others. (1989: 32) I came to understand that although our ‘worlds’ of music were different, they were equally legitimate and no less real. Appreciating the playing of republican music by parading bands required an understanding of their musical goals, motivations and circumstances (see also Wulff 1998, 2007b). I believe in the effective method of participant observation, and I wanted to ensure that my experiences as a band member in California did not cloud my experience of being a band member in Northern Ireland, so although I mentioned casually that I had played the drums and marched before, I did not elaborate and set about learning to march as if for the first time. With much coaxing on my part, I was eventually allowed to move onto the side drum. The teasing remarks I received as a female side drummer were easy enough to shrug off as I picked up the simple rhythms and cadences, but I was surprised to discover that my definition of good, ‘clean’7 drumming was, to some extent, what they were trying to discourage. Despite these occasional misunderstandings, I was given the impression that, ‘for a girl’, I was doing alright. Although it is common in loyalist bands to limit the participation of women (Radford 2001; Ramsey 2009), republican bands typically do not impose such limitations. As the ratio of men to women in republican bands is roughly equal, any distinctions made in regard to gender are more subtle. In November 2008, my relationship with the band suddenly changed with the discovery that I was pregnant. I had worked hard to obtain the status of side drummer in the marching band, and pregnancy meant that I could no longer safely carry a heavy drum for long periods. The band received my news delightedly and they were less concerned than I at my relegation back to the colour party, a marching position usually held for newcomers and non-musicians. While I was disappointed at giving up my position as a side drummer, I began to realize that my pregnancy placed me in a different light amongst my fellow band members, as well as among other band members with whom I conducted interviews, conversed and observed practices.8 The guarded nature of many republicans had meant that gaining their trust was a painstaking task of careful commentary (I could not appear to know too much about republicanism or being in a band, but often had to demonstrate I knew something); it also involved considerable participation in social activities (like fundraisers and other non-band events); and most importantly, I had to make friends – an assignment that fundamentally calls for trust and honesty, values that can feel compromised in ethnographic research (Sluka 2007a). Before they learned of my pregnancy, I

10  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

had to work hard to break into their social circles and, while I faithfully turned up at any and all commemoration events, my commitment failed to move them into spontaneous dialogue, and upon each meeting I had to ‘break the ice’ again. Once they learned of my pregnancy, however, much of that changed for the better. I was quickly accepted at social gatherings with jokes about not being able to drink alcohol, and my husband, who often accompanied me at the events and was usually given only a cursory nod, was immediately subject to the gentle teasing of other ‘dads’. Strangely, men were no longer uncomfortable to ‘have a chat’ with me, and women who previously had all but ignored me bestowed parenting advice. I welcomed the changes, but I also wondered how something like a pregnancy could elicit such a social metamorphosis, despite the obvious fact that pregnancies are, in general, good and happy news. Perhaps it was because disclosing the news of my pregnancy allowed band members a window into my life and circumstances. Scott Grills notes that in the field, the people with whom we conduct our research ‘may be much more attentive to the various qualities of the researcher (e.g. trustworthy, humorous, friendly, open, and non-judgemental) than they are to the purpose of the research, consent forms, or credentials’ (1998a: 12). While they may have had little desire to understand the exact nature of my research, my clear commitment to the band despite the lifestyle-altering status of a pregnancy communicated more to them than my explanations of anthropological discourse. On the other hand, I felt there was another reason for my acceptance into the community. It was around the time of the Easter parades again when I was almost eight months pregnant and barely fitted into my band uniform that an offhand comment about my welfare during the parade brought it home to me: by being pregnant, I was no longer challenging any issues of perceived gender roles in the band. I had become ‘place-able’, a quality that my foreign-ness and my outsider status had obstructed (see Zerubavel 1997). Because they could not connect with me through place of birth (in California), or residence (which was in a ‘neutral’ area just off the city centre), or my family’s lineage (I have no Irish ancestry), or the schools I attended (also in California, aside from my master’s degree completed at Queen’s University Belfast), I had left them with no discernible markers from which to draw assumptions and make associations. Warren asserts that ‘the fieldworker’s reception by the host society is a reflection of the cultural contextualization of the fieldworker’s characteristics, which include … ethnic, racial, class or national differences as well as gender’ (1988, cited in Lee 1995: 73). While I looked the same and more or less acted the same and celebrated the same holidays, my background and political beliefs separated me from true integration. Furthermore, I had inadvertently confused issues by taking on an instrument that is usually a male domain. Despite bandleaders’ claims that women were fully welcome in the band9 (and they were), there were only two other

Introduction  ■  11

female drummers that I knew of, and only one of them played regularly in parades. (This is now changing, as will be discussed in later chapters.) Direct questions about how much gender mattered in republican bands were politely dismissed, or party lines about equality for both men and women members were cited. In fact, when I asked bandleaders how they felt about the participation of women in their band, many looked surprised and assured me it was a non-issue that women were and should be completely welcome. One leader explained: [Bands] shouldn’t think like that. That to me is being … that’s the same as being racist or sectarian or, you know, the thought shouldn’t be in their head. To be honest, in my opinion, if I heard of any band saying that we don’t want women in our band, I would be the first to go to the leadership of the movement and ask them to make them accountable for it. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) I wish to resist ‘the tendency to employ gender as an explanatory catch-all’ (McKeganey and Bloor 1991: 196). However, I will explore the implications of gender further in Chapter 3. Over the course of eighteen months of fieldwork from February 2008 until the end of May 2009, I travelled all over the North (and several times to the South) attending just over fifty republican parades, practices, fundraisers and social events. I had calculated my fieldwork period to encompass two Easter parades, as the Easter parade is generally considered the main event in the republican calendar. Musicians of rebel music, whose music and lyrics illustrate republican narratives and promote the ideologies of republicanism, were engaged in conversation, which will be explained further in Chapters 5 and 6. I also gathered the opinions of new and long-time band members, those who decided to leave the bands and those who returned. Some members have switched into a different band, some play for more than one (albeit rarely) and a few asked me to come and join them (although concern for loyalty kept me from accepting).

A Note on Reflexivity, Ethics and Risk As Weber (1946) has pointed out, the research we conduct is often tainted or contaminated by the values or views that we possess as products of our cultures and backgrounds, and this is something I have considered during my fieldwork and in writing this book. As someone with the unique vantage point of being both an insider and an outsider (though arguably more the latter), I am in a position to appreciate the multiple and complex issues that surround parading bands in Northern Ireland. Having lived in Belfast on and off for almost five years before embarking on my research, I observed parades with an outsider’s curiosity and interest. When I began my research, I had already established myself in the

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community as a friend, co-worker and music lover. My husband, who was born and raised in Northern Ireland, offered me a perspective of the North that existed before I enrolled as a postgraduate student, and by the time I undertook my master’s degree in 2005, I felt comfortable calling Northern Ireland ‘home’. In order to complete the transition into researcher, I had to reflect on what I had already learned about the republican community in Northern Ireland, my current position within it and the relationships that I hoped to create through the process of participant observation. Although my husband is from Northern Ireland, he had no direct connections to the republican community and it was several months before I allowed him to accompany me ‘into the field’. The fact of those challenges and confrontations consistently brought to mind the issue of ethics. I had been expecting band members and parade participants to be apprehensive about revealing their motivations for and feelings about joining the republican movement. On the contrary, most were comfortable discussing their political past. Before beginning an interview, I asked if I could record the conversation (often using humour to ease the nervous energy) on the basis that I would not name them by their true names or obvious identifiable details (like hometown or band membership) should I quote them in my research. On the whole, interviewees agreed to allow me to record the interviews as long as no one else had access to the tapes. Videotaping parades was also usually welcomed as long as a copy was offered to participating bands, and this proved an excellent way of introducing myself to bands I had not yet had the opportunity to meet as well as giving back to those bands who were kind enough to allow me to interview them. In some instances, for example when videotaping large parades, it was impossible to gain consent from everyone present. Like Ramsey (2009), I have taken the view that because parades take place in public spaces and in public view, the fact of participation is a form of consent. The ASA Ethical Guidelines for Good Research Practice point out that: ‘Most anthropologists would maintain that their paramount obligation is to their research participants and that when there is conflict, the interests and rights of those studied should come first’.10 It is, after all, the lives and practices of research participants that will be examined for further study. To this end, I have tried my best to maintain the trust and faith that was built during my fieldwork, and have tried to reflect as accurately as possible the comments made and the manner in which they were meant. Though it has been argued that achieving total anonymity is next to impossible (Van Willigen 2002), either because of the closeness of the community or because the opinions someone expresses identifies them in some way, I have tried to conceal quotations and people with as much anonymity as I can. Therefore the names of the bands and individuals have been given pseudonyms and I have tried to gloss over any identifying details that may be too revealing, although the small size of the North and of the republican community makes

Introduction  ■  13

this difficult for those who know the culture. Occasionally, vague terms such as ‘a band in Belfast’ have been used, or a comment has been attributed to an anonymous member (i.e. ‘one band member told me …’). Whilst this may not be sufficient to completely conceal a person’s identity, I believe that it has obscured the certainty by which any particular member could be identified. There are a few names that I have kept because they are public figures and their words are within the public domain. On the subject of risk in the anthropological field, Lee (1995) points out that because anthropological research relies heavily on the anthropologist’s ability to ‘think on his or her feet’, often quickly and sometimes in precarious situations, that we are perhaps more susceptible to risk than a variety of other professions – especially if our research is conducted, as is so often the case, in areas that inflict risk to those being studied, such as in social conflict or in high-risk labour industries. Even those who conduct research similar to their habitual environment (i.e. an urban-dwelling Westerner researching urban Western culture) can be exposed to certain risk. Anthropology is a precarious discipline in the sense that research questions often reflect the personal lives of other humans; thus research conclusions or deductions may impact the lives of those with whom research is undertaken. Data is sensitive material and requires consideration for the people it represents. Republicans have long been known for their militant and often physically violent approach to politics. This fact was not lost on me when I set out to research republican bands. I strongly believed (and continue to believe) that the best approach when embarking on sensitive fieldwork is honesty.11 I found that as long as I was honest about my intentions and careful with the questions I asked and when these were asked, most people were willing to engage in conversation. More than once I found myself in the precarious position of being alone somewhere with someone who had a reputation for violence, with few or no witnesses. While it certainly crossed my mind in these moments that perhaps I should have thought more for my safety, on the whole I found the people I spoke with to be as honest with me as I was with them. Only once did I find myself on the receiving end of a violent threat, and that experience ensured that I was more careful in the future about how I asked the questions I wanted to ask, and my motivation for doing so. When fieldwork concluded, I continued (and continue) to visit and attend parades to demonstrate my gratitude and interest in their political pursuits. Northern Ireland has become my home and a few of my fellow band members have become friends, and as Jeffrey Sluka (2007b) discovered, the danger does not always go away when you exit the field.

Summary of Chapters Throughout this book, the elements that impart aspects of republican culture and ethos and examine how they inform republican identities are explored. At

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the heart of republicanism is the commemoration and memory of their heroes and their history, but understanding republicanism in its entirety requires delving into representative music and symbolism, community practices and identity. The chapters that follow detail several aspects of republicanism and, through my ethnographical experiences, offer a window into republican culture, lifestyle and beliefs. Chapter 1 opens with a summary and brief discussion on the theories that are used throughout the book and which underpin the basis of this research. It begins with a discussion on the evolution of anthropological study on the island of Ireland to put my research into context; it then considers common theories of identity and how they are used to describe and understand aspects of my research experiences. This leads into a brief explanation of religious identity in Northern Ireland. Theories on collective memory, emotion, the narrative process and ritual and commemoration are outlined to place my investigations in context with current theory and to provide a thorough basis of understanding. In the next chapter an abbreviated overview on republican history from the 1790s up to the twenty-first century is provided. Knowing the historical and political background of republicanism provides a chronological perspective of the movement and supplements necessary details in order to understand the changes that have influenced modern-day republicanism. There is an outline on the history of parading on the island of Ireland, focusing specifically on the North after partition. Parading has a long tradition in Ireland and its history reflects the impact parading has had on Northern Irish history and politics. In the third chapter, the four bands that I observed closely during my fieldwork are introduced, and it is explained why they are representative of the majority of republican bands in Northern Ireland. The main reasons for joining a republican band and the motivation for maintaining membership, how its members learn to play, and how they conceive of the band as part of the community and as a political entity are all explored and discussed. Also considered is the role of young people and gender within the bands. In Chapter 4, the theory of identity is expanded as I explore the expressed identities through parading and being republican. Using an ethnographic example of the annual Easter parades in Belfast, several aspects of republican identities are considered – such as perceptions of nationality, ethnicity and religion – in further detail. Chapter 5 focuses on the genre of political music and discusses prominent themes in rebel songs as a method of categorization. Using examples of common rebel songs, the elements that characterize and define rebel songs are detailed and examined. These themes are investigated to relate to markers of republican identities and political ideologies. The term ‘rebel songs’ is used to refer to republican songs that are sung or performed with their accompanying lyrics.

Introduction  ■  15

The term ‘rebel music’ is also used to refer to those same songs played (but without lyrics) by parading bands. Chapter 6 focuses on the emotional nuances and impact of rebel songs and the embodiment of emotion in commemoration parades. The role of emotion is investigated through rebel music performances and it is questioned as to how this process assists in the maintenance of the creation of community. Finally, the concept of memory in the republican narratives in rebel songs and the influence of memory on younger generations of republicans are examined. In Chapter 7, the use of historical narrative in the context of commemorations is explored, especially the concept of memory as it is employed in political rituals such as commemorations. Using the examples of the Seamus Woods commemoration and the Bloody Sunday marches, the degrees of meaning and contestation in republicanism and in political commemorative practices are teased apart. In the conclusion, Chapter 8 summarizes the elements described above and links them together to describe how republican identities are created and informed. There are some concluding reflections on the nature of this research and the future of republican parading bands.

Notes  1. See http://sinnfeinrepyouth.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/gra-shinn-fin-proudly-lead-derry. html [accessed 10 March 2018].  2. The Troubles in Northern Ireland began in 1969. A state of ceasefire was declared in 1994, and although most academic research refers to the post-Good Friday Agreement as the post-conflict era, there are still outbreaks of violence and tension (particularly during the Orange marching season). In June 2011, East Belfast witnessed ‘the most serious [trouble] in the area for a decade’ (BBC News). Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ uk-northern-ireland-13854027 [accessed 22 June 2011].  3. This statement was drawn from an interview with a member of Ógra Shinn Féin, 23 September 2007.  4. There are a few exceptions, see for instance Boyle (2002); De Rosa (1998); Feldman (1991); Jarman (1999a); Jarman and Bryan (1998, 2000a); Kelly (2000).  5. Because ‘the North’ is a common way of referring to Northern Ireland among my research participants, I have also chosen to use the term throughout this book to maintain continuity.  6. Seamus Heaney’s 1975 poem describes the peculiar Northern Irish social habit of Burton’s (1978: 37) ‘telling’: [The famous] Northern reticence, the tight gag of place / And time: yes, yes. Of the ‘wee six’ I sing / Where to be saved you only must save face / And whatever you say, say nothing.  7. In my earlier experience of playing in a band, ‘clean’ is a term that is applied to describe how evenly (or not) a drummer strikes the drumhead and how much control s/he has over the sticks. The term also means synchronization when playing alongside or with other musicians. For example, when playing with five or six other drummers, the drumming should sound as if it is coming from one drum. ‘Dirty’ is used to describe playing

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 8.  9.

10. 11.

that is out of sync, out of tempo or otherwise sloppy. These terms do not exist in republican bands, nor do they overtly distinguish levels of technical skill. For another example of the changing researcher-informant relationship and pregnancy in the field, see Oboler (1986). There is one band I know of that does not allow women to become members. Speculation from other bands was that female membership would necessitate a name change. However, this band was particularly elusive and unwilling to meet me for further discussion on the issue. See https://www.theasa.org/ethics/guidelines.shtml [accessed 10 September 2011]. For an important account of dangerous fieldwork in Belfast and the importance of honesty, see Sluka (2007b). See also Feldman (1991).

Chapter 1

Theoretical Overview

q

T

he spectrum of issues raised in this research draws on the highly debated topics of identity, memory, emotion, ritual and commemoration. This chapter summarizes the theoretical background of these topics to contextualize these issues, which will be further analysed and discussed within each chapter. Beginning with a brief summary of the anthropological study that has taken place on the island of Ireland, this chapter then outlines each of the fundamental theories that form the key issues in this book. By situating these topics within the frame of Northern Ireland’s cultural and historical background, greater insight into the layered complexities of Northern Ireland’s everyday issues is revealed and examined.

Ireland and ‘the North’: An Anthropological Overview Historically, Ireland has been a rich source for anthropological enquiry. In their book, The Anthropology of Ireland, Wilson and Donnan comment that it might be more appropriate to think not of the anthropology of Ireland, but of anthropologies of Irelands due to the complex nature of Irish society (2006: xiv). Anthropological research on Ireland began in the 1890s with Haddon and Browne (Curtin, Donnan and Wilson 1993: 4; Wilson and Donnan 2006: 17), but it was the studies of Arensberg (1937) and Arensberg and Kimball (1968 [1940]) that were largely influential in early anthropological research. Ireland became a useful site in which: kinship and social structure were examined as a means of testing the theoretical model of structural-functionalism and its usefulness in

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combining the ethnographic interests of American and British scholars. (Wilson and Donnan 2006: 17) But while ethnographic studies in the Republic of Ireland tended to focus on rural communities and customs until the 1980s, in Northern Ireland, interest centred on the resurgence of conflict after the start of the Troubles in 1969. Studies such as Harris’ Prejudice and Tolerance in Ulster attempted to illustrate the ‘vast amount of tolerance and good will’ (1972: xiv) as well as the growing sources of conflict within Northern Irish society.1 In Harris’ experience, it became vital to know the background of other people before engaging in conversation, in order to maintain tolerance and defuse tension. She writes: [S]o important is it … to be able to determine the allegiances of strangers that many Ulster people seem to have developed an extreme sensitivity to signs other than explicit badges that denote the affiliations of those that they meet. Each looks automatically for slight indications from another’s name, physical appearance, expression and manner, style of dress and speech idiom to provide the clues that will enable the correct categorization to be made. (Harris 1986 [1972]: 148) Burton (1978) explained that people negotiated community boundaries based on the ethnopolitical religious classifications of ‘Catholic’ or ‘nationalist/republican’ and ‘Protestant’ or ‘unionist/loyalist’. He coined the term ‘telling’ to describe the ways in which people used subtle clues to determine where other members of society belonged (Burton 1978: 37). As the Troubles worsened, ethnographic study in Northern Ireland became risky, both in terms of personal danger and in terms of seeking ethnographic objectivity (see, for example, Burton 1978; Feldman 1991; Finlay 1999; Sluka 1989). Furthermore, as Wilson and Donnan pointed out: In the anthropology of Northern Ireland it was, and remains, impossible to understand local rural and urban communities without understanding ethnicity, sectarianism, national identities, class and the overall importance of history in everyday life. (2006: 27–28) As the diversity of methodological study in Ireland increased, so did the variety of subject matter, particularly in the troubled North. More ‘traditional’ anthropological interests such as ritual and religion, marriage and kinship exist alongside more contemporary topics such as national and ethnic identities, public policy, violence and conflict resolution. Many of these topics overlap into other arenas. Some studies on religion and ritual have political overtones (see Edwards 2004; McFarlane 1989, 1994; Mitchel 2003; Mitchell 2006), while

Theoretical Overview  ■  19

some concentrate more on faith and belief (Ganiel 2003; Jordan 2001; Murphy 2000, 2002). Studies into the markers of identity have primarily focused on national or ethnic identity (Crozier 1989; Donnan 2005; Kelleher 2003); social identity (Buckley and Kenney 1995; Jenkins 1982, 1983; Larsen 1982a; Nic Craith 2002, 2003); religious identity (Templer, Mitchell and Ganiel 2009); gender identity (Aretxaga 1997, 2001; Radford 2001; Sales 1997); identity through music and dance (Coghlan 2011; Ramsey 2009; Vallely 2008; Wulff 2003, 2007b); and identity and language (Andrews 1997; O’Reilly 1999; Pritchard 2004), to highlight just a few. Research into the construction and maintenance of border identities has been useful in identifying elements that provide inhabitants with a sense of history and place (Donnan and Wilson 1999; Robb 1995; Wilson 1993). As a ‘divided society’ struggling with ethnonational segregation, sectarianism and violence (Shirlow and Murtagh 2006), Northern Ireland has posed intriguing questions to the anthropology of shared space, public policy, tourism and conflict resolution. Murtagh (2002), Nagle (2005, 2009) and Neill (1999) have dealt with questions of shared space, territory, multiculturalism and a ‘right to the city’ (Nagle 2009). Cultural ‘traditions’ such as parading that have been considered antagonistic have undergone – and in some cases, are still undergoing – processes of attenuation and mediation. Anthropological research into parades, protests and riots has helped shaped public policy, thereby mitigating aggravation caused by these practices (see Bryan 1999; Bryan and Jarman 1997; Donnan and McFarlane 1989, 1997a, 1997b; Jarman and Bryan 1996, 1998, 2000b; Jarman et al. 1998). Others have analysed the effects of mural painting on public space and concepts of territory (Jarman 1997, 1998; Kenney 1998; Rolston 1991), as well as public memorials and commemorative display (Viggiani 2014). Research into political rituals and parades has revealed much about the changing nature of traditions (Bryan 1998, 2000b) and has reached some interesting conclusions about the way tradition is not only conceived of and practised, but how it can be used to assert identity, power and status (Bell 1990; Cecil 1993). As this book will show, parading practices (particularly for the republican community) are about the commemoration of events and people, the prioritizing of political aims and objectives, and about maintaining memory and historical narrative through music.2 More recently, interest has turned towards the music played by the bands as they march, the political and social messages that songs can convey and the way that music is used as a symbol for cultural meaning and practice (Boyle 2002; Ramsey 2009; Rollins 2006, Millar 2017). Closer examination of rebel lyrics will reveal expressions of republican experiences and emotions, which will enable us to better understand the embodiment of republican identity and the narrative of republican history.

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As De Rosa has noted, performances (such as parades) ‘do not only communicate previous cultural messages, but they can manipulate everyday interactions’ (1998: 100). Parades and similar commemorative events are not ritualistic in a sacred sense, but in a political, secular sense. We are thus urged to question, writes De Rosa, how these performances ‘appear to reinforce the cohesiveness of an ethnic group or a nation, while embracing a plurality of political positions and claims’ (1998: 100; see also Tonkin and Bryan 1996). Bryan and Jarman, who have done extensive research on parading in the North, have often focused on aspects of parading as political ritual (Bryan 2000b; Bryan, Fraser and Dunn 1995; Jarman 1997, 1999a; Jarman et al. 1998). Further research on parading has questioned parading rights (Bryan 2000a; Jarman and Bryan 1996); the nature of policing and monitoring parades (Bryan and Jarman 1999; Bryett 1997; Jarman 1999b; Jarman and Bryan 2000b); and parading and gender (Radford 2001, 2004; Ramsey 2009). Northern Ireland has become a rich and diverse place of investigation and analysis, but despite the diversity of topics explored, there remains a gap in the study of republican parading bands and the communities that support them.

Identity: Manifestation and Expression A recurrent theme throughout the variety of research done in Northern Ireland is the concept and expression of identity or identities. Like Kondo (1990), this research is formed on the understanding that identity is fluid and that it is a process of filtering and negotiating relations of shifting power; it is founded on historically dependent self-realization and is often reliant on context and attended by tension and contradiction. Jenkins has described identity as: our understanding of who we are and of who other people are, and, reciprocally, other people’s understanding of themselves and of others (which includes us). The outcome of agreement and disagreement, at least in principle always negotiable, identity is not fixed. (2004: 5) His definition accentuates the process of negotiation between similarity and difference, and he has pointed out that while some theorists have privileged either similarity or difference,3 the cultivation of identity necessarily includes both (2004: 5–6). Thinking of identity in this manner not only fosters a more complex model, but it allows for the formation of identity between the individual and the collective. Jenkins asserts that the ‘proper sociological place for the concept of “identity” is at the heart of our thinking about the relationships between concrete individual behaviour and the necessary abstraction of collectivity’ (2004: 18). The formation of identity often occurs in response to a changing social landscape, and as a reaction to personal experiences and responses to everyday – or

Theoretical Overview  ■  21

not so everyday – situations and contexts. It is a process of ongoing evaluation between the personal and the public (Goffman 1983). Identity may refer to who we are, but it also allows us, by association, to maintain the illusion of who we want to become and where we belong. In a world of endless opportunities for growth and change, the multiple ‘webs of significance’ that we weave mean that we possess not one identity but several (Geertz 1973: 5). Hall makes the point that ‘identities are never unified and, in late modern times, increasingly fragmented and fractured; never singular but multiply constructed across different, often intersecting and antagonistic, discourses, practices, and positions. They are subject to a radical historicization, and are constantly in the process of change and transformation’ (1996: 4). It is perhaps possible to maintain so many identities that one gets lost amidst them and cannot say for certain any longer which is the ‘true’ identity, if indeed such a thing existed. Milton (2002: 107) has written that people develop a sense of personal identity through ‘an experience of context’, and that anthropologists are obligated to identify carefully that context in order to understand the experiences of others as they understand them (see also Shore and Nugent 2002). Throughout this book, the experiences of republican parading and commemoration will be explored and this will illustrate how aspects of republican identity are allowed to develop and evolve. Ultimately, identities are formed from past experiences and mediated by cultural frameworks. From this, people in the West understand (or misunderstand) social cues and regulations, etiquette, ways of being in the world. This book seeks to explore how republican identities are constructed and negotiated in Northern Irish society through the process of music-making and parading in republican parading bands, and how other factors, such as commemorations, influence that process.

Identity: Ethnicity and Nationalism Academic research on Northern Ireland quite often couples the notions of ethnicity and identity. Northern Ireland offers a unique perspective on both terms and their definitions because the meanings are often imperceptibly intertwined with other base elements of society, like religion, politics and gender roles. Although it is possible to speak (or write) of these elements independently, and to do so is especially useful for research purposes, in reality it is not so easy to separate them. In Northern Ireland, nationalists and republicans view themselves as ‘members of an ethnic nation’ (Nic Craith 2002: 139). Nic Craith further explains that their ‘citizenship of the UK does not detract from their sense of Irish nationality. Instead, it allows them to define themselves in a dual context; as Irish nationals in a British state’ (2002: 139). Prior to fieldwork, a sense of ethnicity came into play in aspects of everyday life through my experiences of living and working in Northern Ireland,

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which raised questions as to how ethnicity is conceived of theoretically. Barth’s outline of what constitutes an ethnic group offers a way of thinking about the divisions along certain fault lines in the North; divisions that have taken shape around the notion of ethnicity and not especially – as one might suspect – nationalism. Barth (1969) argues that the term ‘ethnic group’ identifies a population that meets certain criteria, such as biological self-perpetuation, the sharing of fundamental cultural values and a system of communication and interaction, and has a membership that identifies itself and is identified by others as constituting a category distinguishable from other categories of the same order (1969: 10–11). However, Jenkins points out that Barth’s model is not to be ‘accepted uncritically as a fixed aspect of the social reality in question’ (1997: 18). Though the republican and nationalist communities in the North do fit Barth’s criteria to different degrees, Barth’s definition is too rigid. Weber tells us: [E]thnic membership does not constitute a group; it only facilitates group formation of any kind, particularly in the political sphere. On the other hand, it is primarily the political community, no matter how artificially organized, that inspires belief in common ethnicity. (1978, cited in Jenkins 1997: 10) Weber’s understanding makes more sense in the Northern Irish context. Jenkins, who is familiar with Northern Irish articulations of ethnicity, has summarized what he terms ‘the basic social anthropological model of ethnicity’ as being about cultural differentiation and similarity – shared meaning acquired from social interaction and mediation; ethnicity is unfixed and flexible as the culture from which it is derived and, as a social identity, it ‘is collective and individual, externalized in social interaction and internalized in personal self-identification’ (1997: 13–14). By employing concepts of ethnicity to understand and explain aspects of Northern Irish identities, it becomes easier to describe and analyse the intricacies of everyday life in Northern Ireland. Comparably, a similar look at the concept of nationalism clarifies how ethnicity and nationalism work in conjunction to inform and express identities. Kedourie, who claimed that nationalism is a nineteenth-century invented doctrine, noted that ‘it is misplaced ingenuity to try and classify nationalisms according to the particular aspect which they choose to emphasize’ (1993 [1960]: 67). In this respect, Kedourie is highlighting the fact that nationalism is as malleable and fluid as identity. As Smith declares, ‘nationalism operates on many levels and may be regarded as a form of culture as much as a species of political ideology and social movement’ and it is necessary ‘to explore nationalism first as a form of culture and identity’ before understanding its political impact and its

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force on national identity (1991: 71–72). More specifically, in her research on Tanzanian expressions of nationalism through music, Askew concluded: Just as Foucault advanced our understanding of power as a diffuse resource available to everyone everywhere (albeit to differing degrees) and never the exclusive domain of some over others, so too should we view nationalism as something engaged in by people at all levels of the social matrix – even if their engagement takes the form of outright rejection or dismissive disregard. (2002: 12) Askew’s observation points to the individual and collective agencies that develop and create degrees of nationalism. In a similar vein, Gellner asserts that ‘nationalism is not the awakening of nations to self-consciousness: it invents nations where they do not exist’ (1964: 169). Similar to Anderson’s (1991 [1983]) theory of the ‘imagined community’, Gellner’s statement emphasizes the significance of individual and group agency in creating a collective belonging. Viewing nationalism from this perspective allows for the spectrum of political, cultural and global engagement. But while these explanations of nationalism sound similar to the interpretation of ethnicity given above, nationalism exists as a broader expression of culture and identity within a global context of difference and similarity. Nic Craith (2002) has used the concepts of civic nationalism (where nationalism is state-centred) and ethnic nationalism (where belonging is largely determined through linguistic or other cultural similarities or connections). She notes that Northern Ireland is often considered a place where ‘ethnic and civic nationalists are in conflict with one another’ (Nic Craith 2002: 141). While it was originally thought that similarities of language, history and political aims were essential to the definition of a nation (see Kedourie 1993 [1960]; Smith 1991), Leoussi points out that ‘different political and economic histories of linguistically related communities may impede the growth of sentiments of “national” solidarity and political commitment’ (2001: viii). In Northern Ireland, though English is the main language spoken, differing political goals and commitments (which are based on specific historical narratives and ideologies) lead to different understandings of where national loyalties lie. Smith wrote that nationalism is often used as ‘an inspiration for, and legitimation of, political association’, but he emphasized the symbolic dimensions of nations and ethnic groups (1994: 706). And, as Kedourie noted, ‘it is misplaced ingenuity to try and classify nationalisms according to the particular aspect which they choose to emphasize’ (1993 [1960]: 67; cf. Leoussi 2001). It is less constrictive to understand nationalism in this context as Anderson’s ‘imagined political community’, and he stresses that ‘communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined’ (1991

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[1983]: 6). This coincides with Nic Craith’s descriptions of ethnic nationalism in the North (2002: 141–42). So how can the concept of ethnicity be applied and understood in this part of the world? And to what extent does it define the experiences of the people who live here? Most importantly, how is ethnicity ‘lived on the ground’ and why does it continue to embody such a significant aspect of one’s identity? Ethnicity informs how people understand themselves and read each other. Bryan writes that while ethnic identification is quite often a communal affair, it must also be considered as part of the self. He explains: Ethnicity is portrayed through common yet multi-vocal symbolic forms, allowing common allegiance where on other levels there exists heterogeneity, but it is precisely in the space between self and community that ethnicity is negotiated and where other forms of political community can develop. (Bryan 2000b: 16; see also Cohen 1994) Bryan makes an important point about the construction of ethnicity from a cultural standpoint, much like Eriksen’s view that ethnicity exists between two or more groups and not within them (Eriksen 2001). In other words, one’s sense of ethnicity is developed through the interactions and associations – both positive and negative – made with other groups. Through this mediation, elements of similarity and difference surface; or, to put it another way, identity is obtained through ‘bordering processes in which ideas and practices of mutual recognitions and acknowledgements of difference’ take place (Linde-Laursen 2010: 86; original emphasis). Eriksen explains: ‘Ethnicity emerges and is made relevant through social situations and encounters, and through people’s ways of coping with the demands and challenges of life’ (1993: 1). In times of peace, ethnicity may be little more than a marker of difference, but in times of war, ethnicity can sometimes be the boundary upon which battle lines are drawn. In Northern Ireland, Nic Craith believes that ‘a more pronounced ethnicity is a product, rather than a cause, of dissent’ (Nic Craith 2002: 137). As the research presented in this volume shows, activities such as commemorations and the parading of republican bands help to reinforce elements of ethnic identity. However, the negotiation of ethnicity, between individuals or between groups, is subtly nuanced by other defining characteristics of identity, such as religion, which will be examined briefly now.

But Are You a Catholic or Protestant Atheist?: Religious Identity in Northern Ireland While writing up my research, curious colleagues often asked to what extent religion influenced republican parades. Religion is often closely entangled with ethnic, national and political identities in Northern Ireland, regardless of one’s

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religious beliefs. There is a popular joke that illustrates this perception: a man in a balaclava approaches a tourist from behind and demands to know if he is Catholic or Protestant. Knowing of the conflict in Northern Ireland, in a flash of inspiration, the tourist replies that he is an atheist, believing that this answer will absolve him. Flustered, the man in the balaclava then commands to know whether the tourist is a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist. There are several variations of the joke,4 but they all rely on the impression and stereotype of two exclusive, diametrically opposed communities in Northern Ireland. Although there is a rapidly growing realization that Northern Ireland has become a much more diverse place than it was even just ten years ago, there still remains an ingrained perception that almost everyone can ultimately be placed within one of those two boxes. Jeff Peel (2005), a writer on the political blog Slugger O’Toole, has written about why this joke is no longer funny and believes that NISRA (the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency), who conducts the ten-yearly census, has not properly collated or allowed for the variety of responses because it asks atheists to state the religion of their parents. He maintains that the Equality Commission NI ‘insists that people who have no religious faith should be defined as Protestant or Catholic whatever they claim’ and believes that those with no faith, like himself, should be offered the opportunity to exist in a separate category, and that the religion of their parents is irrelevant. While there is much to be said on the subject of Northern Ireland’s tricky bureaucratic social classifications, it is important to emphasize that religion in the North stretches beyond a straightforward matter of faith. And while religion is often at the forefront of many issues in Northern Ireland, in the context of republican parades – as later chapters will demonstrate – its influence is limited. Mitchell notes that while ‘communities in Northern Ireland are divided along many lines such as ethnic, national and political, the dominant cleavage since the 17th century has been religious’, though not necessarily homogenous (2006: 59). And while this may be the case, Tonge points out that ‘labelling by religious denomination remains the most convenient method of identifying the division between the communities’ (2002: 98). However, it is important to understand that the terms ‘Protestant’ and ‘Catholic’ in Northern Ireland mean so much more than simple religious labels. Religious designation in the North not only defines a form of spiritual belief, but a categorization of other markers, which carries the associations of particular political opinions and representation (Breen and Hayes 1997); spatial boundaries (Mitchell 2006); cultural heritages (Harris 1972; Nic Craith 2002); and social activities (Batson, Shoenrade and Ventis 1993; Mitchell 2006). While some of these associations are, at best, stereotypes, they exist because of the nature of ethnic and religious division in the North. Sociologist Hervieu-Léger, in writing about France, argues that ‘religion as a memory passes from generation to generation in interpreting the formation

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of religious identities of young French Catholics’ (1994: 125). When viewed from a broad perspective, Hervieu-Léger’s assertion describes how religious affiliation can occur without active participation in the church. For instance, although an individual may not define him or herself as religious, the actions, beliefs and interpretations of his or her close family and friends might influence his or her worldview. Kim and Kollontai address this idea in their book Community Identity: Dynamics of Religion in Context. They write: ‘Aspects of community identity formulated out of religious commitment tend to be far deeper and more consolidating than that from any other source’ (Kim and Kollontai 2007: 2). For this reason, they postulate, it is vital to consider religious ideologies when examining communal and ethnic conflict, as ‘the situation becomes more acute when religious beliefs endorse or reinforce the legitimization of violent action against others’ (Kim and Kollontai 2007: 1). However, as Mitchell warns, ‘we cannot reduce the issue to one of a straightforward link between theology and politics’ (2006: 2), but instead look at religion’s role in building concepts of individual self, other and community. It is unsurprising that religion is so often intertwined with elements of social, political and ethnic identities; because of its prevalence in everyday life, it no doubt influences the way society is perceived and experienced. Gauging the extent of its impact would require in-depth research and careful thought into the distinctions between where belief ends and ideology begins.5 In the North, it would be incorrect to reduce the origins of the Troubles to a simple manifestation of religious disparity. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the construction of community (or communities) to allow for a broader understanding of group formation and identity.

The Construction of Community Defining what makes a community is a task that could occupy much of this book, and it is one that may never be accomplished in entirety (see Cohen 1985: 11). Like identity, the boundary of a community is fluid and it is as much subject to change and mediation. In this book, the term community is used to describe a group of individuals who identify with and subscribe to similar ‘symbols, values and ideologies’ (Hamilton, in the introduction to Cohen 1985: 8). This is a vague description, but the main point, as Hamilton pointed out, is that ‘people manifestly believe in the notion of community, either as ideal or reality, and sometimes both simultaneously’ (in Cohen 1985: 8, emphasis in original). The concept of community can be, in large part, ‘imagined’ (Anderson 1991 [1983]), and therefore ‘the reality and efficacy of [the community] … depends upon its symbolic construction and embellishment’ (Cohen 1985: 15).

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In Northern Ireland, it is more accurate to refer to republican communities than to a singular community. The republican communities are defined by their political ethos, ethno-religious identification and cultural habits, and they share a similar historical perspective. Given the history of Irish republicanism, it is not surprising that many republican communities are discernible from one another only by virtue of differences in political attitudes and beliefs. These differences may have begun as slight variations, but they have become significant cornerstones in republican cultural and political ethos. Some republicans refer to the republican movement as a family, but this term ignores the solidarity that the movement creates with groups outside of Northern Ireland while dismissing other republican groups. Community is a better description, because it encompasses these connections, as well as allowing for willing participation and recruitment, qualities that were repeatedly emphasized during my fieldwork with the bands. Throughout this book, the focus is on parading bands who support the republicanism of Sinn Féin, and the singular term ‘republican community’ refers to that specific group unless reference is being made to a broader statement about republican communities in general. Using Wenger’s (1998) theory of ‘communities of practice’ provides an illustration of levels of participation, the aims and the construction of republican communities. Wenger explains that active participation in community describes an agency in the creation of community: Participation here refers not just to local events of engagement in certain activities with certain people, but to a more encompassing process of being active participants in the practices of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities. (1998: 4) Wenger’s (1998: 72–73) thesis that communities of practice are built upon the three dimensions of mutual engagement, joint enterprise and a shared repertoire provides a means of thinking about and analysing the construction of a political community on several levels. The mutual engagement that defines a community is what Wenger believes allows negotiations, compromises and discourses to take place (1998: 73). It is in this dimension that the republican community may fracture and form other branches of republican ideologies, such as nationalist republicanism or dissident republicanism. The second characteristic, joint enterprise, focuses the community on ‘the result of a collective process of negotiation that reflects the full complexity of mutual engagement’ (Wenger 1998: 77). In other words, this dimension describes the commonalities that have been mutually agreed upon by the group, and it places accountability on those who participate. This will be shown to be the case for republican parading bands, as each band balances their own identity as a band within the wider identity of Sinn Féin’s republicanism. In the third characteristic, Wenger explains how ‘the

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joint pursuit of an enterprise creates resources for negotiating meaning’ (1998: 82), and the result of these negotiations, over time, come to form a shared repertoire. This dimension can also help explain how republican history has come to be shaped and remembered over time, but particularly how it is remembered in the present context. While Wenger’s ideas on communities of practice are interesting and useful for understanding the nature and being of communities, this book is not concerned with defining the parameters of the republican community but with exploring the symbolic ‘embellishment’ that forms this community’s core. In order to explain this further, I discuss theories of emotion and collective memory before relating them to republican music-making and commemoration.

Feeling the Field: Anthropological Models of Emotion Emotions, even more so than thoughts, tend to be regarded in the West as subjective, private and individual (see Lutz 1988), but there is no denying the power they wield in our everyday lives and in how we understand ourselves and others. The focus on emotions in anthropological research began in earnest in the 1970s, according to Svašek (2002, 2005), in an effort to understand fully their role in cultural constructs and social life. Wulff observes that: ‘Emotions theory early identified the importance of the person, as collectively constructed, but also the individual, the self and subjectivity in emotional experiences’ (2007a: 1). As anthropologists began to explore the influence of emotional affect in social contexts, debates emerged regarding the clearest and best way to approach the study of emotions (Averill 1980; Lutz 1988; Lutz and Abu-Lughod 1990), particularly in cross-cultural contexts (Briggs 1970; Lutz 1988; Wulff 2007a). Wulff notes that research on emotions have included observations and theories from outside the anthropological discipline: ‘Recent social science work on emotions has incorporated ideas from neuroscience, such as the finding that emotions are central in rational choice making and social adjustment, as well as the fact that emotions influence thought’ (2007a: 1; see also Parkinson 1995; Svašek 2005). Anthropology is in a unique position to contribute to our understanding of emotions and their role in human communication because of the scope and the nature of ethnographic and qualitative research. Leavitt notes that ‘emotions are especially interesting because they bridge the domain of cultural meanings and bodily feelings’ (1996: 530). This statement suggests that emotions are borne of cultural or social experience. In the Western world, it is accepted that sadness is a warranted emotion to express at a funeral, though there may be limitations on how it is expressed (weeping is accepted, wailing could perhaps cause irritation or anger in others). Sadness may demonstrate love and compassion, humanness and feelings of loss and tragedy. In a public context, such as the funeral of a public figure (for instance, Princess Diana of Wales) or the commemoration of an event (such as the Easter parades

Theoretical Overview  ■  29

in West Belfast), sadness heightens the significance of the event and invites participants to share in the intimate grief and memorialization of the deceased. This coincides with Whitehouse’s (2005) theory that ritual meaning is not intrinsic to ritual action – the meanings that become assigned to ritual events do so through experience and cultural significance. Schieffelin explains that within the Kaluli community ‘emotions, however privately experienced … are socially located and have a social aim [see also Magowan 2007; Reily 2002]. To this degree they are located not only in the person, but in the social situation and interaction which, indeed, they help construct’ (1983: 190–1). Although Schieffelin was describing Papua New Guinea, his description could equally be applied to republican commemorations in Northern Ireland. Similarly, Milton (2002, 2005a) and Lutz (1988) argue that the methods by which we learn to express our emotions are shaped by our cultural environment and experiences; for instance, in some cultures to show anger is a sign of immaturity (Briggs 1970), but in other cultures anger can be justified (Lutz 1988). Milton urges us not to view emotion as springing solely from either nature or nurture, but to ‘consider the hypothesis that emotions are ecological phenomena that link us to our environments and enable us to learn from them’ (2005a: 37). For instance, as Lysaght (2005) discovered in her study of fear in Belfast, fear is an emotion that is shaped by embodied experiences. Because of actual crime, walking alone through a dark alley in the city at night may cause fear or wariness. In Damasio’s (1999) terms, fear is felt because our heart quickens; to take it a step further, our heart quickens because of the perception of danger that the situation could present.6 Emotion in the context of commemoration is expected, because it frequently recalls the death of someone who is often honoured as well as loved, but the effect of emotion also has its advantages. It could be argued that certain social events or movements (such as political activism) would not be as effective unless there was some emotional involvement. Lutz and Abu-Lughod comment that ‘emotion discourses may establish, assert, challenge, or reinforce power and status differences’ (1990: 15). Emotion provides motivation and determination, and can be a powerfully persuasive tool in recruiting others or changing someone’s opinion through manipulation. As music can be a powerful tool in evoking emotion, especially among those who are culturally attuned to that music, it becomes a medium through which persuasive messages can be conveyed. In other words, music conveniently stimulates emotions that may facilitate the reception – or rejection – of particular messages, whether musical or lyrical. This is not to suggest that music possesses the power of subjugation, but instead that music’s accessibility makes it a useful medium for transmitting information, and that the emotion the music evokes makes those messages meaningful to the receptive listener.

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Interpreting Emotion Emotion is a difficult aspect to capture accurately in ethnographic fieldwork. Explaining, describing and examining emotions have been a primary concern for this research. In the context of pursuing ethnographic fieldwork, it can be difficult to determine the emotions of others accurately. Lutz and White have pointed out that although emotions are ‘seen as embedded in socially constructed categories, truth about emotion becomes problematic’ (1986: 408). Some strong emotions are expressed differently by different people but may be no less intense (such as nervous giggling at a funeral or unexpected tears of happiness). Just as some people may show the same facial expression for a variety of emotions (such as boredom, annoyance or even reverence), others might feel no self-consciousness at emotional display. At public events, I tempered my assumptions and conclusions about expressed emotions with what was observed and with what I knew of the community’s culture and beliefs as well as how I felt as a participant. Asking direct questions about emotion often elicited vague and confusing responses, especially when asked during or immediately following an event. There are countless reasons for why this might have been the case; perhaps the interviewee felt embarrassed by an emotion or a lack of emotion, perhaps he or she could not quite pin down what they felt or was not able to articulate it clearly enough. Perhaps they did not want to admit they were thinking about shopping lists and so struggled to find an appropriate answer that would fit the researcher’s (my) perceived expectations. Regardless of the reasons, it was simpler and more honest to interpret emotion through observation and through my own experiences as a band member and as a frequent spectator at parades. In doing so, there was an internal struggle as to how personal feelings during participation and observations during events could be articulated. The songs themselves stirred an emotional reaction in me, and the act of music-making made me feel a part of the music rather than merely a receiver of the music. This feeling of belonging increased my understanding of the motivations behind republicanism and strengthened the sense of community felt within the band. Mithen (2006: 34) has observed that music is often regarded as ‘the language of emotions’, and while that statement on its own is problematic for several reasons, in this research, rebel songs are used as a way of gaining access into emotions expressed regarding republican history and culture. Following Lutz’s assertion that ‘emotional meaning is fundamentally structured by particular cultural systems and particular social and material environments’ (1988: 5; see also Wulff 2007a: 1 and Parkinson, Fischer and Mansted 2005), the songs are thus used as a starting point to piece together an emotional picture of how republicans remember and commemorate the past through the emotional discourses of songs and the performance of parades.

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Collective Memory: Memory-Making Collectively The study of memory has long been a source of fascination for anthropologists, and it has yielded such a diverse body of research that it has been implied it is a field in search of a centre (Olick and Robbins 1998). Its boundaries stretch from the elusive personal to the vague and indefinite collective – or more specifically, the collective demonstration of an amalgamated truth fashioned from the memories of several individuals. As Halbwachs has noted: One may say that the individual remembers by placing himself in the perspective of the group, but one may also affirm that the memory of the group realizes and manifests itself in individual memories. (1992: 40) Here, Halbwachs has touched on the role human interaction plays in the construction of memory. The focus here is not with the physical aspect of remembrance, but instead ‘how a collective or social memory, or rather a plurality of social memories, is generated and maintained’ (Jarman 1997: 4), particularly how such memories are maintained through commemorations and songs. When speaking of culture, memories that are formed in and by the collective will be shaped according to the experiences of the group. In this sense, memories become a window into the insights, beliefs, ethos and culture of a group. Jarman has defined social memory as ‘the understanding of past events that are remembered by individuals, but within a framework structured by a larger group’ (1997: 6). This partly explains how the composers of rebel songs are able to construct believable scenarios of secondary experiences through the song’s lyrics that are accepted and upheld by the republican public. The past is distilled into a generalized and accepted body of facts that allows the layering of individual memories into a group narrative. Reducing the past in this way, Jarman writes, ‘allows the specific individuals or actions that are remembered to be replaced by, or conflated with, others. Memory becomes less a means of conserving a distinct lineal history than a generator of meaning’ (1997: 7). Although Jarman uses the term social memory, the term ‘collective memory’ is used in this book because the word collective emphasizes the communal aspect that has helped to shape these (social) memories. The term ‘collective memory’ implies the transmission of particular memories to younger generations. Jarman tells us that ‘remembering must be an active process’, constantly being ‘adapted and rephrased to meet the needs of the present’ (1997: 4–5). This describes how memories of republican tragedies are recalled in the context of the present and the interpretations that are formed around those recollections. Additionally, Tonkin writes: Memory is part of cognitive empowering and a means to being; it is developed through social interaction; it is medium as well as message.

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The contents or evoked messages of memory are also ineluctably social insofar as they are acquired in the social world and can be coded in symbol systems which are culturally familiar. (1992: 112) Tonkin’s assertion also describes the process by which events or people can be remembered by those who have not witnessed or met them personally. Memories, like identity, are layered with construed meaning and are negotiated and formed even in the act of remembering. This may partly explain why republican commemorations come to mean just as much to younger generations as to the people who witnessed the event first-hand. Connerton (1989: 3) asserts that memories in society, across generations, can remain ‘mentally and emotionally insulated’ and ‘locked irretrievably in the brains and bodies of that generation’. These memories can be expressed in any number of creative outlets – marching music, the displaying of symbols or the making or reformation of a ‘tradition’,7 particularly in the context of a commemoration. As these memories are recalled and retold, they are experienced and remembered by others in the present. In writing of history and memory in Ireland, McBride believes present actions are not entirely determined by what is remembered of the past but the reverse: that what we choose to remember is dictated by contemporary concerns (2001: 6). This is perhaps most apparent in the commemorations – and political discourses – that take place today. Commemorations are a means of confirming or reaffirming memory experiences and meanings associated with those memories. As Conway has noted: Social groups engage in sustained struggles over what meanings can be associated with the past and who could claim ownership of them. … Collective memory, then, is not a neutral or innocent concept but one deeply implicated in power struggles and claims to legitimacy and domination. (2010: 147) Describing collective memory in this manner allows for recognition of the competing political, social and cultural discourses inherent in Northern Ireland.

Music and Memory If commemorations offer the opportunity for these stories to be relived and reimagined in the present, then songs evoke emotion and encourage reflection. The expression of memory via music or song is not unusual, but the artistic and expressive nature of music and music-making opens up the study of memory work into other dimensions. The concept of memory is particularly significant in the maintenance of republican culture and the performance of some genres of their music.

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In ethnomusicological research, Bohlman has noted the importance of considering the past, writing that ‘ethnomusicological fieldwork may … be at its best when it brings us closer to the fluidity and experiences at the boundaries between past and present’ (1997: 141–42). And as this past is often expressed through a multitude of narrative forms, including music, it can become a window into sentiments of the past and sentiments about the past. Shelemay writes: ‘Music, particularly song, provides a medium that binds together disparate strands of experience, serving as a malleable form of cultural expression able to transcend the vagaries of time and place’ (1998: 213). In this way, the experience of the past percolates through the music and into the present, provided the memories are there to sustain it. Music can recall a particular moment in time, a place, person or experience by transporting the listener back into the moment in which the memory was formed. If the music contains lyrics, the narrative of the past is conveyed through the song’s text. In some cases, such as in republican music, it is the lyrics that relate past experiences and stories, and this in turn sparks further memories associated with that past. In other words, as Bithell has described it: Our aim … is to explore the ways in which echoes and legacies from the past can still be heard in the present and to consider the extent to which musical practices in the present are shaped not only by past experience but also by ideas, feelings and beliefs about the past. (2006: 4) In this book, the historical past is considered through the eyes of the republican community in order to fully convey the meanings inherent in republican parades and the identities that are expressed through parading and music-making. To accomplish this, the significance of narrative and its role in the process of identity formation, memory-making and its uses for a political agenda must be considered.

Narrative and the Narrative Process In investigating the ethos of republicanism, it is necessary to engage with historical narratives intrinsic to republican culture. Tonkin argues that ‘“the past” is not only a resource to deploy, to support a case or assert a social claim, it also enters memory in different ways and helps to structure it’ (1992: 1). It is through this negotiation of what is remembered and what is forgotten that historical narrative emerges. Narratives are the conglomeration of sequential events that are remembered for the purpose of telling a story about a group’s past. Narrative content, as Tonkin (1992) suggests, is neither immutable nor permanent. Tonkin’s illustration ‘connects the characteristics of tellers with those of their audiences, and both with the structure of their narrations’ (1992:

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3). As this book will show, republican narrative is compelled both by political agenda and by the contextual relationship of commemoration and memory. McBride observes that it is not surprising that nationalists, feeling powerless and with no recourse to action, would recall past stories of rebellion and bravery to bolster the struggle. He also notes that: ‘For both Protestants and Catholics, however, memories take root most successfully when they are patterned in accordance with the culture’s accepted customs of telling stories about itself’ (2001: 36). The ‘stories’ that republicans recount may come in the form of images and symbols displayed during parades or on wall murals; they may also be recounted through songs or music. Cornell (2000) has developed a method of describing the process of narrativization. The first step involves selection, an exercise of choosing or selecting particular events ‘that constitute the episodic components of the narrative’ (2000: 43). The second step, plotting, sequentially orders and links the events to form an integrated narrative. Interpretation, the third step, defines a process of negotiating the meaning of events and assessing the degree of meaning assigned to each event in relevance to the group’s identity. These steps illustrate how narratives are constructed and how the narrative can change in accordance with (or as a reaction to) external forces (such as migration, displacement or conflict). Cornell reminds us that: ‘The point is that the narrative is an event-centred conception of the group. The label group members carry or assign to others is a referent or symbol, in effect a condensation of that narrative’ (2000: 42). Reference to the past, particularly in the context of a commemoration with political overtones, not only furnishes the illusion of legitimacy and continuity with perceived ancestral heroes, it confirms the acceptance of the historical narrative and encourages unity through a sense of shared belonging. As Bruner (1990) has pointed out, individuals tend to turn to narrative when there is disorder or rupture that threatens ethnic identity; the narrative creates and imposes order upon an otherwise chaotic situation or state of being. Like Malkki (1990) notes in her research on Hutu refugee identity and narrative, Hutus continuously adjust their perception of Hutu identity in relation to both past and present events involving their homeland and their country of settlement. Cornell observes: ‘Constructing an ethnic identity involves, among other things, a gradual layering on and connecting of events and meanings, the construction of a collective narrative’ (2000: 42–43). Ultimately, a narrative of the past is essential to one’s identity and one’s sense of placement within the larger collective identity of the community. This book uses the concept of narrative to describe the power and influence of memory and political agendas in rebel music and republican commemorations. The next section explores the theories of ritual and commemoration to locate republican commemorations within anthropological understanding.

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Ritual, Commemoration, Politics and Parading From Durkheim’s (1965 [1915]) view that ritual exists as a form of social appropriation and conditioning, to Tambiah’s (1968) perception of ritual as performative mediation, anthropology has struggled to provide a definition that adequately defines ritual and its meanings. For example, although Turner (1977: 183) proposed that ritual is a ‘stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence preternatural entities or forces on behalf of the actors’ goals and interests’, anthropology has come to accept that preternatural can equate to more than the religious or supernatural. Like Kertzer (1988: 8), the term ‘ritual’ is used in this research not as a concise definition of an act or a series of acts, but as ‘an analytical category that helps us deal with the chaos of human experience and put it into a coherent framework’. In describing political commemoration rituals, the focus is on those elements of ritual that enhance its political and performative aspects. It is in the observation of performative rituals that we witness and come to understand the power and strength of ritual action, and that leads us to seek the source of such strength (Tambiah 1979). Ritual has been conceived as an action (Leach 1968; Lewis 1980) and as falling between action and meaning (Bell 1992; Bloch 1986; Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994; Parkin 1992). Lewis reminds us: The complexity and uncertainty about a ritual’s meaning is not to be seen as a defect – a code too obscure, too hard to decipher, too easily garbled. It can also be a source of that strength, evocative power, resilience and mutability which may sometimes sustain and preserve ritual performance. (1980: 8–9) As Lewis notes, the ‘identification of ritual comes to be inextricably bound to the ability to recognize expression, symbol, and communication’ (1980: 6). What is being expressed in republican commemorations adheres to a fairly distinct – though not homogenous – republican identity. While republican commemorations are familiar to most republicans, the meaning that commemorations impart may be specific to the individual. Most republicans would agree that the focus of commemorations is remembrance and honour, but precise interpretation of the accompanying political rhetoric is more difficult to untangle. Bell, drawing on Bourdieu, argues that ‘ritualization is first and foremost a strategy for the construction of certain types of power relationships effective within particular social organizations’ (1992: 197). In political rituals, power relationships reflect the hierarchy of the group’s support network. For instance, republican commemorations maintain structure and discipline within the lower

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echelons of the party’s support base thereby sustaining a communicative network and allowing for greater public participation. This practice strengthens the belief in the historical narrative, offers context in the current political climate and renews dedication for the republican movement. Republican parades incorporate elements of the historical narrative through ritual commemoration and music, and as Kelly and Kaplan (1990) have asserted, historical perspective is sometimes necessary in fully grasping the nature of the ritual event. The context of republican commemoration events makes it difficult for anyone who is not republican to attend. Although much of the political rhetoric urges republicans to ‘reach out’ to other communities, especially unionist or Protestant groups, specifically how this should be done is left unclear.8 In this case, there appears to be what Lewis terms ‘a central area of agreement’, however the ‘periphery and boundaries … are in dispute’ (1980: 7). An initial observation of republican parades evokes images of religious processions and a veneration of martyrdom, in that the Catholic faith also honours its saints and martyrs through wreath laying and commending their commitment to a cause. However, there seems to be a clear distinction between the secular and sacred in this context: religious associations are not a part of these processions (i.e. no hymns are sung and no sermons preached). Although commemoration events are funereal in form, they are mainly non-religious in tone. Although the term ‘Catholic’ is often used in conjunction with the descriptions nationalist and republican, as religion in Northern Ireland is often inextricably linked with politics and identity (see Mitchell 2006), overtly religious aspects in republican commemorations are minimal. As a form of political ritual, republican commemorations not only seek to establish republican identity, but to push for a stronger political perception of that identity; an identity that feeds as much into the politicization of republicanism as into its cultural and historical background. Commemorations are also used to advance political agendas (such as the promotion of the Irish language) through the speakers and invited guests. Commemorations offer a forum for political discourse. Lewis points out: The motivating force of any cultural renewal is stronger identity, greater self-esteem, pride, and dignity. Ultimately, these qualities become goals that can only be fully realized in the market place and in the arena of political power. (1992: 183) While Lewis’s statement is about cultural revitalization, his point regarding the aim of cultural renewal is pertinent to republican commemorations. While the concept of ritual implies a tradition that connects past and present, it can equally be argued that every tradition has undergone a certain degree of change to maintain its place in modern society (see Bell 1992; Bryan 2000b).

Theoretical Overview  ■  37

The unique case of Northern Ireland presents an interesting split in the usual actions of ritual commemoration: whilst the events recorded in history books might tell a linear story, the people in both major communities in the North celebrate widely different accounts of such histories. Graff-McRae defines commemoration as ‘an invocation of the past in the present; a negotiated tension between remembering and forgetting; a calling-up of ghosts; a political act’ (2010: 1). She writes: Commemoration is both constructive and destructive, unifying and divisive, reconciliation and warfare. Moreover, the dynamics of commemoration itself are intrinsically predicated upon these oppositions, upon opposition as such. (Graff-McRae 2010: 6, emphasis in original) This interpretation captures the negotiated power inherent within commemorative ritual; the power to remember or forget, the power to alter the historical narrative. In the context of state politics, ritual commemorations of this nature become influential adjuncts to the creators and sustainers of ‘memory culture’.9 As Whelan has pointed out, ‘the [1798] rebellion never passed into history, because it never passed out of politics’ (1996: 133). The memories of past successes and tragedies have been inscribed into modern political discourse to serve contemporary (and sometimes disparate) political ends. Walker notes: After 1974 speakers from Official Sinn Féin rejected violence and often cited [Wolfe] Tone as their reason for doing so. Provisional Sinn Féin orations continued to support violence and referred to Tone as justification. (2000: 70) Though Sinn Féin split into two factions – those who supported violent methods and those who did not – both groups used the historical icon Wolfe Tone as their symbolic inspiration by focusing attention on differing aspects of Tone’s ideals. Each vehemently defends their viewpoint as the most authentic and logical. As Buckley has warned: ‘Anyone who approaches the question of symbolism in Ulster soon feels on his neck the hot breath of these passions’ (1998: 2). As Bryan’s (2000b) research on Orange parading traditions has shown, there are many questions regarding the nature of ritual in a political context as changeable as that in Northern Ireland. He found that ritual parading events, although viewed as traditional activities, were rarely static in their content and expression. He argues that ‘to accept the apparent continuity of ritual and symbol at face value is to misunderstand the roles of these rituals in politics’ (Bryan 2000b: 7). His research demonstrates how ritual events can be used as an expression of political dominance, and how power is negotiated and reflected

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within them. There is no similar text in the study of republican commemorations, thus Bryan’s conclusions contain a great deal of comparative relevance for this study. Bryan has pointed out that ritual action ‘helps to create solidarity within groups, often in the absence of consensus, [and] provides access to political legitimacy’ (2000b: 19; see also Radcliffe-Brown 1952). Commemorations may be a spiritual remembrance of the dead, but they are also recognized as a political event. What politicizes these commemorations is the circumstances of these individuals’ deaths, and the way that their passing is remembered, retold and reinvented within a narrative of remembrance that ultimately supports the political goals of the republican movement. The ritual of the commemorations, held throughout the year, sustains the narrative of republicanism and gives the illusion of cohesion within the republican movement, something that is sometimes in strong contrast to what is actually happening within or surrounding the movement. Hamber (1998) has suggested that perhaps commemorations also contribute to the healing process of dealing with political violence and trauma. Beezley, English Martin and French have noted that events such as parades provide opportunities ‘not only to gain access to the mentalities of the past but also to probe these activities in order to reveal them as representations that both assert and contest power’ (1994: xv). Commemoration events are a complex negotiation of power and political rhetoric that exist on the emotional current of a troubled past, but they are also susceptible to changes in the socio-political climate and shifts in the social dynamic. Humphrey and Laidlaw comment: [B]ecause ritualized acts are felt, by those who perform them, to be external, they are also ‘apprehensible’. That is, they are available for a further assimilation to the actors’ intentions, attitudes and beliefs. (1994: 89) As the situation changes in Northern Ireland, the ethos of republicanism must be reassessed and its goals and objectives adjusted, and it is through commemorative ritual that these changes will become most obvious.

Notes  1. For some examples of similar studies, see Buckley (1982); Bufwack (1982); Leyton (1974); McFarlane (1986).  2. For studies on Protestant and loyalist parading bands, see Bell (1990); Bryan (2000b); Cecil (1993); Edwards (2004); Jarman (1997); Larsen (1982b); Radford (2001, 2002); Ramsey (2009).  3. For example, see Du Gay, Evans and Redman (2000); D. Taylor (1998); Williams (1989); Woodward (1997, 2004).

Theoretical Overview  ■  39

 4. A clip of one variation can be found by author and social critic Christopher Hitchens on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFsD4SqBbKY [accessed 31 August 2016].  5. For an interesting study on opting out of religious identity in Northern Ireland, see Templer, Mitchell and Ganiel (2009).  6. For more on this interpretation, as well as a discussion of other theories, see Milton (2005a).  7. I put the word tradition in quotation marks, because the term is often used to portray what is perceived as unchanging, but as the anthropological debate on tradition has proven, this is not always the case. See Bryan (2000b), Cowan (1992) and Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983) for a few examples.  8. In an interview with the national organizer of ÓSF, I was told that one of their political agendas was to connect with working class loyalist groups over the issue of youth suicide. By focusing on an issue that can affect any community in Northern Ireland, ÓSF hope to foster understanding and tolerance of difference. (B.M., in interview, 23 September 2007)  9. In this context, I am referring to Jan Assmann’s definition of ‘memory culture, which postulates that cultural memory is a way of retaining collective knowledge through the generations, allowing cultural identity to be reconstructed. See Assmann (1995); also Rodríguez and Fortier (2007) for their interpretations of Assmann’s theory.

Chapter 2

Historical Background

q

The Republican Movement in Northern Ireland: An Overview Understanding the background of the political and cultural movement is essential in order to understand the motivation and ideals of most republicans. This chapter provides an outline of the history of the Irish republican movement. Examination of political discourse has been avoided here and instead the focus is on the analysis of politics as they are practised and understood by republicans in the North; its main aim is to provide a general background of the political (and sometimes cultural) goals of republicanism. The history has been divided into sections for the purpose of clarity and for a better understanding for how each time period has contributed to the understanding of republicanism today. A brief summary of the history of parading in Northern Ireland is included to illustrate the establishment of parading as a form of political expression and manoeuvring. In a strictly political sense, republicanism refers to the ideology that consists of a particular form of government. Broadly, republicanism is based on ‘an original understanding of political liberty and of its institutional requirements’ (Weinstock 2004: 2). As an ideology, republicanism opposes monarchy and tyranny, is practised through elections rather than heredity, and, as Pettit notes, the ‘most important unifier of the tradition … may be the habit of conceptualizing liberty in a distinctive fashion’ (Pettit 1997: 20). Liberty, Pettit asserts, is the concept of non-domination (Pettit 1997: 21). However, the republicanism that is referred to and analysed in this book is based on local understanding and political practice. In this instance, republicanism takes on and reflects cultural elements of identity in Ireland. While the history of republicanism in Ireland

Historical Background  ■  41

(and subsequently, Northern Ireland) is complicated and complex, it provides background and insight to present-day perceptions of how republicanism is lived and idealized in the North. Republicanism in Northern Ireland is not a cohesive, united force. It has come to stand for diverse political agendas due to multiple splits in its ranks over the last forty years that have led to shifting principles in response to public support and parliamentary negotiation (particularly in the wake of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement)1 and a growing sense of distaste for violence. Thus, the republican movement, and definitions of republicanism, are continually being debated. Put very simply, in Northern Ireland, republicanism is based on the fundamental belief that there should be one autonomous and united thirty-two county Republic of Ireland. As such, Irish republicanism is also a deeply nationalist movement. Porter notes that, across the North and South, there are three main concerns around the republican ideal: (1) resolution of the national question2 through moves to end the partition of Ireland, (2) commitment to a particular form of government, and (3) dedication in transforming the character of society (1998: 5). But, Porter cautions that ‘even where agreement exists on a priority, it is common to find disagreement about its meaning’ (1998: 5). The terms ‘nationalist’ and ‘republican’ have come to loosely represent to the public two similar ideological views of the nation state, but with differing approaches and methodologies as to how that ideal could be achieved. It has been observed that the terms ‘nationalist’ and ‘republican’ are often taken for granted in the public sphere as personifying a particular brand of leftist politics that incorporates a broader cultural composition that leaves little room for variation and is often perceived as the polar opposite of unionism/loyalism (Santino 1999: 517; Whitaker 2004: 162). Where Irish nationalism and republicanism differ most obviously is in the approach to how a united Ireland can be accomplished. The nature and development of that strategy has morphed and split over time in response to contrasting methods and disagreements over political agendas and the use of physical force violence, as will be shown in this chapter over the course of republicanism’s history. While the concept of Irish cultural nationalism has been explored at length (for example, Cronin 1981; English 2006; Finlay 2004; Hachey and McCaffrey 1989; McCall 1999), my focus here is how republican cultural identity is expressed and envisaged. In the book, like the research that informs it, the focus is mostly on the politics of Sinn Féin, as this is the strand of republicanism followed by most republican bands in the North. Although the republican bands examined in this research were not created until the early 1980s, the trajectory of Sinn Féin’s republicanism is outlined, from partition onwards, to offer a fuller understanding of how and when divisions and splits took place. By giving an account of the evolution of republican history and describing key events, Sinn Féin’s

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republicanism today is situated in the context of this research to provide a more rounded picture of the creation and motivation of republican band parades.

Formative Republicanism: 1798–1921 The beginnings of republican thought in Ireland may be traced back to Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen of 1798. Formed in 1791, the United Irishmen was a liberal organization dedicated to revealing religious division and implementing government reform. However, the changing nature of republicanism over the centuries has made it impractical to draw a detailed comparison with present-day republicanism in Northern Ireland (see also Patterson 1997: 27–28; Walsh 1994: 46). Several strands of republicanism have emerged since Tone’s time, some emphasizing aspects of socialism within a loose republican framework. Richard English notes that the claim of continuity between Tone and later republicans ‘looks rather hollow’, as do the claims ‘that James Fintan Lalor [an influential journalist and writer who participated in the 1848 Rebellion], or the Fenians, lie in a cosy ancestral line waiting to be claimed by 20th-century socialist republican descendants whose views are, in fact, in each case dramatically different’ (2000: 86). Towards the late nineteenth century, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), founded by James Stephens and Thomas Clarke Luby, grew from the anguish and resentment towards the British following the years of Famine. The IRB (also called the Fenians) was affiliated with the Home Rule League and later the Irish Parliamentary Party, and from the outset rejected British involvement. According to the IRB’s official history, their official objective was to ‘establish and maintain a free and independent republican government in Ireland’.3 Divisions in the group over leadership and strategy led to disorganization, but they were influential in planning the Easter Rising of 1916, alongside the Irish Citizen Army. Formed in 1913, the Irish Citizen Army (ICA) was based on trade unionism and during the time of the Rising was led by James Connolly. Unlike the IRB, this derivative group had no qualms regarding an insurrection. The ICA also had an auxiliary organization, Cumann na mBan,4 which was a women’s group formed in 1914. Townshend notes: ‘Women were closely involved in the preparations for, and the conduct of, the military action in Easter week’; and they ‘planned not only to nurse and cater for the fighters, but to join the fight themselves: “to knit and darn, march and shoot” as one put it’ (Townshend 2006). The Irish Volunteers (Óglaigh na hÉireann), also formed in 1913 with the encouragement of the IRB, were purportedly created in direct opposition to the establishment of the anti-Home Rule Ulster Volunteers in 1912. All three groups, the IRB, the ICA and the Irish Volunteers orchestrated and participated in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Historical Background  ■  43

Following the Rising in 1917, the Irish Republican Army, which by and large had its roots in the Irish Volunteers, was formed with the initiative to break Britain’s connections with Ireland. Much of the country was split, while some agreed with Eamon de Valera5 that ‘under threat of war they had signed a Treaty they disliked, but at least the freedom to gain freedom had been achieved’ (Bowyer Bell 2008 [1997]: 30). Others agreed with Michael Collins, who in 1919 was president of the IRB, and who ‘felt the Treaty with all its faults was an excellent stepping stone to the Republic’ (Bowyer Bell 2008 [1997]: 30). Still others agreed with the view of Arthur Griffith, who was the head of the Irish delegation that formed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921: ‘Griffith felt that Ireland had gained more, for at least twenty-six counties, than in the past seven hundred years: the removal of British troops and equality with England’ (Bowyer Bell 2008 [1997]: 30–31). Patterson writes: At the core of republican ideology since 1921 has been the idea of the incomplete nature of the Irish national revolution of 1918–21. The pervasiveness and strength of this notion derive from its fusion of two crucial aspirations within Irish nationalism – for a ‘sovereign’ 32-county state and also for a state that would be socially, economically and culturally different from Britain. (1997: 13) Much of what constituted republican ideology at that time was based on the writings of James Connolly, who advocated a socialist revolution. Connolly believed the working class had the most objective interest in reform, and that a socialist revolution would completely break the connections with Britain. Patterson notes that Connolly ‘had created a powerful paradigm linking the failure of the dominant political forces in nationalist Ireland to their class nature’ (1974 [1904]: 14). In 1918, Sinn Féin won a landslide victory in the elections: 73 seats out of 105 (Van Engeland 2003: 58). Their political position was unequivocal: Sinn Féin rejected Home Rule (an Irish government serving under Westminster) and wanted to break all ties with Britain (Murray and Tonge 2005: 2). Sinn Féin set up an independent assembly now referred to as the First Dáil. The Irish War of Independence erupted in 1919 in an effort to drive out British forces, and in 1921 the Anglo-Irish Treaty resulted in the establishment of the Irish Free State. In 1922, civil war between anti-Treaty republicans and pro-Treaty Free State forces broke out, but it ended in anti-Treaty defeat in May 1923. In sympathy with the anti-Treaty activists, De Valera, president of the Republic of Ireland, resigned, and in 1926 founded Fianna Fáil (FF). The majority of Sinn Féin remained pro-Treaty, and quickly lost their popularity (Sinn Féin

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won only 5 seats in the June 1927 election) (Van Engeland 2013: 58). Murray and Tonge note: ‘The civil war came to shape Irish politics for generations, with political contests frozen between anti-Treaty Fianna Fáil and pro-Treaty Fine Gael’ (2005: 2). Although Fianna Fáil was eventually elected into the Irish Parliament in 1932, the head of FF De Valera ‘renounced violence as a means of achieving reunification [though] his Constitution legitimized the claims of republicans and nationalists that Britain’s claim to Northern Ireland was illegal’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 3).

Post-Partition Republicanism: 1922–1956 After partition, many in the IRA turned their support to Fianna Fáil. As Patterson notes: The skilful ambiguities through which the Fianna Fáil leadership expressed the party’s own relationship to the physical force tradition allowed many such republicans to join Fianna Fáil without breaking their link with the IRA. (1997: 37) While some republicans believed in the republicanism represented by Fianna Fáil, others were unconvinced. Those who followed Peadar O’Donnell, an IRA leader and socialist republican, believed that ‘de Valera was not a true republican because the forces he represented were capitalist forces and stood, therefore, across the true path to the republic’ (English 2000: 86). At the heart of socialist republicanism was the belief that the only way to establish a socialist republic was by ending capitalist English rule in Ireland, and the ‘only truly reliable forces on which to depend are those with an economic compulsion to see the struggle through: namely, the working class’ (English 2000: 85). O’Donnell understood that persuading the IRA to socialist republicanism was necessary ‘to [reconstitute] anti-Treaty-ism through the transformation of Fianna Fáil or, if that proved impossible, a new united front of “anti-imperialist” forces’ (Patterson 1997: 50). However, O’Donnell’s efforts were to ‘have more success in pushing Fianna Fáil in a radical, autarkic nationalist direction than in transforming the IRA’ (Patterson 1997: 50) and the focus on making it a class struggle was lost. Although in 1939 the IRA detonated several explosions across England in an effort to end partition, by the 1940s IRA membership had fallen significantly. Despite low membership, in 1945 attempts were made once again to resurrect an Army Executive in the south. Slowly, support began once again to grow, and once again divisions became clear. Bowyer Bell writes: ‘In the 1949 Army Convention, a resolution was passed allowing the IRA to infiltrate and control the Sinn Féin party so that the Army could have a political wing’ (2008 [1997]: 247). This decision was based on the tactic of abstentionism: by

Historical Background  ■  45

denying the legitimacy of British-imposed political institutions, ‘abstentionism had become an outward sign of the inward legitimacy of the IRA’ and Sinn Féin ‘held firmly to abstentionism as a matter of principle’ (Bowyer Bell 2008 [1997]: 247). However, the Army Council soon discovered that ‘the ideas of Sinn Féin had a peculiar power to permeate Army thinking, often converting apolitical volunteers into dedicated Sinn Féin members’ (Bowyer Bell 2008 [1997]: 248).

The Politicization of Republicanism: 1956–1970 The 1956–1962 Border Campaign by the IRA was by and large a failure. The campaign cost the British Exchequer a million GBP in outright damage and 10 million GBP in increased police and military patrols (Coogan 2000 [1971]: 303). In an effort to revitalize physical force republicanism, Operation Harvest (as it was known) was an attempt to revisit and resolve the national question in the North. Following the deaths of Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon in 1957 during an attack on the Brookeborough RUC barracks, a ‘wave of republican sympathy had swept Ireland’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 14). Although Sinn Féin showed moderate success in the Westminster polls of 1955, the amount of republican support was overestimated, and many members became disillusioned. Murray and Tonge claim that although the republican movement ‘did not adopt a clear or decisive theoretical position during this period [between 1962–69], it began to theorize, shifting substantially towards the left … Militarism was downgraded in favour of politics’ (2005: 17). For many, this shift towards politics (and away from militancy) went too far. Joe Cahill, a leading figure in the IRA, resigned, noting that republicanism ‘had gone completely political and the military side of things was being run down. The republican movement was being led off the true path of republicanism’ (cited in P. Taylor 1998a: 24). Meanwhile, educational reform and opportunity at the end of World War II and the creation of a new Catholic middle class meant that by the 1960s, the ‘pragmatism of this new generation of Northern Catholics marked a new willingness in the Catholic community to give at least de facto recognition to Northern Ireland’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 7). Likewise, in 1969, the Army Council voted to recognize both the Irish and Northern Irish governments along with Westminster, believing that the fight against partition could now only be fought in the political arena (Gallagher 1985: 95). But as the republican movement became more politicized, there were a growing number of republicans who shared Joe Cahill’s view, especially as tension and trouble heated up in the North. Bowyer Bell notes that for the republican army ‘abstentionism had died in the flaming streets of Belfast [in August 1969]’; however, for many more, ‘revolutionary rhetoric and political policies were one thing but the principle of abstentionism was another’ (2008 [1997]: 366). The social unrest in the North called for immediate action and protection for Northern Catholics. The violence

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in Northern Ireland in 1969 dominated, and, as politician Brian Mawhinney commented: In 1969, the Official IRA in the north was advocating political change and eschewing violence. Yet the very violence of August 1969 undermined its authority; out of the ashes of Bombay Street arose the Provisional IRA. (Mawhinney and Wells 1975, cited in English 2003: 108) The IRA split, and the Provisionals were born. English notes: ‘The politics of the old IRA had led to the generation of a new one; the latter owed the conditions of its birth, as well as the experience of some of its key personnel, to the former’ (2003: 108). Although the Official IRA (or OIRA, as the older branch was now known) believed that a ‘division in republican ranks helps only Ireland’s enemies’, the Provisional IRA (also known as the Provos, the PIRA, or just the IRA) strongly believed that recognition of the three parliaments (Stormont, Dublin and Westminster) would force the movement into an endless and ultimately fruitless political debate whereby only political parties would gain (Patterson 1997: 142–44). The Provisionals’ belief in militant republicanism revived support for the IRA across Ireland that had long since lapsed into dormancy and began the ‘most sustained, and arguably now the definitive, exemplars of the IRA tradition’ (English 2003: xxii). As English notes: The Provisional IRA has embodied what have been arguably the most powerful forces in modern world history: the intersection of nationalism and violence, the tension between nation and state, the interaction of nationalism with socialism, and the force of aggressive ethno-religious identity as a vehicle for historical change. (2003: xxiv) Between 1969 and 1989, 2,786 people were killed in Northern Ireland caused by the violence of the Troubles; 1,608 of them were killed by republican paramilitaries (White 1993: 8). The PIRA has shaped much of Sinn Féin’s current politics, and vice versa, and so understanding republicanism today necessitates an understanding of how the PIRA evolved into existence and the role that they played in Northern Irish society and politics in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Conflict, Violence and Civil Rights: 1970–1985 This section covers one of the most important eras in Northern Ireland’s history. Much of what occurred during this period of time is chronicled in republican rebel songs and murals painted across the republican and nationalist areas of the North.

Historical Background  ■  47

In 1970, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) established itself out of the growing civil rights movement. Nationalism and the goal of reunification were ‘put on the back burner’ (interview with Austin Currie, cited in Murray and Tonge 2005: 12). Instead, the SDLP focused on social and economic matters along with civil rights issues and eschewed militancy. Republican strategists also became involved in the civil rights movement and many joined the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) in the belief that this would garner support for socialist reform. It was believed that civil rights issues with an emphasis on employment and housing ‘would help sweep away sectarian division’, and Catholics and Protestants would work together to ‘provide a basis for working-class, anti-imperialist unity’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 19). In 1971, internment was introduced and the membership of the Provisional IRA (PIRA) increased. English observes: ‘For northern Catholics’ experience of a state that they considered neither legitimate nor fair was the foundation upon which the Provisionals such as [Gerry] Adams built their politics’ (2003: 110). The events of Bloody Sunday on 30 January 1972 galvanized the republican movement, when thirteen civilians on a peaceful protest march were shot and killed and many more wounded. In 1972, 472 people were killed as a result of violent conflict, and it marked the worst year of violence in Northern Ireland.6 By the end of March 1972, direct rule from Westminster was imposed on Northern Ireland. In 1974, as conflict continued, the republican movement came to an impasse. The Official IRA (OIRA) no longer wanted anything to do with physical force violence, as they believed that entering into political discourse was the only way forward. They went on to form the Workers’ Party in 1977. Seamus Costello, an expelled member of the OIRA known for his radicalism and belligerency, formed the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) on 8 December. The Officials, fearing another split in the republican movement, attempted to ‘eliminate the new organization’s military capacity before it could establish itself’, but this only resulted in war erupting between the OIRA and the IRSP’s military wing, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) (Patterson 1997: 164). In 1976, the OIRA disbanded its youth wing, the Fianna na hÉireann, whose sole purpose was to ‘prepare adolescents for future membership to the IRA’ (Patterson 1997: 165). Its replacement was wholly political and largely unsuccessful, which led many youths to join the IRSP. Frequent clashes between the Provisionals and the IRSP brought on a bitterness and resentment that still lingers between the two groups. In 1977, the OIRA had its last serious confrontation with the Provisionals, and Patterson states that the ‘Officials’ break with militarism was not a clean one, but it was accompanied by increasing evidence of a substantial ideological break with the main tenets of republican ideology’ (1997: 166).

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During the late 1970s the SDLP became more nationalist in its approach, as unionist interest with the party failed to materialize. From a political perspective, Murray and Tonge note: Party policies at this time were also about placing pressure on the British government to grasp the concept that the root of the Northern Ireland problem lay in the fundamental issue of identity. (2005: 58) While Dublin continued to take a back seat in Northern Irish affairs after the collapse of the Sunningdale Agreement7 in May 1974, the SDLP firmly rejected any negotiation with the IRA. The SDLP resolutely held to the conviction that ‘politics must remain constitutional and nonviolent, untainted by association republican armed struggle’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 66). The sentiment was mutual, as the IRA feared that entering into political debate would be equated with compromise and ultimately failure to end British rule. Bowyer Bell writes: What made the Irish republican ideology so special was the often unstated premise that the only means to the Republic … was physical force, the gun. Without the gun the struggle would be compromised – transformed into votes not responsibilities, into protest and compromise and so corrupted. (2008 [1997]: 461) In March 1981, after a series of protests demanding political prisoner status by republicans serving time in Long Kesh (also known as the Maze Prison), IRA prisoners organized a hunger strike. Bobby Sands, an IRA volunteer, began the hunger strike on the first anniversary of the end of the special status category in the prisons, with the declaration by IRA leadership that they would ‘hungerstrike to the death unless the British Government abandons its criminalization policy and meets our demands’ (Beresford 1987: 83). With the end of special status, republicans were viewed as common criminals by the state instead of political prisoners with certain rights. On his first day of the hunger strike, Sands wrote in his diary: I am a political prisoner because I am a casualty of a perennial war that is fought between the oppressed Irish people and an alien, oppressive, unwanted regime that refuses to withdraw from our land. (cited in English 2003: 198) Nine other men, three of whom were INLA volunteers, followed in a staggered timeline.8 On 5 March, Frank Maguire, the independent Westminster MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone, died suddenly from a heart attack leaving the seat open. The republican movement seized the opportunity to elevate Sands’ strike

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to a new level, believing that if Sands were elected into the House of Commons then surely the Westminster government could not allow one of their own MPs to starve himself to death (English 2003: 199). Sands won by a narrow margin, but his victory failed to evoke political action. Sands died on 5 May and over 100,000 people attended his funeral. The hunger strikes continued, and as English notes, ‘there was an emotional intensity of commitment that helped to sustain the gesture, and a strong sense that the sacrifices of those who had died should not prove to have been made for nothing’ (English 2003: 201). The hunger strikes invigorated the republican movement with renewed public attention, new martyrs and new resolve. The hunger strikes did more than raise international awareness for the conflict and the status of republican prisoners; it ‘emphatically extended the republican struggle in terms of depth and range of support’ (English 2003: 204). The act of the hunger strikes, along with the election of Sands to Westminster and fellow hunger striker Kieran Doherty to the Dublin Dáil, legitimized the prison conflict as a political issue. In addition, English adds, ‘Bobby Sands’ election did demonstrate that people who would not customarily be IRA supporters might be engaged on behalf of an IRA man’s cause in certain circumstances’ (2003: 205). Similarly, Bew, Gibbon and Patterson note: ‘Despite Thatcher’s claim that the end of the hunger strikes in October 1981 was “a significant defeat for the IRA”, the rapid political progress of Sinn Féin told another story’ (2002: 201). The hunger strike officially ended on 3 October, when it became clear that the families of those remaining would intervene to save their lives. While some have implied that the hunger strikes of 1981 were not worth the sacrifice of the men’s lives (Alonso 2003: 103), the strikes are an important event in republican history. The act of the hunger strikes reflects the dedication, persistence and loyalty that are revered by republicans as well as epitomizing the perceived neglect and indifference of the response of Margaret Thatcher’s Westminster government. Gerry Adams, who in 1981 was said to be an IRA leader and one of the key negotiators between the IRA and the Westminster government, has since characterized the hunger strikers as ‘men who brought our struggle to a moral threshold’.9 Bowyer Bell notes: ‘The act of the strike was vital to the Irish. The sacrifice paid, not the results’ (2008 [1997]: 494, emphasis in original). The element of sacrifice is a theme that has come to be prominent in republican ideology. In addition to parades honouring the memory of some hunger strikers, many republican rebel songs have originated from this period and some republican bands have chosen the names of hunger strikers to represent the band in a gesture of respect.

Beyond Militancy: 1985–2000 In November 1985 the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed. It was an agreement that Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, described as ‘a

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coming-together of the various British strategies on an all-Ireland basis, with the Dublin government acting as the new guarantor of partition’ (cited in Patterson 1997: 198). The Agreement sanctioned that the status of Northern Ireland would not be changed without the consent of the majority. It set up a conference between the London and Dublin governments on issues regarding the North and ‘it pledged the two governments work on issues of security, human rights, communal identities and reconciliation; and it reflected their shared preference for some kind of devolved political arrangement in the North’ (English 2003: 241). The Anglo-Irish Agreement was also designed to weaken the strength of Sinn Féin and, more importantly, the IRA and ‘it shaped joint governmental policy: something must be done to strengthen the SDLP, to show that constitutional (rather than violent) nationalism was the way to achieve progress and results’ (English 2003: 241–42). For the IRA, the Agreement demonstrated that resolving the conflict democratically through political negotiation could have some advantages, yet they were far from completely eschewing violence. Sinn Féin declared itself as ‘a political organization dedicated to a democratic socialist republic for Ireland based on the Proclamation announced in Dublin at the commencement of the Easter 1916 Rising’ (cited in English 2003: 244). In 1986, the SDLP and Sinn Féin was beginning to consider calling a truce while Sinn Féin’s politics began to move beyond militancy. The shift in strategy towards encompassing a democratic ‘ballot box’ approach was similar to what the Official IRA had been promoting in the 1970s, but the timing was different now. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, once at the centre of the IRA, were now moving rapidly into politics, and ‘their actions determined strategy, purpose, and prospects for all republicans’ (Bowyer Bell 2008 [1997]: 651). At the 1986 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis they voted to remove the ban on attendance at the Republic’s parliament, and this decision led to another split in the republican ranks with the creation of Republican Sinn Féin (although they claim a lineage back to 1905)10 and its paramilitary wing, the Continuity IRA (CIRA). However, the Provisionals viewed ‘their dropping of abstentionism as clearing the road for their progress along another route forward in the republican struggle’ (English 2003: 252). The early 1990s witnessed a series of talks led by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Brooke that included those representing the island of Ireland and the British and Irish governments. Murray and Tonge note: ‘The Brooke talks also indicated to unionists that an “Irish dimension” was nonnegotiable, although its terms were to be the subject of considerable later bartering’ (2005: 178). Though the violence continued, the IRA was becoming more and more open-minded about an impending peace process, issuing a statement that read: ‘We are prepared to be flexible in exploring the potential for peace. All concerned should leave no stone unturned’ (from An Phoblacht/Republican

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News, 16 March 1994; cited in English 2003: 283). A few months later in late August 1994, the IRA called their first significant ceasefire, which they termed a ‘complete cessation of military operations’ (cited in Murray and Tonge 2005: 187). The IRA believed that ‘an opportunity to secure a just and lasting settlement has been created’, and stated that: We are therefore entering into a new situation in a spirit of determination and confidence, determined that the injustices which created this conflict will be removed and confident in the strength and justice of our struggle to achieve this.11 In October of 1994, a loyalist ceasefire followed. Though the peace process and negotiations were slow to move forward, Sinn Féin and the IRA remained clear on their position. Their ceasefire ‘aimed at enhancing the climate for inclusive negotiations which would, given the political will on all sides, lead to a just and lasting resolution of this conflict’ (An Phoblacht/Republican News, 13 April 1995; cited in English 2003: 288). The ceasefire was a tool for negotiation, but perceptions were shifting. Bowyer Bell writes: This [shift] was possible because of the stature within the movement of the political leadership, because many volunteers had shared the same gradual shift in perceptions and priorities, because so far the IRA had accepted the new directions, and in a sense because of those endless, endless funerals. (2008 [1997]: 651) The move towards democratic political dialogue infiltrated other republican viewpoints. Republican bands turned slowly away from a focus of protest and resistance and instead began to emphasize commemoration and recruitment into democratic republicanism. In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement took place, the provisions of which ‘amounted to the creation of a “state within a state” whose long-term constitutional future was yet to be determined’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 199). The same year, the INLA declared a ceasefire at the commemoration for the victims of the Omagh bomb.12 In 2009, despite their resistant and distrustful attitude towards Sinn Féin, the police and the British, the INLA admitted that its objectives would be pursued by an ‘exclusively peaceful political struggle’.13 But the shift was not welcomed by everyone. In 1997, after a Provisional IRA Army convention, IRA General Quartermaster Michael McKevitt left the IRA on the grounds that he strongly disagreed with the IRA’s ceasefire. His common-law wife, who was the sister of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, left with him and together they formed the basis for the Real IRA (RIRA), who would continue the armed struggle into the twenty-first century.

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Republicanism Today Republicanism today consists of a variety of principles, beliefs and tenets. Some republicans believe that true republicanism is ‘democratic, internationalist, secular and socialist’, and that the ‘absence of any of these features not only diminishes the global integrity of the concept but transforms it into a political philosophy hostile to the humanistic ethos that pervades the concept as analysed’ (O’Hagan 1998: 85). In direct contrast to O’Hagan’s views, Walsh claims that republicanism steered away from socialist ideas and associations around the time of partition, especially those who followed Michael Collins’ politics (Walsh 1994: 22). As this book will show, different interpretations on the meaning of ‘true’ republicanism have led to different strands of a similar ideology. In their book, Sinn Féin and the SDLP, Murray and Tonge question whether Sinn Féin’s republicanism is a ‘true’ republicanism or if in fact it is a form of ‘post’-republicanism; they question whether a core set of principles was ever identifiable within the tenets of republicanism (2005: 263). They suggest Sinn Féin is moving towards a civic republicanism, which ‘acknowledges the plurality of identities in Northern Ireland and recognizes an independent existence for unionists beyond their British “colonial masters”’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 263). The notion of civic republicanism captures the cultural elements that are included within Sinn Féin’s political agenda, because then there is ‘the possibility that the elements of dispute can themselves be transcended by a political system that creates the space for a sense of belonging that stretches beyond exclusive identities’ (Kilmurray and McWilliams 1998: 168). For Murray and Tonge, Sinn Féin confuses principle with intention, and they point out that ‘it is the intention of the republican leadership to produce a united Ireland through entry to Stormont and by offering participatory politics to the nationalist electorate’ (2005: 264). The gradual degrees of divergence from the military strategy of armed struggle to democratic politics have been tactics in order to achieve the overarching goals of self-determination and equality (Murray and Tonge 2005: 264). Sinn Féin now openly criticizes the use of violence as a political strategy while defending the violence of the past as necessary. In the words of one Ógra Shinn Féin member: ‘The IRA gave us a chance to work politically and the change that has taken place nationwide in the last few years is a credit to them’ (Gillespie 2008).14 He goes on to explain: The republican movement in 1994 had a moral obligation (as well as a responsibility given the limited success of the armed campaign) to explore ways in which to continue the struggle without the loss of one more life. Now that we are embedded in a political process with a realistic chance of success, I believe that ÓSF, as the voice of Irish youth, have a moral obligation to ensure that no more of our working class young people have to go to prison or to the grave. (Gillespie 2008)

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The republicanism of today as practised by Sinn Féin has turned into an allIreland initiative, and the main element that differentiates Sinn Féin from the SDLP is Sinn Féin’s establishment and growing popularity in the Republic of Ireland (Murray and Tonge 2005: 264). In August 2001 an agreement was made to begin a process of decommissioning IRA weapons, which planted the Provisionals squarely within a democratic, nonviolent process. English notes that although the IRA was reluctant to decommission, ‘such movement merely followed the logic of the Provisionals’ engagement with politics and compromise’ (2003: 336). Today, Sinn Féin has transformed into a well-run political machine and has ‘acquired the reputation of being quite savvy in their public relations’ (Maillot 2005: 74). Similar political rhetoric across the leadership has been a clever tactic to ensure clarity, a sense of identity and credibility (Maillot 2005: 74). Despite its murky past and the party’s trajectory from armed struggle to democratic politics, Sinn Féin has always seemed to recover and there is no doubt it maintains a strong player in the politics of today, both north and south of the border (see De Bréadún 2015). Part of the success of Sinn Féin republicanism has been down to the cultural narrative and symbolism that the party has built around itself, which forms the next subject under consideration.

The Culture of Republicanism From a cultural standpoint, republicanism avails of a rich source in symbolism, oral history and tradition. Jonathan Githens-Mazer points out: Irish cultural and religious nationalists used a repertoire of myths, memories and symbols to achieve what they saw as the essential moral regeneration and expressions of the Irish nation in the wake of the devastation of the Famine. (2006: 82) This laid subtle groundwork for the political development of Ireland and gradually established the symbols and myths that nationalists and republicans draw upon today. By using cultural symbols of the past, the republican movement constructs continuity and legitimacy within a historical narrative of political enterprise. Within republican bands, most republicans do not define their brand of politics to each other. It was uncommon for band members to speak directly about politics unless a particular subject was brought up by one of the bandleaders, who were mainly active party members. Although politics are not generally discussed, band members’ political beliefs are often taken for granted. Being republican is an important element: the uniforms worn reflect republican symbolism, the events attended are republican commemorations, and the songs played are about republican history. This is true at both Provisional Sinn Féin

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commemorations and at IRSP events, although they host separate parades, as Chapter Four will demonstrate. With the recent successes of the peace process and the changing political climate in the North, it is interesting to examine how the republican movement reassesses and adjusts the political narratives and symbols to express their position in Northern Ireland’s politics to compose this next chapter in Irish history.

Parading in Northern Ireland Parades and processions on the island of Ireland have been a feature of political life since the fifteenth century (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 95). Throughout the 1700s, the form of parades changed little, but commemoration parades tended to be more dynamic and passionate (Kelly 2000: 17). Sectarian tensions in the North and a drive to reignite interest in the July commemorations of the Battle of the Boyne and the birthday of King William of Orange led to the foundation of the Orange Society (later renamed the Orange Order) in Armagh (Kelly 2000: 21). Towards the end of the century, the Orange Order worked to reanimate commemorative events and ‘commemorative parading was more avowedly about asserting Protestant precedence over a resurgent Catholic population’ (Kelly 2000: 21).

The Ancient Order of Hibernians It has been implied that the mirror image of the Orange Order is reflected in the Ancient Order of Hibernians,15 but since partition, the fact of the Northern Irish state and the roles each organization plays within this political entity differentiates them in terms of power, authority and influence. In Bergin’s History of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, he traces a line from 1641 through the Defenders to the Ribbonmen and St Patrick’s Fraternal Society16 and finally to 1838, when, still under various guises, the Society officially adopted the name the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) (1910: 34). The modern incarnation of the AOH began in the nineteenth century as an organization made up of the working-class and farmers’ organizations for defence of land, and its parades were primarily confined to Lady’s Day on the 15 August (the first of which occurred in 1872). McCann claims that, at the height of the AOH’s popularity between 1905 – 1914 when it was mobilized for the Home Rule issue, it functioned as a ‘unifier of divergent Catholic interests’ and was ‘turned into an effective political machine for the Irish Parliamentary Party in the fight for Home Rule’ (1985: 96). The AOH served as a mask that disguised the discrepancies in the Catholic nationalist front. Rumpf and Hepburn described it as ‘papering over the cracks’ in anti-partition politics (1977, cited in McCann 1985: 96). Its aims were similar to those of republican politics in that its resolutions included a reiteration of the ‘national demand for the reintegration of Ireland’s territory under a government freely chosen by all the people

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of Ireland’ (McCann 1985: 175). However, the AOH disagreed with some political aspects of republicanism, particularly its lack of emphasis on religion. McCann also notes: ‘Hibernian disaffection with Republic history [sic] dates from the period when Sinn Féin became a political movement in competition with the Parliamentary party’ (1985: 191). While popularity of the AOH declined after the fall of the Irish Parliamentary Party (to which it was closely affiliated through its leader, Joseph Devlin), the success of Sinn Féin in the 1918 elections (to whose variety of nationalist politics it opposed) forced the two organizations further apart. The AOH continued to maintain some support, however, and the Catholic press reflected many of the same Hibernian and nationalist stances on political issues. Though Hibernian rally speeches in the 1950s and 1960s vaguely echoed some of the same sentiments as those put forward by republicans (such as equal rights and an end to partition), they also explicitly opposed republicanism and discord between Protestants and Catholics. The AOH’s willingness to comply with parading statutes and their reluctance to cause social disruption meant that the organization only paraded where there was significant support for them. McCann writes: ‘Hibernian demonstrations … occurred only in strongly Catholic venues, their position was strongest in Catholic villages, or in the few towns with a nationalist majority in local government’ (1985: 174). Because of this, they gained a reputation as primarily a rural organization, as they did not march in Belfast (which had a majority of two-thirds Protestant) and nationalist parading of any kind was banned altogether in Derry. Similarly in the 1950s and 60s, republican parades had little or no ‘public presence’ except in strongly Catholic areas, and when they did parade, they were more likely to defy police bans and restrictions on the use of flags and emblems, especially after the 1954 Flags and Emblems Act was brought in (McCann 1985: 167). While the AOH opposed this brand of militant nationalism, increasing political tensions and the advocacy of civil rights led more and more Catholics to endorse republican views and republican parading, such as the Easter commemoration parades, which gained more support. However, Orange opposition to nationalist parading did not distinguish between the AOH and republican parades. Jarman and Bryan observe: ‘Although there was a wide ideological gulf between the constitutional nationalism [of the AOH] and republicanism, in practice loyalists readily ignored differences’ (2000a: 98). But, as Jarman and Bryan note, it is important to view the situation in historical context: while the Republic ‘defined itself in terms of Catholicism’, Northern Ireland established itself as a Protestant state and ‘many within the Protestant community saw the entire Catholic population as a real threat to their existence and reacted to any assertive public expressions from that community’ (2000a: 99). Today, the AOH in Northern Ireland upholds strong links in the United States. It remains connected with the Catholic Church, and it has been dubbed

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the ‘green’ version of the Orange Order.17 Its membership is reported to be strongest in Ulster, but it maintains a low profile.18

Irish National Foresters Another nationalist organization dating back to 1877 is the Irish National Foresters (INF), who, in 1911, was the largest friendly society in Ireland (Jarman 1997: 141). The Foresters were formed after political disagreements led to differing beliefs, and they split from the AOH. The INF and AOH parades are similar in form and scale, but the two organizations draw support from differing ideals. The INF is non-sectarian and although they supported and marched in Easter and St Patrick’s Day parades in the 1960s, their main parading event is their national convention in July or August (Jarman 1997: 141–42).

State Reactions to Parading Issues Prior to partition, Jarman and Bryan note that ‘state authorities did try to uphold the rights to parade of both communities but were also always more concerned about public order’ (2000a: 95). After partition, the shift in the balance of power in Northern Ireland favoured the Protestant majority and ‘any public manifestations of Catholicism and Irish nationalism could be represented as a threat to the state and therefore dealt with accordingly’ (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 96). In April 1922, in the new state of Northern Ireland, the authorities had enacted the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Jeffery 2000: 78). Jeffery notes that ‘the Northern Ireland Minister of Home Affairs was empowered to make “Regulations for Peace and Order”’, and the regulation ‘was extremely permissive and left much discretion to the minister or his nominee’ (2000: 79). In practice, any parade that was deemed to cause potential disruption could be banned in accordance with the somewhat vague and widely interpreted Special Powers Act. In 1925 the Minister of Home Affairs gave the police chief permission to make decisions regarding parades and processions on his behalf, and thus much was left to the discretion of the RUC. And the perspective of the RUC was anything but objective, as Jeffery observes: [The RUC] was born in violent circumstances: nationalist violence directed throughout Ireland against both its parent body, the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), and any other manifestation of the British administration of Ireland; violence specifically aimed at destroying the infant ‘statelet’ of Northern Ireland; and widespread communal violence, especially in working-class parts of Belfast, where the sectarian interface was marked by frequent bloodshed. (2000: 79)

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Unionist protests against nationalist demonstrations and processions caused apprehension, and the desire to maintain public order won out. Many nationalist events were banned. Jeffery comments: Between 16 June 1922 and 15 March 1950, the Minister of Home Affairs made ninety-one proclamations prohibiting meetings, assemblies and processions under Regulation 4 of the Special Powers Act. The overwhelming majority of these bans concerned nationalist events. (2000: 80) The Easter parades, which are a significant feature of the republican calendar and which will be detailed in Chapter Four, attracted the most prohibitions (Jeffery 2000: 80). In spite of, or perhaps because of this, the Easter parades became increasingly important to the nationalist and republican communities from the 1930s onwards. In 1948, the government relaxed its attitude towards nationalist parades, and although the Easter parade in Belfast passed off peacefully that year, the ‘modest shift in government policy on nationalist processions and demonstrations was too much for some sections of loyalist opinion’ (Jeffery 2000: 87). That same year, the 150th anniversary of the 1798 Rising was due to take place in Belfast, but members of the National Union of Protestants, particularly organizer Norman Porter and the treasurer, Ian Paisley, vowed to hold a counter-demonstration ‘to let the world know that Northern Ireland was still a Protestant and British country’ (Jeffery 2000: 88). Loyalist counter-demonstrations became an effective means of ensuring a blanket ban on all processions and demonstrations, and they were designed to target nationalist and republican parades and rallies. This tactic worked until 1967 when the Public Order Bill was passed, making it illegal to counter-demonstrate a legal parade. In 1951, the new Public Order Act, which superseded the Special Powers Act, gave greater responsibility to the police in regards to allowing parades and demonstrations to proceed and required organizers to request permission to parade 48 hours in advance. However, any ‘public procession … customarily held along a particular route’ was exempt, and Eddie McAteer, leader of the Nationalist party, declared that this meant ‘the permanent exemption of Orange processions from the necessity of giving 48 hours’ notice to the police’ (Jeffery 2000: 90). In the 1950s, nationalist political expression through parading seemed to gain some legitimacy in the eyes of the government and ‘[i]nstead of confronting nationalist parades, greater concern was given to the growing prominence given to symbolic displays of the Tricolour’ (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 102). The focus on republican and nationalist parades became more about the symbols they carried and less about the act of parading. AOH demonstrations and

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events attracted more attention and crowds as well, and the range of commemorations observed by nationalists and republicans expanded (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 102). The implementation of the 1954 Flags and Emblems Act angered nationalists, although the Act did not bestow significantly more power than was already at the hands of the police. Nationalists and republicans in particular began to view the act of parading more and more as an act of resistance. By the 1960s, the nationalist community had gained a measure of confidence and security in their identity both culturally and politically, and began to dispute the right to express that identity through parading and public demonstrations. The civil rights parades of the late 1960s were largely supported by the Catholic community, and Jarman argues that they ‘were the spark that set off the Troubles in 1968’ (1997: 136). In the early 1970s, the maintenance of public order took precedence and in the mid 1980s several Orange parades were rerouted away from nationalist areas (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 108). In 1987 the Public Order (NI) Order was introduced; the Order extended the length of time required to submit notification for a parade (from 48 hours to seven days) and it no longer granted special dispensation for parades ‘customarily held along a particular route’ (Bryan 2000a: 199). The AOH had by this time dwindled to approximately 4,000,19 although they do still parade in some towns at certain events such as St Patrick’s Day (17 March) parades and Lady’s Day (15 August) celebrations. While nationalist parades (such as those organized by the AOH and the INF) were largely uncontentious in the late 1980s and 1990s, Jarman notes: [R]epublican commemorations, which perpetuate the memory of people who opposed the very existence of the Northern Irish state, have regularly provoked the wrath of loyalists and have been subjected to heavy policing and security restraints. (1997: 143) One of the tenets of post-partition republicanism has been to disregard the existence of Northern Ireland as a separate entity. This is expressed through parading by the movement’s resistance to comply with state-imposed parading regulations. In 1995, the issue of the right to parade became even more fraught with tension and controversy with the eruption of disputes over the annual Orange Drumcree parade in Portadown. As the Orange Order made their way back from the Boyne commemoration church service through a principally Catholic and nationalist area on Garvaghy Road, a local residents’ group protested against the parade. The Orange Order held their ground and refused to move unless allowed along the planned parade route. This became known as the ‘Siege of Drumcree’ as loyalists clashed with the RUC (Bryan 2000a: 191). After mediation, the parade was eventually allowed to continue, that year and the following two years, as public order became the main priority.

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The disputes over parading at Drumcree have raised questions over the right to parade. Bryan observes: While nationalists view the parade through a clearly Catholic area as an expression of triumphalism over their community, … attempts to stop the parade are perceived by many unionists as an attack on the Protestant community. (2000a: 192) Though this statement is a simple summation of more complex concerns, Bryan’s observation reveals an underlying struggle for power and legitimacy, a struggle that continues into the present day.20 The issues that the conflict of Drumcree brought to light led to the establishment of the Parades Commission21 in 1998. Marches and parading events in Northern Ireland are subject to the Public Processions (NI) Act 1998, and the Commission was founded to promote and facilitate negotiation and understanding across communities in Northern Ireland, and to make recommendations regarding the nature of public processions. The efficacy of their implementation has and continues to be widely debated,22 and some have argued that the Commission has done more harm than good.23 But some, including deputy First Minister and former PIRA member Martin McGuiness, believe that the Parades Commission ‘undertakes a very onerous responsibility in assisting civic society and the police to ensure that the peace that we all believe [in] is precious is preserved’24. It is interesting that Mr McGuinness, a Sinn Féin party member, supports the existence of the Parades Commission while the then DUP leader Peter Robinson vehemently asserted that the Commission lacks the ‘respect and credibility within the community to continue in being’ and has spent considerable time and political capital negotiating an alternative to the Commission.25 The opinions of the Commission from these politicians (and, by extension, their supporters) has likely stemmed from the roots of the Drumcree conflict. A closer examination of the 1998 Drumcree ruling and the responses it received can be found on the CAIN website.26 In short, the recommendations for the Drumcree parade made by the Parades Commission in the past interferes with what the Orange Order clearly believes is an infringement of their parading traditions and traditional routes, while some republican groups on the more extreme side, even in the present day, are still loath to adhere to an official body, even one that is independent of the government. These issues are explained further in later chapters.

Conclusion The historical background described in this chapter is intended to illustrate the origins and the chronological path of republicanism and parading in the last 200 years. Although historical fact, however detailed, cannot reveal the complexities of the present environment, it does inform present circumstances, and a

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broad reading of historical content contextualizes the conditions of the present. Though republican parading bands have been in existence for a relatively short period of time in relation to, for instance, the Orange Order, the current republican movement draws on elements of the republican past to create a powerful lineage of political legitimacy and authenticity, which in turn is authenticated and legitimized through the performance of parading. The next chapter exhibits how the bands have evolved from the history explained here, the requirements of joining a republican band, and how the bands can influence individual perspectives and opinions.

Notes  1. The official name, according to the Northern Ireland Office, is the Belfast Agreement, which took place on 10 April 1998. A copy of the agreement is available at: http:// www.nio.gov.uk/agreement.pdf [accessed 7 January 2012]. It is also known as the Good Friday Agreement and occasionally the Stormont Agreement. It laid the groundwork for a devolved government in Northern Ireland and formalized the relationship between the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It also promoted tolerance, decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, laid provisions for normalizing security arrangements within the North, and above all else emphasized the ‘principle of consent for constitutional change in the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom’ (Murray and Tonge 2005: 197).  2. The national question refers to the reunification of the island of Ireland, or, in more liberal contexts, to the establishment of the state’s autonomous existence independently from Britain.  3. Available at: http://www.irishrepublicanbrotherhood.ie/history-irb.html [accessed 28 November 2016]. See also Smith (1995).  4. Cumann na mBan translates as Irishwomen’s Council. Cumann (or cumainn, plural) is the Irish for club or society.  5. Eamon De Valera was a central political figure in the Republic of Ireland (called the Irish Free State from 1922 until 1937, when it became the Republic of Ireland) in the first half of the twentieth century. He played a large part in the anti-Treaty side of the Irish War of Independence and in the government to follow. He was President of Ireland from 1959 until 1973.  6. See the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) website for statistics and details of violence during the Troubles. Available at: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/violence/majinc. htm#2 [accessed 25 April 2012]. See also Sutton (1994); Bew and Gillespie (1993).  7. The Sunningdale Agreement was based on establishing a power-sharing government (and cross-border council) of the Northern Ireland Executive and was implemented in December 1973. The Agreement lasted barely five months before unionist opposition and loyalist strikes led to its collapse. For a more complete analysis of Sunningdale’s failure, see Gillespie (1998).  8. Bobby Sands (IRA, died 5 May), Francis Hughes (IRA, died 12 May), Raymond McCreesh (IRA, died 21 May), Patsy O’Hara (INLA, died 21 May), Joe McDonnell (IRA, died 8 July), Martin Hurson (IRA, died 13 July), Kevin Lynch (INLA, died 1

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 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26.

August), Thomas McElwee (IRA, died 2 August), Kieran Doherty (IRA, died 8 August) and Mickey Devine (INLA, died 20 August). BBC News. 2001. ‘Adams Pays Tribute to Hunger Strikers’. Available at: http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/1314592.stm [accessed 26 January 2012]. See http://www.rsf.ie [accessed 07 September 2011]. IRA Ceasefire Statement, 31 August 1994. Available at: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/ peace/docs/ira31894.htm [accessed 26 January 2012]. On 15 August 1998 a bomb went off in Omagh’s city centre, killing 29 people and injuring over 200 others. The Real IRA (RIRA) declared responsibility. BBC News. 2009. ‘Armed Struggle is Over – INLA’. Available at http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8301241.stm [accessed 7 September 2011]. This sentiment has also been publicly voiced by Gerry Adams: see http://www.telegraph. co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ireland/1390903/Adams-honours-those-who-died-fornoble-IRA-cause.html [accessed 28 January 2012]. See McCann 1985: 96, 183; Jarman 1997: 137; Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 95. The Defenders, the Ribbonmen and St Patrick’s Fraternal Society were all secret Catholic societies throughout the late eighteenth and mid nineteenth centuries. The Irish News. 2015. ‘Orange Order Turns Down AOH Parade Invitation’. Available at: http://www.irishnews.com/news/2015/08/07/news/orange-order-turns-down-aohparade-invitation-218565/ [accessed 28 November 2016]. Ibid. See also the CAIN website, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/parade/organis.htm#1 [accessed 28 May 2011]. For detailed accounts of the Drumcree conflicts from 1995 to 2000, see the CAIN website: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/parade/develop.htm [accessed 13 September 2016]. See the Parades Commission website: https://www.paradescommission.org [accessed 13 September 2016]. For recent examples in the press, see: http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/debate-dueon-parades-commission-1-4076431; and: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northernireland-23320440; and: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2015-06-08.5.50 [all accessed 13 September 2016]. See: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2014-10-29/debates/14102956000018/ ParadesCommission [accessed 13 September 2016]. Taken from a debate regarding whether or not the Parades Commission is capable of solving the issues surrounding parading events. Available at: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2015-06-08.5.50 [accessed 13 September 2016]. See: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/ni/?id=2013-07-16.2.1 [accessed 3 September 2016]. Available at: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/parade/pc/pc29698.htm [accessed 3 September 2016].

Chapter 3

The Bands History, Context and Methodology

q

R

epublican bands in Northern Ireland are created by a passionate few who are motivated to inspire others and gather community support for the republican movement. Belonging to a republican band means different things to each member, but most would declare that membership reflects their support of and commitment to republicanism and the republican movement. This chapter explains how republican bands are structured, how they recruit and maintain membership and how members learn to march and play. The reasons behind why people choose to join are detailed, as well as what it means to them to participate in a republican band and what the attraction is for younger members. The connection between the bands and official political organizations such as Sinn Féin is investigated and examined. This chapter also questions in what ways gender matters to republican organizations and how this sets them apart from other parading bodies (such as loyalist or Hibernian bands) in the North.

Researching Republican Bands: Case Studies, Methodology and History Republican bands in Northern Ireland are formed by members who share an interest in politics, a love for music and a passion for republican history. Most would declare that membership reflects their support of and commitment to republicanism and the republican movement, although they each have their own reasons for joining such an organization. This research focuses closely on four republican bands, which are referred to here by the pseudonyms the Irish Patriots (Band A), Saoirse Volunteers

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(Band B), Banna Cuimhneachán (Band C), and the Rebels (Band D). Briefly, the Irish Patriots and the Rebels (Bands A and D) are city-based; Saoirse Volunteers and Banna Cuimhneachán (Bands B and C) are based in rural towns. The Rebels have a high majority of young members, whereas the Irish Patriots have a slightly higher majority of older members. The Irish Patriots and Banna Cuimhneachán have close affiliations with Sinn Féin, whereas Saoirse Volunteers and the Rebels consider themselves republican but, as a band, do not have the same allegiance to Sinn Féin or any other political party. All were made up of roughly the same number of members, varying from around twenty-five to about thirty members. Accurate membership is difficult to assess, because not all members participate in all parades all of the time, and some members leave for a while and return. The reasons vary from work or school commitments to family obligations to personal reasons, such as a relationship break-up. Since the bands are community-based and not competitive, attendance is important but absences are not necessarily disciplined unless they become a regular occurrence. All of the bands play the same general repertoire of Irish republican rebel music, which encompasses around 170 songs. However, two of the bands (as well as a few others in the community) would also occasionally play songs that would be considered Irish traditional songs (for instance, ‘Spancil Hill’ or ‘Finnegan’s Wake’). The musical repertoires of republican bands are described in more detail in Chapter Five. During the course of the research, I regularly attended band practices and parades with three bands. Attending practices with the fourth band was not practical, as rehearsals were often organized with little notice and the band practice venue was a two-hour drive from where I lived. However, I did attend all their parades and spoke regularly with the bandleader and several band members throughout the eighteen months of fieldwork. All four bands gave permission to film parades and conduct interviews with members independently. And as described in the Introduction, the Irish Patriots allowed me to join their membership and I marched with them for just over a year. Much of the information gathered in respect to republican parading band history is from long-forgotten memories of hearsay. Even in this age of technology, few republican bands have an online presence beyond social media, and very few of them document their existence in an overt and publicized way outside their immediate areas. Historical record is sparse, too; hours spent scouring the archives of republican publications such as An Phoblacht1 turned up little, and though there were occasional mentions of the existence of bands, little information beyond the fact that they participated in a particular parade or commemoration was offered. Many band members remember inheriting the band from a former leader, but are not sure when that leader took the reins, or when the band was formed, so the origins are rather vague.

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The majority of republican bands were founded in the mid 1980s, though some claim to have begun earlier. De Rosa (1998) dates some republican bands back to the 1970s, and the archives from An Phoblacht confirms this, although names are rarely mentioned and many seem to have been pipe bands that happened to play at republican events. Most of the bands at parading events formed in the 1980s or later. Of the four under scrutiny, two had formed in the mid to late 1980s: the Rebels were not certain of the exact year, but the leader of Saoirse Volunteers believed the band formed in 1986. However, some bands pointed out that they had formed in the 1980s, split and then regrouped under different leadership or a different name. This was the case with the Irish Patriots and Banna Cuimhneachán, who formed around the early 1990s (after a long break and under a different name and leadership) and the late 1980s respectively. This suggests that tracing a band’s lineage can be difficult and inaccurate, as no formal documents pinpoint a band’s existence, and so most information gathered was by word of mouth or local memory. Others have since dissolved and some have joined together with other bands to pool resources and maintain membership; indeed, in 2015, the Irish Patriots merged with another prominent Belfast-based band. More members means more opportunity for fundraising and a higher attendance at parades, thus establishing a reputation for reliability and respect. Republican bands impart a considerable influence on the broader republican community, particularly in terms of recruitment and exposure to politics, through a medium that is interesting and entertaining. Most bands actively encourage its members to participate in political events or activities, although the level of participation expected or encouraged may vary. Today, the purpose of republican bands is centred on commemoration, but reasons to join may also include taking pride in republican history and culture, making a stance in regards to one’s political beliefs, or cultivating the feeling that what one does with the band will make a difference to the movement and to society in the North. In the words of one member: ‘[Being in a republican band] says we are the people that will lead our people and our nation.’ Another member understands the bands as reminders of past struggles: ‘[Being in a republican band] says that I will never forget my history and the men and women who died for Irish freedom.’ One simply wrote: ‘The republican band means a lot to me … I like the reasons we march and to remember those who give me a reason to be proud.’2 From a political perspective, republican bands are a significant aspect of any commemorative event or parade. Bands provide ‘music and colour’ to parades and they ‘bring a bit of life to commemorations and help remind people of our struggle and what we have lost and won – just by hearing a song [it] can remind someone of the importance of our fight’. Republican bands also ‘provide people with republican music and show the strengths of republicanism through

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young people in the band’. Many of these comments suggest that the concept of memory (and its transmission) is significant to republican bands and their role within the republican movement. As the nature of most republican bands is to maintain a close link with the ideals of republicanism, this led to the question as to what extent the bands were currently involved in formal republican political parties, specifically Sinn Féin or Ógra Shinn Féin. Of the four bands examined in this study, it was difficult to draw general conclusions, as each member provided personal opinions as to the nature of his or her band’s relationship to Sinn Féin. Members who disagreed with Sinn Féin’s platform were often unsure as to where to draw the line between republican politics and republican culture. In other words, although someone may attend republican events, sing republican songs and call themselves republican, they may not subscribe to the politics of a republican party (like Sinn Féin). The strength of the cultural connection to republicanism was made clear to me through an impromptu interview in 2014 with Gary, a taxi driver in Belfast, about republicanism and cultural identity. He confided that he had once been a committed member of a paramilitary group, and had suffered a significant punishment beating related to drug peddling. His legs had been badly smashed, and it had taken several operations and several months to walk again. The scars from his injuries were still quite evident and must have been quite painful to endure. I commented that surely, because of the severity of his injuries and the length of his recovery time, he would have preferred to have been arrested and served his time in prison rather than go through such pain. His answer surprised me: ‘No,’ he said, ‘because in prison I’d have learned to be a common criminal’. Suffering the punishment beating was horrible, but it made sense to him; he knew that was the consequence for his actions and he knew that ‘was the way of it’. Furthermore, despite the beating and despite his current negative views of Sinn Féin and the political direction of the party, he confirmed that he would still be voting Sinn Féin in the next election. He is republican, he explained, and he would remain loyal to the party regardless of his personal views on their platform. Likewise, those who have not specifically defined their republicanism may attend commemorations, just as those who are active in the party leadership may not always agree with every item on the agenda. There appears to be some correspondence between band leadership and party leadership, as Jim, a bandleader, explains: Some of the more progressive bands that we have, the leadership of the bands would be fairly close to local leadership of the party. And you can see the more progressive approach where, you know, if you look at a band whose leaders are with Sinn Féin, they’re more progressive than

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the ones who aren’t. And they’re more focused on the overall political objective as opposed to just being a band. (Jim, in interview, 25.09.07) By progressive, Jim means those bands who are willing to effect change within the band to follow republican party decrees, such as eliminating contentious images, songs and uniforms and maintaining a higher standard of conduct at commemorations. Rumours concerning a republican band alliance have been going around in the last couple of years, but the alliance has yet to form. The purpose of the alliance would be to monitor and regulate the use of contentious symbols, such as the paintings of rifles on bass drums (and perhaps certain songs) to fall in line with republican party dictate that violence for political gain is no longer on the Sinn Féin agenda. However, there have been problems in promoting the need for such an alliance, as most bands have different views on what they believe should be monitored and what should be left to the discretion of the band. For instance, one band in this study are opposed to any suggestions that they tone down the militant nature of their uniforms, but some members admit that the paintings of the snipers on their bass drums could be construed as offensive. This will be discussed further in Chapter Seven. Though Jim, the bandleader, asserts that bands affiliated with Sinn Féin are more politically focused and aware, it would seem it depended on the dynamic of the individuals within the band. However, when asked if they thought it was important for band members to be involved in politics, fifty respondents (out of sixty-six) said yes; only eleven said no (five declined to state). This illustrates the level of political participation that band members expect to engage in, and that political involvement is a high priority. When asked directly, however, many members clarified that their involvement depended on other factors, such as how social the occasion might be or whether or not they would be obligated to attend further commitments in the future. While many saw the ideal band as having a high participation in politics, many members (particularly younger ones) were still unsure about their actual level of commitment. Jim believes that being in a band has a lot to do with pride, obligation and instilling motivation in people: A band is another avenue of struggle for some people. For me it’s a wee bit more than just a band. It’s about instilling that thing in people; it’s about creating more activists. These bands aren’t just bands. Our bands are more – they’re there to do a job, we do it, and we’ll do anything else that comes along with it if we need to. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) The job that Jim is referring to is the task that the majority of republican bands believe is the purpose of their existence: to commemorate and to represent

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the martyrs and commemorations that are significant to their locality within the republican movement. Most band members agreed that the purpose of a republican band is to commemorate and ‘to honour our republican dead’. Part of this belief is reflected in the names the bands choose for themselves to honour deceased volunteers, such as those who died on hunger strike, or by using the word ‘martyrs’, such as the North Armagh Martyrs Republican Flute Band and the Belfast Martyrs Republican Flute Band. The band is an important source of information about current events and the legacy of the Troubles. In the survey conducted for the current research, fifty-two out of sixty-six members (about 78%) responded that they joined a band in order to educate others about the republican struggle, although fortyone of them initially learned about republicanism from their parents and/or friends. Forty-four members (about 67%) thought that being in a republican band was important because it helped to promote the goals of the struggle for the future. Members replied that the purpose of republican bands was also to ‘show our beliefs’; ‘promote republicanism’; and to ‘send a message’ either of support for the struggle or to encourage participation in republican politics. While there is no denying the role of republican bands in commemoration, there is some speculation as to where this will lead them in the future. Some bands have dwindled in their membership and some have split up, and although a few new bands have recently been formed, it seems unlikely that the number of bands will rival the numbers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. One bandleader mentioned that there used to be about twenty bands in Belfast (in the early 1990s), but today there are only two (Martin, personal communication, 20 March 2008). Across Northern Ireland, there are around twenty-five republican bands in total that regularly march, although it is possible there could be more.3 Establishing the existence of bands can be difficult, as there is no particular online forum that they use to communicate and no central agency that keeps track of current bands. Discovering bands requires attending multiple commemorations, speaking to band members about other bands they may know and visiting band websites (of those who have them) to search for comments left by members of other bands. The decrease in the number of bands in Northern Ireland (compared to the 1980s and 1990s) could be due to a wider involvement with political groups via other avenues outside of the bands, or it could be because the bands have lost the element of protest that was once so appealing to youthful angst. Regardless, the bands that remain are holding firm to their status as a republican band, and although some have experienced financial difficulty in recent years in maintaining the instruments, uniforms or covering travel expenses, some bands are becoming creative at finding solutions to these issues. Carpooling has replaced chartered buses, uniforms are being repaired by relatives who can sew or are being sourced through cheaper companies, and instruments are bought second

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hand or are traded. This demonstrates the level of dedication and commitment that band members (and their leaders) are willing to exert for the sake of the band’s survival. Jim explains that it is not just the feeling of responsibility that keeps members motivated, but the exhilaration of parading: And people get a thrill, probably a buzz out of it. Whenever you hit a big crowd in the parade somewhere, and they’re all standing alongside the route, you can really [feel the excitement]. You get a clap and a cheer, and if that was taken away, I think that would be a sad day for us. So we need a wee bit of work, sorta in working out how to keep [the bands going]. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) When the bandleaders were asked if they thought republican bands would eventually decline into extinction, most replied ‘no’. They felt that commemoration was too important for bands to ignore, and that while bands upheld the responsibility for commemoration, there would always be a need for republican bands. In the words of one member, ‘well, commemorations would still go on, you don’t forget the dead really’ (Mary Ann, in interview, 25 March 2009). Jim put it this way: Some people would think that while bands would have started first for protest purposes that they’re at a stage [now] where they’re not needed. And, ok, now they’re probably needed more for commemorations and stuff but that to me is as equally important. It’s about remembering, and making sure I suppose that our community, and our republican family, move along with us. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim’s statement reveals that far from remaining stagnant and fading away, republican bands are adapting and changing to align with the political current. The bands are not only altering the way people view republicanism, but also the way they live it. Like the proposed band alliance, bands are looking for ways to keep their niche in the republican movement. Nic Craith writes that after the hunger strikes of 1981, Sinn Féin concentrated on ‘notions of ethnicity and [was] particularly concerned with the reconstruction and preservation of emblems of Irish culture. In the resurgence of Irish culture, republicans were realigning themselves culturally with the rest of the nation’ (2003: 31). Personally, I believe that instead of a cultural realignment, there is instead a process of renegotiation of what Irish culture means and what it is about. De Rosa (1998: 99) similarly writes that ‘parades in Northern Ireland represent symbolic spaces where negotiation of identities takes place’ and, while he may have been generalizing about the nature of parading in Northern Ireland, it is clear that commemorative parades currently serve to

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deliver the messages of party rhetoric and promote the branding of a new, more organized and determined republicanism.

Joining a Band and Learning to Play There are many social reasons to join a band: regular parades provide opportunities to meet other people with similar interests and goals, and for some members, attending and participating in parades is viewed as a day out for the family. There are also many educational motives. Commemorative parades create a space for parents to educate their children about the Troubles and the struggles of the past, as well as teaching them about the politics of the republican movement and encouraging their involvement in the history and culture of republicanism. A study conducted by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum in 2015 found that many young people viewed joining a band as a means of celebrating and promoting their culture and community as well as exploring their ‘Irishness’ (Feenan 2015: 10). Seventeen-year-old Charlotte, from Banna Cuimhneachán, knew she wanted to join a band when she heard stories from her mother’s experiences and saw videos of past band parades; it made her question the political state of the country. She noted: ‘once you get more involved, I think the more you get influenced to join things like [bands] cause you just want to be part of it’ (Charlotte in interview, 10 June 2009). Similarly, before becoming a member of the Irish Patriots, Frankie marched with a different band, whose leader encouraged regular ‘political education’ meetings to teach the band about the republican movement. Frankie, who is dyslexic and left school before completing his GCSEs, revealed that rebel songs got him interested in playing in a band, which in turn has helped shape his understanding of republicanism. Regardless of his troubles with dyslexia, he ‘would read a lot of books about the IRA and republicanism in Ireland and stuff’ and this in turn helps him to appreciate the songs on a different level (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009). Despite Frankie’s negative schooling experiences, he finds the political and historical education provided by the band and commemorative events to be engaging and interesting and led him to want to learn more. Joining a republican band requires commitment and persistence. Those who are interested usually contact the bandleader through a friend already in the band, through the band’s website or while at a parading event. Most bands require the same criteria to be met: that the potential member learns a certain number of songs on his or her chosen instrument, attends all practices and parades (or at least as many as possible), and shows genuine interest in the band and its ethos. All four bands in this study required members to be at least fifteen or sixteen years of age. However, the reality is sometimes different. For example, younger children of long-time band members are often accepted as part of the

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band without having a clear role in terms of membership, but older children in their teenage years are accepted as having made an active choice to be in the band of their own accord and are expected to participate as such. Different bands have different requirements and expectations for joining them. For example, the Irish Patriots, a city band with roughly twenty-three members, often recruits new members at parading events or through word of mouth in the community. Often, a friend of a current member is brought to a practice and ‘interviewed’ by the bandleader to assess the person’s interest in the band and its ethos. This interview is short and informal, and consists mostly of a discussion regarding the potential member’s motivations, level of commitment and interests pertaining to republican history. Once a member is accepted into the band, they have to continue to prove their dedication and motivation by working hard to learn their place in the band. By contrast, Saoirse Volunteers, a rural band with just under thirty members, requires potential young members to learn at least fifteen songs before being acknowledged as a member. Terence explained that this was for two reasons: that it was ‘a way of testing them to see if they’d do a bit of work’, because if they learned the fifteen songs, ‘then you knew they were serious about what they wanted [and] it worked as a deterrent for somebody who was too young’ (Terence, in interview, 26 October 2008). In the twenty-odd years the band has been in existence it has built up a repertoire of around sixty songs, although not all members will know all sixty songs. This is because older members may prefer a song that younger members do not want to learn, and vice versa. In parades, only those members who know the song will play it. Also, the band does not dictate which fifteen songs to learn out of the sizeable genre of rebel tunes, but instead allows the prospective member to choose. Terence believes that if they are encouraged to learn the songs they want to learn, prospective members will be motivated to learn the flute faster. Older candidates are not required to learn the fifteen songs before being considered a member, but they do have to learn at least fifteen of the most popular songs in the band’s repertoire before they are allowed to march. It is expected that as older members they will put in more time and effort into learning, and that they will be able to do this almost autonomously. They are ‘tested’ on their progress in a more casual way, usually by being asked directly how they are ‘coming along with the flute’. Conversely, younger members put a strain on bandleaders in terms of responsibility for their care and welfare while out at parades. The time and energy more experienced band members expend on teaching newcomers, particularly the young, is considerable and this is why younger members have their commitment tested more vigorously, usually by being asked to demonstrate their ability in front of the rest of the band. As these ‘testing’ methods are not hard and fast rules, however, occasionally a member will march before their fifteen songs are learnt, particularly if the band is short

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on members for a parade. In an instance such as this, the player may ‘ghost play’, or pretend to play, those songs they have yet to master. Although almost all bands expect that new members will learn to play chiefly by watching and trial and error, the process of learning to play with the rest of the band is different depending on the support offered by experienced members of the band. For instance, Banna Cuimhneachán asks that any potential member attend ‘lessons’ with a senior band member for the first fifteen to twenty minutes of each practice. In these private sessions, which may include three or four new beginners, each member is quizzed on their ability to play from a page of ABC-notated music and to hit certain notes (usually the higher ones) reliably. Songs that are popular with the band are practised until they can be played confidently. During these sessions, the rest of the band unpacks the instruments from storage lockers or members’ cars while catching up on gossip or chatting about upcoming events. When the instruments are unpacked and ready, the band lines up in formation. They may begin to march back and forth across the main hall before the private session ends. The newcomers slip into line and the band continues to march. A member at the back calls out the name of the next song a few beats after the current one finishes. Members designated to ‘call’ the songs alternate to allow other members to practise being the caller. The Irish Patriots split into sections at each practice, with percussion in one room, colour party in another and flute players divided into smaller mixed groups of newcomers and more established members. Towards the end of the first hour, the members come together to practise a few tunes that may have been giving them trouble, or simply just to play as a group. If there is a parade coming up and the weather is mild, the band assembles outside and marches round the car park to practise. Occasionally, they also march in the social hall where they meet, but more often they focus on their playing. The Rebels, a city band with about thirty members, also practise on a Sunday, but only after everyone has recovered from the previous night. Being made up of fairly young members who enjoy a night out at the weekend, this band is not as strict on its membership requirements. The membership of this band tends to be in flux. Members seem to leave for a break and then return after several weeks. When the bandleader or members were questioned about this flexibility, they were reluctant to discuss it, leading to the conclusion that either the members’ behaviour was excused for the sake of friendship or that it was a sensitive and tense subject. Though it was mentioned a few times at practices that members are expected to attend, this never seemed to pose a problem at parades. The band almost always had a fair turnout of members at any given parade. Only once during the period of fieldwork did they fail to make a parade commitment because of insufficient members turning up on the day. Learning to march is done by watching and doing, with the basic commands briefly explained and new members instructed to ‘follow along and watch the

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others’. To march, a band member must keep track of step, so that his or her left foot falls on the drum tap, and the right arm swings up to roughly a forty-five degree angle and back down in time to the drum tap in coordination with other members. The left hand is usually reserved for carrying a flute (down at one’s side or tucked under the arm), drumsticks (resting on top of the drum) or flag (held out at a slight angle from the body), but each band may vary their style according to what they feel is most comfortable. While marching, members must gauge their spacing as evenly as possible. One line should cover the whole of the possible space on the street so that the band covers the most territory. When at ease, band members should have their legs at a shoulder’s width apart, and hands folded behind the back. In some bands, only one or both hands are folded behind the back and in other bands, the hands may be folded in front. Each band has its own opinion as to which is the ‘correct’ stance. Band members usually start off by joining the colour party. This allows them to begin marching at parades as quickly as possible, and, in that time, they concentrate on learning how to march and to follow commands. Some never leave the colour party, preferring instead to continue carrying a flag, but most bandleaders encourage new members to move on to an instrument as soon as they are ready. This means they can keep colour party positions open for newcomers and thus get everyone out on the street marching as soon as possible. Not only does this cement involvement with the band from the start, but it encourages participation and feeds interest and motivation until new members are able to play sufficiently well. New players must work hard to learn their chosen instrument. Generally, they have a choice as to which instrument they would like to play, but they are encouraged to play the flute as most bands are in need of more flute players. Republican bands use the one-key B• flute, and they typically do not play songs with harmony parts.4 The common brand flute is Miller Brown and it is a small piccolo-like flute with a range of roughly two octaves.5 If a newcomer wishes to learn the drums he (for the potential drummer is likely male, for reasons discussed later) is usually directed towards a side drum first of all unless the band needs a bass drummer trained rather quickly (for example, for the annual Easter parades). Bass drums are heavy and carry a lot of responsibility in terms of timekeeping. The side drum is a basic marching snare, made out of wood with a plastic or synthetic drumhead and carried via a leather or cloth strap that hangs diagonally across the drummer’s body. The term ‘side drum’ most likely came about because the bulk of the drum rests against the opposite leg from the shoulder strap and therefore is off to one side. More elaborate harnesses straddle both shoulders and centre the drum around the drummer’s midsection, allowing for a more even tone quality (because the drum is less likely to move as much while the player marches) and causing less strain on the player. The more expensive

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variety of drums have ‘floating heads’, which produce a louder and crisper sound because of the way the drum head is suspended between its metal anchor and the drum’s frame. A small, arched leg rest fastened onto the bottom inside of the frame keeps the pointy metal lugs (for tightening the drum heads) from bruising the drummer’s knee and provides stability for playing. Still, it is not easy to play a drum that sways back and forth and, if the road is uneven or if the marching tempo speeds up, it requires extra concentration to keep one’s rhythm and volume even and constant. Perhaps this skill constitutes a large part of the selection process for drummers: drummers cannot ‘ghost play’ without being obvious as flute players can and sometimes do. Also, there are only so many drums a band can afford to purchase, not to mention that too many drums can easily overpower flutes in volume. Commitment also plays a large part in selecting drummers. Bandleaders are reluctant to assign a newcomer to the drums until they assess the level of commitment they can expect from the newcomer. Mistakes are more obvious on the drums, and therefore drummers are expected to know their parts quite well before being allowed to march as a drummer. Frankie, a drummer with the Irish Patriots, explains how his perseverance and determination led to his eventual position as ‘lead tip’ (lead drummer): At the start I went in and I asked, ‘could I do [play] a drum?’ and they said no, they already had enough drummers … so I listened to the drums and taught myself, and one day when the bandleader was about, I just picked up a drum and started playing in front of him and he was just like, ‘Jeez, you’ve got something there, you know?’ He just gave me the time and he gave me a chance and maybe about two years later, I became lead tip of the band … New people would come in and I was training them up and stuff, you know, so I went from zero to hero! (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009) Many side drummers who contributed to the research began drumming in similar circumstances, repeatedly expressing their interest, until one day given the chance to prove their dedication. Some are surprised in the work involved: playing the drums is not an easy task. It requires concentration and a lot of practice outside rehearsals. Even with practice, some members may find it too difficult to maintain an even rhythm. Though they are given ample chance, they may eventually be asked to consider playing the flute instead. In addition to other responsibilities of everyday life (work, school, homework, childcare, other commitments), learning a new instrument can be quite a responsibility. And the process of learning to drum comes with its own set of difficulties: rarely does one receive – even as a loan – a drum to practise on when away from band practice. Aspiring drummers learn on borrowed practice drum pads, or anything that

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will produce a sound similar in tension to the side drum (for instance, pencils on a CD case, drumsticks on pieces of wood, etc.). In one band, a drummer who has been side drumming for several years still only plays the same few musical phrases, as learning new ones requires more time than he can spare and are likely, he reluctantly admits, beyond his skill level. This might explain why many members of republican bands are young, because they can spare the time and effort that is required to learn an instrument. Of the sixty-six members who filled in the survey, thirty were under the age of twenty-five (see Appendix I for survey results). Regardless of the instrument they choose, it is expected that new members will learn to play and practise almost entirely independently. Each band has its own method for teaching and encouraging newcomers, and though more experienced members are generally expected to assist newer members for any given request, typically this task falls to the same few appointed ‘teachers’. Newcomers are given their own B• flute, instructions on how to clean and care for it, a fingering chart and a few songs to learn using the simpler ABC notation rather than classic Western music notation. (Drummers, as mentioned above, practise on whatever they have readily available.) The names of the notes are listed on the page to resemble the melody of the song, but nothing is written to indicate tempo, timbre, volume, rhythm or note duration. An accent mark is used to mark a note in a higher octave. For instance, a phrase from the song ‘Ballad of Joe McDonnell’ may be notated like this: EDCCCDEG GAGAĆE GAGFEEGEFED The notes are written to remind players of the general melody of the song, but rhythm, tone and tempo are all worked from memory or from CDs of the songs played by rebel groups. Once learned, the songs are committed to memory and written music is not used during a parade. Musical embellishments, such as grace notes, varying rhythms and tempos, or drum accompaniment vary by band as per their tastes, the song’s arrangement and the skill level of the players. Although some bands allow members to learn songs of their choice by ear instead, eventually newcomers will need to learn most, if not all, of the band’s repertoire. If they are learning to play the side drum, their tuition will usually take longer before they are declared ready to march. All members are expected to practise in their spare time and to attend every band practice and as many parades as they reasonably can. Without written notation for drummers, some members use their mobile phones to record the songs practised during rehearsal to play along to at home. Others develop keen memories and memorize as much of the drumming patterns for each song as they can. Since most drumming patterns are kept simple for parading, memorizing the riffs is not an impossible task.

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In general, members are expected to conduct themselves respectfully during parades and talk only if necessary (for instance, to relay instructions or to remind someone to space out, keep in step, etc.). For smaller parades, the mood is more relaxed and members often chat amongst themselves when there are few people lining the streets. Some members take this unspoken rule more seriously than others: some members view their role in the band as one with respect and authority, while others enjoy the casual and friendly nature of banter that occurs during most social events in Northern Ireland. The majority of parades are commemorative and are not competitive. There are no real consequences for marching out of step or for not maintaining a straight line. Bandleaders are less concerned with exactitude than with enthusiasm, cultivating a general understanding of the movement and a show of numbers on the street. More members means more support for the republican movement and they fill out the band in terms of sound, establishing a stronger presence at commemorations and events. As the bands are community led and driven, a more relaxed approach to marching also means the band is more inclusive. Patrick, a member of Banna Cuimhneachán, remarked that sometimes, to be good, a band does not necessarily need lots of members but just a bit of self-belief: Our band isn’t a massive band. At most we’ll have 14, 15 fluters, but the majority of the time we have either 10 or 12 fluters [out on parade]. So to come up against a band with 16, we’ll hold our own no bother at all [because we have] good strong fluters, a good drum corps, and just the confidence to keep going. (Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009) To get into a marching formation, members line up roughly four across. The colour party carries the flags (and sometimes a wreath or two) and marches at the front. Their line-up depends on what flags they choose to carry. Typically, there is at least the Irish Tricolour (in front), followed by a line with the Sunburst (the flag of Fianna na hÉireann) and the Starry Plough. There may also be the flags of the four provinces of Ireland (Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaught) and they also occupy a line to themselves. In a full colour party of seven members, they will form a triangle at the head of the band (see Figure 3.1 and 3.2). Behind the colour party there are the side drummers who play marching snare drums. There are usually between three and six side drummers. If there are six, they will march in two lines of three; if there are five, they may march five across or have one line of three drummers followed by a line of two drummers. There is no rule; it is simply about the band’s individual preference. Bass drummers follow the side drummers, and the flutes make up the rest of the band formation. If there are members who are too young to carry a flag and not yet proficient on a flute, they may carry wreaths, cymbals or other percussion

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Figure 3.1 A band marches with a typical colour party line-up: the Tricolour at the front, two Sunbursts (or one Sunburst and one Starry Plough) behind, and finally the flags of the Four Provinces, 2016. Photograph by the author.

Figure 3.2 A different band marches with an abbreviated colour party: the Tricolour in front followed by the flags of the Four Provinces, 2008. Photograph by the author.

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instruments (such as a concert triangle). They may march behind the drummers but in front of flutes; they may be interspersed in the flute section; or they may march behind the colour party but before the drummers. Their position is usually dependent on what they are carrying, how many there are and what the bandleader feels is the best position for them. Since members carrying these items are generally inexperienced, the bandleader may choose a position for them where older band members can keep watch over them during the course of the parade. For instance, in one small parade, when he could not obtain a babysitter, a bass drummer’s three-year-old daughter accompanied the band in between the two bass drummers. A baton was quickly made up for her to carry, devised from a bass drum stick wrapped in green, white and orange tape. As it was an informal parade at the opening of a local GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) match, band members overlooked the fact that she slowed down the band and instead applauded her efforts.

Band Hierarchy and Player Status There is no stable hierarchy in a republican band. While an individual is generally considered to be the leader, that person is more often the main contact for the band as opposed to an elected official operating within a council. Typically, the bandleader organizes invitations and attendance at upcoming parades; they might also be the spokesperson of the band or the one who organizes practice times and venues. Bandleaders generally take responsibility for final decisions regarding the band but, in most cases, they involve the whole membership for decisions. Members who have been in the band for a long time (five years or more) are generally more respected by others and therefore may have more influence in the decision, but this is to be expected, as their loyalty to the maintenance and success of the band has already been proven. Band leadership often develops organically. Of the four bands studied, three of the current bandleaders were not the original founders of the bands, but many of them, though young, were old enough to join when the band was formed. They showed their leadership skills early on and inspired those members whose dedication flagged. Two of the bandleaders came into a position of authority when the band was faced with disintegration or lack of leadership, and they chose to take up the responsibility. When asked about the process of becoming a bandleader, Jim described an egalitarian method of including everyone in almost all decisions regarding the running of the band and its participation in events and commemorations: Well, there’s a number of us who would do that, who would be leaders as such. I have a thing personally where I try not to take all [the responsibility]; nobody’s getting any younger so we need to bring everybody on. It means that if I was to walk away from it tomorrow somebody

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who’s eighteen would say I’ll have a dig at that, I’ll look after that, which is what we try and do. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim pointed out that one of the aims he has for his band is that they become more self-motivated and self-inspired. From his perspective, he believes that the more responsibility that is passed on to the membership the more loyalty and interest they will have in preserving the band. Also, he feels that a democratic approach when making decisions, such as which parades to attend and which uniform to wear, allows members greater input into the band’s presentation. This approach also boosts camaraderie within the group and engenders a sense of value for each member as an active participant of the group. By passing the decision-making process off to the group as a whole, bandleaders are encouraging members – no matter how young – to take a portion of responsibility for the choices the band makes. It could be a simple decision, such as whether or not enough members can clear their schedules to attend a parade. Or it could be a more complicated decision, such as attending a parade that requires transportation. Since hiring a chartered bus is expensive, the band has a few choices available: they could hire the bus and forego new uniforms or instrument repairs; those members with cars could choose to do the driving, thereby incurring their own time and expense; the band could host a fundraiser, and with that choice comes a new set of decisions to be made; finally, the band could choose not to attend at all. The final choice is not a pleasant one, nor one taken lightly. Ignoring or refusing an invitation not only appears rude but also carries with it the insinuation that the band is not interested. As the majority of parades are commemoration parades for volunteers who have died as a result of the Troubles, turning down a parade can be a serious issue. Also, attending more parades means increased visibility for the band and a chance to show off. And, of course, few are loath to give up the opportunity to travel and meet other bands. Occasionally, however, this is the only viable option when there are not enough funds, cars or members able to free their weekend schedules. More serious decisions, such as a change in uniform style or the choice and subsequent transcription of a new song into the band’s repertoire, though debated freely among members, were often left up to the discretion of the senior membership (i.e. those who had been in the band the longest). By attending a parade each band demonstrates its support and respect for the host band and the volunteer for whom the commemoration is taking place. Their presence at commemorations is much more about a show of respect than a performance. For this reason, republican bands rarely compete in the same way that loyalist bands often do.6 When republican bands do hold competitions, which happens roughly twice a year in conjunction with commemorative events, they are friendly competitions with the aim of rewarding the band that displays

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the most pride and effort. One year, this meant rewarding a band with few experienced (and therefore musically skilled) members that endeavoured to attend and parade anyway; their enthusiasm and commitment was acknowledged in a speech given by a noted politician at that commemoration. In another example, it meant awarding a small trophy to a band that had worked hard to achieve a cohesive sound and that marched well as a group. Bands also offer an opportunity of escape and a chance to enable the individual to grow. For some, participation in a republican band is the only place where they are allowed to be someone important and they can break free of their everyday status. For instance, Gerard drives a bus every day and earns little respect from his job or bus patrons, but as an established member who has played the bass drum with the band for over ten years, he helps to keep the other drummers in line both literally while marching and in terms of their behaviour when at practices. Playing the bass drum has given him an enviable status in the band. This became clearest when, after a couple months’ leave of absence for personal reasons, he returned to the band to find his position threatened and, feeling upset at his replaceability, he contemplated leaving the band altogether. Scott, also a bass drummer, uses his membership in the band to express his republican identity and to encourage his children to explore theirs (his eldest daughter is now a full-fledged band member, though she is still quite young). In another example, friends Jenny and Aoife both had parents who participated in republican bands. Both work in mundane jobs that frustrate them with the day-to-day troubles of office politics and repetitive work. Both mentioned that the band offers an escape and an outside interest that they look forward to on the weekends. Aoife has become the unofficial leader of the colour party, personally making sure that newcomers are aware of how to hold a flag properly and to keep in step while marching. Jenny was quite irritated when a fundraiser for the band was poorly attended by band members. She felt there were few excuses that would justify missing the fundraiser the band so badly needed. Both women felt that their participation in the band is part of a tradition for them, because each had family in the band before them and felt an additional pressure to help maintain the band’s membership and welfare. These examples offer a small window into the personal motivations and aspirations of band members and they illustrate how participation in a republican band can provide structure and significance to members’ everyday lives.

Republican Bands and Young People The research so far has touched on the experiences of young people and has described their motivation for joining republican parading bands. Of any demographic group, young people especially are attracted to republican bands. In the 1980s, when republican bands were more abundant, young people were attracted by the noise, the colour and the element of resistance and rebellion

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that accompanied joining a republican band. In the twenty-first century, a more common reason for joining a republican band for young people is to learn about the republican struggle and to become involved in the republican movement. While education and involvement were reasons that were cited formally, there were other benefits for young people observed during my time with the bands. Being in a republican band allows young people (as well as older members) to explore their own political identity and learn more about republican history from people who are passionate about it. Participation provides an opportunity to travel and meet other young people with similar interests. Attending commemorations and events educates them in republican rhetoric and reinforces for them the significance of commemoration by reminding them that they are part of a living history; it allows them to demonstrate that they are willing to uphold their ideals publicly. Encouraging younger members to join a band engages them in politics in a way that does not involve sitting around a table listening to tedious discussion or stepping into the sometimes intimidating world of the cumainn (Sinn Féin political groups) and the Ard Fheis (Sinn Féin’s annual political conference). Playing with a republican band channels energy and interest into a creative format whilst allowing a taste of social freedom. Commemorative events provide an ideal space to introduce and maintain a dialogue on political issues. They urge young people to ask questions about the purpose of commemorating and the reasons for remembering the republican past. The curiosity of the younger generation is imperative for republicanism to maintain momentum and for the struggle to continue. Becoming involved in events like commemorations also offers young people a chance to explore their republican identity outside of their immediate family unit. Frankie, a member of the Irish Patriots, admitted that watching band parades had a striking effect on him as a young teen. In the interface area where he lived, he was exposed to many band parades and dreamed of becoming a member, particularly a drummer. In the beginning, he confesses that he joined because ‘when I was young it was about being with my friends and having a good time with my friends. It wasn’t really as much about politics as it is now’ (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009). Since then he has devoted much of his time to learning more about the political history of Northern Ireland, despite problems with dyslexia and in spite of having no familial connection to the republican movement. When asked if this has caused any problems for him within his family, he replied: ‘At the start they were probably a wee bit uneasy for my own safety or whatever, but they knew that’s what I wanted to do so they supported me 100%’ (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009). He also adds that being in a band contributed hugely to his knowledge of politics and the republican movement, noting that, in another band he participated in, he was obliged to attend lectures on politics and the movement:

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Every Sunday I had a political education [class], you know to give you a bit of insight into why you’re here and what’s happening in your country. And me and a few boys used to take the classes and go to them with younger people in the youth wing of the movement. (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009) The bands offer an education and a forum to explore the motivation behind the republican movement, but they are also an entertaining way of becoming part of the political scene and a part of the wider republican community. Membership of the band and travelling to events provides a social element; learning an instrument offers the chance of developing new skills and discovering talent. Being a part of the band gives members the feeling of being a part of the republican movement, although sometimes to its detriment. Micheál joined the Irish Patriots at age sixteen, but left after a few months due to pressure from Sinn Féin to join the party officially. When Sinn Féin activists came to his house on several occasions and asked him to join Sinn Féin, he felt harassed. As his interest in the band was more social than political, the frequent questioning made him feel uncomfortable and turned him against politics. He was uncertain of his opinions on Sinn Féin’s politics at the time and felt pressured into a decision he was not ready to make, even though he admitted that, given space and time to make up his mind, he probably would have eventually joined of his own accord. Instead, he dropped out of the band and lost interest in politics. Although Micheál’s story was atypical among the members who agreed to share their experiences, it was not surprising. Within the Irish Patriots there was a strong expectation that members (including myself) would volunteer to assist with leaflet drops, fundraisers and political events (aside from commemorations) where members would attend not as band members, but as Sinn Féin supporters. Conor, a Saoirse Volunteers member in his late teens, believes that the bands are an ideal way to get young people involved in politics while learning a new skill, particularly in the financially neglected area of town where his band is based. He stated that the band gives members a sense of pride and an outlet for political expression, particularly for young people who need an uplifting experience, a focus to stay out of trouble and a place in the community. Although other members in the band are not as active as Conor in the Ógra Shinn Féin cumann that he participates in, his enthusiasm remains undaunted. Conor and Micheál’s experiences reveal a broad truth: while the number of republican bands in Northern Ireland has slowly decreased over the past twenty years, the reasons for joining a republican band now reflect a desire to understand republican culture and to engage with current politics. Instead of being bound by a tradition of hierarchy, republican bands credit active involvement with the devolvement of responsibility. For example, Brandon, a sixteen-year-old side

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drummer in the Irish Patriots, was given the role of lead drummer shortly before my fieldwork commenced. This duty gave Brandon status within the band, increased his loyalty and dedication to the band and allowed him to show off his musical skills. (Brandon was one of the few band members interviewed who had taken formal music lessons.) Brandon’s status gave other members something to aspire to and demonstrated that commitment is rewarded with responsibility, something young people often crave. However, responsibility is frequently viewed with differing perspectives. Brandon often attempted to raise the level of musical standard among the drummers by adding complicated cadences and back-sticking7 to his introductory musical riffs, but his efforts were scolded by Liam, who told him to ‘stop playing that Protestant shite’. Brandon regularly shrugged off what was presumably meant as an insult, but one day he retorted, ‘Well, I’ll just go and be in a Protestant band then’. Brandon’s response indicates frustration at the limitations of what is expected musically from a republican band. Having had formal lessons, Brandon was eager to increase the standard of musicality and thus his own interest in the music. Liam, on the other hand, wished to maintain the band’s identity as an uncomplicated music-making venture that seeks to be allinclusive to a variety of musical abilities, his own included. He intimated that, by complicating the musical cadences, Brandon was alienating those drummers who could not perform such complicated rhythms or who had little time to learn the riffs. The display of active participation by young people demonstrates to the public that republicanism is on the rise and will continue to grow with the new generation. Barry McColgan, the national organizer of Ógra Shinn Féin from 2006–2009, confirmed that since 2004 there has been a steady growth of ÓSF youth clubs (called cumainn) around the whole of Ireland (Barry, in interview, 23 November 2007). This indicates the establishment of the structure and discipline of the organization. Seeing the participation of young people at commemorative events buoys the motivation of older generations who have been involved since the early days of the Troubles. It also demonstrates to other young people that it is possible to have a voice in today’s less turbulent political climate. And being in a republican band is more youth-friendly, as Jim explains: If [bands] weren’t there [at parades] it would be a disaster! The Easter parade is probably the biggest parade in our [community], and it would dwindle to nothing. You’d get the diehards that go to it but you wouldn’t get the families out with the kids. How do you get a child to go to a parade? Because you don’t say to them, ‘come on down to this parade’, it’s always been ‘come down and see the bands’. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007)

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Jim also suggested that bands today are set up partly to ‘harness an amount of energy from republican youth’. In the last fifteen years since he joined and then led a band, he has noticed that youth tend towards a negative focus, such as rioting and petrol bombing. But, he added, ‘there still [needs] to be a focus for republican youth in this day, to use that energy for positive’ (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007). With the peace process making progress, many bands are making an effort to focus young energy via constructive methods.

The Republican Family and the Gender of Republicanism Although interviewees occasionally referred to the republican community as ‘the republican family’, not everyone in the republican movement is related of course. But it is common to see families and relatives participating in bands.8 In the survey, band members were asked if any family members were also in the band and forty-four out of sixty-six (67%) replied ‘yes’. There were a few members, such as Frankie from the Irish Patriots, who revealed that they had no familial connections to republican bands or republicanism in any way. In Frankie’s case, it was the music, the attraction of being on parade, and a circle of friends who were interested in joining that eventually led to his own membership (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009). Some younger members have joined because their parents or other family members are participants. Terence, the leader of the Saoirse Volunteers, has three children in their teens and two of them have joined the band. At first, Terence refused to take them along in the car and they walked to band practices. Terence explained this was for two reasons: the first was to ensure that their interest and commitment was strong enough; second, he did not want the rest of the band to think he would give his children special treatment when it came to upholding their responsibilities (such as attending practices and learning to play). After several months, Terence’s children proved that their commitment was as strong as his, and they remain members of the band. All three of Mary Ann’s children have joined Banna Cuimhneachán. Although they were introduced to the band through their mother, they joined to experience it for themselves and to learn more about republican history through the commemorations the band attends. Mary Ann views the band as a family activity and calls the nights when band practices are held ‘family nights’. A cousin is also in the band and the teenagers have become friends. During parading events they can often be seen sitting and chatting together. Mary Ann’s youngest child was too young to join the band when this research was being carried out, but he attended practices and watched his sisters, cousin and mother march. Now he is an accomplished flute player and marches with confidence alongside his family members. Mary Ann’s experience in the band struck me as interesting, as she has been a member of different republican bands on and off for over twenty years. She

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took a break when she had her children and they were young, but when her two eldest became teenagers (and members) and her youngest was old enough to entertain himself at practices (but not old enough to join), she resumed playing with the band. Cal, also a member of Banna Cuimhneachán, pointed out that several women over the years during his membership left when they married or had children, though he could not speculate an exact figure (Cal, in interview, 25 March 2009). He observed that many women in the band joined in their early teens and played with the band until they left to begin a family (Cal, in interview, 25 March 2009). In the survey, the majority of women (82%) replied that they had been in a republican band between one and ten years; broken down, equal numbers (24%) responded to being in a band for between one to two years and five to ten years respectively (18% had been in a band for between two to five years). Only one woman replied that she had been in a band over ten years, and only one woman had been in a band over fifteen years. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to join in their later teens and fit family and work commitments around band practices and events. Nineteen of the forty-five men (42%) who responded to my survey had been in a republican band for over fifteen years, with the next highest majority (34%) having been a member between two and five years. Of course, some men do leave the band when their priorities change, or when interest in the movement was eclipsed by the desire to spend more time with family. Dean enjoyed drumming with the Irish Patriots for several years, but when his daughter was born, he wished to spend more time at home with her and his wife, who did not fully agree with Dean’s participation in the band. At the same time, his job demanded more of him, and he felt he could no longer keep his commitments to his family, his work and the band. He continues to attend parades, but as a spectator and usually with his family. A brief conversation with his wife conveyed that her concern regarding Dean’s membership of a republican band was focused on how it might paint Dean’s identity and reputation in society in general. She worried that he would be stereotyped as an IRA supporter and possibly targeted by those opposed to the band’s existence. Similarly, Neal enjoyed playing with his band for almost twenty years, but a new job in Belfast introduced him to more people with a variety of backgrounds. In 2016, he marched in his last parade, saying that although he enjoyed marching and still believed in the existence of the band and its activities, he felt too uncomfortable about the possibility of being ‘discovered’ by his co-workers as a member of a republican parading band. For Neal, he felt he could not risk any conflict with his work colleagues, with whom he works closely. For other members, although they may work alongside the same diversity of people, their belief in the band and the movement eclipses any concern over the risk of losing their job or offending workmates.

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In contrast to loyalist bands, almost all republican bands are equally open to women. It is clear from watching many republican bands on parade that in the world of republican bands, membership is roughly equal where gender is concerned, although this is a fact not reflected in the survey conducted as part of this research. This discrepancy is because, of the five bands who filled out the survey, two bands had a high majority of men to women. Radford notes that in her research on gender roles in loyalist bands, ‘these [loyalist] bands present women in a subordinate and unequal light, propagating conservative and exclusive values often mirrored in the wider social setting’ (2001: 57). While the wider social setting she refers to is likely economically and socially similar to that which Catholic republicans experience, this is not reflected in the membership, structure or hierarchy of republican bands. One reason might be offered in Valiulis’s observation: ‘From the onset of the 1916 Easter Rising through the struggle for independence and the civil war, women assumed a prominent role in putting Ireland’s case for freedom before the world’ (1995: 217). Sinn Féin has adopted this view, placing the actions of Countess Markievicz9 alongside other Easter revolutionaries such as James Connolly and Padraig Pearse. However, aside from a few key figures, republicanism is dominated by male heroes. McClintock has asserted that ‘gender difference between women and men serves to symbolically define the limits of national difference and power between men’ and that ‘[w]omen are typically construed as the symbolic bearers of the nation, but are denied any direct relation to national agency’ (1993: 62, emphasis in original). This would imply that although women may contribute to nationalism and to nationalistic aims, their involvement is marginalized as men vie for power. Ryan claims this is because women are seen as ‘the keepers of traditional culture which has the effect of locking women into traditional roles within the private realms of domesticity and family’ (1999: 256). Although Sinn Féin publicly promotes the participation of women in political spheres, and although women readily participate in republican parading bands, both arenas are still largely dominated by men. For instance, all bandleaders interviewed were men, even though band membership is approximately equal. And although I participated as a drummer in one parading band, there was only one other female drummer who regularly marched, which makes drumming a male-dominated pursuit. In more recent years, women – some as young as fourteen – have been taking up positions as drummers. In 2016, at Belfast’s annual republican Easter parade, four female drummers were present in three different bands. And later that year, at the annual Hunger Strike Commemoration parade, several female drummers, including one bass drummer, were marching. Scott, a member of the Irish Patriots, has a daughter who is not only a member of the band but also enjoys playing the bass drum and often makes a show of playing alongside her father. But while this number is

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changing, it is changing slowly. This is perhaps, as Radford (2001: 51) observed, because women perceive drumming to be less feminine than other forms of music-making. It is clear, however, that this is one area where republican bands differ markedly from traditional loyalist bands.

Conclusion In the current political climate, bands are struggling to survive. Many of them have never applied for funding, but instead hold fundraisers, go door-to-door asking for donations or set up booths at local shops for donations at particular times of the year. There is a perception that state funded grants, such as those from the Arts Council, are reserved for Protestant/unionist/loyalist bands, and this causes much bitterness. The accuracy of this perception is untested, however, because the bandleaders with whom I spoke about this issue did not care to discuss specifics. In my opinion, it is the associated symbolism (such as bass drum images and inappropriate song repertoires) that denies republican bands access to grants such as these. As the need for loud resistance dwindles, with battles fought at the polls instead, so the community donations dwindle. Band members often contribute financially towards the cost of hiring a bus to attend an out-of-town parade or travel independently by car and carpool. Above all, interest in joining a band as an explicit demonstration of resistance or for the purpose of public protest to execute change is now declining, but the need for commemoration and veneration keeps the bands from extinction. Commemoration is the primary reason republican bands have stayed in existence; it is their core function. Youth join to learn about the movement, to be part of the republican community and to explore and negotiate their identity as republicans. Joining a republican band in the twenty-first century is more about commemorating those who lived and died during the Troubles. It is about learning about the past and becoming engaged in changing the future through political participation and activism.

Notes  1. An Phoblacht is an all-Ireland republican publication that, according to its website, has been known by various names and dates back to the 1790s. Its modern version was launched in 1970 and attracts a sizeable online presence. Available at: http://www. anphoblacht.com/about [accessed 25 September 2016].  2. These comments have been taken from the survey conducted in 2009. Unless otherwise attributed to a particular individual, all direct quotes in this chapter have been taken from survey responses. See Appendix I for survey data.  3. In 2006, Witherow found that there were approximately 700 bands in Northern Ireland; of those, 90% (633) were Protestant and 8% (54) were Catholic, with the remaining 2% (13) stating they were non-denominational. Of the 54 Catholic bands, 20 are classified as flute bands, which would include republican bands.

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 4. A few band members said that there used to be bands that played harmony parts, but the few bands they knew of have since dissolved.  5. For more on fluting instruments and types of notation used by parading bands in the North, see Ramsey (2009).  6. In loyalist bands, competitions are held frequently throughout the marching season and often provide a primary focus and motivation for parading and for perfecting musical skills. See Radford (2001); Ramsey (2009).  7. Back-sticking is a method of playing with the back end of the drumstick for the purposes of showmanship or display of skill. It is not uncommon to see back-sticking in loyalist parading bands, which often use the method to add interest to their playing in competitions.  8. Similarly, in his book Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA, English (2003) observes the strong influence of family in IRA recruitment.  9. Countess Markievicz, née Constance Gore-Booth, founded the Fianna na hÉireann, a boys’ club for young republicans, in 1909. She was sentenced to death for her participation in the Easter Rising, but due to her gender the sentence was commuted to life in prison.

Chapter 4

Parading Identities

q

I

n Northern Ireland, the concept of identity can be a sensitive topic. Identities are layered with meaning and significance deeply rooted in notions of ethnicity, locality and traditions. Expressions of identities are manifest in many different ways: from the football team that one supports to the bar one frequents to the school that one attends.1 Identities can be expressed in other, large-scale ways, too, such as murals painted on the side of a house or building (Jarman 1997) or the performance of a parade commemorating a particular hero or heroes of the past. This chapter analyses expressions of identities through an account of two separate Easter parades. These illustrate the form and tone of parades and highlight differences between them. The significance of Easter parading and how republicans have come to view Easter as a time of rededication and renewed commitment to the movement is investigated and examined. The concept of how identities are expressed and negotiated through parading and changing political contexts is also explored, before concluding with a brief summary of republican identities and how they are communicated through the media of symbols, images and parading.

Easter Sunday: An Ethnography of Parading 11am – The Irish Republican Socialist Party Parade It was Easter Sunday, 23 March 2008. As I approached the intersection of the Falls and Springfield roads (see Map 4.1), the unmistakable sound of drums could be heard. Bands had travelled from all over Northern Ireland to participate

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Map 4.1 Map of the Falls Road showing the route of the Easter parades. The start and ending locations of the first and second parades are marked (both finish in Milltown Cemetery), and the direction of both parades is marked with a black arrow. The site of the plaque commemorating Pearse Jordan on Hugo Street is noted; James Connolly’s house is not far from this location. Map courtesy of © OpenStreetMap and contributors, Creative Commons-Share Alike Licence (CC-BY-SA), www.openstreetmap.org. Additional modifications courtesy of Andrea Richardson.

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in the annual Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) Easter parade in Belfast and the crowds were beginning to gather. Kiosks selling rebel CDs, bouquets of flowers or wreaths, Tricolour flags or other trinkets were set up on the sidewalk at intervals along the route for spectators, participants or tourists to purchase. A few members of the police were about in fluorescent jackets, fielding traffic. Green, white and orange bunting was strung across the lamp posts and zigzagged above the street, and several Tricolour and Starry Plough flags were flying from telephone poles, lamp posts, businesses and houses. The number of spectators lining the streets amounted to around a couple of hundred or so, and many were there to film or photograph the parade. The first group of participants, a large colour party of about sixteen participants (seven of whom carried the four flags of the Provinces, a Tricolour, the Starry Plough and the Red Socialist flag), was already in place standing ‘at ease’ and casually chatting. They wore black beret hats, black knit military jumpers, black trousers, black boots, sunglasses and black masks that covered the bottom half of their faces and had an imposing presence. A helicopter hovered in the sky above. At quarter to twelve, someone in the parade line-up shouted a command. The colour party straightened up and faced forward. Band members gathered in block formation behind a group of relatives carrying wreaths and photos of deceased loved ones. Then, with another shout, a drum tap began and the parade began to march forward. Each band had its own smaller colour party marching in front of the drummers, with fluters bringing up the rear. The first band was comprised of fairly young members; some looked no older than thirteen or fourteen. Their uniforms were simple – black cargo trousers, black jackets and black berets; the drummers wore white button-down shirts and black ties instead of jackets. The colour party, instead of wearing black trousers, wore camouflage cargo trousers and black heavy-knit military jumpers. Behind the first band marched a small group of perhaps twelve men wearing the ‘uniform’ of ex-prisoners and mourners: white button-down collared shirts with black ties, black dress trousers and black shoes. Immediately following them a few men carried a banner that read: West of Scotland Band Alliance: Est 1979.2 The second – and last – band also had a young majority but had more members overall. Their uniforms were more militant in style: black heavy-knit military jumpers with thick olive-green belts, olive-green cargo trousers and black boots. They also wore beret hats. Their colour party was small – only three members, and they were dressed the same as the rest of the band, except for a few who wore dark sunglasses. In this band’s formation, the drummers marched behind the fluters and took up the rear of the band. As they made their way up the Falls Road towards Milltown Cemetery, they played several songs from the republican genre: ‘Go On Home’, ‘Foggy Dew’, and ‘Billy Reid’.

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As the bands marched, it was clear that precision (in terms of musicality or the act of marching) was not their first priority. Many were out of step with the beat and the drummers played slightly out of tempo. The tunes were simple versions of common and popular rebel songs, and the drumming was also kept simple. Some flutes were out of tune. Both bands alluded to the Republican Socialist Movement through images and letters painted on their bass drums or embroidered on their uniforms, such as red stars and the acronym ‘RSM’. Halfway to Milltown, as the Falls Road curves to the south, the parade halted, then the lead colour party did an about-turn to the left and dipped their flags simultaneously in time to a slow count and realization dawned that they were bestowing respect (see Figure 4.1). Although it was not apparent to what or whom they were paying tribute, perhaps the flag salute was in honour of Pearse Jordan, a Provisional IRA member who died in 1992 in suspicious circumstances after his car was stopped by the RUC near this location. According to the ballad, Pearse Jordan’s car was ‘rammed from every side’ and as he exited the car and ran, he ‘was shot and [he] died’.3 A plaque on the corner of the Falls Road and Hugo Street reads:

Figure 4.1 Tipping the flags as a sign of respect, 2007. Photograph by the author.

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In Memory of IRA Vol. Pearse Jordan, Murdered 25th November 1992. The fools, the fools, the fools, they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.4 Although it was strange that the IRSP would honour a Provisional IRA member when tensions between the two factions ran high, it was possible that the injustice felt surrounding the circumstances of Pearse Jordan’s death might transcend political party decorum. However, it transpired that the flag salute was in deference to the former Belfast address of revolutionary socialist James Connolly. After a moment’s silence, the flags lifted, the colour party faced forward and marched on. At the tail end of the parade were three lines of participants in casual, everyday clothes. As the parade passed, those standing on the sidelines joined in the lines of marchers. They did not march so much as walk and appeared to have no connection to one another other than to march side by side in three lines behind the last band. It was unclear if they were relatives of those who lost their lives during the Troubles or other supporters of the parade (perhaps from a political party), or simply just those who felt the desire to march and be visible. The parade entered Milltown Cemetery and gathered near the RSM’s plot. The speaker, Paul Little of the IRSP, greeted the crowd as ‘comrades, supporters and friends’. He acknowledged the ‘courage and tenaciousness of comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for a 32-county Irish socialist republic’, and sent ‘revolutionary greetings’ to those who had been incarcerated, claiming that their ‘continued incarceration is testament to the arrant failure of those who purport to represent the interests of the Irish working class, whilst swigging champagne and playing happy families with our oppressors’.5 There was little doubt that he was referring to Sinn Féin and the crowd stood in silence. Mr Little criticized Western democracy, asserting that it is a ‘weapon of the oppressor’ and that it ‘corrupts and divides the oppressed and disenfranchised, replacing the natural solidarity among our class with division, suspicion and poverty’. He noted that generations of Irish men and women have upheld the ‘noble aim’ of an Irish socialist republic, but he did not list names or any specific historical events. Instead, he declared that the IRSP was ‘experiencing measured growth’, and this was because of the IRSP’s involvement in civil rights campaigns throughout the island of Ireland (though he did not offer any more details). However, Mr Little made clear, the IRSP ‘seek no compromise and make no apology for our revolutionary actions’ and that a ‘working class movement that cannot defend, protect and nourish the interests of the Irish working class has no place calling itself a revolutionary movement’. Mr Little made no reference to any other class than the working class, and he did not draw on specific examples to make his point, other than to commemorate a friend (Frank ‘Bap’ McGreevy) who had recently been killed in his own home by ‘thugs’.

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Of McGreevy’s unfortunate murder, Mr Little said that the killing was not an isolated event and occurred due to ‘exploitation, poverty and hardship’ that had come about as a direct result of capitalism. As Mr Little began to conclude his speech, he mentioned the remembrance of ‘fallen Irish revolutionaries of past liberation campaigns on the anniversary of Easter 1916’. The general tone of Mr Little’s speech was wholly political and offered nothing in the way of formal historical remembrance, aside from an almost offhand comment referring to ‘fallen Irish revolutionaries’ on the anniversary of Easter 1916. He did not specify whether he meant to commemorate those who died because of the Easter Rising, or that the occasion of the anniversary of the Rising offered an opportunity for commemoration. His lack of specific detail in charting the progress of the movement sounded hollow, and in general the speech came across as more of a lecture than an invigorating political speech. Interestingly, eight years later, on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, Mr Michael McLaughlin’s Easter commemoration speech to the masses read very similarly: aside from a cursory mention of the events of Easter week 1916, and a nod to the ‘joint effort made by a wide range of republicans, nationalists, trade unionists and socialists’ that could ‘accurately be described as the first broad front in modern republicanism’, Mr McLaughlin steered the attention away from 1916.6 Instead, he boldly stated that the IRSP’s political position ‘will never be reconcilable with either rogue states on this island’, he commended the ‘martyrs who fought and died on Vinegar Hill’, and referred to members of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) as progressive republicans and socialists. The IRSP remains a staunch opponent of the Good Friday Agreement, and still carries much bitterness over Sinn Féin’s political success following Sinn Féin’s decision to support the Agreement. Before all the speakers had completely finished, I had to hurry to make it back down the Falls (towards the city centre) to be on time to witness the second (and main) parade (see Map 4.1). Shortly beyond Milltown, as the Falls entered the Whiterock area, food vans selling burgers and chips wafted the scent of onions and fried food into the air. Watching both parades meant that my lunch would most likely be chips instead of a lovely roast dinner, causing me to reflect on how many others would be sacrificing a home-cooked Easter meal to be out watching and participating in the parades today. 1PM – The Sinn Féin Parade (The Main Parade) On approaching Beechmount Avenue, the starting point of the second parade (see Map 4.1 and Figure 4.2), the crowds began to thicken. Band members in uniform could be seen ducking in and out of the side streets, and it appeared that the bands were assembling just out of sight off the parade route. There was an atmosphere of busy excitement now: hundreds of people, many with children dressed up and waving Tricolour flags, were lining the street. Everyone was

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talking – it seemed as if everyone knew everyone else. There were several people who were obviously tourists: they stood out because of their style of dress, the cameras hung around their necks, or, if close enough to hear, because they conversed in another language. This parade was due to begin at 1.30PM sharp, but the minutes were creeping by and no one seemed in a hurry to see it start. More and more people were arriving, and it was difficult to find a good vantage point. A bandleader from a well-known band caught my eye and came over for a friendly chat. Our conversation was interrupted when a pipe band, which had formed a circle in the middle of the road about a hundred yards away, began to play. They played ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ (A Soldier’s Song), the Irish national anthem, and wore the traditional dress of pipe bands: kilt, jacket, Glengarry-style hat, knee socks and brogues. They finished to cheers and applause from the spectators, then turned and faced forward, gathered in a formation of four lines of four across and began to march. A drum major, common in pipe bands but uncommon in republican bands, led the way using a mace to keep time. The bass drum was decorated with the words ‘Piobairi Uladh’ (The Ulster Pipers) on its side. This parade was clearly going to be much bigger than the earlier one. There were similar groups of relatives holding photos and wreaths, but there were many more of them – over a hundred or so altogether. Some parade participants

Figure 4.2 Crowds gather before the parade begins, 2009. Photograph by the author.

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represented historical groups such as the Pikemen and United Irishmen from the 1798 rebellion, the Irish Citizen Army of 1913, and IRA volunteers from the 1950s Border Campaign. There was also a main colour party (a group just carrying flags) dressed in black trousers, dark green jackets, black gloves and black beret hats with Easter lilies pinned to the sides. This colour party was alleged to represent the IRA. They carried the flags ‘in the manner of the IRA’ with the left hand above the right (although carrying in this style was debated) and their uniforms were meant to reflect the uniform of the IRA (though an ex-IRA volunteer stated that the IRA had no formal uniform). Although the flags they carried were unfurled, the carrier held down the corners of the flag to prevent it from flying free. This made identifying some of the flags difficult, as several of the flags have similar colours. It was clear they carried the Tricolour and the four flags of the Provinces, and a couple that represented local IRA brigades. The first band in the parade line-up entered from a side street playing ‘Boys of the Old Brigade’. They wore stylish band uniforms of black polo shirts and black trousers with contrasting horizontal stripes on their shirts. The band’s name and motto were embroidered on the sleeves and on the back of the collar. They also wore black hats in a beret style but with feathers pinned to the side in a colour coordinating with their uniform. The drummers did not wear hats at all, and the colour party did not wear feathers in their hats, but besides these subtle distinctions, no other differences in uniform were discernible. Other band members have commented negatively about this particular band’s uniform; they believe the colour combinations too flamboyant and the feathered hats too much like the style of Protestant marching bands, whose uniforms are more colourful and echo British regimental dress. The band’s colour party marched with their flags furled and tucked under one arm rather than standing them upright against the body and flying them. Apparently, this was in deference to the main colour party of the parade, who should be the only party marching with unfurled flags. In total, four bands (not including the pipe band) participated in the Easter parade, and all were republican. Each band had its name painted on the bass drum heads, and each name echoed an Irish republican sentiment through either a phrase or a well-known person (now dead) who had been ‘dedicated to the cause’, such as the Volunteer Sean McIlvenna Republican Flute Band from Glasgow or the North Armagh Martyrs. Some of the songs from the bands’ repertoires included: ‘James Connolly’, ‘Come Out You Black and Tans’, ‘The Two Brendans’, ‘Sean South’, ‘Rifles of the IRA’, ‘Mairead Farrell’, ‘Joe McDonnell’, ‘The Roll of Honour’, ‘Kevin Barry’, ‘Hughes Lives On’ and ‘A Nation Once Again’. This parade also ended at Milltown Cemetery, but by now there was no trace of the earlier parade participants. As the bands and participants marched in through the gates, spectators squeezed through the small gateways on either

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side of the main entrance. Once in the cemetery, the bands stopped playing and their formation dissolved, and everyone (bands, participants and spectators) made their way to the republican monument near the far end of the cemetery boundary. People lined up amongst the gravestones and gathered as close as they could and awaited the start of the speeches. Before the speeches began, a member of the National Graves Association recited a decade of the Rosary in Irish. Some members of the crowd mumbled along quietly, but most stood quietly in a manner of respect until she finished. There was the laying of wreaths, as different groups (such as the local Sinn Féin cumainn and the National Graves Association) were called forward to place a wreath of flowers at the base of the republican monument. Conor Murphy, Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, delivered the Easter statement of 2008. Within the first few sentences, Mr Murphy linked the present-day republican movement with the past: The ideals which drove republicans in Belfast to sacrifice their livelihoods, their freedoms and, ultimately, their lives are the same ideals which drove Tone and Emmett, the ideals which Pearse articulated on the steps of the GPO 92 years ago in the Proclamation, that is the true Irish Republic.7 Mr Murphy claimed that the support for republicanism was ‘stronger than ever before’, and after outlining the desired values and standards that supposedly would come with republican power, he reinforced the ideals of the republican community by calling attention to those who had already set an example: If you look at the lives of any of the volunteers buried in Milltown, the Hunger Strikers, the Gibraltar Martyrs and all of the others, you will find that spirit [of a better, peaceful nation] imbued in all of them; they were of this community and they fought, against great odds, for this community. Mr Murphy commended those ‘who have dedicated their entire lives to this struggle’ and promised: [T]he people of this community respect you for that and they know that the freedoms that they will enjoy have been built on the back of your sacrifice and the sacrifices of our patriot dead. The crowd was quiet and did not applaud or criticize him, but in common with other commemoration speeches, crowd participation or obvious reaction that may indicate agreement or otherwise was absent. It is possible that this is

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a method of conveying respect, since the form of republican commemorations resembles a graveside assembly at a funeral: for instance, the gathering at a memorial site, reading the roll of honour or listing the names of the dead, laying wreaths and flowers, or eulogistic speeches for those whom the commemoration is taking place. Mr Murphy used the language of inclusion to emphasize community. His recognition of the ‘sacrifices of the dead’ publicly acknowledges and legitimizes the actions of the dead – actions that often led to their deaths. Mr Murphy’s speech was more commemorative in tone than Mr Little’s had been. Although Mr Little spoke of political theory that (for him) confirmed republican socialist belief, Mr Murphy emphasized the historical past and made reference to the broader republican struggle, appealing to the cultural side of republicanism. The main feature that separates republican commemoration parades (and in particular, the Easter parade) is the political nature of these rituals. This will be explored further later in this chapter. Mr Murphy also mentioned the murder of Frank McGreevy, and described the killers as carrying out ‘thuggish behaviour’. Unlike Mr Little’s insinuation that society as a whole was to blame, Mr Murphy rebuked the killers and urged the community to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder’ in condemning violent behaviour. He clarified Sinn Féin’s stance on violence again later in the speech, after he described the difficulties – and the successes – of working in a power-sharing government. He asserted: The best way to resolve these matters [of difference] is through mature and sensible negotiation, to recognize that change is happening, that the old certainties of the past are gone – never to return, and to lead for your community in dealing with all of this. Although he did not specifically say so, Mr Murphy’s implied statements are clear: the ‘old certainties of the past’ refer to the PIRA’s firm belief in physical force republicanism. Contrary to Mr Little’s speech, Mr Murphy did not mention revolution, socialism or oppression. At one point he applauded the working class, commenting that the ‘DUP would be safer taking their lead from working class communities across this city, loyalist and republican, who have been quietly working together to ensure the safety and well-being of their neighbours in interface areas’. But his emphasis in this statement is in the cooperation of both loyalists and republicans, and when he mentioned ‘the active participation of all republicans, young and old, women and men’, he was appealing to their political ideals and beliefs over other factors such as class or religious affiliation. Mr Murphy did not refer to other republican groups as rivals or opposition, as Mr Little did, but instead offered the (understated) impression that ‘the actions of the few have cast a cloud of fear and negativity over West Belfast’. By not engaging in a public discourse with splintered republican groups, Mr

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Murphy effectively insinuated that these groups were not powerful enough to warrant discussion. However, in the following year of 2009 when republican dissident actions often made the news and Gerry Adams was the main speaker at the Easter commemoration in Belfast, he mentioned republican dissidents in an effort to distance Sinn Féin from potential political damage: I uphold the right of everyone to dissent from Sinn Féin’s point of view. But no one is entitled to hijack our proud republican history and our republican future and abuse it for narrow selfish interests or self gain. Sinn Féin, standing firmly on a republican platform, sets ourselves firmly against these elements who do this.8 By speaking up and condemning the actions of republican dissidents, Mr Adams attempted to separate the republicanism that (the new) Sinn Féin practises from the old, unbending and violent-minded republicanism of dissidents. Now condemning physical force militancy, Adams has represented Sinn Féin as a political party willing to negotiate, compromise and work within a democratic dialogue. He has continued to disengage Sinn Féin’s brand of republicanism from dissident republicanism in more recent years. In 2015, again at the annual Easter parade in Belfast, Adams asserted: ‘These small groups are not the IRA. The IRA fought a war against State combatant forces and fought it to a conclusion’.9 By upholding the actions of the IRA during the 70s and 80s, Adams persists in justifying the IRA’s use of violence and attempts to parcel it up by indicating that the ‘fight’ is over, but the struggle (for freedom and an idealized united Ireland) continues. In April 2010, Conor Murphy (again the elected speaker) pointed out that the ‘small factions’ who have engaged in ‘futile armed actions’ were playing into the British agenda and offered republicanism nothing in terms of a political strategy; conversely, a ‘peaceful and democratic path to unity is now available’. His statement distances Sinn Féin from its violent past in direct contrast to its campaign in the 1980s that claimed Irish freedom would be won with an Armalite gun in one hand and a ballot box in another.10 It also justifies Sinn Féin’s actions by stating that as a more peaceful path now exists, it is the way to proceed. His statement concludes: As we celebrate the lives of our comrades and commemorate the sacrifices of our patriot dead, we look to the future with renewed confidence and recommit ourselves to the achievement of our republican objectives.11 The political rhetoric of the speeches is aimed at justifying the violence of the past without denouncing the people who have committed such violence. To

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do so would alienate those in the constituency who supported the strategy of physical force, not to mention the families of those who lost their lives pursuing an IRA agenda. In 2016, at the centenary celebration of the Easter Rising, Adams maintains that blame still squarely rests with ‘the violent state response to the democratic demands of the civil rights campaign’ that ‘developed into full scale armed conflict’.12 He comments that ‘our people have suffered hugely’, but that ‘huge progress has been made in recent years’. He believes that the ‘Good Friday Agreement marked a historic shift in politics on the island’ and that ‘the roots of conflict were addressed and a democratic route to Irish unity opened up’. By framing the past in this way, he establishes a clear narrative of Irish republican oppression, their valiant and brave fight for equality and freedom, their small successes and a foundation laid for the way towards peaceful and democratic negotiation. He concludes by suggesting that ‘the year ahead is a time for … promoting the republican ideals of democracy and equality’, that the party continue to make solid progress forward, and urges people to join the Rising. That same year, in Coalisland, a parade hosted by Republican Sinn Féin and promoted as the ‘Unfinished Revolution’ attracted negative attention by unionists. Parade participants wore masks and paramilitary-style uniforms. A DUP councillor from Lurgan warned that ‘dissident republicans will use the events of Easter 1916 to legitimize their warped actions in 2016 … Violence was always wrong’.13 The parade, along with other events and an action by one Sinn Féin councillor to commemorate 1916 martyr Roger Casement alongside the memorial of World War I soldiers in Ward Park, led one DUP MLA from North Down to repudiate the words of Adams, saying that it ‘shows how hollow the speech of [Adams] is today when he talks about healing divisions’. Whether intentional or not, Republican Sinn Féin, a political sect that is one of a handful of small republican splinter groups that are classified as dissident republicans, has conflated their brand of militant republicanism with Sinn Féin’s new-found democratic ideals. From a unionist perspective, republicanism is republicanism, and Sinn Féin may never be free from their violent past. Following the conclusion of the Easter commemoration speeches, the main colour party, who had been lining the path to the front of the monument, was called to attention, did an about-turn and filed through the crowds to the back of the monument and onto the path where they were dismissed. The crowd, now no longer bound by the speakers, turned to one another and began to greet friends, talk and slowly make their way towards the gates. In this ethnography, descriptions of the speeches have been used to help characterize and classify the differences between the Irish Republican Socialist Movement and the Sinn Féin commemoration parades at Easter. The speeches alone have little influence on republican bands; some bands do not stay in Milltown Cemetery while the speeches are given but instead travel to another

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location to perform another Easter parade elsewhere (such as Lurgan or Downpatrick). Banna Cuimhneachán, for example, rarely parades as a full band at Easter. Instead, they spread out, separating into four groups and attending as many local commemorations in their surrounding area as they can in order to support smaller, more rural commemorations. A few of the more confident fluters may be asked to play a solo tune at these commemorations, but that is left up to the fluter and the organizer of the commemoration. As Banna Cuimhneachán is based in a rural area, their connections to local commemoration organizers are strong and have been established for several years. For republican bands, commemoration speeches provide a reprieve from the tiring conditions of a long march, and the lull in activity is used to rest, get a snack or socialize. But the will of the band to relax is often tempered with the bandleader’s desire for the band to maintain a respectful presence, and for bandleaders this typically means asking that band members remain in the crowd and attend the speeches. Some members will comply, while others may sneak off anyway. For most bands, listening to the commemoration speeches is simply a more formal rhetoric than what they may hear at band practices and at other republican social events. Much of what is said in commemoration speeches is filtered down into the lower echelons of the movement – such as republican bands – by bandleaders who are active in the movement and who are passionate about maintaining a line of open communication between political agendas and parading practice. An example of this, which is discussed in further detail in Chapter Seven, is the issue of militant versus casual band uniforms. While Sinn Féin’s party line has moved away from physical force republicanism, so there have been questions raised over the continuation of militant republican band uniforms and contentious images of IRA snipers on bass drums. However, the speeches are an integral part of the commemorative process, of which the bands are a key part.

The Significance of Easter Parades In the North, the parades that take place on Easter Sunday are primarily ‘Green’14 parades and their focus is the commemoration and the legacy of the 1916 Easter Rising. This sets the theme and the tone of the parade: people wear Easter lilies in remembrance of the dead; flower wreaths and bouquets bedecked in orange, white and green carnations are carried to Milltown Cemetery in Belfast and laid on the graves of fallen volunteers of the IRA; speeches are read; the ‘roll of honour’15 is called; banners bearing the pictures of some of those executed in the 1916 Rising are marched down the Falls to the melodies of rebel songs; Tricolour flags of the Republic and the Starry Plough lead the colour parties; and celebrated martyrs are often quoted in speeches or their words emblazoned on banners or graffitied on walls. Murals honouring the hunger strikers of 1981 and the continued struggle for freedom are decorated with Tricolours, tricolour

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ribbons and Starry Ploughs, and the image of Che Guevara – an appropriated symbol of courage and revolution coinciding conveniently with current fashion trends – is printed on everything from t-shirts to bass drums. The form of republican parades has its roots in funereal processions of the AOH and the INF, and while Jarman notes that this tradition began in the mid 1800s with the Catholic Ribbonmen, it was extended to IRA funerals in the twentieth century (1997: 152–53). He observes: ‘This tradition of honouring the fallen hero has been the most consistent means of mobilizing public support for the nationalist or republican ideal’ (Jarman 1997: 153). The Easter commemoration parades began in 1926, ten years after the Easter Rising and after partition had already taken place. Jarman and Bryan note that ‘as the IRA had effectively stood-down as a military force in the north by the late 1920s and Sinn Féin maintained a low political profile, the Easter commemorations became the major public manifestation of the republican movement’ (2000a: 97). Easter remains one of the largest celebrated parading events in the republican calendar. Tied in with the Easter commemorations was a need for nationalists and republicans to express remembrance of the dead and to pay tribute to those whom they perceived as their nation’s freedom fighters. Also, it was (and still is) an opportunity for parade participants to express themselves as nationalists/republicans in their own territory. After the implementation of the Special Powers Act in 1922, the police could not always grant the right to parade, but in 1930 they did allow people to congregate at the Milltown and Brandywell cemeteries to lay wreaths and pay respects. By 1931, however, these allowances were revoked, and when in 1933 five thousand people gathered at Milltown and were denied entry, they knelt on the ground and recited the Rosary (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 98). The decisions on allowing a parade to proceed were made with perceptions of existing political and sectarian tension in mind. The chief consideration was to maintain public order, and many events were cancelled (including those demonstrations that held equal interest in both communities) if there was any threat of uproar or disquiet. In the late 1940s, despite the practice of banning nationalist processions and demonstrations, authorities began to loosen the restrictions regarding Easter commemorations. In 1948, the Easter parades were allowed to proceed and the celebrations passed peacefully. Around the same time, the National Union of Protestants (Ireland) became active in Northern Ireland and began to campaign against government leniency towards nationalist processions by means of counter-demonstration (Jeffery 2000: 87). Nationalist and republican parading continued to be contested, but the enactment of the 1951 Public Order Act and the Flags and Emblems Act in 1954 only ‘legalized the inequalities of power which had allowed a continuity for Protestant-unionist “tradition” while the consolidation of Catholic-nationalist “traditions” had been restrained

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as a result of opposition by loyalists and the police’ (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 102). Drawing inspiration from the civil rights protests across the Atlantic, the Easter parade of 1966 became more militant (and republican) in nature and set a pattern for Easter commemorations to follow (Jarman and Bryan 2000a: 107). With the onset of Northern Ireland’s own civil rights movement in 1967, the act of parading was representative of the clamp down on nationalist/republican political expression in the public arena. Jarman and Bryan observe that the contested elements in the civil rights movement were housing, employment and political representation, and that: It was difficult to directly challenge housing policy and employment practice but the right to march could be physically contested. The civil rights movement directly challenged the control that the institutions of the state had placed upon political expression which sought to oppose unionist power. (2000a: 107) Similarly, on the subject of nationalist and republican parading, Seamus Dunn notes: In [Northern] Ireland, in particular, because the state itself is contested, and because the actions of nationalists are often treated as inherently transgressive, such events have both a symbolic emotional significance and an emotional transformative impact on the public imagination. (2000: 130) Parading became about the right to be seen and heard, and the right to march in itself. Recently, the commemoration parades at Easter have served to reaffirm the nationalist and republican communities of their culture and identity, and have provided a forum to present preservations of the past according to nationalist history. Marching in the streets and playing rebel tunes not only claims (or asserts) territory over public space, it is a visual and auditory reminder of republican existence and resistance. From the republican community’s perspective, the Easter parades are also a reminder of their political aims and what they have fought (and continue to lobby) for – whether it is the struggle for a united Ireland or the struggle as a minority group for equal civil rights (the latter is most obvious when the movement is linked with other groups, such as the Basques). Kenney writes: ‘Since the beginning of the 1980s the republicans have officially defined what was historically a communal celebration as a political commemoration’ (1998: 159). The bombardment of symbols – flags on every lamp post, bunting zigzagging across the road, people selling souvenir Tricolour flags, rebel music CDs, hats, whistles, and other items in green, white

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and orange – reinforces the political ideology of a united Ireland and the presence of the republican movement. It also emphasizes the claim to space, as others have noted (Boal 1969; Burton 1978; Larsen 1982a; McCann 1985; Jarman and Bryan 2000a, 2000b). Currently, and concomitant with commemoration, republican parades legitimate the struggle for (Northern) Irish freedom by displaying a ‘public’ presence, even if that presence is largely contained in republican and nationalist areas. The parades, the flags, the bunting and other symbols are a way of affirming strength and support in the movement, and allow republicans to walk as republicans in uncontested space. In 1993, a republican march commemorating internment was allowed into the city centre of Belfast for the first time. Jim, the leader of the Irish Patriots, was present at that parade, and as they marched into the city centre, the band played a version of Woody Guthrie’s socialist-inspired song ‘This Land is Your Land’.16 Jim explained: Republicans weren’t allowed into the city centre to march. And on this particular day we got in. We started playing, and it was just the sense of this land is your land … you know it’s our land, right? [The music can] affect the mood of the day. We could actually hear people, when we were playing it that day, singing along. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Although Guthrie wrote the song in 1940 as a somewhat sarcastic response to Irving Berlin’s ‘God Bless America’, the lyrics deal with concepts of shared space and equality. Perhaps for these reasons, it has been appropriated by the republican community as a song that expresses their perceived ownership of and the right to occupy the island of Ireland. The organizers of the march had labelled the event ‘National Rights Day’, and many participants carried banners that read ‘Our City Also’ and sang the civil rights anthem ‘We Shall Overcome’ (Nagle and Clancy 2010: 73). According to Jim, it was a befitting song for the first nationalist march to breach Belfast’s city centre, and for republicans it offered a feeling of equality in a public space. The next section examines how republican band parading helps to construct and maintain republican identities through the display of republican symbolism, images and language.

Parading Identities Although the Easter parades remain a popular event, not everyone remembers or commemorates the republican past in the same manner. This is exhibited in the different parades and their accompanying symbols and images on Easter morning. The main parade (which takes place at approximately 1.30PM) is the most prominent, but it primarily represents the politics of Sinn Féin, though it

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is usually organized by the National Graves Association of Belfast. Both groups march along the same parade route and conclude at Milltown Cemetery at a designated republican plot to give a speech; both groups use bands to liven the parade performance and the bands play from the same repertoire of music (though they may choose to focus on songs with a particular theme or tone in the lyrics); both groups hail from the same historical background though they may interpret that background differently in the present. In general terms, republicanism in Northern Ireland revolves around a central goal (a united Ireland), but there are variations in the ways in which the republican ideal is realized and implemented. This is due to differing approaches and understandings of what the republican ideal actually entails. Since 1974, when the IRSP formed a new party, tensions within republicanism have become more public and perspectives on current politics have taken on narratives of their own. As explained in Chapter Two, and as Graff-McRae (2010) has shown in detail, each strand of republicanism interprets the past for itself and for its own ends. These differing interpretations are displayed and expressed by the bands through the use of different symbols such as flags, uniforms, images on bass drums and occasionally music. In Norman Porter’s collection of essays entitled The Republican Ideal, he notes that the existing variation ‘underscores the contestability of all versions of republicanism’ and that it should ‘be difficult for any particular person, group or party to presume a monopoly of republican wisdom’ (1998: 5). Symbols and images – such as flags – used among the variety of republican groups illustrate this best. In the ethnography above, the IRSP parade that took place earlier in the day carried the red flag of the socialists at the head of their colour parties, putting it in a place of prominence. Other flags they carried included the Irish Tricolour (a symbol of the Irish Republic and Irish nationalism), the green or blue Starry Plough (the green background is an older version of the flag), which is representative of republicanism’s socialist-minded forebears (such as James Connolly), and the flags of the four provinces of Ireland, symbolizing Ireland as a whole. Some bands choose to emphasize republicanism’s socialist interpretations by placing the Starry Plough or the socialist red flag at the fore of the colour party, while others (such as some Sinn Féin bands) focus on republicanism’s historical significance or the solidarity formed with other political groups. In the case of the latter, the band may carry a Basque or Palestinian flag in their ranks (see Figure 4.3).17 Carrying one type of flag, such as the Fianna na hEireann starburst (the flag of the IRA youth, which eventually became Ógra Shinn Féin), instead of another, such as the Starry Plough, is sometimes determined by what is available or what can be sourced or donated by another band or group. Republican bands rose out of an era of protest and resistance, and much of their symbolism arouses contention. Militant band uniforms echo the popular

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image of the IRA to affirm support from the past and maintain a link to history, while more casual band uniforms emphasize formality and honour with slogans such as ‘They were faithful and they fought’ embroidered on the pocket. Bass drums are sometimes painted to reflect unequivocally where the band’s sympathies lie (see Figure 4.4) but with the possible implementation of a band alliance, contentious images would be regulated and heavily discouraged as a condition of membership. Irish, a politically charged language in the North, is used as a marker of cultural identity in band commands, on band uniforms, and in speeches. The incorporation of Irish into commemoration parades and rituals adds a cultural element that strengthens republican identity. As a language, Irish symbolizes many things to republicans (see O’Reilly 1999). Its use in the context of commemorations is particularly interesting. For some, Irish sustains the link to an ancestral heritage, or it may symbolize resistance or protest in a political allegory representing the oppression of Catholic rights in the North. It was used as a form of communicating in code between prisoners in the H-Block cells of the Maze prison in the 1970s and 1980s (Jarman 1997; Nic Craith 2002; Ó Croidheáin 2006), and was promoted by the Provisional IRA during the early 1970s. English notes that a republican news article published in May 1971 was entitled ‘Learn Irish, speak Irish, be

Figure 4.3 Showing solidarity with the Basque and Palestine communities: both the Palestinian and the Basque flags can be seen carried by both the band’s colour party and parade participants in the background, 2009. Photograph by the author.

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Figure 4.4 An example of a bass drum painted with paramilitary images, 2008. Photograph by the author.

Figure 4.5 Another example of paramilitary images painted onto bass drums, 2009. Photograph by the author.

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Irish: Sinn Féin members have a duty to encourage the use of Irish among themselves and the public at large’ and that the ‘Provisionals frequently reflected this very strong identification between Irishness and the Irish language’ (2003: 126). Because it is not widely spoken in the urban areas of the North, there are not many opportunities to incorporate an Irish language element within commemorations, with the exception of the recitation of the Rosary, a few token sentences inserted into a political speech, or the commands given to a marching band. Some bands have Irish phrases painted on their bass drums or embroidered on their band uniforms. Gerry Adams frequently endeavours to deliver at least part of his Easter address in Irish, though this is clearly not easy for him. Despite this, his efforts are applauded and encouraged by the crowd. O’Reilly notes that the Irish language was not always the preserve of Catholics, although it is often viewed (by both Protestants and Catholics) as belonging to the Catholic/nationalist community now (1999: 24). She writes: In spite of the Gaelic League’s claim to be apolitical and its efforts to avoid party politics, the nationalist implications of the revival could not be overlooked. After the turn of the century, the Gaelic League leaned more and more towards nationalism. At the same time, it increased its association with the Catholic Church to encourage the teaching of Irish in the schools. (O’Reilly 1999: 24) In 1915, the Gaelic League was taken over by republicans, and the association ossified (O’Reilly 1999: 24). More recently, there have been attempts to break down the perception that the Irish language belongs solely to Catholic nationalists and republicans. For example, Linda Ervine, the sister-in-law of well-known loyalist and ex-Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) member David Ervine, runs weekly Irish language classes in East Belfast, and commented that her aim is ‘to change attitudes in regards to Irish language, to break down the hostility’.18 A common and shared language is also commonly (but not always) perceived as a necessary quality of a nation, and the republican movement’s efforts to promote the Irish language not only encouraged this association but placed the language further beyond the reach of those who saw themselves as non-Irish (i.e. British) and/or non-nationalist (i.e. unionist) but who would like to learn it (O’Reilly 1999: 24–25; see also McCoy 1997; Nic Craith 2003). An example of this is in the 2010 Easter statement given by Gerry Adams at Milltown Cemetery. He greets the audience in Irish, and begins his speech in Irish before echoing similar sentiments in English: Easter Sunday, my friends, is a very special day, especially here in Belfast. It’s a day to remember, to honour and to celebrate all those republicans who gave their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom and

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justice. Belfast republicans are proud of our patriot dead, we are proud of their families and we are proud of our history.19 Adams’ delivery of the speech in Irish emphasizes the ‘ownership’ and the historical lineage of the Irish language. Other notable elements of the speech include the notion of sacrifice and standing up for one’s beliefs despite state persecution, themes that are echoed in much of republican symbolism and ideology. Hall and Du Gay’s (1996: 4) assertion that ‘identities are about … what we might become, how we have been represented and how that bears on how we might represent ourselves’ suggests that memory is key to republican discourse. Stories and narratives of the past are retold and reconfigured in the context of the present to make sense of and legitimize contemporary political and social concerns. Parading, as a historically popular form of political and cultural expression in the North, offers a forum for the discourse of republican identities. Republican parades are idealized by their participants as being cultural, educational and political expressions of republican identities. The majority of band members remarked that they learned about the republican movement and its history from parents or friends or both, implying that republican principles are mainly transmitted socially as opposed to through formalized education or in an organization.20 There are many elements at play in the expression of republican identities, and the next section explores to what extent republicanism informs national identity.

National Identity Much like other aspects of the North, the concept of nationalism requires acknowledging the broader picture of Northern Ireland’s history. Jenkins asserts that nationalism here must first ‘be seen within an all-Ireland framework’, and that ‘the history of Ireland is also the history of its relations with England’ (1997: 151). He points out that ‘Irish nationalism evolved as resistance to English rule, and was in the first instance inspired by an English political tradition’ (Jenkins 1997: 151; see also Boyce 1991). While Jenkins approaches Irish nationalism in a broader comparative perspective, although it could also be argued that Irish nationalism has a distinct position and character in the North. Here, the concept of nationalism is tempered with the ever-changing and ever-evolving character of the state, and, as Richard English has suggested, it would be more appropriate to think of ‘Irish nationalisms (fluid and layered) rather than any homogeneous nationalism (static and monochrome)’ (2006: 9, emphasis in original). English’s characterization, that the ‘true definition and explanation of nationalism lie in a particular interweaving of the politics of community, struggle, and power’ (2006: 12), implies that the contours of nationalism may

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be best witnessed during times of upheaval, conflict or doubt. The focus on community is essential, but Hobsbawm’s claim that ‘any sufficiently large body of people whose members regard themselves as members of a “nation”, will be treated as such’ (1990: 8) glosses over the complex reality of nationalism present in so many countries, especially those currently in or recently recovering from conflict. English identifies some truths about the essence of nationalism, including that national communities rely on a sense of history to ‘[gain] worth through its historic achievements and legacies and [acquire] purpose’ (2006: 14). For instance, in the ethnography of the main (Sinn Féin) Easter parade, groups of people dressed as members of the United Irishmen, the Irish Citizen Army and the IRA circa the late 1950s. The representation of these groups in a parade that commemorates the 1916 Rising suggests a linear history of republicanism and connects the present republican movement with previous rebellions. As Jarman comments: These main symbols [the Tricolour, Sunburst, Starry Plough, Easter lily] … signify the position of the IRA as inheritors of a long-standing tradition reaching back into the 18th century, encompassing many diverse historical strands of political thinking within the contemporary republican umbrella. (1997: 238) The visual depiction of the past, along with symbols such as flags and commemorative wreaths, strengthens the authenticity of the historical narrative. Jarman goes on to observe that these ‘republican symbols relate not just to their own political tradition, but also connect their aims and aspirations to those of the broader and more conservative nationalist community …’ (1997: 238). This grounds the republican movement within a historical context and also captures the attention and imagination of the nationalist mindset, making republicanism more than simply a political philosophy but a cultural one as well. More specifically, Githens-Mazer explains that cultural nationalism is ‘a variety of nationalism that reinforces the role of historical memory in defining the community of the nation’ (2006: 86). Drawing on historical narratives, memories and symbols, cultural nationalists ‘[challenge] established social identities, [and promote] a novel historical vision of an integrated and distinctive political community’ (Hutchinson 1987: 20). It is this ‘historical vision’ that forms the foundation of the republican narrative. Similarly, Viggiani has coined the term ‘memory makers’ to describe the impact of those who dominate cultural narratives and subsume individual memories within shared mnemonic frameworks to advocate ideological justification and promote historical legitimacy (Viggiani 2014: 66). This term reflects the influence of ‘counter memories’ (Foucault 1977) and their agents, who threaten the hegemonic, official memory maintained by the state. These ‘memory makers’ operate primarily

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through commemoration events, parades and speeches to reach the memory receivers’ and their communities (Viggiani 2014: 66–67). National communities maintain an element of exclusivity and boundary, and it is in maintaining this boundary in response to changing political systems, economic interests, modified ideals and ‘the rectification of what is wrong: the replacing of an unfortunate “is” with a desired “ought to be”’ (English 2006: 15) that nationalist groups often struggle. At the heart of this struggle, English concludes, is the acquisition of power. He writes: ‘National freedoms are thought to be best – indeed, only – achieved, protected and guaranteed by possession of state power, and by its constant defence against threats internal and external alike’ (2006: 16). The republican movement is considered nationalist in that it is a struggle for the freedom of a perceived and imagined nation (a united Ireland), but in the context of Northern Ireland where the Irish Proclamation is a foreign document, this brand of nationalism is viewed as revolutionary, militant and dangerous. The issue of inclusivity is also problematized by the nature of republican strategy. In Milltown Cemetery that Easter Sunday of 2008, the speech was met with applause, but it would not have been so warmly received on the Shankill Road. A loyalist would not consider a deceased IRA volunteer a patriot, let alone consider them worthy of commemoration, and so it is difficult to understand how republican commemorations can be anything other than events for republicans and by republicans, despite protestations from republicans that they seek to be inclusive. In the Easter speech of April 2010, Conor Murphy specifically called for inclusivity and involvement: The united Ireland we seek to build is inclusive, in which all of our people feel secure. We want unionists to be able to find their place in a new Ireland. We believe that Irish unity and a genuine republic can deliver social, economic and cultural equality for all of our people.21 Mr Murphy asserts Sinn Féin’s position on the inclusion of unionists in a ‘new Ireland’, but the overall implication of the statement is that this will be done on republican terms. Similarly, in a group interview with three members of Banna Cuimhneachán, Patrick assured me that ‘there’s a place on this island for everyone’, and Mary Ann was quick to agree, pointing out that ‘some of our great leaders … were Protestant’. Cal, who was the quietest of the three, wryly commented with a hint of a smile: ‘If they’ve our way of thinking, you know, if they’re towards our politics, anybody’d be welcome’ (Patrick, Mary Ann and Cal, in interview, 25 March 2009). Cal’s statement and his tone of voice implied that inclusivity, particularly when it comes to nationalism, may be conditional. Nevertheless, Sinn Féin maintains their official position that ‘councils in which Sinn Féin are a significant influence must become models of equality, inclusivity and partnership’ and that ‘[SF] councillors must become

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pillars of tolerance, diversity and inclusion, reconciling and accommodating not just orange and green but all the other political, social and cultural colours that make up our society’.22 The depth of meaning and the delicate nuances of identity that inevitably exist within the concept of nationality are continually changing. Some (English 2006; Eriksen 1993; Jenkins 1997; Nic Craith 2002) have defended the notion that ethnicity and nationality are as much products of cultural and social experiences as a political designation or biological derivation. In Northern Ireland, ethnicity, nationality and religious affiliation all inform social identities to varying degrees, depending on the experiences and circumstances of the individual.

Religion and Identity As community boundaries are often drawn along religious lines in the North, belief in republicanism is often equated with a belief in Catholicism. Mitchell writes that ‘religion gives meaning to group identities in a variety of ways’ but also notes that here, ‘religion does not just mark out the communal boundary in Northern Ireland, but that it gives structures, practices, values and meanings to the boundary’ (2006: 2). Republican parades and commemorative events are not overtly religious, but they do possess religious elements such as in the funereal, eulogistic tone of some of the speeches and when a decade of the Rosary is recited in Irish. But unlike the typical ‘sacred’ ceremony of a funeral mass, commemorations are more obviously and overtly political in nature, as the ethnographic examples above illustrate. It is possible to imagine religious influence in the parading context, in the way that mourning relatives silently walk in file carrying photographs of their deceased loved ones, or in the moment of silence that most commemoration speakers call for at some point during the speeches. But these elements are more echoes of religious manifestations than assertive influences, as they are not followed up with prayers, sermons, hymns or anything overtly religious to link them directly to Catholicism. Demerath defines the term ‘cultural religion’, whereby a person identifies ‘with a religious heritage without any religious participation or a sense of personal involvement per se’ (2001: 59).23 Demerath’s definition is appropriate because it allows for a spectrum of beliefs – even within a single named religion – present in a community. The nature of commemoration parades does not require participants to subscribe to a set of specific religious principles; however, the manner in which the dead are venerated in this context reflects Catholicism’s sense of reverence for those who are deemed worthy. Cultural religion may be used as a cultural marker of identity in this context and as a backdrop for political opinion in the North, as religious designations are often meant to imply ethnic and cultural backgrounds in the everyday vernacular. Nevertheless, while religious belief in Catholicism was (and remains) an essential characteristic of

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the Ancient Order of Hibernians (and necessary for membership of the organization), it is mainly an implied quality of republicanism rather than an affirmation of membership. Reciting a decade of the Rosary occurs occasionally but not frequently in republican commemorations and is a feature that also engages a cultural element. By reciting in Irish, commemoration organizers are offering an aspect of cultural heritage to the community. The extent to which religion is entwined within nationalist or ethnic identities is a subject that has been taken up in more detail by others (Mitchell 2006; Nic Craith 2002). In sum, while it appears that commemorative forms might be based on religious ideas and practices, religious practice is not a compulsory aspect. Religion might be thought of as a constituent part, but its devotion is not crucial or essential in order to participate in commemoration events. The next section examines how changing political contexts have impacted the expression of republican identities, and to what extent those changes have been brought about by changing republican attitudes and ideologies.

Changing Political Contexts In 1998, following another IRA ceasefire,24 the implementation of the Belfast, or Good Friday, Agreement saw some of the militant elements of republicanism adopting more constitutional-nationalist views. In particular, the republican leadership of Sinn Féin began to advocate peaceful political and democratic means to achieving its goals instead of violence. This further distanced Sinn Féin’s republicanism from the republicanism practised by the IRSP and the RSM. Gerry Adams, who was elected president of Sinn Féin in 1983, presented the Agreement not as a settlement but as ‘a basis for advancement. It is transitional’ (3 Aug 1998).25 For some republicans, this sounded as if the leadership were selling out, and the bitterness this created was still recognizable ten years later (as evidenced by Mr Little’s implied reference to those who were ‘swigging champagne and playing happy families with our oppressors’). According to the IRSP’s online newsletter, The Plough, the IRSP opposed the Good Friday Agreement mainly because it ‘institutionalized sectarianism’ and, to them, it meant jointly administering British rule instead of forming a new assembly opposed to British (and unionist) agendas. Sinn Féin’s choice to support the Good Friday Agreement caused the republican movement to fracture and split, and it: … has in fact reinforced the sectarian nature of the six-county state by pushing its inhabitants into being either ‘unionist’, ‘nationalist’ or ‘other’ … [and] there is now no incentive for main-stream political parties to reach across the divide.26

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The IRSP view the concept of nationalism from the perspective of the working class, as their political agenda is based on socialist values and principles. Sinn Féin operates from a different perspective, one that situates itself in the communal politics of the democratic left. They perceive the Good Friday Agreement not as an end to the nationalist struggle but ‘rather a redefinition of it: and within the new game, nationalists seem[ed] to be gaining’ (English 2006: 413). English points out that support of the Good Friday Agreement elevated Sinn Féin’s popularity in the North, as many nationalists ‘saw momentum taking them in their preferred direction’ (2006: 413–14). English also notes that ‘as new violence diminished, so the matter of appropriate memory of past battles became of symbolic importance, particularly as an issue of local remembrance’ (2006: 415). While the Easter parades serve as a reminder of the Irish cultural and historical past for all nationalists and republicans, local republican commemorations tend to emphasize the effort made on the part of local ex-IRA heroes. It is within the context of these local (and much smaller) commemorations that specific varieties of republicanism are expressed. For instance, the commemoration of an ex-PIRA member in one town may draw similar (but not necessarily the same) crowds as a commemoration in the next town of an ex-INLA member. In the ethnography of the Easter parade of 2008, I mistakenly believed the flag salute to be in deference to Pearse Jordan, a deceased PIRA member, even though the parade was organized by the IRSP. In Belfast, the divide between political parties is wider than in other parts of the country. For example, a republican band based in Dungiven whose name commemorates INLA hunger striker Kevin Lynch regularly attends Sinn Féin commemorations despite the fact that they honour a member of the INLA. In this case, the crossover can be explained by Kevin Lynch’s involvement in the 1981 hunger strikes, of which both PIRA and INLA members took part in an effort to achieve the same objectives. A dedicated Hunger Strike Commemoration Committee hosts an annual commemoration for all the hunger strikers of 1981, and it is attended primarily by Sinn Féin members and supporters (see also Viggiani 2014: 111–27).

Conclusion Although republican parades grew out of protest and demonstration, they are now moving towards a display of political support for republicanism, communal support for the families of the community’s dead, and solidarity for other political groups beyond the North. While republican bands eschew overtly religious overtones in favour of a political agenda that currently aims to be inclusive (at least in theory), republicanism is tied to an exclusive past. Nonetheless, Sinn Féin ‘seeks to bring a new momentum to the achievement of a united Ireland through maximizing popular support and uniting the greatest number of people in support of national democratic objectives’,27 and the bands are employed

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to encourage this momentum. Recently, as the centenary of the Easter Rising approached in 2016, there were efforts made to frame the celebrations in a more positive manner. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness commented that the ‘first class programme of events’ planned by his party, Sinn Féin, ‘seeks to be inclusive and embrace and reflect all aspects of 1916 and its cultural, political, social and historical relevance to Ireland in 2016’.28 He added that his leaders’ vision of a republic remained ‘unfinished business’ and stressed that the 1916 Easter Rising celebrations were ‘a time to build’, and ‘a time to rededicate ourselves to the achievement of the Republic declared in 1916, so let us imagine and achieve that better future [a united Ireland]’. It is difficult to see how these objectives would be met with generosity from unionists and loyalists, however. On the same subject, DUP MP Davis Simpson was quoted as saying that ‘events to mark the Rising had no relevance in Northern Ireland’.29 While republicans continue to cling to the hope of a united Ireland, unionists and loyalists remain vehemently opposed, and reminders of this goal are regularly met with protest and disquiet.30 In spite of protest, parading occasions are necessary for the momentum of the movement, the cohesion of the community and the expression of a unique identity. Symbols, images and other visual aspects (such as uniforms or banners) provide colourful illustrations and allusions to republican historical narrative, as Jarman notes: The images [on banners at parades] give support to the historical traditions of rebellion, of persecution and of the valorization of secular saints who have offered their lives to the cause of Ireland. (1997: 205) Other elements, such as music, inform a significant aspect of republican identities too. The next two chapters explore this expression further and examine how music can be used as a medium for identity, education and political persuasion.

Notes  1. This is consistent with Burton’s (1978: 4) explanation of ‘telling’.  2. According to the WOSBA’s Facebook page, the Alliance ‘is a politically independent organisation with a principal aim of promoting awareness and harmony between bands’. See https://www.facebook.com/pg/wosba.scotland/about/?ref=page_internal [accessed 18 March 2018]. However, Lowe (2013: 48) has asserted that the WOSBA is closely aligned with the 32CSM.  3. The truth of what happened to Pearse Jordan is currently still in debate. An inquest that was held in November 2016 remained inconclusive as to how Jordan died, and in 2017 Jordan’s parents appealed the verdict. Despite losing the appeal, the Jordans have vowed to try and overturn the appeal. See https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2017/10/21/news/parents-of-pearse-jordan-to-fight-on-after-losing-challenge-toinquest-verdict-1167835/ [accessed 19 March 2018].

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 4. The quote was taken from Patrick Pearse’s panegyric at the funeral of IRB member Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in 1915.  5. The full text of the speech is available at: http://www.socialist.net/irsp-easter-commemoration-2008-speech.htm [accessed 28 May 2011].  6. The full Easter statement can be read here: http://www.irsp.ie/news/?p=2152 [accessed 7 January 2017].  7. The full text of the speech is available at: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/sf/ cm230308.htm [accessed 30 May 2011].  8. The full text of the 2009 Easter commemoration speech is available at: http://www. westbelfastsinnfein.com/news/12514 [accessed 30 May 2011].  9. Belfast Telegraph. 2015. ‘In Pictures: Easter Rising Parade to Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery’. Available at: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/in-pictures-easter-rising-parade-to-belfasts-milltown-cemetery-31121392.html [accessed 7 September 2016]. 10. This term was coined from Danny Morrison’s famous speech given at the 1981 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, at which he asked: ‘Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in one hand and an Armalite in this hand, we take power in Ireland?’ (P. Taylor 1998a: 328). 11. Irish Republican News. 2010. Sinn Féin Leadership Easter Statement. Available at: http:// republican-news.org/current/news/2010/04/easter_statements.html [accessed 18 March 2018]. 12. The full text of the 2016 Easter Rising commemoration speech is available at: http:// www.sinnfein.ie/contents/39145 [accessed 8 September 2016]. 13. Belfast News Letter. 2016. ‘Paramilitary Uniforms Mark Easter Rising Parade’. Available at: http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/paramilitary-uniforms-mark-easter-rising-parade-1-7298981 [accessed 8 September 2016]. 14. The term ‘Green’ parades is borrowed from Jarman and Bryan (2000a) and is used as a sobriquet for nationalist and republican parades. 15. The roll of honour is a list of (Catholic/republican) names recording those who died either for the cause or as a result of the Troubles. 16. There are several versions of ‘This Land is Your Land’ (for instance, see journalist Pejk Malinovski’s article available at: https://www.wnyc.org/story/american-icons-this-landis-your-land) [accessed 19 March 2018]. 17. Chapter Six goes into more detail about the relationship of solidarity between the republican movement and other groups worldwide. 18. Belfast Telegraph. 2013. ‘Irish Language Class Takes Off in Protestant Community in East Belfast’. Available at: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/ irish-language-class-takes-off-in-protestant-community-in-east-belfast-29116813.html [accessed 11 December 2016]. See also a more detailed interview of her journey here: Irish News. 2015. ‘Linda Ervine: I Realized Irish Belonged to Me – A Protestant – and I Fell in Love with it’. Available at: http://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2015/11/09/news/linda-ervine-i-gained-so-much-from-learning-the-irish-language-318630/ [accessed 11 December 2016]. 19. The full text of the speech is available at: http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/18398 [accessed 12 June 2011]. 20. This question was asked on the survey conducted in 2009. See Appendix I.

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21. Irish Republican News. 2010. Sinn Féin Leadership Easter Statement. Available at: http:// republican-news.org/current/news/2010/04/easter_statements.html [accessed 18 March 2018]. 22. Derry Journal. 2015. ‘New Councils Must become Pillars of Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusion – McGuinness’. Available at: http://www.derryjournal.com/news/new-councils-must-become-pillars-of-tolerance-diversity-and-inclusion-mcguinness-1-6660626 [accessed 7 January 2017]. 23. See also Gans (1994) on symbolic religiosity. 24. The IRA called a ceasefire in 1994 with the understanding that Sinn Féin would be included in talks regarding a settlement. They called off the ceasefire when it was demanded that they disarm before being allowed to enter into multiparty talks. In 1997, the ceasefire was once again put into effect. In September 2005, the IRA officially decommissioned (BBC News. 2005. IRA ‘Has Destroyed all its Arms’. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4283444.stm [accessed 28 May 2011]). 25. Adams, G. 1998. ‘No More Word Games’. Available at: http://www.sinnfein.org/ releases/9808adamsart.html [accessed 27 May 2011]. 26. The Plough. 2008. ‘Ten Years on from the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement’, Vol 5 No 5. Available at: http://theploughblog.blogspot.co.uk/2008/04/plough-vol-05-no-05.html [accessed 18 March 2018]. 27. Irish Republican News. 2010. Sinn Féin Leadership Easter Statement. Available at: http:// republican-news.org/current/news/2010/04/easter_statements.html [accessed 18 March 2018]. 28. Belfast Telegraph. 2015. ‘Rising Centenary Inclusivity Plea’. Available at: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/rising-centenary-inclusivity-plea-31082623. html [accessed 22 November 2016]. 29. Ibid. 30. The Irish News. 2016. ‘Heavy Police Presence at Republican Parade’. Available at: http:// www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2016/09/26/news/heavy-police-presence-at-republican-parade-708768/ [accessed 22 November 2016].

Chapter 5

q

Defining Communities by How They Sound Rebel Music and Republican Politics

R

ebel music is a significant aspect of parading bands and of republican commemorative events; it represents complex associations of nationalism, identity and political belief. While republican bands do not compose the music they play, they utilize music to convey meaning and expression for their political beliefs, for communal support towards republicanism, and for glorification of what they view as an oppressed and troubled past. This chapter begins by introducing the genre of political music and discussing how political music has been categorized by others, and by using rebel songs to illustrate, I question the limitations that existing categories have placed upon them. Some examples of rebel songs are given close examination, and major themes expressed in the songs are described to explore the elements that make these songs persuasive and emotionally powerful for republicans. The songs chosen are typical in republican parading band repertoires, though some bands may choose to play some songs over others for several reasons. Some of these reasons may include the ease of the song’s arrangement, the popularity of that song with members of the band, or, in some cases, the appropriateness of the song for the situation.

The Genre of Political Music and its Classifications Political music can be hard to define and for that reason it is difficult to categorize the many musical forms it may take, as it is typically defined by the lyrics. Two theories of political protest music are reviewed using classifications by Denisoff (1971) and Mattern (1998), both in general theoretical terms and

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using specific examples of rebel songs, before I explain how I have personally come to perceive republican rebel music as a person not native to this country. Denisoff’s (1971) study of protest and revolutionary music divides political songs into two categories based on their role in conveying dissent. The first category he terms magnetic songs, which are straightforward and catchy and use repeating phrases to encourage audience participation. Recurring melodies or refrains make the lyrics easier to commit to memory and, as the primary focus of the songs, maximize comprehension of the message. McCann believes that, in Irish ballads, the chorus is a relatively recent invention to promote audience interaction (1985: 217). During performances of rebel music where lyrics are sung, usually in such venues as pubs, social halls and other sites, the audience can typically be heard singing along with the band, particularly during the chorus sections. As the night wears on and more alcohol is consumed, sometimes the chorus is the only part of the song the audience can vocalize with any clarity. A useful aspect of a repetitive chorus is the opportunity for alternative lyrics, either added to the original text or in place of it. Often alternative lyrics comment on political circumstances or issues. For instance, Pete St. John’s song ‘The Fields of Athenry’ has been rewritten to create ‘The Fields of Aughnacloy’, a reference to the protest over the Orange Order’s annual Drumcree march down Garvaghy Road. The original song speaks of love (‘for our love was on the wing, we had dreams and songs to sing’) and loneliness (‘it’s so lonely round the fields of Athenry’). The modified, or rewritten, version changes the lyrics to a warning: ‘If you’re going to Drumcree, pitch your tent beneath a tree / No, you won’t be marching down Garvaghy Road’. The song has been appropriated and changed to fit in several contexts, from a Liverpool Football Club version called ‘The Fields of Anfield Road’ (Anfield is Liverpool FC’s home football stadium) to the loyalist version, ‘The Fields of Ballynafeigh’. In another example, a song about Glasgow-based Celtic Football Club’s first manager, ‘Willie Maley’, appears to be a simple song praising the Club. Alternative lyrics are often added to the chorus to promote audience participation, and to make the song specifically pro-republican in a manner that does not make sense in Scotland (new lyrics are in italics): ‘…they gave us … Paul McStay1 (and the IRA) / they gave us … Auld and Hay (fuck the Queen and the UDA)’.2 Although Celtic Football Club in Glasgow is rooted in the community of transplanted Irish, it has a long history of Northern Ireland-based nationalist and republican connections. Though not all of its supporters are republican, the association with Northern Irish republicans has become so established that it is not unusual to see republican imagery and Celtic paraphernalia fused together, such as a knock-off Celtic uniform football shirt with hunger striker Bobby Sands’ picture on the back for the 25th anniversary commemoration of the 1981 hunger strikes.

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Denisoff’s second category of protest song he terms rhetorical songs. In this category, song lyrics concentrate on individual tragedies or suffering, or they may place situations or events in the abstract. Musical skill and complexity is valued over lyrical content, and though the songs may voice frustration and anger, they may not offer a solution to the problem. Songs in this category vary in popularity, as the messages may be more complex or the ‘point’ of the song may be left unclear. The rhythm and the melody of a song may influence its status and likeability over its lyrics, and therefore a song’s popularity is determined more by individual tastes and preferences for musical style than agreement with its overall message. One example of a rhetorical song is ‘Song for Marcella’.3 Written by Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane, who served as the IRA’s Officer Commanding (OC) in Long Kesh4 during the hunger strikes, the song is an outpouring of grief at the loss of a dear friend (Bobby Sands), as well as an interpretation of the events surrounding his death: ‘They tried to break you … but they couldn’t find a way / So they killed you …’. The chorus ends on a note of hope that Sands’ death was not without purpose: ‘And in death you tore away the chains and let the world hear freedom’s song’. The song is particularly poignant when sung by McFarlane (who performs regularly in various venues), because of the relationship the two shared in Long Kesh. As OC, McFarlane was in a position to bargain for an end to the hunger strikes, but that compromise never came. In the book Ten Men Dead, journalist and author David Beresford relays intimate details of the events in Long Kesh during the hunger strikes, including communications between Bik McFarlane, Bobby Sands and several other key figures. While Sands’s death was ruled as self-imposed starvation, his motivation was fuelled by political impositions and demands and Sands depended on McFarlane to maintain those demands. However, from the point of view of many republicans, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s unwillingness to pay heed to the hunger strikers and their families is akin to murder. Certainly, this is what is meant by ‘they’ in the lyrics above, and though perhaps Margaret Thatcher and her administration underestimated the popularity Bobby Sands had gathered while in the H-Blocks, it was clearly shown when thousands of mourners lined the streets for his funeral on 7 May 1981. Bobby Sands went on to become a major symbol of patriotic idealism for republicans, and his image appears on everything from gabled walls to clothing to bodhráns (Irish frame drums). He has also been linked with Che Guevara as a symbol of revolutionary courage and motivation (see Figure 5.1). Although ‘Song for Marcella’ offers a vague solution (‘but we’re stronger now … / freedom’s fight can be won, if we all stand as one’), its popularity stems from the tribute and praise given to one of republicanism’s icons. It is a very popular but rarely played song. Interestingly, this song has never made it into the marching song repertoire. This is probably for two reasons: the first is

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that it would be a difficult song to replicate on flutes and drums, as the delicate melodies and harmonies are best suited to bands providing vocals. Secondly, rebel groups shy away from playing this song too often (if at all), as it is generally known as ‘Bik’s song’ and many people feel it would be a matter of ‘stepping on toes’ if it were played by anyone else. One of McFarlane’s fellow musicians is often asked to play it anyway, and though he sometimes does, he has admitted that, for him, it ‘sounds better’ when the composer sings it. While Denisoff’s classifications are useful for categorizing types of protest song according to function, ultimately they are too broad to allow for the subtlety and variations that exist in the music’s lyrical content. Mattern (1998), who has also devised a system of classification for political music, has emphasized the element of engagement in his classifications. Mattern’s first classification, or confrontational form of song, voices the concerns and ideals of a group in opposition to another group or groups. The music may or may not offer a solution to particular problems; it may simply broadcast a preferred way of life. Mattern writes: Community members use this confrontational form … to enlist sympathy and support for the claims of their community, to draw attention to

Figure 5.1 A mural of Bobby Sands and Che Guevara, 2009. Photograph by the author.

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their concerns, and to assure that the interests of their community takes precedence over the interests of other communities. (1998: 25) Most of the Irish rebel genre would fit into this category. One particular example can be found in the chorus of the song ‘Go On Home’, which demands that British soldiers ‘go on home … have you got no fucking homes of your own?’. It then promises that even though for the past eight hundred years ‘we’ve fought you without fear’, they will continue to fight ‘for eight hundred more’. Songs in this category detail the anguish of the community and often praise the valour and determination of those whom they view as heroes. As in the example above, blame is typically placed on the British state, and occasionally even those who merely identify as British (namely the majority of the Protestant/Loyalist community). In Mattern’s second category, which is described as deliberative, ‘members of a community use musical practices to debate their identity and commitments or when members of different communities negotiate mutual relations’ (1998: 28). In Mattern’s view, both confrontational and deliberative forms can create a forum for debate. Engaging in music this way may tender understanding and tolerance of another group’s values, beliefs and ideals. In Northern Ireland, however, while music groups use a variety of music to bridge community interaction (e.g. in school and community workshops), almost all rebel songs are viewed by non-republicans (and some republicans) as too disputable and emotionally provocative. Some songs from the rebel song repertoire might serve as an example of this category, though the potential for negative or hostile interpretation remains high. For instance, in ‘The Legend’, the narrator/singer begins by relating his or her recent visit to Yankee Stadium to hear Nelson Mandela speak after his release from prison. The song recounts Mandela’s courage, belief and determination, as well as his pain for his countrymen who had yet to ‘walk down freedom’s path’. The narrator returns home and has a dream that night in which he or she is visited by key figures in republican history, such as James Connolly and Bobby Sands, and each has something to say. Bobby Sands, the last of the figures to appear in the dream, says that he wants to hear Mandela’s words in the North, because ‘maybe then those English soldiers will know it’s time to go home’. The song ends by mentioning the knocking down of the Berlin Wall, and muses ‘Maybe now we will see Ireland reunited and free’. The lyrics attempt to persuade the listener to see the republican struggle as a struggle for freedom, autonomy and human rights, but because of the slower melody and reflective and almost pleading tone of the lyrics, this song does not come across as strongly confrontational as others. The song’s attempt to relate Northern Ireland’s situation to South Africa’s by using a figure of strength, mediation and peace (Nelson Mandela) subdues the command for ‘English soldiers’ to ‘go

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home’ and turns the possibility of seeing ‘Ireland reunited and free’ into a hopeful question instead of a demand. Mattern’s third category, the pragmatic form, uses music to encourage acceptance through similar interests and goals. This form leaves room for diversity and promotes respect for disparity. Fusion bands are an example of the pragmatic form, as the music acknowledges diverse ethnic influences in the community. Fusion bands aside, the pragmatic form also can be used to highlight certain cultural ideals. For instance, pop musicians might appeal for environmental awareness and country-and-western singers depict a particular lifestyle set within a greater community. While a very small number of rebel songs could serve as an example of this form, most are considered only peripherally related to the rebel music genre, because they are rarely played in public, because they do not deal directly with the republican struggle, or because they are not as well known as other songs that remain in favour by audiences. An example would be Peter Cradle’s song ‘Unfinished Revolution’, which was brought to life on Christy Moore’s 1987 album of the same title. The song’s three verses outline snapshot scenarios of violence, oppression and fear, first of all in Nicaragua, then Afghanistan and finally Northern Ireland. Although Moore’s music is popular amongst republicans and often played by rebel groups performing in bars, ‘Unfinished Revolution’ is a song that is rarely – if ever – covered by rebel groups. While the classifications by Denisoff and Mattern are useful in characterizing broad characteristics of political protest music and illustrating how particular songs are effective, the categories remain too general to examine the powers and influences that rebel songs can contain. Classifying rebel songs into categories provides an opportunity to closer examine the persuasive and emotive elements that popularize them. As the majority of rebel songs relate to the republican struggle, the lyrics can reveal perspectives, determination and interpretive accounts of the republican narrative through the stories that are told or the language that is used. For these reasons, four main categories that describe the main themes of the republican music genre were used in my research (Rollins 2006). However, these are not intended as classifications with finite perimeters. Many rebel songs, like most music, can fit comfortably into two or more categories. However, in the case of rebel music, when choosing a category for a particular song, placement has been guided by not only the values, events or narratives regaled in the song, but also by the song’s function and by the situations in which the song is played. These categories have been devised with careful consideration paid to Ireland’s history, and therefore are specific to Irish rebel music. The first of these categories focuses on historical perspective. As Geary has pointed out, the ‘representation and deconstruction of any historical event, the ways in which it is perceived and remembered, are often as important as the

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event itself’ (2001: 9). What matters, in other words, is not accuracy but that the person or event recalled will be defined by the individual’s perception and retelling. Connerton has also noted that we ‘preserve versions of the past by representing it to ourselves in words and images’ (1989: 72), and, personally, I consider music to be part of this history and cultural past. In this category of Irish rebel songs, events and historical timelines are necessarily simplified, and the result is a blunt interpretation of historical fact. This simplicity forces a black-or-white perspective, and the views that favour the republican perspective are what dominate these songs. The song ‘Boulavogue’, written by P.J. McCall in 1898 and set in County Wexford during the 1798 rebellion, can be used to illustrate one such example. In the second and third verses, the narrator/singer tells of Father John Murphy’s bravery in leading the insurgency against British forces: Then Father Murphy from old Kilcormick spurred up the rocks with a warning cry ‘Arm, arm!’ he cried, ‘For I’ve come to lead you for Ireland’s freedom we’ll fight or die.’ He led us on ’gainst the coming soldiers, the cowardly yeomen we put to fight ’Twas at the Harrow the boys of Wexford showed Bookey’s regiment5 how men could fight The song valorizes Father Murphy and the rebels while calling the yeomen ‘cowardly’ and insinuates that although the rebels were made up of peasants unfamiliar with military tactics they still possessed more skill and ‘showed Bookey’s regiment how men could fight’. While this song is infrequently played by republican parading bands during parades, it is regarded as a classic rebel song and is often a part of a band’s repertoire. The themes of rebellion, bravery and courage in the face of disaster (the 1798 rebellion was ultimately unsuccessful), and the veneration of those who died (which comes in the last verse) are an archetypal example of a rebel song with an emphasis on historical context. The next major theme focuses on the martyred hero, and the majority of Irish rebel songs would fit into this category. McCann has defined a hero in this context as someone ‘whose death has been a direct consequence of his participation in the Irish national struggle … [and] the ratio of songs to heroes is greater than one to one’ (1985: 204). Zimmerman has also written of the hero-martyr, and pointed out that this type of hero is given a martyr’s qualities; their ‘only avowed “crime” is patriotism’ (2002 [1966]: 66). A popular example is the song ‘James Connolly’, who ‘went to his death like a true son of

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Ireland’ for his participation as a rebel leader in the Easter Rising. This version of the ballad paints the grisly picture of his death by firing squad, but there is a second, little-played version that conveys the respect he gained as a voice for the working classes. The first version contains all the fundamental requirements of a hero-martyr, a ‘true Irish soldier’ about to lay down his life for his country: ‘The firing party he bravely did face … [and] James Connolly fell into a readymade grave’. Hunger strikers and other IRA volunteers are also placed in this category, and the songs that venerate them praise qualities such as loyalty, dedication, bravery and authenticity. These songs are occasionally highlighted by the occasion; for instance, the song ‘Ballad of Pearse Jordan’ is always played at the commemoration parade in his honour. Hero-martyrs are ‘true’ or ‘brave sons of Ireland’.6 Any potential negative qualities are glossed over in favour of courageous or heroic characteristics, such as in the song ‘Sean South’, which tells the tragic story of Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, who, in 1956, planted a bomb near the Brookeborough RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) Barracks. The bomb failed to detonate, and when the IRA volunteers went to inspect it, they were fired upon by soldiers and died shortly after of their wounds: ‘They scorned the danger they might face … / They were fighting for Ireland’s cause to claim their very own’. Despite the fact that the operation went disastrously wrong, it is a popular, often-played song. It is uncertain whether it maintains its popularity due to the music, with its fast-paced melody and syncopated rhymes, or because of the subject matter. Most likely it is a bit of both. The third theme emphasizes injustice or tragedy. Whereas the previous theme focused on the hero-martyr, this focuses on the victim. A hero-martyr may die protecting their country or fighting for the freedom of their people, but victims are casualties who are often considered innocent of involvement with the conflict. Songs of injustice incite republicans to think about what their struggle has been for and teaches younger generations about the history – from a republican point of view – of struggle and oppression. These songs might recount the deaths of children or accidental deaths. They point out cases of mistaken identities and the needless suffering or pointless violence. They may also describe tragic events or simply express anger at the situation or political climate in general. Two songs have been chosen to illustrate this theme, as I consider these to be the clearest representations of this category. The first of these songs is about Bloody Sunday, when thirteen protesters were killed during a peaceful demonstration in Derry in 1972. Although songs about Bloody Sunday exist in popular music (such as the song ‘Bloody Sunday’ that appeared on U2’s 1983 album War), the song ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ composed by Yoko Ono is by far the most favoured by republicans. It communicates potent anger and the bitterness of injustice, and promises revenge to the British. In the first stanza,

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the composer calls the victims ‘martyrs’, implying not only that those shot were not to blame, but that their lives were sacrificed by their own choice. Secondly, reference to Free Derry indicates the belief in the concept of Free Derry – the autonomous nationalist area built up and barricaded in the Bogside area of Derry beginning in 1969 and ending in 1972 after bulldozers razed it to the ground. Thirdly, the composer points out that many of those who were shot were young people (seven of the thirteen killed were teenagers). Lastly, although the soldiers claimed they were being fired upon,7 none of the soldiers were a casualty. The song then dissolves into an angry reproach. Christy Moore, a well-known artist with republican sympathies, also wrote a song about Bloody Sunday called ‘Minds Locked Shut’, which lists the names of those killed and finishes by asking to ‘let us remember’. Moore’s song, while powerful in its simple description of shock and fear as British soldiers opened fire on the protesters, is rarely heard. This may be a matter of taste, or it may be because the song is more musically complicated and would not translate well into a typical ‘rebel night’ setting (which is described further in Chapter Six) or a parading context. Another example is the song ‘Aidan McAnespie’, in which the composer clearly believes the incident of McAnespie’s death was not an accident: ‘Oh why did you do it? … You say it was an accident … [but] your lies are well renowned’. It ends with the blunt accusation: ‘You murdered Aidan McAnespie …’. The composer likens the incident of McAnespie’s death to the disasters of the Loughgall attack and the Gibraltar killings8 and concludes that the claim of an accident is a lie. The lyrics demand an answer, and the song suggests the truth is hiding behind cowardice. The truth surrounding Aidan McAnespie’s death has always been dubious. The soldier who owned the gun claimed it misfired by accident, and the initial charge of manslaughter was dropped. The family, and the rest of the republican community, have never been certain and believe a coincidence unlikely. Twenty-one years after Aidan McAnespie’s death in 2009, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward, released a statement of regret to the McAnespie family.9 Though the statement has been welcomed, the mystery of the fatal ricochet remains. The fourth and last theme emphasizes the bond between one community and another, usually one elsewhere in the world. Republicanism has forged links with groups in Palestine and the Basque country, among others (see Figures 5.2 and 5.3). Although this theme represents only a small number of songs compared with the other categories, in the case of parading bands, visual symbols make up a large part. Commemoration events provide a focal point, an event at which to convene and raise awareness regarding a particular plight or standpoint. Music provides an aural backdrop, and although the bands rarely play music originating from another group, they may play a song that references that group. To explain this

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Figure 5.2 A twist on the Free Derry Wall, 2009. The Free Derry Wall is a gable remnant from a house located in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, not far from the city centre. In January 1969, John Casey painted on it the slogan ‘You are now entering Free Derry’ to indicate a no-go area within the Bogside and Creggan neighbourhoods as violence increased. The surrounding houses were eventually demolished, but the wall remains as a monument to Derry’s history during the Troubles. Photograph by the author.

Figure 5.3 A poster in Derry demonstrating support for the people of Palestine, 2009. Photograph by the author.

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theme further, it is necessary to understand how some of these connections have been made. When the American civil rights movement broke out in the 1960s, Catholic and Protestant working class communities in Northern Ireland began to question their own civil rights. In 1967, the civil rights movement began in the North. With the Labour Party in government, the nationalist community and its politicians believed they were then in a position to bring about a united Ireland. Purdie notes that republicans, using the National Graves Association as a front, ‘established a monopoly on the commemoration of such symbolic anniversaries as the birth of Wolfe Tone and the Easter Rising’ (1990: 43). He maintains that this monopoly: [E]nabled them to parade, at least twice a year, as the leaders not of a faction but of a nation, and helped to create the ambiguous situation in which, while Catholics would not vote for them in any significant numbers, they retained a secure niche within the nationalist community of Northern Ireland. (Purdie 1990: 43–44, emphasis mine) Garnering the support of other groups struggling for national recognition raises awareness for both groups. The show of support, displayed through songs, commemoration events and speeches sends a message of reassurance and solidarity between Northern Irish republicans and other factions, and music provides an entertaining and colourful way of displaying such support. It also popularizes current events through a medium that catches people’s attention. Strangely, however, songs that fit into this category are not regularly played by parading bands. Rebel groups (bands who play exclusively in pubs or social halls) are more likely to play songs in this category, while parading bands display their support via flags, banners or other visual symbols whilst on parade. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, most songs in this category are more musically complicated and do not make easy marching music. Secondly, these songs may be the least well known of the rebel music genre and therefore parading bands prefer to concentrate on songs that will be readily recognized by their audiences and that are directly related to Irish commemoration. Another aspect to consider about rebel songs is their role as a form of resistance, which is considered next.

Music as a Form of Resistance The presence of republican bands has always hovered between displays of resistance and displays of political belief. The majority of rebel songs played at parading events today were composed during and after the height of the Troubles, when the IRA was once more regrouping and direct law and internment were introduced at the end of the O’Neill era.10 Bardon writes: ‘in less than two years

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Northern Ireland moved from a promising period of co-operation to violence so intense that in news coverage across the world it vied with reports of the Vietnam War’ (1992: 623). During this turbulent period, people expressed their frustrations, fear and anger through music. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the police regularly patrolled the streets and the Troubles were still very much a part of everyday life, merely joining a band was an act of resistance. It was the first step, in many cases, to becoming involved in the republican movement, as Terence explains: At the time when the Troubles were at a height, and the band was going, young people would have used the band as a stepping stone to join the republican movement. You know as their first step on the ladder. Because obviously they would have been then identified as republicans. And with that would have came the police harassing you, the soldiers would have stopped you because you were a member of the band, so I suppose your next port of call would have been to join the republican movement [like the IRA]. (Terence, in interview, 26 October 2008) Taking to the streets in the form of a band parade not only channelled many political passions into an outlet for expression, but because of the type of music played and the connections many bands had with the paramilitaries, it became a form of protest too. Several band members stated that simply being a member of a band was enough to call attention to oneself. In one heavily policed semirural town, band members were regularly harassed by police going to and from band practices. However, instead of discouraging members, it merely fanned the flames and made most of them (especially the younger members) more determined. For many, this determination eventually led to joining the IRA. Jim, from the Irish Patriots, speaks from experience: I was in bands from the mid eighties, and the amount of people I know myself through bands [who] ended up in the IRA … there would be a fair amount of them … who went to jail. So you have to say to yourself well, that was maybe a stepping stone. I think it was just a natural progression for people [to join the IRA]. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Terence, the leader of the large rural band Saoirse Volunteers, reckons that roughly twenty-five members in the band had at one time or another had been in prison for political causes (Terence, in interview, 26 October 2008). Older members of Terence’s band told me of getting shouted at, chased and threatened whilst going to and from band practices, yet many of them continued to attend. They felt that participating in the band was not only an act of resistance

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as they disregarded police intimidation by attending band practices, but they also felt that participation in the band was a way of venting frustration at the political climate and could perhaps lead to social change. Some rebel songs have been used to intimidate or incite anger in those within earshot, just as has been known for loyalist bands to do the same when parading near Catholic areas. However, because the majority of republican parades take place within Catholic areas, the songs are used as a way to vent public frustration and anger by ‘shouting up the RA’. Saoirse Volunteers do this regularly as part of their town’s annual commemoration parade, particularly during the song ‘Bold Fenian Men’. As they pass through an estate set well away from the town’s centre, members begin to chant in between verses: ‘the I … R … A!’. This is typically met with delight or indifference from spectators, some of whom begin to chant also. The association between the song (‘Bold Fenian Men’, or the IRA) and the chanting establishes that the chanting is a form of praise or reverence for those who volunteered in the IRA. Members who remember living through the Troubles well describe a trapped and helpless existence, especially as unemployment levels rose. Joining the IRA was a means of feeling proactive and engaged and able to make choices, even if those choices may have been ones that led to violence. Currently, the same reasons for joining no longer exist, but some bands (like Saoirse Volunteers) continue to express the mood of resistance that occupied that era through music, such as the chanting. Other bands may choose to play songs that are more aggressive than most, such as ‘Go On Home’ or ‘Say Hello to the Provos’. While this is not likely meant as a political strategy, the choice of songs does somewhat reflect the band’s desire to remain less contentious. However, this measurement is not completely accurate, because some songs are chosen not for their aggressive lyrics but because they are familiar, easy to play or they ‘get the crowd going’ with exuberant, rhythmic melodies. Scenarios like the one just described are happening less regularly now as Sinn Féin deepens their declaration of peaceful negotiations. Saoirse Volunteers, for the most part, agree with Sinn Féin’s approach, and yet they continue to chant ‘the IRA’ during parades to display their support for IRA volunteers. The chanting may last for several minutes before it begins to die down, at which point the bandleader will call out the next song and the band begins to play again as before. Members of the band are keen to highlight that the chanting does not display a veneration of IRA violence, but an adoration of the position IRA volunteers were put in and the choices they had to make in the early days of the Troubles. James Scott, in his theory of hidden transcripts, highlights methods of resistance existent in everyday life. Scott writes of the ‘political electricity’ of hidden resistance, which lays the groundwork for and enables feelings of political unrest (1990: 206). While it may be a stretch to consider rebel music as a form of

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hidden transcript in the way that Scott has defined the concept, there are similarities in that political songs can be used to keep the community charged and ready for open resistance, should an opportune moment arise. Bithell comments that music ‘reaffirms the past and keeps it alive’ (2006: 4). Similarly, through rebel songs, younger generations are educated on the feelings, actions and experiences of their forebears. Messages of struggle and resistance, dedication and remembrance saturate the narrative of events and people through rebel songs, and are framed in a contemporary context. ‘Struggle’ and ‘resistance’ are now more metaphorical for Sinn Féin: ‘struggle’ no longer means physical struggle but political campaigning, and ‘resistance’ no longer means outward defiance but a collective display of (nonviolent) strength and resilience. New generations use past events to form contexts and meaning for themselves about not only their identity, but as a means of unifying those who identify with the music and spurring them into political action. Although Eyerman and Jamison were writing of protest music in general, the continued performance of rebel songs ‘serve[s] to reconstitute the collective identity and to initiate new generations in traditions of protest and dissidence’ (1998: 28). This is exemplified in rebel music, as songs venerating the 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 revolts continue to be performed with passion and fervour. Today’s young republicans may no longer feel the need to protest in the way that older generations have protested, but the songs create an atmosphere of political discontent and dedication to a political cause. It is not uncommon at the end of a ‘rebel night’ performance to find audience members pretending to fire semi-automatics into the air in an outward show of support for the IRA, or to hear several outbursts of ‘Brits out’, ‘Fuck the Queen and the UDA’ or other opinions. While Sinn Féin’s position has changed dramatically concerning political compromise, the sentiments in the songs have not changed. This leads to some glaring inconsistencies in party rhetoric. One Sinn Féin member (and bandleader) told me: Any songs that are too sectarian aren’t republican tunes; they might be the nationalist/Catholic/republican persuasion but it’s something that we instil within the band where we can: if you’re republican you’re not sectarian. There may be an anniversary of ours as regards to this conflict but it’s not meant to be sectarian. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Not all bands seem to agree, as the song ‘Go On Home’ is regularly played at parading events by some bands, with its lyrics stating: ‘So fuck your Union Jack, we want our country back / Go on home, British bastards …’. While Sinn Féin advocates inclusion and temperance, rebel songs remain an expression of

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contradiction, anger and occasional hostility.11 The topic of emotion and its expression in rebel songs is again referenced in the next chapter.

Rebel Music and Political Identity Republican rebel songs developed out of political balladry dating back as far as the late eighteenth century (circa 1780) (Zimmerman 2002 [1966]). Zimmerman writes that ‘street ballads … were effect and cause at the same time: expressing strong collective emotions, they could profoundly affect the climate of opinion’ (2002 [1966]: 10). Rebel songs often relate narratives of events based on first-hand accounts, satires of situations or reflect popular perceptions and venerate republican icons; these latter have been described as ‘hero-martyr ballads’ (McCann 1985), as the individual is considered both a hero and someone who has died for the sake of his (or her) beliefs. Ballads are often slow, melodic and melancholy and are performed with an air of nostalgia or sadness, while other songs are jaunty, fast-paced and upbeat and sometimes encourage audience participation through clapping, alternative lyrics or other gestures. Keeping the song structure simple (i.e. without harmony parts or complicated rhythms) has its advantages. This makes the act of musicmaking and the collectivity it cultivates the priority and not musical prowess or skill. Also, if the music becomes too complicated, this limits its membership. The impression is that harmony parts have not been popular because of the work involved in picking out workable harmonies and memorizing them, let alone teaching them to musicians with limited musical skill and experience. Most songs transcribed for instrumental purposes have been done by a few talented or skilled musicians in the band who write out the melody by ear. Musical notation is easily accessible, and while its form does not automatically exclude harmony parts, its simplicity would be compromised and therefore its purpose (to be easily readable and accessible) negated. Interestingly, while rebel bands who play in pubs and social halls and which are made up of experienced and skilled musicians often play the same songs, many typically do not incorporate harmonies into the music either. They do allow for some improvisation and musical embellishment, as their primary goal in these settings is entertainment. The use of rebel music as a form of education was often pointed out. In most cases, the songs did not replace historical record, but they did arouse interest. McCann, in writing about rebel songs, notes: For while Irish history may have been taught at school, the historical context would not have forced analogy, thus making history appear relevant, nor were the social circumstances of school lessons entirely amenable to successful transmission. For some people at least, the songs provided a history. (1985: 445)

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Several younger band members, who would not have experienced the Troubles first-hand, told me they did their own research after hearing certain songs that piqued their interest. One younger member of Banna Cuimhneachán remarked that hearing particular rebel songs makes her want to ask questions: ‘Songs tell you a lot. Even though there’s not many words in a song, … it’ll just play in your mind’ (Charlotte, in interview, 10 June 2009). Bobby, a rebel musician who plays regularly in bars and at events, said: ‘If you can instil a thought in someone’s head with the song that will change their opinion or make them read something, [then] that will maybe change their mind to participate in where we’re trying to go politically’ (Bobby, in interview, 04 July 2006). For Bobby, the songs are used as a ‘hook’ to capture people’s attention and interest. Emmett, another rebel musician and one who is active in Sinn Féin, commented that he believes rebel songs to be part of a long tradition of storytelling and a method of dissemination for political opinion and information: The shannachie, the bards and the singers have brought all that [music] down the line, and for us, you know, we’re in the same vein. We’ll deliver a historical piece and use it to attempt to influence people’s thinking. And also to bring people to look, to think about this and go away and talk about it. They don’t necessarily have to agree, but at least think about it. (Emmett, in interview, 8 May 2008) The historical narrative and perspectives that are offered by rebel songs imply a tradition of rebellion within all strands of republicanism that is a recurrent theme in the expression and display of republican identities. The common catchphrase associated with republicanism, ‘tiocfaidh ár lá’ (our day will come), directly references the struggle in its origin (it was coined by hunger striker Bobby Sands) and in its innuendo, implying that when ‘our day’ arrives there will be victory. Frith has made the claim that the experience of listening to music is an experience of identification: In responding to a song, we are drawn, haphazardly, into emotional alliances with the performers and the performers’ other fans. Because of its abstractness, music is, by nature, an individualizing form … [songs] have a looseness of reference that makes them immediately accessible … [it] symbolizes and offers the immediate experience of collective identity. (1996a: 121, emphasis in original) Though the same lyrics may be sung by many different people, each individual has his or her own ideas of what those lyrics mean – or what they symbolize – to themselves and to the group. In other words, music channels these impressions

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into a common experience bound by place and time, an experience that is vocalized within the context of performance. While music may be used to unite individuals (in the form of national anthems, for instance), the reverse is also true. Rebel music connects the experiences and memories of Northern Irish republicans to each other. At the same time, it actively excludes those who do not share the same memories, histories or experiences, as Hall and Du Gay have commented: ‘Throughout their careers, identities can function as points of identification and attachment only because of their capacity to exclude, to leave out, to render “outside”, abjected’ (1996: 4–5). In this case, the word ‘identity’ may be exchanged for ‘identification’, for while the music does not constitute an identity as such, it can facilitate identification with a community. Defining what constitutes a republican rebel song is difficult. Songs classified by the republican community as republican or rebel songs are usually determined by the context in which they are sung and the meanings the songs carry with them. For example, in the past several years, Labi Siffre’s popular song ‘Something Inside So Strong’ has become a sort of anthem for Sinn Féin and the republican movement. Even though Siffre wrote the song from the viewpoint of being gay and a person of colour and neither attribute readily aligns itself with Sinn Féin’s party line, the song has become so popular as to appear alongside well-known rebel songs on CD mixes. It is not so important how the song is sung or produced, but what meanings might be taken by its listeners. Rebel musicians performing songs from a popular genre (as in Siffre’s song) will instantly give the song a different background and flavour than if it was performed by a different musician. Similarly, ‘softer’ rebel songs may be tolerated by a wider audience if performed by a folk musician, such as in the songs ‘Joe McDonnell’, ‘Grace’, and ‘Tom Williams’. In a folk music context, these songs become more historical in tone and less militant. For example, the song ‘Grace’ is rumoured to have been based on a poem penned by Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders in the 1916 Rising, on the walls of his prison cell the night before he died. The song has come to symbolize not the hardship of political martyrdom (‘there won’t be time to share our love’) and the loss of freedom over political beliefs (‘they’ll take me out at dawn and I will die’), but instead is popular as a simple and sweet love song, as the chorus shows: ‘Oh Grace, just hold me in your arms … With all my love I’ll place this wedding ring upon your finger …’. In nearly seventeen years of living in Belfast I have heard this song played in a variety of venues, but it is a song rarely played by parading bands (only one band reviewed in this research plays it). The circumstances of the song’s composition is often ignored or simply downplayed in favour of its romantic elements, making it popular amongst many young republicans I spoke to – but not for its political sentiments, which is most likely the reason it has not made it into the

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parading repertoire. In speaking with folk musicians who have played this song (which is often requested rather than planned regularly in the repertoire), one admitted receiving a request for this song in a bar on Belfast’s Shankill Road, a large Protestant and politically opposed area near the city centre. The musician, a Catholic from Belfast with a republican background, was surprised that many in the bar seemed not only to recognize the song, but knew the lyrics and sang along as well. When asked to elaborate on the differences between folk and rebel songs, he replied: There’s a grey area around folk singing and rebel music. The folk music tradition has grown …well, they’ve grown parallel to each other and sometimes they criss-cross. You get a cross-fertilization with them. (Darragh, in interview, 21 March 2006). In Darragh’s opinion, he finds the ‘grey area’ to cover a selection of ‘historical’ rebel songs and specifically excludes the currently more popular rebel songs written during or about the Troubles. Darragh has built his folk band’s reputation on the folk music genre and he would like to keep it that way. His personal view is that republican rebel songs (such as those written post-1960) are too sectarian, and although he comes from a republican family, his own politics are firmly nationalist. He went on to explain that while his band plays music exclusively from the folk genre, it does not stop people requesting rebel songs: We want to play to everybody. We want to play the normal folk songs, and the lovely love songs, funny songs, that sorta thing. I say [to a potential client], ‘we’re a folk band, we’re not a republican band’. And the reply will be, ‘but, you do do the [rebel songs], you will do this [song]’. I say: ‘No, listen. We’re a folk band, not a republican band’. And they’ll still say, ‘but you can do the [rebel songs]’. It’s because people are so confused, they think that because you’re a folk band that you will automatically do rebel songs, political songs. (Darragh, in interview, 21 March 2006) Darragh’s experience implies that there are many people who perceive the line drawn between folk and rebel music to be blurred. In speaking generally about folk music and rebel music, Darragh makes a distinction and refers to the majority of rebel songs written about the modern Troubles (1968 onwards) as ‘purely sectarian’, but clarifies that ‘some of these songs are hate-motivated and some of them are historical songs’ (Darragh, in interview, 21 March 2006). He also admits that in the past his band has been known to play a couple of the songs he calls sectarian, and although he made a decision not to play them any more, he will occasionally play ‘some of the older stuff, the 1798 music’ (Darragh, in

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interview, 21 March 2006). Because he considers songs such as ‘The Rising of the Moon’ and ‘The Foggy Dew’ to be historical, he is less concerned about the songs’ effect on both his reputation as a folk musician and on the crowd. The perspective of rebel music from a folk musician (or indeed vice versa) is an interesting one worth considering. The fact that many of the songs played in republican parading bands have been written about the Troubles reinforces the reasons they give for marching. Only a few of the bands met over the course of my fieldwork played songs that would be considered purely folk songs, such as the folk song ‘Eileen Óg’ (see Table 5.1). The table below shows three categories and provides selective examples of each: songs that are considered to be of the folk genre; rebel songs that could also be classified as historical songs (i.e. written about events taking place before 1968); and ‘modern’ rebel songs (songs written during or about the Troubles).12 Table 5.1 Examples of Irish folk songs, historical songs and rebel songs.

Examples of Irish folk songs

Examples of Irish historical songs

Examples of Irish rebel songs

Back Home in Derry*

Boulavogue

Fields of Athenry*

Dawning of the Day/ Raglan Road

The Patriot Game

Sean South

Eileen Óg

A Nation Once Again

Ballad of Pearse Jordan

Fields of Athenry*

The Foggy Dew

Joe McDonnell

Grace*

Grace*

Aidan McAnespie

Green Fields of France*

Boys of Wexford

Men of ’81

Roisín Dubh

Bold Fenian Men

The Men Behind the Wire

Skibbereen*

The Wind That Shakes the Barley*

Rifles of the IRA

Slievenamon

Green Fields of France*

George and Pop

Star of the County Down

Skibbereen*

Go On Home

The Town I Loved So Well

Tom Williams

Roll of Honour

The Wild Rover

James Connolly

Come Out You Black and Tans

The Wind That Shakes the Barley*

Wearing of the Green

The Provos Lullaby

Whiskey in the Jar

Fields of Athenry*

Sunday Bloody Sunday

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The asterisks indicate a song that could be classed into two or more categories, depending on the venue or situation in which it is played: The songs with the asterisks represent those that fall into the ‘grey area’ that Darragh mentioned. For example, Darragh’s band frequently plays in a wellknown bar in Belfast’s city centre that is popular with tourists. In such a venue, ‘Grace’ would become a love song instead of a political song; ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ would be seen as a narrative about love and war instead of a narrative about sacrifice and the need to fight; ‘Skibbereen’ then becomes a song about emigration and hardship instead of a commentary on the Famine and midnineteenth century Irish strife. Thirty band members were asked whether or not they thought bands should play any other types of music besides republican music; just over half replied ‘no’ (see Appendix I for survey results). When asked to elaborate on their answers, some wrote: ‘It’s about the struggle and it’s better to stick to it’, and ‘Republic [sic] music is our stuff’. These responses indicate a distinction made between republican music and traditional or folk music, yet other replies revealed that the distinction may not be so clear: ‘All Irish music is relevant to the bands’ and ‘Republican and traditional music most represents what we march for and why’. This latter response infers a connection between the political and the cultural. For some, republicanism is as much a struggle for cultural freedom as a political ideology, and for those people, the line between traditional folk music and rebel music would be the faintest. Irish traditional folk music, such as jigs, reels and songs such as those in the table above, lives in a more ambiguous realm. Though it is possible to argue that traditional music may or may not contain political overtones in any particular situation or context,13 it seems that for most republicans, they view traditional music as existing outside the political spectrum. This sentiment is echoed in Darragh’s comments above. One parading band member summed it up by writing: ‘I believe the wider [the] selection played the better, because it enables the band to take part in other events (not republican)’ (see Appendix I). By expanding their musical selection, parading bands could therefore branch out into participating in other (non-political) events and parades and thus take on the persona of a community band. Some bands expressed an interest in this potential avenue of expansion, believing that a community band would offer more opportunities to play simply for the love of playing music. For the moment, however, their specifically defined musical repertoire limits their participation to solely republican events (see Appendix II for a list of popular rebel songs). Some folk songs have made it into some republican bands’ repertoire, and the playing of traditional tunes is not uncommon during the speeches of commemorations. Maintaining a link to traditional folk music thus maintains a connection to a wider cultural understanding of the art and history of Ireland and the essence of ‘Irishness’. And so, when appealing to a broader, more

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conservative and nationalist-minded audience, Sinn Féin chooses traditional instrumental songs to play during its party political broadcasts, therefore preserving their legitimacy in all things Irish.

Conclusion In the republican rebel community, history is distilled through generations of unrest and division, and the music informs listeners that the past is still very much alive and kicking. The music offers a shared experience that reinforces imagined community and reframes the past in current experience. But it is the added knowledge of the stories and memories behind the music that infuses it with passion and emotion. Eyerman and Jamison write: Music can embody the sense of community, a type of experience and identity pointing beyond the walls of the self, which has become the central locus of modern experience and commitment. Such community may well be ‘imagined’, but since it affects identity, it is no less real for that. (1998: 173) The music supports the republican community by reaffirming an identity with the historical past and the political present; likewise, republicans sustain the music by using it to communicate a broader opinion on politics and culture. Of course, music can be used to negative effect as well: for example, to antagonize, to mark boundary and difference and to divide, as Darragh’s experiences and opinions have pointed out. Fischlin and Heble write: We define communities by the sounds they make – and the sounds they refuse. We generate sound and ideas about sound as extensions (reflections) of our political cultures, but also as critiques thereof. And the sounds we call music haunt our daily lives at their seemingly most trivial moments, and also at their moments of apocalypse and cataclysm. (2003: 11) Rebel songs motivate, anger, frustrate and sadden people who then might mobilize. While sounds alone do not possess a rebellious or an intrinsically revolutionary nature, people, whether as individuals or communities, make music their own and often use it to reflect their identities. Frith writes: ‘Music, like identity, is both performance and story, describes the social in the individual and the individual in the social, the mind in the body and the body in the mind; identity, like music, is a matter of both ethics and aesthetics’ (1996a: 109–10). Frith’s point is that music can both reflect and inform identity; it can be used to describe social phenomena while also being a part of social life. This is one aspect that makes music powerful when employed as part of a political

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agenda: music can subtly influence opinion while maintaining the guise of entertainment. By bringing rebel music to the streets, and also to sites of historical significance, republican bands are in a position to remind those around them – through song, through the symbols they bear and the flags they carry, even the language they use – what republicanism stands for and what goals remain important to the movement. Using music as a medium of education, motivation and a source of interest, bands reinforce messages stemming from a specific cultural past. The next chapter looks further at the meanings of rebel music, specifically focusing on the aspects of emotion and memory that are utilized in maintaining republican cultural narratives.

Notes   1. The names mentioned in the song are all successful football players who have played with Celtic Football Club over the years. Parkhead is the name of Celtic’s home football ground.  2. The Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary, was formed in 1971.  3. Marcella was Bobby Sands’ pen name whilst in prison. It is also the name of his sister.  4. Officially called Her Majesty’s Prison Maze, in Maze, Northern Ireland. Colloquially known as Long Kesh, The H-Blocks, or The Maze.  5. Lieutenant Bookey led a mounted cavalry unit made up of yeomanry. It was this unit that came up against Fr Murphy’s group of insurgents at the Battle of Harrow (a small village in county Wexford) on 26 May 1798, one of a series of battles in the region.  6. From the ‘Ballad of Pearse Jordan’ and ‘James Connolly’.  7. The first of the inquiries into what happened on Bloody Sunday, the Widgery Report (1972), backed up this claim, but since then, in 2010, the Saville Report has concluded that in fact the protesters were not armed.  8. In May 1987, eight IRA men planted a digger loaded with a bomb near the RUC barracks in Loughgall, Co. Armagh. They were fired upon by the SAS, and all eight, plus a civilian caught in the crossfire, were killed. In Gibraltar in March 1988, three unarmed IRA volunteers were shot by undercover SAS soldiers on a public street, who claimed the three were planting a bomb. The three volunteers were Daniel McCann, Sean Savage, and Mairead Farrell.  9. BBC News. 2009. ‘“Regret” over NI Checkpoint Death’. Available at: http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8170508.stm [accessed 16 February 2010]. 10. The O’Neill era occurred from 1963 to 1972. When Terence O’Neill – the first Northern Ireland prime minister to make his main goal reconciliation (Bardon 1992: 622) – attempted to reform the province, he quickly lost support, as he failed to satisfy either side. 11. New research is being done on the topic of Irish rebel music and resistance. See S. Millar, 2017. ‘Sounding Dissent: Music, Resistance and Irish Republicanism’, Unpublished PhD Thesis. Queen's University Belfast. 12. See Appendix II for a list of current popular rebel songs. 13. See Vallely (2008) and Ramsey (2009).

Chapter 6

q

It Was Music That Kept Their Spirits Free Emotion and Memory in Rebel Music

I

n Northern Ireland, artistic expression provides a release valve for the tensions resulting from the Troubles and residual political conflict. Christopher Small writes that it is not enough to ask what a piece of music means, but urges us to ask ‘the wider and more interesting question: What does it mean when this performance (of this work) takes place at this time, in this place, with these participants?’ (1998: 10). This chapter uses this question as the basis for analysis as the expression of emotion and the role of memory in republican parading music is investigated. Firstly, the anthropological perspectives of emotion and the interpretation of emotion in rebel performances are discussed. The embodiment of emotion in rebel music is examined, using the lyrics of rebel songs as a starting point and concluding with some observations on the association between musical expression and political opinion. The relationship between emotion and music is further analysed in performance contexts, and their impact on and maintenance of republican communities is investigated. In this respect, the focus is on the significance of collective memory in shaping the narratives of rebel songs and in informing collective viewpoints on the experiences of the past through music. The interpretation by current generations by those who are not old enough to remember the Troubles is questioned and while these secondhand memories are important to republicans for the transmission of culture, history and political views, the messages implied within rebel songs and the emotions they evoke can be problematic. Like MacKinnon’s research on British folk music, the focus here is on the interpretation of rebel songs as they are played and performed, rather than on

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the ‘dissection of musical syntax’ (1993: 2). The emphasis here is on anthropological meanings behind memory and emotion as they are expressed in rebel songs, rather than the analysis of musical structure or form.

Music and the Embodiment of Emotion Magowan has noted that ‘we cannot understand music as merely a system of signs that are given meaning in social contexts or simply as a language of emotions’, but rather as it is ‘embodied in the skill of learning to sing and dance the environment; in the rules of social interaction and transmission; and in the performance of emotion’ (Magowan 2007: 13; see also Blacking 1973). The emphasis here is placed on music not just as a product of human interaction, but how music generates human interaction and the ways in which music is involved in the creation and maintenance of human relationships, particularly with respect to the concept of emotion. Juslin and Timmers note that musicians and performers ‘bring pieces of music to life, thus increasing the chances that listeners will perceive the music as expressive of emotions (among other things)’ (2010: 453). The emotions that are evoked through the associations made with rebel songs encourage bonds within republican communities, but these bonds are complicated and based on more than simply the music alone. Republican parades provide an atmosphere of energy and excitement, and the loud drums and flutes can be heard from long distances away, lending an illusion of unity and strength. And while parades continue to shape the reason for commemoration, the instrumental versions of the songs offer a soundtrack that places the event within an historical lineage and invokes strong emotions for the republican community. Ethnomusicologist Tia De Nora writes: [M]usical affect is contingent upon the circumstances of music’s appropriation; it is … the product of ‘human-music interaction’, by which I mean that musical affect is constituted reflexively, in and through the practice of articulating or connecting music with other things. (2000: 33) De Nora suggests that music can come to be associated with experiences of the immediate environment. During parades, spectators are exposed to a plethora of visual symbols, such as flags, images of deceased loved ones, political posters claiming solidarity with Gaza or the names of republican POWs, and group banners for political parties such as Sinn Féin. The music that the bands play reinforces the messages of those symbols while evoking different emotions: for those old enough to remember, they may recall memories of the person or the event that the song depicts. Even though the lyrics are not typically publicly voiced at parades (as they would be at a concert or social event), the repertoire

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of songs is familiar enough that most republicans can identify a song by melody alone and sing a few bars if asked.1 The emotions expressed by the music’s lyrics frame the way commemoration parades are perceived: the songs inform listeners that the person who died was ‘a true son of Ireland’ or whose memory shall never be forgotten. Brown, who has written about the associations made between politics and music, contends: ‘When [political] speeches were made, ideological and political guidance would then be emotionally anchored by the music in the minds of those listening’ (2008: 22; see also Dennis 1996). Similarly, certain rebel songs are chosen at political events to intensify the commemorative aspect or the message being projected by a particular political party. Examples include songs that have been written about the person being commemorated (such as ‘Kieran Doherty’ or ‘Mairead Farrell’) or about a situation that continues to evoke strong emotions (such as ‘Bloody Sunday’ or ‘Men Behind the Wire’, a song about internment). Music adds an emotional element that speeches sometimes fail to deliver, by reaching us on a different level than words alone. In 1843, the newspaper The Nation,2 noted: ‘We furnish political songs to stimulate flagging zeal, or create it where it does not exist’ (Zimmerman 2002 [1966]: 75). Zimmerman suggests that Irish political songs originally grew from street ballads and were composed mainly to transmit popular opinion and news to illiterate audiences. The songs contained basic and sometimes crude lyrics, but they tapped into fundamental sentiments that were easily perceived and understood by the population. The songs became ‘effective in shaping a common memory of events and binding the Irish together’ (Zimmerman 2002 [1966]: 10). Jim, from the Irish Patriots, explained the purpose of rebel songs for him: [The music] is about us; this is about us moving on, being able to remember our people with pride as opposed to ‘ah fuck, he’s dead’. So he’s dead, but here’s what happened, here’s what he died for and here’s where we have to move on in order to fulfil his dream or her dream. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim views rebel songs both as a motivating force for older generations to continue the republican struggle and as a ‘hook’ to interest the younger generations. Jim finds rebel songs a source of inspiration, because the songs highlight the bravery, courage and determination of IRA volunteers. Although Jim is careful to point out that he does not condone violence, he firmly believes that the actions of the IRA in the past have been necessary and justified. Jim admits he originally joined a republican band almost twenty years ago because their militaristic uniforms looked intimidating and tough, and to a teenager it was a chance to rebel. He also felt that being a part of the republican

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movement was a way of taking an active interest in republican culture. The lyrics of some songs add to the feeling of rebellion by applauding the actions of the IRA. For example, in the popular song ‘The Rifles of the IRA’, the lyrics commend the strength of IRA volunteers in the 1920s: ‘But our brave lads knew no fear … And the Black and Tans3 like lightning ran from the rifles of the IRA!’ Now, with the need to rebel behind him, Jim believes that young people growing up in the post-conflict era need to understand their history. Instead of using rebel songs as a means of expressing protest, Jim feels the songs create interest through the stories they tell. In listening to rebel songs, I found the songs to be sad and despairing, as they are often reminders of tragedy or of people who have died in difficult circumstances. Jim commented that: They may be sad, but they’re also motivating for some people, because I mean a lot of them are about heroics – the gallantry of people who really stepped up to the mark and [have] done what they had to have done and they’ve given their lives. There’s probably no greater sacrifice than someone giving their life for their country. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim believes that though the songs may seem solemn, this also makes the songs especially effective at motivating people to participate in the republican struggle. In the context of political song performance or songs used for protest or to energize social movements, the music becomes a conduit to voice the excitement, motivation and determination of a group set on achieving a goal. The lyrics of rebel songs sum up the essence of the republican struggle and lend to the ‘unisonality’ of the imagined community; it is ‘the echoed physical realization of the imagined community’ (Anderson 1991 [1983]: 145). Though his point is in reference to national anthems, Anderson’s point is in the imagined ideal of a community unified by a common aim. As Cohen (1985: 21) has pointed out, symbols (such as music) work best when they are imprecise, and individual members, by virtue of using the same vocabulary or language, imagine that they are unified in their emotions as well. Unification across the generations adds to the illusion of continuity, even when the political circumstances have changed. Several band members said they became involved in parading bands and the republican movement because of family members; for instance, Jenny’s grandfather had marched and after his death it was a way for her to feel close to him and what he believed in. For Charlotte, whose motivation to join was discussed in Chapter Three, she feels the band offers her more exposure and information about republicanism than her secondary school provides. The topic of continuity is implied in song lyrics too. Songwriters use this to their advantage when composing, and in rebel songs, lyrics that relate familiar interpretations of events evoke feelings of belonging and bolster one’s sense of identity

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as a republican. This is exemplified in songs such as ‘Let the People Sing’ and ‘Song for Marcella’. In the first example, the choral lyrics emphasize a common history and experience: ‘Let the people sing … the music of our native land / The lullabies and battle cries and songs of hope and joy … It was music that kept their spirits free, those songs of yours and of mine’. The song goes on to assert a long history of storytelling by bards and music-makers, and how that tradition was almost lost by tyrannical oppressors. In the last verse, the narrator conveys the determined spirit of the Irish: ‘Our music did survive, through famine and oppression / To generations gone, I’ll sing for you this song’. The second example, ‘Song for Marcella’, was mentioned in the previous chapter. Though the song focuses solely on the death and subsequent exaltation of Bobby Sands, the narrator assures listeners that though ‘the heartache and pain linger on’ because of Sands’ actions, ‘we’re stronger now, you showed us how / freedom’s fight can be won, if we all stand as one’. The sentiments expressed in these songs are echoed in political speeches, and this aspect will be visited in more detail in the next chapter. Anderson, in commenting on imagined communities and unisonality, writes that ‘nothing connects us all but imagined sound’ (1991 [1983]: 145), but it is not merely imagined sound that connects us but also an imagined ideal that is conveyed through music and strengthened by coming together to witness the commemoration of republican history and its heroes. The next section evaluates the expression of emotion and collective republican experiences through rebel song performances and parading contexts.

The Performance of Emotion and the Creation of Community This section begins by explaining the reasons for choosing the concept of performance as a basis for furthering my analysis on rebel songs and emotion. The rebel song performance is examined as a means of communicating emotional content and for understanding how community and collective experiences and identities are created and maintained within republican events through the emotional experiences of performances. The ethnography has been expanded more fully in this section to include examples of performance by rebel groups (bands who play in social halls or pubs), because the use of song lyrics more clearly illustrates the emotional discourses that take place in a performance setting. Parading performances (where only instrumental versions of rebel songs are played) and how similar discourses are framed in a parading context are also examined. This section finishes by highlighting some concerns around the provocative nature of rebel music. Bauman notes that the term performance often denotes ‘a mode of communicative behaviour and a type of communicative event’, but that the word is often employed in anthropology to describe ‘an aesthetically marked and heightened mode of communication, framed in a special way and put on display for

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an audience’ (1992: 41). He also observes that ‘cultural performances or display events, such as rituals, festivals, contests or dramatic performances’ can express ‘knowledge, symbols, and values of the group’ (Bauman 2001: 15821). While Bauman’s focus in that latter statement is on the perpetuation and transmission of tradition, his observation illuminates the potential of what is expressed through performance. Performances can be opportunities to learn about ways of being within a particular group or social circle. Small argues that, through the act of engaging with music (or ‘musicking’), we ‘begin to see a musical performance as an encounter between human beings that takes place through the medium of sounds organized in specific ways’ (1998: 10). Music can communicate a variety of messages, and musical performances can create an atmosphere of belonging through the shared experience of the performance. Music can also evoke emotion, and as Becker has noted, the relationship between music and emotion is best understood as a ‘contextually situated social practice’ (2001: 151). She writes: Emotions relating to music are culturally embedded and socially constructed and can usefully be viewed as being about an individual within a community, rather than being exclusively about internal states. … Musical events set up an aural domain of coordination that envelops all those present. (Becker 2001: 151) Becker emphasizes the communality of music-listening and music-making in a collective setting. While each individual forms his or her own experience of the performance, the ‘situation is communal and individual, the music descends upon all alike, while each person’s joy is his or her own’ (Becker 2001: 152, emphasis mine). Though many republicans admit to listening to rebel music when alone, many prefer to hear it at events like parades or pub events, thus enhancing the social nature of music-making and listening, participation, and communal gathering. Small asserts that the ‘act of musicking establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relationships that the meaning of the act lies’ (1998: 13). Playing music together forces the band to work as a team towards the goal of playing as one entity, keeping in tune as they play and rhythmically in tempo or keeping in step as they march. John Blacking has used the term ‘fellow-feeling’, which describes interaction between individuals and captures the intimacy felt by members of a group who engage in the act of music-making (Blacking 1977: 7 cf. Davies 2001: 39). Similarly, Woody and McPherson note that ‘the act of group music-making may be unique in its opportunity for introspection and catharsis, perhaps adding to the emotional connection members feel with one another’ (2001: 405). Rebel musicians engage with the music on a different level than audience members, but it is a

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relationship that some feel brings them closer to the audience as well as to the people about whom the songs are written. Tom, a singer in a rebel group that regularly plays in pubs both in the North and in the Republic, stated: There’s a generation coming up now, and we find a lot of young people (granted a lot of them are in [the bar] for the drink). They’ll buy the CDs and they’ll ask you about a particular song or that particular incident that happened. Most of the ballads that are written about local boys, I would have known them. So that adds that wee bit of …you give it that bit more attention, you see. (Tom, in interview, 10 April 2006). Tom finds it helpful to cope with the tragedies of the past by singing the songs written about events or local people he knew personally. Woody and McPherson comment that ‘[p]ublic performance requires musicians to consider the emotions of the audience and the task of affecting them through music’ (2001: 409–10). Tom feels that the authenticity and first-hand knowledge he and his fellow band members bring to the performance is an essential key to his band’s popularity and reputation. This, he contends, is key in educating younger generations and generating an interest in republicans to learn more about their history and the political goals of republicanism. And performances can be considered one method of transmitting elements of tradition, as Wulff has noted: ‘The social organization of tradition also involves socialization, processes of conveying and acquiring practices between generations’ (2007b: 29–30). Just as Wulff (2007b: 30) found that instruction in Irish dancing also constitutes an informal education in Irish history and ‘Irishness’, so participation in a republican parading band also exposes members to lessons in history, politics and culture. For some republicans, rebel music resonates with a sense of the past and of the experiences and relationships that many republicans share. It captures the tumultuous emotions of war and conflict, of courage and bravery, and of loss. It also reflects on and venerates the actions of those who have lost their lives. For Tom and for some of the other rebel musicians interviewed, they believe that ‘a lot of families of volunteers, deep down, probably take a bit of pride knowing that there’s a song written about [them]’ (Tom, in interview, 10 April 2006). Song performances carry with them the weight of verisimilitude, thus grounding the song narratives in an element of realism. The act of music-making and learning to play music together enhances the bonds of community while the songs encourage questions about the political past both for musicians and for listeners. When one joins a band, certain social commitments are expected and often demanded. Band members see their participation as more than just belonging to a band. Patrick, from Banna Cuimhneachán, explained his view that bands are part of a larger history and tradition within Ireland:

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It’s part of our tradition to sing songs and ballads … that’s how we’ve managed to keep our own sense of identity … [it] has been through music, so why wouldn’t the natural progression [be] for bands to reflect that? … That’s what our history’s about, that’s what we’re about. (Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009) Patrick is not referring just to the music or the fact of being in a band, but to the significance and meaning behind the music the band plays and the beliefs for which the band stands. Similar to Emmett’s comments in the previous chapter, music (and the act of playing or making music) is part of a ‘tradition’ that is well established on the island of Ireland (see Bryan 2000b; Fraser 2000; Hast and Scott 2004; Vallely 2008). Parading is viewed as an assertion of the right to culture as well as a form of political commemoration and ritual. Through parading, the relationships (such as the commemoration of IRA volunteers) and perceptions (such as imagery and songs of the 1916 Easter Rising relived every Easter) within the community are acted out and strengthened. Rebel music is a powerful means of strengthening the feelings of belonging and community among republicans, because most republicans view rebel music as representative of themselves and of their political struggle (see survey results for some examples of comments, Appendix I). The music not only infuses emotion into the chequered history of the republican past, but it provides a focus for gatherings, events, parades and political rallies. Performing rebel music in a band induces a sense of pride and generates a feeling of belonging through the act of playing together. Brown writes: ‘When the bonding between the music, the message, and the people is sufficiently profound, the music becomes a more or less permanent fixture in the psyche of a nation’ (2008: 109). Although Brown is referring to nations in this comment, her observations apply equally to the creation of community. Brown points out that music can take on a symbolic value and its origins (whether as an original composition or a drinking song) are irrelevant. She goes on to assert that ‘what really matters at this point is that the people consider the music and its message to be a symbolic representation of themselves and their coherence as a national collective’ (2008: 109–10). Republicans strive for particular political goals, and their music is expressive of those goals and of their emotions regarding those goals and the situations that brought them to those goals. Rebel songs speak to a particular audience, an audience that claims the island of Ireland as belonging to them and feels the sense of struggle and oppression. For instance, in the song ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’, the composer laments that Ireland may never be free from Britain’s authority and dominance. Written in 1965 by Mickey MacConnell, the song was composed at a time when Northern Irish politics – specifically the freedoms and rights of Catholics – were in turmoil. The lyrics of the first verse give the impression of defeatism,

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but then the song asks where are those brave men now who would stand up and fight (and possibly die) for their country. The song paints a bleak picture of life in Ireland, because of oppression (‘when there’s sorrow in sunshine and flowers’), and appeals to the listener’s motivation and engagement with a political cause. The song finishes with an audible sigh that nothing has changed: ‘and still only our rivers run free’. The possessive adjective ‘our’ creates a sense of community and connection amongst listeners. By using possessive adjectives in this manner, the singer is either singing to an ‘inside’ audience of peers and speaking of a collective ‘our’, or they are singing to an ‘outside’ audience regarding his or her sentiments on behalf of his or her countrymen. In either case, the uses of the words ‘we’ and ‘our’ set up a perceived intimacy among those on the ‘inside’ and extends the ‘imagined community’ across the island and perhaps, as music travels, the wider world (Anderson 1991 [1983]). It rarely makes a difference whether the singer is male or female, young or old; the most important aspect is the spirit in which they sing (or play) the song. In another example, in the hunger strike song ‘Roll of Honour’ the singer appeals to the listener: ‘we must be united in memory of the ten’, implying that the memory of the ten men who died on hunger strike will create a community of those who remember, and this community will be united under that memory. The remainder of the song lists the men by name, and promises that because ‘they so proudly gave their young lives to break Britannia’s hold, their names will be remembered as history unfolds’. The process of commemoration parades ensures that remembrance takes place, and that these men are remembered as heroes. The last lines of the song asserts that their ‘souls cry out, “Remember, our deaths were not in vain / Fight on and make our homeland a nation once again!”’ In addition to the reference to Davis’s nationalist song ‘A Nation Once Again’ (written in 1844), the song implores the listener to remember and to take action. Jim, from the Irish Patriots, told me that engagement with the music gave him a sense of purpose and responsibility as he marched, feelings that he does not interpret lightly: At times when we’d be marching and we’d be playing a wee tune, the words would be going through your head as you’re playing it. And you can feel yourself going, ‘ah, here, this is what they’ve done and we’re still here’. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim explains that the music motivates him to understand what others in the community have experienced. In turn, the act of performing songs about people and places they knew and events they experienced during the Troubles affords some republican musicians a sense of responsibility and respect. Lutz and Abu-Lughod note: ‘Rather than seeing them as expressive vehicles, we must

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understand emotional discourses as pragmatic acts and communicative performances’ (1990: 11). What is communicated through rebel performances is a sense of authenticity and legitimacy, and a conviction of strength. And though the narrative account of events depicted in the songs may be augmented by the composer with emotionally charged sentiments gleaned from personal or public stories, it is perhaps the emotional aspect that gives rebel songs their impact. Emotion changes the narrative from a collection of simple facts to a meaningful event: the death of hunger striker Joe McDonnell becomes not just another death, but the death of a fellow human dying for his belief in the political cause. The chorus in the ‘Ballad of Joe McDonnell’ is at first indignant (‘And you dare to call me a terrorist while you look down your gun?’) and then bombards the listener with a list of bitter allegations: ‘You have plundered many nations, divided many lands … terrorized my nation … rule with an iron hand.’ It ends with an accusation: ‘And you brought this reign of terror to my land.’ Combined with a slow, melodic tune, this song frequently brings tears to the eyes of listeners at live performances in bars or social halls and invokes the memories of injustices committed by the British government or its army in the North. By the time the song is nearing its conclusion, the composer lists the names of the hunger strikers leading up to Joe McDonnell. When the lyrics ‘and next in line is me’ is sung, most people in the crowd stand and sing along loudly while pointing to themselves, as if conveying their own dedication even though some may not have been born at the time of the hunger strikes. At parades, there is typically no loud singing, but the song’s popularity has meant that most republican bands know the song and play it regularly at parading events. In a parading context, the focus for many republican parades (if not all) is the communal act of commemoration and an opportunity for reflection. The act of musicking unites people through the process of performance, through musicmaking and through listening and participating by singing along or dancing. Though Small’s theory of musicking focuses on the relationship between musicians, he also notes that audience members and listeners are not passive in the experience (1998: 10). Audiences do not play the music at rebel performances, and they are clearly not performers in the same sense that musicians are performers, but many do engage with the music on a level that merits recognition. In the performances given by rebel groups (bands with singers who play in pubs as opposed to parading bands who do not sing), the audience is encouraged to participate by singing along, adding alternative lyrics or dancing. This engagement is encouraged and is often the measure of a ‘good night’s craic’.4 Although there is still a line drawn between musicians and audiences, this line is more clearly demarcated in a parading context. Because parading bands play only instrumental versions of rebel songs and do not sing, spectators are limited in their participation. However, spectators are encouraged to ‘fall in’ to the parade queue at the end of the parade. At that point, the line is blurred

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between parade participant and parade spectator. Upon arriving at the site of commemoration, speeches confirm the inclusion of all participants (spectators and musicians alike), and music (whether it is an instrumental piece played on the flute or the bagpipes or a song sung by a singer with a guitar) reinforces inclusivity by assisting in the illusion of the imagined community. Participants listen respectfully to the songs, perhaps while mouthing the lyrics, and later can be heard commenting on the talent of the performers or the poignancy of the performance. The performance of a parade is an opportunity for gathering, for networking, and for remembering other (deceased) members of the community in a public space that is unlikely to be contested. Like most performances, republican parades carry messages of strength, pride, remembrance and identity. As a political tactic, parades demonstrate the solidarity and unwavering determination of republicanism by continuing to parade and raise public awareness. There are some, however, within the republican and nationalist communities who oppose the ideals and tactics of republicanism. They believe that republican music, particularly the songs written about the Troubles, promotes a false sense of identity among young people who have never experienced conflict. Darragh, a musician in a popular folk group that plays a regular circuit in bars and pubs around Belfast, is often asked to play ‘the real Irish music’.5 He refuses. Not only does he believe that rebel songs encourage sectarianism, he also feels that it creates an inaccurate impression of the past: It annoys you to see some of these wee lads, the way they get on. They’re only youngsters to us. We’ve been through the worst of it, we’ve had people blown up. I’ve been in explosions myself, and thanks be to God, came out in one piece. But these wee lads don’t know what it’s about, but [they say] ‘you’d better sing this’. And what it is, is they’re insecure. It [singing rebel song] makes them feel [that] ‘this is who we are’. That’s what a lot of this stuff means to them. Basically who they are is somebody who hates somebody else because they’re Protestant, or because of this or that, and ‘these are our songs’. And that’s what Irish is [to them]. (Darragh, in interview, 21 March 2006) Darragh grew up playing Irish traditional music and is skilled at playing a variety of instruments. He has been in a number of successful folk and traditional groups, mostly playing in tourist locations that locals who enjoy the music frequent too. Several years ago, a band he was in argued over whether or not to play rebel music, and in the end they disbanded, as no consensus was reached. Some of the group felt that more money could be made by widening their repertoire to include republican venues and audiences, but Darragh felt the money was not worth propagating contention. As he explained in the quote above, the only

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element of identity he can see coming out of rebel music is one that is defined by hate. For Darragh, the emotional messages that rebel songs transmit are damaging to the peace process and to an inclusive Northern Irish state. Darragh admits he stands alone in his family with his opinions of rebel music. He had family involved in paramilitary activities, in particular an uncle who is now dead. He is often questioned by his family why he refuses to play a song written about his uncle by a well-known Irish rebel group. Darragh explained that the song, which was composed without any consent from his uncle’s close relatives, bears no resemblance to the uncle he knew and loved. He describes the rebel songwriting process as a formulaic operation and his impression is that his uncle’s name was simply dropped in a pre-written song that glorified the deeds of the IRA. The song, according to Darragh, was not only an untrue portrayal of his uncle, but it threatened the memories of his uncle that Darragh wished to keep safe. From Darragh’s perspective, the song expresses the quintessential emotions for republicans (bravery, loyalty, sacrifice) but for Darragh, these emotions are generic and false representations of the individual. In the interviews conducted with both pub musicians and parading band members, Darragh was an exception in many respects. The Troubles were anything but an exciting political war fought to regain autonomy. For him, what started as a process of civil rights protests disintegrated into a nightmare of conflict and violence. Darragh believes that the more contemporary republican songs (ones written about the Troubles as opposed to historical 1798 ballads, for example) are misleading and even dangerous, as it places the singer in a position of singing about experiences they as a person may not be completely comfortable with: A lot of these songs reinforce that mindset [of republicanism], especially for people who haven’t read history. They’re ignorant actually of the broader picture. And the pressure that people like us musicians are put under is nothing short of obscene. It’s ended up in punch-ups; it’s ended up with musicians batterin’ someone with a microphone stand. (Darragh, in interview, 21 March 2006) Darragh’s experiences contradicted much of what was said by republicans during the course of this research, and that makes his perspective valuable. Although he has grown up surrounded by conflict and republican opinion, his own views have remained conservative and consistent. He values peace and tolerance above all else. He eschews violence in any form, and to him, the music he plays should reflect that belief. He believes Irish music should be a celebration of culture and history, but not the same exclusive culture and history that is emphasized in republican narratives.

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Although rebel songs are generally not viewed as sectarian by most republicans, there is some concern surrounding rebel performances because of the potential to incite violence or ‘rebel rousing’ behaviour during or after rebel music performances. Often called ‘rebel nights’, the performances take place in pubs or social halls (see Figure 6.1). There is typically a cover charge, ranging from £3–£10, and while some of that money may go towards paying for the band, sometimes a portion is designated for fundraising (for instance, for a local parading band, an ÓSF cumann, or for a commemoration ceremony). Alcohol is almost always available, although in

Figure 6.1 Flyer advertising a rebel night at a Belfast bar, 2008. Photograph by the author.

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rare cases audiences may have to bring their own supply (this is dependent on the venue). Many times, while accompanying members of the parading bands to these social events, it was expected that everyone participate in the drinking, dancing and revelry. Although uncomfortable on the dance floor, my reluctance to join in made me feel out of place, but after a few drinks I plucked up the courage to start dancing. Even whilst pregnant, I was still asked if I was sure I wanted to abstain from alcohol. The combination of alcohol, obstreperous young people and rebel songs inevitably leads to what McCann (1985) termed ‘rebel rousing’. While the band plays on stage, audience members crowd the front and sing along loudly, often with arms raised in the air (see Figure 6.2). Some may shed tears during particularly sad or poignant songs; others may sway absently as they watch the stage. The emotion during these songs is almost palpable: the air feels thick and heavy with sadness and despondency, and although this is likely just a combination of the effects of the alcohol and cramped quarters, it was difficult not to get caught up in the moment alongside other crowd participants. During faster, more aggressive songs, the crowd may jump up and down, raise their fists or shout the lyrics along with the singer. Some people dance, but most stand and listen while drinking pints of beer and occasionally chatting to friends. Some record portions of the performance

Figure 6.2 A snapshot taken during a ‘rebel night’ in the Devenish bar, Easter 2006. Photograph by the author.

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on their mobile phones. The venue is often dark, loud and cramped, and the atmosphere is generally boisterous and a little rowdy. As the night progresses, more and more people crowd the dance floor, the singing from the audience gets louder, and alternative lyrics or chanting (such as ‘up the RA!’) are heard more often. Some people may become dramatically weepy or upset. More than once arguments and fights broke out. Once the performance is over, the crowds disperse into the surrounding streets chanting ‘The I, the I, the I-R-A!’, or singing sections of various rebel songs, or in some cases, engaging in anti-social behaviour. For example, in 2008, local residents lodged objections against the renewal of the Devenish Arms Bar’s entertainment licence following complaints of unruly behaviour by exiting patrons. This was not the first time objections had been made. In part this is most likely because of its proximity to suburban neighbourhoods, but it is also likely due to the nature of the performances. The minutes of a meeting held by Belfast Council reviewing the licence renewal revealed that: In addition to lodging complaints, residents also alleged that the Devenish were advertising entertainment not permitted under the terms and conditions of the licence. Copies of advertisements, which appeared in the Andersonstown News during February were obtained that confirmed this to be the case. The licence conditions were re-iterated to the management of the Devenish, and as a result they cancelled any entertainment billed for the Easter period that would have been in breach of these conditions.6 Several points in this passage are interesting. First, the Devenish frequently advertises ‘rebel nights’ in the Andersonstown News, a local paper to West Belfast that has a strong republican influence. Second, the fact that entertainment for the Easter period, a common season for rebel nights (see Figure 6.2 above), was cancelled indicates that it was highly likely the performances were for rebel songs. This brief example illustrates the difficulties that rebel performances can pose for general society, which reflects the concerns that Darragh raises. Although the Council’s report also implies that the nature of the performances taking place at the Devenish are attractive to teenagers and therefore suggests the risk of underage drinking, it is also clear that the surrounding neighbourhood wishes to discourage performances such as rebel nights because of their effect on crowds. Although many fervent republicans have expressed concern at the conduct they have witnessed during rebel nights and the potential bad press it could mean for the republican movement, there is also the feeling that much of the behaviour is down to youth and the consumption of alcohol, and that those factors are more to blame than the music. Some have been more dismissive of the insinuation

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that rebel nights might be doing more harm than good: ‘Sometimes we’d [as musicians] be accused of glorifying gunmen, but you go back to that old adage that some man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ (Tom, in interview, 10 April 2006). Parkinson, Fischer and Mansted (2005) have brought up an interesting point in regard to the emotional dialogue that can take place between different groups in society. They suggest that emotions and emotional dialogue are commonly misconstrued and that these misconceptions can cause hostility and miscommunication (Parkinson, Fischer and Mansted 2005: 126–28). They write: If members of group A perceive themselves to be the object of group B’s contempt, for example, this may well reinforce their feelings of resentment towards this out-group. In this way, the perceived emotion of the out-group may bolster its negative image in the eyes of the in-group. (2005: 127) Though Sinn Féin’s political message is one that aims to promote tolerance and unity for all of Northern Ireland, rebel songs carry an altogether different message. It is perhaps the more aggressive and hostile ‘Brits Out’ message frequently heard in rebel songs that speaks more loudly to non-republicans, and therefore negates Sinn Féin’s attempts at inclusivity. Some of the problems concerning rebel nights demonstrate that while it is true that youthful energy and alcohol during any musical performance can easily lead to exuberance and boisterous behaviour, Darragh’s apprehensiveness that rebel music emphasizes hostility and exclusion is thrown into stark relief. Frith has commented that music ‘articulates in itself an understanding of both group relations and individuality, on the basis of which … social ideologies are understood’ (1996a: 110–11, emphasis in original). Music provides a focus for republican communities; it is a reason to socialize with other republicans or to get involved in a band (to learn an instrument), but when looked at from an opposing perspective, rebel music may also hinder the tolerance and negotiation that the republican movement now wishes to foster and promote. Of course, music is not understood (or listened to) in a vacuum, and so republican perceptions are also tempered with everyday experiences that also inform opinions, ideals, beliefs and identities. The next section considers the role of memory in constructing republican narratives of history and identity through rebel music.

Republican Memory and Rebel Music Republican songs are an expressive way of recounting the past. Kammen notes that ‘what people believe to be true about their past is usually more important in determining their behaviour and responses than truth itself’ (1991: 38–39). Similarly, Pennebaker points out that some beliefs and impressions are ‘not

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memories at all, but rather shared presumed memories or histories’ that can then ‘remain alive across generations – often in the face of contradictory evidence’ (1997: vii). Whilst not suggesting that republican music (or the entire republican historical narrative) is untrue, Pennebaker’s observation, along with Viggiani’s (2014) concept of ‘memory makers’ mentioned earlier, does help explain how republican music can perpetuate the republican view of history. In Shelemay’s research on Syrian Jewish music in New York, she notes that ‘an individual in the present [is able] to re-sing, re-hear, and re-experience the past’ (1998: 223). Songs are used in order to remember: ‘they are occasionally sung purposefully to commemorate events or to memorialize particular individuals’ (Shelemay 1998: 7). The performance of certain songs triggers memories of particular places, events, people, and so on. And by recalling these pasts in the present, the memories are reaffirmed and passed on. Shelemay explains: Indeed, it is precisely the intersection of the individual and group memory, and the manner in which they are inseparable in the past and the present, to which these musical materials speak. It further appears that song … provides a cultural space in which the individual and collective memories may both be mediated and juxtaposed. (1998: 10) Though she is writing about Jewish pizmonim, her point is relevant to rebel songs. Rebel song narratives cultivate a vicarious experience of the events or tragedies told in the songs, and these experiences are mediated with stories told by witnesses and those who lived during the worst of the Troubles. Republican rebel songs have become advantageous for communicating the experience of the past to younger generations. Music is a form of entertainment, and those young people who find traditional schooling difficult believe that music engages them in ways that other methods fail to. The experiences that are recounted via stories and narratives accentuate and make real the situations and emotions that are portrayed in rebel songs. These experiences are told by parents, friends and other members of the community; for example, local politicians (such as Sinn Féin), political activist groups (such as Sinn Féin cumainn or Ógra Shinn Féin) and bandleaders and older members of republican parading bands. The composer of the songs is rarely the owner of the experience being depicted, though they may have been in similar situations or have had similar experiences themselves. However, because of the vagueness that is inherent in most music due to time and artistic limits, listeners are able to interpret the stories told through the songs for themselves. For older members who grew up in the Troubles, the songs are sharp reminders of memories they feel they cannot – and should not – forget. And they have become a kind of ‘tout court’ – to use Irwin-Zarecka’s (1994) term – for younger generations. Although young people may not have been old enough

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(or perhaps yet born) during the worst of the Troubles, the stories they hear from older generations and at commemorations enables them to create a depiction of events in their head. These depictions are augmented by songs that chronicle republican tragedies and venerate republican heroes. These ‘secondhand’ memories lack the potency and influence of first-hand memories and they are subject to change with the addition of new information or as the complexity of the Northern Irish conflict is fully grasped. Just as many in the United Kingdom will honour Remembrance Day7 without having experienced the loss of loved ones to war, so too do young republicans honour and commemorate those who live on in republican memory. This is reflected in the reasons why many believe republican bands are important: to remember or commemorate republican history and republican volunteers. This point leads us to question the connections between what is perceived as personal memory and what is perceived as collective memory. The link between personal memory and collective memory can appear nearly seamless. Rodríguez and Fortier write: The mediating link between personal memory and the collective memory of one’s past may be a word, an image, a person, or some specific, concrete thing that makes this otherness erupt in one’s consciousness and demands one’s attention. (2007: xii) Rebel music serves as the link between the multitude of individual experiences of the Troubles and the generalized, glossed-over experience retold in republican songs. Rodríguez and Fortier describe this connection as cultural memory, and that the knowledge of cultural memory causes us to view reality in a different and more meaningful way. They write: ‘In short, this different way of seeing things means that not only do we identify with the otherness of our experience, but we see it as our raison d’être’ (Rodríguez and Fortier 2007: xii). While Rodríguez and Fortier use the term ‘cultural memory’, Assmann has made the argument that culture must be taken into consideration when analysing collective memory. He sees collective memory as having a cultural basis, since: [I]n the act of remembering we do not just descend into the depths of our own most intimate inner life, but we introduce an order and a structure into that internal life that are socially conditioned and that link us to the social world. Every act of consciousness is socially mediated … (2006: 1–2) In terms of a political movement, songs that perform the function of serving as a cultural aide-memoire have the capacity to inspire cohesion, unity and belonging. Rebel songs serve as an expressive outlet for the collective voice of

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republicanism and its accompanying political movement that strives towards reunification of Ireland. Songs such as the ‘Ballad of Joe McDonnell’ and the ‘Ballad of Pearse Jordan’ convey indignation (‘and you dare to call me a terrorist?’) and grief (‘slán go foill, mo chara’),8 while ‘Go On Home’ (‘ … go on home, have you got no fucking homes of your own?’) and ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ (‘when Stormont bans our marches, they’ve got a lot to learn’) portray anger and frustration. Songs of resilience and unity like ‘Let the People Sing’ (‘ … throughout the test of time / It was music that kept their spirits free’) and ‘Song for Marcella’ (‘Freedom’s fight can be won, if we all stand as one’) echo impressions of solidarity and oneness. Above all, songs that express determination and strength motivate republicans towards their political goals, such as ‘Plastic Bullets’ (‘We will not be kept down easy’), ‘Prisoner’s Anthem’ (‘For the spirit cannot be shackled … [though] they chain our feet and hands’), and ‘Go On Home’ (‘For eight hundred years, we’ve fought you without fear … we’ll fight you for eight hundred more’). The emotional fervour expressed in rebel songs (like the examples above) can inspire younger generations to become politically involved. Eyerman and Jamison note: [M]usical and other kinds of cultural traditions are made and remade, and after the movements fade away as political forces, the music remains as a memory and as a potential way to inspire new waves of mobilization. (1998: 1–2) For many young republicans, the history that they come to commemorate and respect is also tempered with present-day knowledge and circumstance, and commemoration speeches are often used to link the purpose of the commemoration with a political goal that is reinforced through the stories told through rebel songs. Fentress and Wickham, in writing about social memory and the types of ‘memory images’ that are carried along via social networks, point out that social memory is articulated memory by virtue of its transmission (1992: 49). Memories are consciously made into a transmissible format, which begs the question: From whose memory are these images and experiences constructed? And how are these memories recomposed by songwriters and commemoration speakers? The answer is difficult to explain. The acceptance and popularity of most rebel songs would indicate that while composers might generalize or gloss over individual experiences in favour of artistic licence, the ‘memory’ of the experience offered in lyrics resonates with many republican listeners, based on casual conversations with audience members or parade participants. Other factors such as who writes the song, who performs the music and what relationship they have to the music’s subjects also have an effect on the music. For instance, one rebel group that performs regularly in the North hails from

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Scotland, and while its lead singer is not especially gifted in vocal talent, his enthusiasm and his rapport with Irish audiences has won him many invitations to play all over Northern Ireland. Similarly, republican bands that have lessthan-chic uniforms and sometimes play out of tune or miss occasional notes are still invited back to commemorations because their dedication and spirit is apparent and appreciated by other bands and members of the republican community. Fentress and Wickham note that the images preserved in collective memory through music or stories ‘often refer to circumstances that we have not witnessed ourselves’ and thus are ‘disembodied’ (1992: 49). They further explain: [These memories] are often decontextualized, and, in a radical sense, we may have no real way of knowing whether they refer to something real or something imaginary … members of any given social group will imagine that if their tradition preserves the memory of a certain event, then that event must have happened. (Fentress and Wickham 1992: 4) Fentress and Wickham’s observations are pertinent to those who have not actually known the person or experienced the event or situation first-hand. While rebel songs refer to specific people, places and events, they capture snapshots of the facts and primarily express the essence of emotions and memories regarding those facts. For instance, to return to earlier examples, the songs ‘Ballad of Pearse Jordan’ and ‘Aidan McAnespie’ are frequently introduced at rebel music performances as bitter and resentful songs about a murder (not an accidental death), despite the (legally) disputed facts regarding both incidents. In Frames of Remembrance, Irwin-Zarecka writes: If collective memory is understood as we understand it here, not as a collection of individual memories or some magically constructed reservoir of ideas and images, but rather as a socially articulated and socially maintained ‘reality of the past’, then it also makes sense to look at the most basic and accessible means for memory articulation and maintenance – talk. (1994: 54) Irwin-Zarecka’s research focused on narrative and speech, but here the context has been extended to include song lyrics as a form of narrative that informs republican collective memory. As previously noted, although republican parading bands play instrumental versions of rebel songs, the lyrics to the songs are widely known amongst republicans. Many members have admitted to hearing the words in their head as they march. Sometimes it is because they enjoy the song, or it passes the time marching, or because they believe in the words and remembering the lyrics reminds them why they are marching. It is not

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uncommon to see members of the crowd moving their lips, lip-syncing the lyrics under their breath. The memories that are preserved in rebel songs are used in context in the present to explain and motivate political endeavours. Lomax notes: [F]rom the point of view of its social function, the primary effect of music is to give the listener a feeling of security, for it symbolizes the place where he was born, his earliest childhood satisfactions, his religious experience, his pleasure in community doings, his courtship and his work – any or all of these personality-shaping experiences. (1959: 929) Although Lomax is writing about familiar sounds and tune patterns, his point can be extended to include concepts and symbols familiar to one’s culture or nationalism. Rebel songs are laden with such symbols and references particular to republican culture, and it is this familiarity that cultivates belonging and stirs recollections. Many band members grow up hearing the songs, either at home or at friends’ houses, and from this exposure go on to form their own experiences and understanding. One band member from the Irish Patriots explained: You know I’d always listen to the songs and stuff and everybody getting together and singing and stuff. There’s always something there. It’s just who you are and where you’re brought up and that’s where it’s brought you today. (Frankie, in interview, 19 January 2009) Patrick, a member of Banna Cuimhneachán, agreed that the majority of rebel songs entreat remembrance. He told me: ‘Our music would stem from anything from immigration to volunteer songs … our music, just over the generations, that’s the way it’s been. That’s the way it’ll always be’ (Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009). Many hardships, struggles overcome and battles fought have been recorded in song and beseech listeners not to forget, as these lyrics suggest: But in years to come, your memory’s still true … we will not forget you (‘Ballad of Pearse Jordan’) So always remember and don’t ever forget They died … and we owe them a debt (‘George and Pop’) Though we’re not free yet we won’t forget Until our dying day how [they] ran [from the] IRA! (‘Rifles of the IRA’)

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We remember them with pride … those brave men were Ireland’s sons … (‘Men of ’81’) In each of these examples, the lyrics specifically ask for or demand remembrance. In other songs the request might not be as explicit, but as Shelemay points out, the ‘fact that songs continue to be sung in situations similar to those in which they were first performed reinforces and cues the highly charged process of reminiscence’ (1998: 215). So whether or not the songs themselves demand remembrance, the very fact that they are played for commemorations, usually at the site of a memorial or cemetery, invites the act of remembering. Songs are, as Feder notes, ‘compound aural memories’ (1992: 241). Feder’s description invokes an image of the layering effects of memory and song, until the two are blended to such a degree that the song comes to represent the memory of the event or individual.

Conclusion This chapter has explored the expression of emotion and the narratives of memory through rebel songs and rebel song performances to further an understanding of republican identities. Through the performance of parading and the act of musicmaking, rebel music promotes a sense of community by the performance of songs that are familiar and intrinsic to the republican political and cultural ethos. Singing about the past allows the musicians to reflect on the experiences of those who witnessed the Troubles and engages younger generations in republican history, culture and political principles. Younger generations may not ‘remember’ the Troubles in the same way that older generations remember them. However, the interest that is generated by rebel songs, either because of the novelty of protest as it was for Jim, or because of the stories that are narrated through the songs, functions as an aide-memoire for republican history and culture. Although some performances, such as rebel nights, may incite violent attitudes and behaviours, the overriding belief for republicans is that the benefits of the music in the transmission of memory and identity outweigh any negative aspects that come from ‘rebel rousing’. Rebel music can be seen as the crux of where the intersecting lines of community, identity, emotion and memory meet within the performance of commemoration parades. The next chapter examines the act of commemoration and remembrance as a form of political ritual. Commemoration events are also discussed as a forum for the negotiation of republican identity and as a method of exerting political influence over the narratives of republicanism.

Notes  1. Asking a fellow parade spectator to identify the song being played was how I came to learn and recognize the songs in the field.

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 2. The Nation was an Irish nationalist newspaper published in the mid nineteenth century to address the ‘new mind [that] has grown up amongst us, which longs to redress other wrongs and achieve other victories; and that this mind has found no adequate expression in the press’ (Mulvey 2003: 63). Written by two Catholics and one Protestant, the paper sought to unite the people of Ireland in ‘internal union and external independence [and develop] a nationality which would be recognized by the world, and sanctified by wisdom, virtue, and time’ (Mulvey 2003: 63–64).  3. The Black and Tans were an auxiliary regiment of paid ex-soldiers brought over from England in 1920 to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary in trying to maintain control over the IRA. Their name came from the motley uniforms that were available to them.  4. ‘Craic’ is an Irish word loosely meaning ‘fun’, but can also refer to a general good time, gossip, revelry or to a person who is fun to be around.  5. This phrase is problematic for several reasons, not least of which because it assumes a divide between Protestant and Catholic musical traditions on the island of Ireland. Darragh does not see music in those terms, and neither do most Irish traditional music scholars (see in particular Scott 2001; Vallely 2004: 144–45). Most republicans would agree that rebel music speaks to a particular set of political ideals, but they would also argue that Irish history is inherent in rebel music and thus just as much a part of Irish culture as music classed as traditional. An in-depth analysis of the questions and complications that are suggested by that point of view would be too lengthy to raise in this book. However, it is important to clarify that there is a divide between Irish traditional music and rebel songs, and most people involved with either acknowledge the differences between them (see Cooper 2009, Hast and Scott 2004; Kaul 2009; McCann 1985; McNamee 1991; O’Shea 2009; Vallely 2004, 2008).  6. Belfast City Council. 2008. Special Meeting of Licensing Committee – Minutes. Available at: http://minutes.belfastcity.gov.uk/Published/C00000384/M00009277/$$ADocPackPublic. pdf [accessed 16 October 2011].  7. Remembrance Day is observed by Commonwealth countries on 11 November to remember those who have served in the armed forces since World War I.  8. This roughly translates as ‘Goodbye, my friend’.

Chapter 7

Memorializing Immortality Commemoration, Narrative and Political Ritual

q

If we don’t [attend commemorations], we’re failing those who laid down their lives and paid the supreme sacrifice. That’s what it’s all about. It’s very, very important. —Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009

T

he previous chapter focused on the expression of emotion and the role of memory in rebel songs and parading practices. It was argued that the emotional discourses of rebel music can only be fully appreciated by analysing the commemorative contexts in which they are performed. Here the concepts of narrative, thus far applied to song lyrics, are extended to explain the significance of ongoing political and historical discourses that republican commemorations represent. The comment by Patrick above was elicited in response to the question posed as to whether or not commemorations were important events for bands to attend.1 His response was echoed throughout the many interviews carried out over the course of my fieldwork: commemorations are very much the focal point of a republican parading band’s occupation. The questions that this statement raises, though, are what purpose do commemoration events serve in the politics of republicanism, and to what extent are republican bands integral in performing or sustaining this purpose? To answer these questions, the focus now turns to republican historical narratives and ritual aspects of commemoration in a political context, and contested identities of republicanism that are expressed through band symbolism, to explain how these narratives influence

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republican identities while also stemming from Sinn Féin’s political agenda. Theories of political ritual and the concept of remembrance, clarification of the importance of commemorative events for republicans and the communities they inhabit are explored, as is how remembrance is sometimes contested through the outward expression of the bands, particularly through uniforms and imagery. Finally, the example of the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration parade is used as a case study of the ways in which commemorations are being contested and appropriated into a political discourse that extends beyond the boundaries of the North.

The Narratives of Republican Commemorations Republican commemorations form a context for the exhibition and maintenance of republican historical narratives. By virtue of their existence, commemorations not only legitimize republican history – that is, history as believed and told by republicans – but, as already shown, they provide a forum of remembrance for deceased relatives and friends. Commemoration events offer an occasion to gather together to listen to speeches made by politicians or other important members of the movement. Politically, they offer the illusion of continuity by appropriating connections with valued historical ideals. They are a chance to reiterate the goals of the party and its achievements to date, and they remind supporters of how far republicanism has come politically while educating younger generations about republican history. Most importantly, they connect the past with the present to keep alive the collective memory of historical events. With regards to the republican movement, commemorations are used to contextualize past objectives with current political actions, goals and ambitions. This not only legitimizes current claims through the illusion of continuity, it also authenticates those aims and objectives and coheres the dominant narratives of the past within the various strands of republicanism. In writing of the narrative process, Tonkin has noted: ‘Delineating and supporting social identities or ethnicities requires innovative and active work by many people which then often has to be repeated over and over; it is not an automatic consequence of living or working together’ (1992: 130). She suggests that identity is formed not solely through external elements, but through a mediation of influences. It is through these influences that a narrative must persist, and, thus, it is shaped by both the narrator and the narrator’s time.2 However, while Tonkin’s study focuses on the inherent agency of the narrator, the point here is that the narrative, in this instance, is to some degree bound by the expectations and acceptance of the listeners, making the construction of the narration a participatory act. Thus, there are several ‘narratives’ of republican historical truth. Too many, in fact, to investigate them all in any detail in this book, and so this study focused on the commemorations associated with Sinn Féin. Tonkin does reveal, however, that:

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The narrators are also influenced by prevailing cosmologies and cultural expectations or theories as to how duration and successivity occur. These not only direct narrators’ framing and explanation of events, they enter into the collective representations of genre, and, as we know, by choice of genre telling is constrained, shaped in a particular way. (1992: 66) Similarly, republican narratives are constrained to a degree by political agenda. As these narratives are most often related and referred to in the context of commemorations, the circumstances dictate the nature of the narrative in the same way that funeral eulogies typically honour – and do not disgrace – the dead. For example, the Seamus Woods3 commemoration parade takes place in a small rural East Tyrone town called Pomeroy in July. This commemoration was attended in 2008, and for such a small town, there was a fairly big crowd at the parade (about 700 people, though Ógra Shinn Féin’s website estimated the number in the ‘thousands’4). Three republican bands and one accordion band were in attendance, and this was the first time in my research I had witnessed an accordion band at a republican commemoration. One of its members later revealed that the band was relatively new and inexperienced, and although they played other types of music (such as Christmas carols and hymns), they included rebel music in their repertoire for a couple of reasons: it offered more opportunities for parading and many of their members had ties with the republican community and had expressed a desire to learn a few songs from the genre. The parade progressed through town and ended in a nondescript street, with a podium set up by the roadside. A long sloping hill behind the podium was dotted with people. I later discovered this position was chosen, as the Woods family lives across the street and a memorial stone lay just out of my view behind the podium. The bands finished their marching just before reaching the podium and were received with warm applause from the crowds before ‘falling out’ and taking their places near the back of the crowd. The first person to speak was an old family friend. He recounted funny stories and jokes about Seamus and the crowd laughed along with him. There was a moment of silence and then the speaker invited various groups (such as the National Graves Association and Sinn Féin) to lay wreaths at the memorial stone. When the wreath laying was finished, a member of the accordion band recited a decade of the Rosary in Irish. Some people recited along with him. Then the main speaker of the event, Gerry Kelly, came to the microphone.5 (It is typical for the speaker to be a leading figure in the republican movement, though Mr Kelly admitted he had never actually met Seamus Woods.) After greeting the crowd briefly in Irish, Mr Kelly spoke of the importance of personalizing commemorations:

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A brilliant way to start off a commemoration like this is to talk very personally, because [of] people – especially younger people – who didn’t know Seamus and need to know what type of character he was, what he could have been. (5 July 2008) As the main speaker of the event, the praise he bestowed upon Seamus’s character publicly confirmed that Seamus was worthy of respect by those who did not know him. In his eulogy of affirmation, the choices Seamus made in his life, or rather the choices he made that led to the end of his life, can be seen not as mistakes but as courageous feats: He was an ordinary person, but … he came into extraordinary circumstances and he rose to that challenge. He could have went on to get married, could have had children, had grandchildren. He could have had an entirely different life. He was only eighteen [when he joined the IRA]. But he wanted to lead … from the front. He made a choice, and … it was a hard choice. It was also a very brave choice, but it was also a choice of last resort. … And on Thursday the seventh of July 1988 he was doing it again, he was leading from the front. (5 July 2008) Seamus Woods was killed on that date, when the bombs he was taking up to the Pomeroy barracks exploded prematurely. Despite the fact that the bombs were intended to cause destruction and damage, perhaps even to maim or kill another human being, the cause was justified because ‘it was a choice of last resort’. Mr Kelly implied that had Seamus Woods had any choice in the matter, he would surely have opted for a more peaceful alternative. Earlier in the speech Mr Kelly explained that Seamus grew up watching his friends and family suffer attacks (both verbal and physical), house raids, and other disturbances and tragedies at the hands of the British forces, and these experiences led him to ‘the last resort’ of joining the IRA. He concluded by saying he did not know what Seamus would have thought now (about the present political circumstances), but he does know ‘that he was a leader, and … when other comrades died, he took up the mantle and fought the fight because he believed in it. And those of us that are left need to continue that struggle’ (5 July 2008). But Mr Kelly was careful to place ‘that struggle’6 in the context of the changing political climate since the Belfast Agreement7 and to justify the actions of ‘the leadership’:8 It’s the job of leadership to lead, to do the best they can in any given circumstances. And over the many years of this struggle, there have been many changes and we’ve gone through many different phases. The one thing the leadership can never do and never has done was to bury

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its head in the sand. It has to look at whatever point in our struggle we are at and fight it as best as they can. (5 July 2008) While speeches at commemoration events are often uplifting and motivating, those that silence idle crowd chatter recall the passion and the drive of the individual who died doing what they believed in. It is this quality – a commitment to dying for one’s political or patriotic beliefs – that seems to capture the republican imagination and bind people together in quiet contemplation. The qualities of bravery, loyalty and resilience are often emphasized in commemoration speeches and posters recalling the dead. They are memorialized in songs (as described in Chapter Five) and add to the republican narrative of an IRA that strived for justice and whose purpose was to defend Irish Catholic nationalists and republicans from an oppressive and violent British Protestant majority and government. This is similar to what Sluka (1989) found in his research of IRA support in West Belfast: Perhaps the single main finding of my research on popular support for the IRA and INLA was that the major source of support is the defensive role they play in the Catholic working-class ghetto ‘killing fields’ of Belfast and other Northern Irish cities. The primary function of the IRA in Northern Ireland has always been community defense and protection of the Catholic minority from state and loyalist attacks, and the national liberation struggle is secondary to that. (Sluka 2000: 147) While Sluka admits that the IRA could not adequately protect Catholics and this is realized by many in the Catholic nationalist/republican community, the significance is placed on the IRA’s attempts at defence and protection (2000: 147). Schwarcz comments that ‘remembrance is a particular form of action’ (1998: 4), suggesting that the act of recall is an embodied process. Engaging with this process requires engaging with the narrative, in much the same way that becoming a band member in a republican band requires engagement with the republican ethos. Rodríguez and Fortier, in their understanding of Lewis and Sandra Hinchman’s perceptions, write: ‘It is through narrative that a culture organizes and integrates its understanding of reality’ (Rodríguez and Fortier 2007: 8). Belief in this identity narrative is necessary for the sustainability of the community, if it is to remain unified. That is not to suggest that there cannot be debate or discourse regarding a proposed ‘truth’, but to dismiss belief would be to question the origins of one’s identity. The construction of the narrative, which in this case is tied up with a political ideology and a culture of resistance, is established and maintained through negotiation of power between the people and the state. The commemorative process maintains the structure of the narrative, upholding its legitimacy and reaffirming its message in the context of the

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present. It allows for reflection on the nature of one’s commitment. As Patrick explained, a commemorative event ‘refocuses and rededicates every person every year. A commemoration will come round and, in particular, Easter, you’d … literally rededicate yourself for the following year, the coming year. It’s just like starting again’ (Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009). Some clear examples that illustrate Patrick’s point can be found in the speeches of the 2016 Hunger Strike Commemorations. In between recited biographies of the hunger strikers, speeches were given by Senator Fintan Warfield, assembly member Megan Fearon, Senator and Belfast’s youngest elected mayor (from 2011–2012) Niall Ó Donnghaile, and councillor Elisha McCallion. Warfield began his interest in politics at the age of sixteen, ‘inspired and informed by … songs, poems and music’.9 He believes that for republicans today, ‘the ten hunger strikers who died in Long Kesh occupy the same space in republican history as the men and women of 1916’ and their courage and determination ‘continue to inspire … and guide everything we do’. Megan Fearon, age twenty-five, spoke of the role of young people in being a catalyst for change, and how the memories of the hunger strikers, as well as those from the 1916 Rising, men from the H-block cells and the women in Armagh Gaol, inspire the legacy of change; ‘the flame of freedom burns bright in our hearts’, she commented. Ó Donnghaile, the son, grandson and nephew of republican POWs, remarked that the ‘hunger strike heroes’ have ‘passed the mantle onto us’, and that ‘our generation does not have to make the sacrifices of previous generations’, but ‘we have to make good the promise of 1916’. The ‘only fitting tribute to our hunger strikers’, he concludes, ‘is a united Ireland and a true Irish republic’. The republican narrative is supported through rebel songs, too, and songs may be chosen that reflect a specific aspect of a commemoration event. Speeches are often punctuated by a song or instrumental music, either played by one or two musicians and/or with a singer who comes up to the podium to play (see Figure 7.1). Although there are likely lyrics, they may or may not be sung. As discussed in Chapter Five, most rebel songs highlight themes and principles that are held in significance for republicans. For instance, at the Gibraltar commemoration in Belfast in March 2008, a singer performed a moving a cappella version of ‘Mairead Farrell’, one of the IRA volunteers killed in Gibraltar. Typically, the songs that are played as part of the speech presentation are more reflective in tone than the songs played by boisterous marching bands, even though they may be versions of the same song. The use of music alongside commemoration speeches enhances the experience and tone of the event and further bolsters the republican narrative through description. As in republican bands, talent or skill is not the focus of these musical interludes, it is instead their emotional expression or the spirit and enthusiasm they

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portray that is valued.10 A recent example is the Bloody Sunday commemoration of 2011, when a band member was invited to open the speeches with a solo of the Irish national anthem, ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’. The player’s flute seemed to be out of tune, or perhaps not warmed up properly, and the player failed to produce a note. After several minutes of embarrassed silence while the fluter attempted to resolve the problem, Gerry Adams stepped up to the microphone and began to sing a cappella. The crowd soon joined in and the applause that followed the end of the song was accompanied by cheers, whoops and shouts of praise. While it did not appear to be the case in that instance, the musicians who play solo (or in a duet) in front of the microphone often have a more musical background than the average band member. They may or may not also participate in a parading band, and one such versatile musician is known not only to have played solo at commemorations, but has played in a republican band as well as a traditional music session band. At the end of the speeches, there may be another parade back to a town hall or social venue for tea and sandwiches, or the crowds may disperse and make their way home. Occasionally, for bigger commemorations, there may be a dance, a movie showing or other event later on that evening that follows the theme of the commemoration or the republican struggle in general (see Figure

Figure 7.1 Playing a solo song, which is often an integral part of the speeches. This photo was not taken at the Seamus Woods commemoration, however, I have included it to illustrate my point. Photograph by the author.

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7.2). Through speeches, symbols, music and film, republican narratives of courage, sacrifice, loyalty and determination are emphasized again and again.

Commemorations, Political Ritual and the Role of Remembrance The focus moves on to political ritual and other political aspects of commemoration events, of which republican memory plays a significant part. While republican commemorations are a form of political ritual, it is the remembrance that is key to the formation and focus of republican politics.

Figure 7.2 A poster advertising the events for Seamus Woods’ commemoration, 2008. Photograph by the author.

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As already mentioned, the role of republican bands in commemoration events is manifold: they impart colour, noise, energy and a sense of formality. Their presence not only signals the occurrence of a commemoration event, but everything about the bands – from the flags they carry to the uniforms they wear to the songs they play – bestows a sense of pride in the culture of republicanism for the community. Most importantly, the bands and commemorations connect the past with the present to keep alive the collective memory of historical events and to incorporate those memories into the republican narrative that is communicated through the political ritual of commemorations. Connerton, though not writing specifically of politics, writes that commemorative rituals ‘do not simply imply continuity with the past by virtue of their high degree of formality and fixity; rather, they have as one of their defining features the explicit claim to be commemorating such continuity’ (1989: 48). However, Connerton’s statement reveals how the introduction of politics into the secular rituals of republicanism can sustain political agendas and bring new meanings into commemorations. In this case, the perception of continuity with the past is integral in maintaining the momentum of the republican movement. Boholm, in discussing the role of ritual in politics, notes that ‘participation in ritual entails a strong element of personal commitment, and it probably promotes a powerful motivation in individuals to subordinate themselves to authority’ (1996: 1). Boholm’s comment hints at the influence commemorative rituals may hold over individuals, particularly in a political context. Similarly, Graff-McRae contends that commemorations can be used as a ‘vehicle for explicit interest-based campaigns’ (2010: 7), making commemorations an ideal forum to contextualize past objectives with current political actions and ambitions, whilst omitting any history that may contradict or question the narrative. In The Trouble with Guns, Malachi O’Doherty writes that: Catholicism and republicanism offer a form of immortality in the memory of those who honour the martyrs. … Republicanism sustains itself, in part, for the work of respecting the dead. It knows it needs to do that. If the cause collapses, there may be no one left to tend their graves or honour their memory. Conversely, if people forget to honour the dead, the cause will collapse. (1998: 22) At the start of this chapter a similar sentiment was expressed by Patrick from Banna Cuimhneachán. When asked about the meaning and the importance of commemorations, Patrick had trouble articulating their exact significance. The impression was that his hesitancy was due to the fact that commemorations were such an ingrained part of his republican lifestyle that to describe them was like attempting to put into words the significance of any routinized aspect of life. He said:

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Yeah, you go there [to a commemoration] and the [Irish] Proclamation’s read, and that’s what you stand by. That’s the holy grail, as it would be, that’s our principles. The statement is read from the [Provisional] Army, and from the leadership, and whatever else we’re gonna hear after that there, maybe about the person we’re actually there commemorating, plus everyone will know you’re here. Oh, commemorations are very, very important. (Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009) In this statement, Patrick emphasizes the significance of the documents that frame the ideology of republican culture: the Proclamation (which is read every Easter at almost every commemoration occurring between Easter Sunday and Easter Tuesday) and a statement read by the leadership. Patrick, who is in his mid 30s, does not distinguish between the IRA (‘the Army’) and Sinn Féin (‘the leadership’), and many republicans of his generation also make no distinction. The connection between the IRA, Sinn Féin and republican bands is a close one, and there has been, for some areas, a large crossover between two or more of those entities. During the course of my fieldwork the responses showed that many of those actively involved in Sinn Féin no longer believed in the enactment of violence for a political end. However, several band members were known to have been in or close to IRA membership. Discussing this with former IRA band members was a tricky task, as naturally many did not want to reveal too much about their history. Some people saw republican bands as a ‘stepping stone’ to joining the Provisional Army, but it is important to note that although band members may have participated in both the band and the IRA, the organizations developed separately and of their own accord. The bands were viewed as a form of political involvement for those who were too young or who did not wish to engage in paramilitary activity. The IRA, on the other hand, perceived their role quite differently (see Bell 2008; Coogan 2000 [1971]; English 2003; Sluka 1989; P. Taylor 1998a). Despite intensive research and questioning of band members, there appeared to be no direct links between the IRA and sponsorship of republican bands.11 Support for the bands often meant implied support for the IRA, and this continues to be evidenced in some parades when, on occasion, certain bands begin to chant ‘The IRA!’ with a cheer. At the Seamus Woods commemoration, speaker Gerry Kelly commented freely that: I don’t care who it is [who] dies, their family [and] their friends have the right to remember them as they were. And Seamus Woods was a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army and he was proud of it. I’ve been a member of the Irish Republican Army; I’m proud of it. And so should we all.12 And he deserves the honour that he gets from the people who came here today to celebrate and to remember him. (5 July 2008)

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Support for the IRA is openly encouraged even today, but mainly in the context of remembrance, as in the example of Seamus Woods. Commemoration events valorize the actions of deceased IRA members, but political leaders are also faced with the tricky task of honouring the dead without compromising the careful negotiations made in the peace process and the commitment now to nonviolence. For Sinn Féin politicians, the narrative is changing from one that wholly supports the IRA to one that supports the IRA of the past. For instance, after the 1994 IRA ceasefire, Sinn Féin’s pro-violence, physical, political message was toned down in an attempt to attract the more conservative, nationalist voting base and with it came a change in the focus of the Bloody Sunday commemorations, a subject that will be returned to later in this chapter. Instead of centring primarily on victimization, the ceasefire ‘opened up an opportunity for Irish nationalists and republicans alike to bring pressure to bear on the British government to establish a new inquiry into Bloody Sunday’ (Conway 2010: 87). The latest report on this inquiry, known as the Saville Report, was released in June 2010 and satisfied many of the questions that had been left unanswered in the wake of the tragedy. The report concluded that the civilians who were shot were unarmed, and it made public and official the full scale of the horror of the attack.13 In January 2011, the lead banner of the Bloody Sunday parade read: ‘Vindicated’. For the families of deceased volunteers, it is a simple matter of honouring those who have given their lives for their country. Terence, from the Saoirse Volunteers, explains: J: In the past … when the Troubles were still very present, when [the bands] would go out to march, was it a sign of supporting the paramilitaries? T: At the end of the day the paramilitaries were your brothers and your fathers and your uncles. J: Oh, so I suppose it was all quite close to home then. T: Yeah. You know, your next-door neighbours and … so of course. If you’re coming from that [republican] area and from that belief [of republicanism], that’s what you’re going to be doing [i.e. activism]. (Terence, in interview, 26 October 2008) Terence’s defence of one’s choice to join a republican band insinuates justifications for those choices made concerning the IRA. He adamantly protects the band and the choices they continue to make with regard to parading issues and concerns. Many of these issues evolve from the heart of IRA republicanism: commemoration of tragic events and of the dead. He sees this as intrinsic to

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the republican movement. He reminds me more than once that the catalyst for forming the band was the shooting of three young IRA volunteers by police.14 The incident not only incited the anger of town residents, but rallied their support of the band and republicanism in general. The creation of a band to remember this event not only cemented the memory into the narrative of republican history, but it ensured the event (and thus the memory of the event) would be remembered by those who lived in the vicinity. The commemoration is now used as a reminder of what the town went through during the Troubles and it displays the support the town has for the republican movement. Every year on the Sunday of this commemoration, neighbourhoods are closed to vehicle traffic to allow the parades to pass. As they march, bands, parade participants and spectators stop to pay respect to the murals that dot the route on gables and walls. This is typical of almost all commemorations and it speaks of a ritualized event founded on memorialization, respect and dedication. Today, the band still parades in line with its founding values, but the reasons members join the band are different. Today, members see the band as a platform for politics, a social outlet for like-minded participants, an educational context for republican history and culture and an avenue for personal remembrance. Charlotte, a young member from Banna Cuimhneachán, explained it this way: I think that, personally, if someone’s from your area … if you’re a family member or something, you’ll think that that person was [as] important as anyone else, and if you go to a commemoration you’re remembering that they tried to do something. And it could have been anything, whatever their mission or whatever it was, they tried it, and they still tried and tried and tried, but if they got killed in the end I think you still remember them. ’Cause if you go to your own grave of family, you’re still remembering them. It’s like your own wee commemoration, but for something like that there I think more bands should go to it … (Charlotte, in interview, 10 June 2009) Here, Charlotte is explaining that often a commemoration will have both personal meaning and political meaning to an individual. The band’s attendance at commemorations communicates interest and communal support as well as support for a political goal. Patrick explained that: [My band] was set up to ensure that no matter what commemoration was run in [the area], [it] doesn’t matter who else turns up, this band would be there. So there’d always be at least one band to attend as many commemorations as we possibly can [here] first of all, and then everything else comes after that there, you know, under the umbrella of it all. (Patrick, in interview, 25 March 2009)

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The umbrella that he is referring to is the framework for republican commemorations organized or backed by Sinn Féin, implying that while there is a duty first and foremost to locality, there is also a wider, overarching responsibility to the commemorative process as a whole. Jim, from the Irish Patriots, repeated a similar understanding in our interview, observing that bands heightened the awareness for Sinn Féin and republicanism in a particular area as well as engaged the interest of potential recruits (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007). The creation of a republican band to attend commemorations and represent the community both locally and further afield promotes a sense of community pride in republican culture while maintaining continuity and a sense of form and structure to the ritual of commemoration. The thread of continuity from one commemoration to another is an important link in rituals with a political goal, as connection with (particular) past events can legitimize belonging through a shared experience. By retelling history, persons or groups in a place of power can appropriate the past and selectively audit the narrative within existing rhetoric to assert their position. Hayes and Campbell have noted that there is ‘no one history of Ireland; instead multiple, contested versions exist from which to choose’ (2003: 9; see also Wilson and Donnan 2006: xiv). Furthermore, Devine-Wright has suggested that the ‘link between legitimacy and memory reflects the temporal nature of ethnic conflict and the manner in which group leaders can seek to manipulate and distort memories for group purposes’ (2003: 31–32). Commemorations and parades are also used as a reminder – and a display – of republican identity. The political ritual of commemoration is about remembrance of the dead, maintenance of the republican narrative and the right to express themselves as republicans, both culturally and politically, in places of republican significance within Northern Ireland. However, like all communities, there are variations and shades of grey within the perceived unity of Sinn Féin republicanism, and it is this concept that is investigated in the next section.

Contested Republicanism The importance placed on commemorations as an act of fulfilling one’s responsibility towards one’s culture, one’s political beliefs or even one’s identity is interesting. Commemorations become events to remember and memorialize the dead, and a method of publicizing one’s commitment to what that recollection means. They are a way of reminding oneself – and others – of the boundaries of belonging. Jim said that playing in a band is ‘about politicizing [band members], giving them a wee bit of history, and a wee sense of themselves’ (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007). Though the bands serve as a visual and aural aid to the politics negotiated within the commemorative discourse, members find ways of expressing their own interpretation of party rhetoric. Decisions made by the party eventually

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filter down into the imagery and symbolism represented by the bands, and in some cases, this can be a source of agreement or contestation. In recent years several bands have made an effort to go along with the new, cooperative face of Sinn Féin and have reflected this in the style of uniform they choose to wear. Although some bands do not agree with the proposed changes in uniform style (for examples, see Figure 7.3) and the rejection of images such as snipers and paramilitary regalia on the bass drums or embroidered on uniform shirts or jackets, many bands are willing to change even though it means fundraising to afford new uniforms. Most bands have only one uniform that they wear all year round with the addition of an optional jacket for freezing temperatures, and the cost of replacing the uniforms means that the majority of bands keep the same uniform for an average of three years. To some bands, replacing their old, militaristic-style uniform with a more inviting image is a way of embracing Sinn Féin’s recent emphasis on democratic tact. To others, the suggestion of change by other bands or by the Sinn Féin leadership is an infringement on what they believe to be an expression of their history and identity and contradicts what they believe republicanism should represent historically. Of the four bands researched during this study, two wished to keep the militaristic image. They believe that changing their image equates to erasing vital connections with their past. But the other two bands whose image has

Figure 7.3 An example of a militaristic-style uniform, 2009. Photograph by the author.

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changed over the last few years believe they have done so along with the changing ideologies of the party (i.e. the shift from the ‘violence’ of guns and snipers to the ‘democratic’ messages of commemoration and remembrance). Their sentiment is that republicanism is changing, and so must they if they are to find a place within a peaceful North. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the two bands who follow more militaristic views are not as closely involved with Sinn Féin as the two who are willing to change. Saoirse Volunteers and the Rebels attend many of the Sinn Féin demonstrations and each have a few members actively involved in the party, but neither agree that the band needs to follow every dictate issued by the party. For example, in a discussion about this with four members from the Rebels, one member remarked, ‘They [Sinn Féin] want us to change all our uniforms, pictures of the IRA and shit. We’re not having it.’ Another member added, ‘They want us to get rid of our berets and all … what would they do if I tattooed IRA on my head? They couldn’t remove that!’ When asked if they found it contradictory that the proposed republican band alliance – an alliance that would homogenize republican band standards like uniforms and music – would mean the removal of all references and images to the paramilitary, Michael replied: ‘You mean take away all reference to the people we’re supposed to be honouring? Yeah, I’d find that contradictory!’ But anyway, he added, ‘it’s not

Figure 7.4 An example of a non-militaristic or casual uniform, 2008. Photograph by the author.

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happening because too many bands voted against it’. However, when pressed for details on who had been present at the vote and the voting process itself, it emerged that no one could clearly remember how many had attended the vote, or who had been for or against changing the image of republican bands across the North.15 My questions on how more information about the meetings could be gained or where these votes were taking place were avoided. When the leader of the Irish Patriots was asked whether he knew anything about a vote for changing band uniforms, he replied that he could not divulge much information, as the process was only just beginning, and it had been difficult to convince some of the bands to attend. He would not say anything more specific, but he did mention that most bands, including the Rebels, were in favour of the change. Though this information contradicted what was said by members of the Rebels, it is possible that what they agreed to in the confines of a party meeting and their personal opinions outside of that meeting differ. When a young activist in Sinn Féin was questioned about the relationship of republican bands to the party, he stated that: Sinn Fein have encouraged and, at times, facilitated an establishment of a band alliance across Ireland and Scotland. This would be to ensure accountability, sharing of ideas, attendance at commemorations and a code of conduct. A code of conduct is very important to ensure [that] the behaviour, appearance and ethos of the band is conducive to republican principles and [is] of the highest standards. Sinn Féin would only be associated with bands which align to republican objectives and behave in a manner that befits republicans. (Seorsa, in an email interview, 29 September 2008) Though the band alliance would most likely have little power to impose authority upon those who do not conform to the alliance’s standards, the main aim would be to encourage each band’s alignment and accord with party goals and ideals. Ultimately, it would be another subtle means of bringing republican bands into the fold of the larger republican narrative as described by Sinn Féin. Some bands oppose this idea on the principle that they should be the ones to choose how to represent their band, and for some, like Saoirse Volunteers and the Rebels, they view the allusion to the IRA as a form of respect and an acknowledgement of heritage. For others, like Banna Cuimhneachán and the Irish Patriots, they believe the changes towards non-offensive imagery prove their dedication to the peace process and demonstrates their adaptability (and therefore strength). Of course, the debate is not simply about fashion. Uniform style and the choices the bands make in terms of representing themselves reveal deeper insights into how republicans conceptualize their identity. One band has

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recently made waves in the republican band scene by choosing bright orange as their new uniform colour. Far from believing that the colour orange ‘belongs’ solely to Protestant or unionist bands, they chose the colour based on visibility, on wanting to stand out as a band, and wanting to mainstream the idea of a republican band by avoiding the common uniform colours of black and various shades of green. Jim, from the Irish Patriots, explained that the bands take their task as a commemorative mnemonic and a political voice very seriously: These bands aren’t just bands. I’m not sure about loyalism, in a sense I think they’re more a band. Our bands are … they’re there to do a job. We do it, and we’ll do anything else that comes along with it if we need to. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim, along with other band members, believes that they are just as important to the republican movement as any other group lobbying for political change: [Bands] are part and parcel of our movement just as much as a Sinn Féin cumann is. It doesn’t have the voting rights obviously as a Sinn Féin cumann but to us they’re still as important. Band members are just as important as anybody else. They’re a wee section of republicans and they have their own wee politics about them. There’s a lot of energy about them, which is key. (Jim, in interview, 25 September 2007) Jim views the bands as representative of the Sinn Féin republican movement and would like to see bands unified in an alliance that would moderate contentious symbols and music. But as the previous remarks from members of the Rebels illustrated, the standardization of symbolism would quash what they view as a personal expression of what republican history and politics mean to them. While republican bands serve as a forum to explore one’s individual identity among the wider republican collectivity, commemoration events are an opportunity to manifest that sense of self and to participate in a collective belonging with that self. Above all, they are a rededication of one’s commitment to a republican identity. And, as in religion, although the belief in republicanism may vary from one individual to the next, commemoration events speak to a collective identity that ultimately subsumes those individual variations and, in the process, maintains the illusion of the imagined community (see Anderson 1991 [1983]). However, as will be demonstrated in the next section, commemorations can also be a forum for contestation and debate and the active negotiation of group identity.

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Contested Commemoration: Bloody Sunday and its Changing Political Contexts On 30 January 1972, a group of people led by the Derry Civil Rights Association set out on a protest march from Creggan, Derry. While violence at protest marches was not an unusual occurrence at the time in the North, no one expected the level of violence and chaos that happened that Sunday afternoon. Thirteen unarmed protesters – most in their late teens or early twenties – were shot dead, and thirteen more were injured. One died later as a result of his wounds. The shockwave created by this event is still felt every year at its anniversary commemoration, where the hurt and anger are still as strong as in 1972.16 Each year on the Sunday closest to 30 January, a commemoration takes place to mark the deaths of the fourteen killed. But this parade has come to represent far more than simply another commemoration: it represents and reflects the progression and change of the politics surrounding Bloody Sunday within a wider republican context. Whilst very important in the republican calendar, the Bloody Sunday commemoration parade does not appear to have great significance for republican bands, as in the last couple of years only a few bands have attended. The reasons for this are unclear: when asked, some bands cite the cold weather and their lack of sufficiently warm uniform outerwear; others report that too few members were able to attend. At the 2011 commemoration, ostensibly the ‘last’ Bloody Sunday commemoration, there were six bands present – including a newly formed Belfast band and another from Glasgow, which had not performed in Northern Ireland in the last three years during the time commemorations were observed for this study. There has also been an increasingly large presence of alternative republican groups, such as the 32-County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) and Dublin-based Éirígí, despite recent statistics that indicate that only 16% of people in Northern Ireland wish to reunify with the rest of Ireland.17 The overall appropriation of the Bloody Sunday commemoration by Sinn Féin has not discouraged participants from the theme of the parade, however. At the 2011 commemoration, a parade participant was asked why groups such as 32CSM and Éirígí have become so involved in the Bloody Sunday march and responded that: ‘Well, it is a civil rights march. They have just as much right to be here.’ Similarly, at the March for Justice in 2012, a member of one of the victims’ families told a colleague that Sinn Féin’s surprising presence (in the form of banners) was a welcome show of support despite the rumours to the contrary. Despite the poor show of parading band attendance at the Bloody Sunday march, the commemoration offers an interesting analysis of the ways in which commemorations are contested and negotiated. And as republicanism places so much significance in commemoration, it is worthwhile to consider the broader perspective in which parading bands participate.

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In the early 1970s, the Bloody Sunday commemoration was a communal celebration organized by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association as a grieving ceremony for anyone who wished to attend. However, as the 1970s progressed, the focus of the main commemoration changed from one of grief and remembrance to one driven by political agendas. Of this period, Conway writes: ‘Sinn Féin seized upon the memory of Bloody Sunday to articulate a violent republican message while NICRA saw it as a metaphor for the futility of violent means to bring about political change’ (2010: 93). Two separate groups had two different ideas about how they planned to commemorate the first anniversary of Bloody Sunday. A leaflet by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) for the 1973 commemoration reads: On 28 January 1973, the people of Derry will commemorate the Bloody Sunday massacre. They will be joined by people from all over Ireland, from Britain and from all over the world. The people of Derry will remember the thirteen as friends, neighbours or workmates. But they will also remember them as comrades in the struggle which has still to be completed, the struggle to end oppression, introduce democracy and uproot sectarianism from our community.18 This ceremony was to involve wreath-laying, an interdenominational service and invited speakers. There were no plans by the Civil Rights Association to hold a march, as they believed this could lead to confrontation with the British Army. However, a public meeting on 1 December 1972 reached the conclusion that the commemoration ‘should take the form of a march and rally, and that it should be organized by Sinn Féin’.19 And so the Bloody Sunday commemorations began with a mix of both ceremonies: first, a small wreath-laying ceremony organized in the first few years by the Civil Rights Association, then by families of the deceased, then the annual march organized by Sinn Féin, which many people came to view as ‘party political’ and therefore somewhat exclusive (Dunn 2000: 134). In 1974, the split was more obvious, with the Civil Rights Association announcing that their ceremony – this time in the form of a march – was to be moved from Sunday to Saturday so as not to clash with a Sinn Féin demonstration the same day. However, Dunn notes that the newspapers reported men carrying a wreath from the Official Republican Movement, perhaps another indication of the split between the Official and Provisional IRA wings (2000: 135). As the political climate in Northern Ireland escalated, the Bloody Sunday commemoration march moved beyond commemoration and came to represent a forum for political discourse and dialogue on injustices from around the world. By 1978, Conway notes:

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Sinn Féin … was emerging as the dominant memory choreographer and its definition of the meaning of the memory of Bloody Sunday gained ascendancy over NICRA’s non-violent message and promotion of Bloody Sunday as a symbol of the importance of peaceful means of achieving political goals. (2010: 83) Taking to the streets has always been a strong part of the republican strategy and Bloody Sunday provided an opportunity to use the tragedy as a means of rallying support and of claiming the civil rights protest in 1972 as a mode of resistance, thus bolstering republican determination. The official ceremony organized by NICRA had all but vanished by 1975, and in 1985, the Derry Journal noted that the wreath-laying ceremony had dwindled in numbers and that those in quiet attendance were primarily relatives of those who had died.20 As the situation in Northern Ireland worsened, the Bloody Sunday commemorations became not only a march for truth and recognition, but a platform of expression for political disquiet and solidarity. Conway writes: From 1994 on, the ideological project of Irish republicans shifted as rhetoric about British injustices, British withdrawal, the ill-treatment of Irish republican prisoners, and the need to continue the armed struggle was eclipsed by a stronger emphasis on political persuasion, dialogue and negotiation, a new language for a new political reality. (2010: 88) This involvement in parliamentary politics signalled a shift in the efforts of the republican struggle, a shift that valued tolerance and negotiation over conflict and violence. This shift has also been reflected in the bands by the push towards non-offensive imagery on uniforms and bass drums, even if not all bands agree to the changes for their own reasons. However, many bands have adopted symbols that demonstrate their identification with other struggling groups, such as the appropriation of the Palestinian or Basque flags within the band’s colour party. The commemoration of Bloody Sunday has thus become a forum to publicize the struggles of other groups engaged in conflict (see Figures 7.5 and 7.6), and, recently, to celebrate the successes. Gerry Adams, who read a speech at the 2011 Bloody Sunday commemoration, recalled the day the verdict of the report was given and echoed the words of Tony Doherty, whose father, Patrick, was killed on Bloody Sunday: Just as the civil rights movement of forty years ago was part of something huge happening all over the world, so the repression that came upon us was the same as is suffered by ordinary people everywhere who dare stand up against injustice. Sharpville. Grozny. Tiananmen

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Figure 7.5 A photo of Bloody Sunday commemoration marchers showing solidarity with Gaza, 2009. Photograph by the author.

Figure 7.6 Members of the Belfast Basque Committee publicizing support and awareness at the Bloody Sunday commemoration parade in 2009. Photograph by the author.

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Square. Darfur. Gaza. Let our truth stand as their truth also. Tony spoke for all of us when he said that. (30 January 2011) Gerry Adams’ speech was met with applause, and throughout the rest of it he often used the pronoun ‘we’ to refer to groups beyond the republican movement. In closing, he said: You made a stand for your loved ones, for your families, for Derry, and for Ireland. You made a stand for people everywhere who love freedom. … So thank you … you made sure, and your loved ones made sure, on that civil rights march against internment that all of us, Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, will be free one day. That we will overcome! (30 January 2011) The inclusive sentiment of this statement was somewhat true of the parade, as members from the AOH, the IRSP, the 32CSM and other republican political groups joined together to march alongside groups carrying the Palestinian and Basque flags. However, support from groups such as the AOH and the IRSP comes on their terms. For the IRSP, for example, they may march to demonstrate that they want justice for those killed on Bloody Sunday, but they may not necessarily support the initiatives of Sinn Féin; for the AOH, they may march to show good will and encouragement to the wider republican movement’s push for justice and acknowledgement, but they may not subscribe to any form of republicanism as a political ideal. According to a statement issued by some of the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday, the 2011 march marked an end to what has been termed a ‘campaign for truth and justice’. That year, the parade poignantly concluded in the Guildhall Square, the destination of the original march, instead of ending near Free Derry corner where the violence broke out. Tony Doherty told reporters: The march has always been used as a tool for our campaign for truth and justice. It was used to keep the memory of the dead alive and to keep the injustice and the denial of truth in the public eye. We don’t expect and we can’t expect the people of Derry to keep marching on our behalf when the vast majority of us believe that campaign has been successfully concluded. (14 January 2011)21 While Doherty’s statement explains what the march meant for him and perhaps other victims’ families, it has been noted that the march has come to mean just as much to other people in various parts of the world. The current Bloody Sunday March Committee explain on their website:

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Democracy will always be a conflict resolving-process striving against intersectional interests for the ideals of justice and human rights. This necessitates informed citizenry and inclusive educational spaces where issues of concern can be raised, reflected on, and democratic actions initiated. … The march itself will continue to act as inclusive platform for the many seemingly disparate ongoing campaigns concerning the people of these islands and beyond, a moment to come together, make connections and raise our issues in solidarity.22 The incorporation of groups lobbying for awareness such as the Ballymurphy23 massacre, the situation in Palestine and Gaza, and the Basque movement, has opened up the Bloody Sunday commemoration as a forum of political debate. Conway notes: ‘There is greater emphasis than ever before in Bloody Sunday commemorations of inserting the event into a global frame of reference, thus helping to give the Bloody Sunday story resonance with new publics’ (2010: 94). It is not unusual to see colour parties with the bands carrying flags of Irish, Basque, Palestinian and other cultures, and there is a significant presence by other political groups as well, even if they are not official participants of the parade. Although colour parties in other commemoration parades may carry the flags of other cultures (i.e. Basque, Palestine), the surrounding elements of the event (speeches, participating groups) are not as diverse or far-reaching as those of Bloody Sunday. In 2012, on the 40th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday shootings, the focus of the parade changed again. This year, another march took place. It was called a ‘March for Justice’ and was organized by those families who would like it acknowledged that not only are their victimized relatives blameless for the massacre, but that the soldiers who participated in the shootings should be brought to justice. There have been rumours24 that Sinn Féin has been urging the families to close the matter and leave it behind, and while Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness (both of whom have attended the Bloody Sunday marches in the past) were absent that year from the march itself, Sinn Féin banners were carried at the parade. The parade expanded to include Fianna Fáil, the Derry Anarchists, the Independent Workers Union, and the Workers Solidarity Movement. As dialogues between the families involved revealed a difference of opinion (those who feel the matter has been resolved with the Saville Report that vindicated the innocent and those who are pushing for accountability and solidarity with other groups), the March for Justice continues by those who maintain that the third demand of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign (accountability) has yet to be met.25 In the context of the Bloody Sunday commemoration, political discourse has extended beyond the boundaries of the North and across the globe. The march has become an expression of public opposition against injustice and other

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political concerns; from protesting Raytheon26 to demands for political prisoner status for the incarcerated. The Bloody Sunday commemoration marches, as they were known, have ceased in honour of the Justice Campaign’s success, but they have continued to mark the anniversary of Bloody Sunday and serve as a forum for the international pursuit of justice.

Conclusion As this chapter has shown, commemorations reinforce a collective republican identity by maintaining the illusion of stability and legitimacy through party rhetoric and political rituals. They connect the past with the present by upholding the impression of continuity and thereby building on republican historical narratives, but their continuity does not imply stagnation. Instead, commemorations are an active and carefully constructed process that serves as a process of unification and as a forum for political negotiation. Ultimately, commemorations are ideally placed to serve as a locus of political discourse. Republican political rituals centre on the painful memories of a past haunted by feelings of oppression and a distrust of the state. The names that the bands call themselves, the uniforms that they wear, the commemorations that they attend and especially the music that they play combine elements of commemorative ritual together through the structure of the ritual and the expectation of colour and noise. They encourage republicans to remember the past. These memories serve as motivation to change the future and they also provide a reference point as to how far the struggle has come. Benny, a member of the Rebels, remarked that it is not just about reminding people, but a means of getting ‘armchair republicans’ involved and motivated, about teaching people about their history. He believes that by learning about the past the future will never be lulled into a ‘false sense of security’ regarding the state. He said parades give people something to do actively: they come and watch the parade, hear the music and join in the march (Benny, in interview, 31 May 2009). In this way, republicanism can link to the past by claiming certain struggles against the state as its own, and thus establish a legacy for itself and maintain the impression of a united front. Republican commemorations fit into a larger framework of remembrance in which memories of the past inform fundamental aspects of their identity, of their culture, of their political ethos and of their everyday lives. Inevitably, republican historical narratives and the political ritual of commemoration play powerful roles in creating the context of the future and in displaying the support of individual members to the republican movement. The concluding chapter of this book summarizes the concepts that have been illustrated throughout and discusses how the elements of memory, emotion, commemoration and music are brought together to express narratives of republican identities that are represented by republican parading bands.

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Notes  1. This question was asked in a group interview conducted with three members of Banna Cuimhneachán, a medium-sized rural band whose membership is actively involved with Sinn Féin. While Patrick answered the question, the others nodded their agreement.  2. ‘The narrators and listeners connected by this contingency are thereby caught at a certain stage of their lives; they have also been formed inescapably by their own personal pasts to date. These factors influence the narration whether or not it is autobiographical; tellers are constructing retrospective accounts for audiences with different time scales, and they may adjust their own narrations to the memories and understanding of their listeners’ (Tonkin 1992: 66). For instance, songwriters who compose rebel songs are constructing a version of the past that their audience will relate to and understand, even if the songstory is creatively embellished.  3. Seamus Woods, a member of the Provisional IRA, was twenty-three when he died from the premature explosion of a bomb he was preparing for an attack. His family remain active in the republican movement.  4. See http://sinnfeinrepyouth.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/thousands-commemorate-glachseamus.html [accessed 19 March 2018].  5. Gerry Kelly was the guest speaker, as Martin McGuinness, the intended speaker, was abroad.  6. In commemorations, the word ‘struggle’ is often used to define many interpretations of the aims and objectives of the republican movement. Most often, it is used in general terms to mean the effort of reuniting the island of Ireland.  7. Since the implementation of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, which devolved legislative powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly, Sinn Féin has been criticized by more militant republicans for ‘selling out on’ or even endorsing issues such as decommissioning and policing concerns. According to journalist Martyn Frampton, ‘endorsement of the police is understood to represent the ultimate recognition of the British state’s right to exert a monopoly of force within the province; to finally accept the right of Northern Ireland to exist’ (Frampton 2007).  8. Again, the word ‘leadership’ is often used in commemorations. I have been told it refers to the leadership of Provisional Sinn Féin, but often cannot be more specifically defined.  9. Full copies of the speeches can be viewed at: http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/26295 [accessed 6 January 2017]. Notes also taken from the author’s live recordings from the event. 10. Thirty band members were asked whether they thought it was more important for a) a band to play well and look good or b) more important for a band to make an effort and show spirit. Twenty-seven out of thirty replied that they felt it more important for a band to make an effort and show spirit. See Appendix I. 11. The association between paramilitaries and loyalist bands has been discussed in Ramsey (2009); see also Radford (2002). 12. See also: http://sinnfeinrepyouth.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/thousands-commemorateglach-seamus.html, for this comment paraphrased [accessed 19 March 2018]. 13. For a lay account and overview of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, see the BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10147362. For a full account of the report, see http://www.

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bloody-sunday-inquiry.org.uk/ [both accessed 20 March 2018]. See also Hayes and Campbell (2003); McCann (2006); Conway (2010). 14. Charlie Breslin and brothers Michael and David Devine were shot by police as they returned to an arms dump near Plumbridge, Strabane on 23 February 1985. 15. These comments are paraphrased from an informal group interview with four members of the Rebels, 31 May 2009. 16. See Hayes and Campbell (2003), and also Conway (2010); Dunn (2000). 17. According to the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, 2010. Available at: http:// www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2010/Political_Attitudes/NIRELND2.html [accessed 21 June 2011]. 18. NICRA Boxes, Northern Ireland Political Collection, Linenhall Library, Belfast. 19. This was described in a letter by Sean Carr to the Derry Journal on 31 January 1992. As cited in Dunn (2000: 134). 20. Derry Journal, 28 January 1985. See also Dunn (2000: 137). 21. ‘Bloody Sunday March “Will Be the Last”’. BBC News Northern Ireland, http://www. bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-12189470 [accessed 21 January 2011]. 22. See the March for Justice website at: http://bloodysundaymarch.org/for_justice/aboutus/ [accessed 20 March 2018]. 23. Between 9–11 August 1971, eleven civilians were killed by the Parachute Regiment in Belfast. After the release of the Saville Report, relatives of the Ballymurphy Massacre demanded that a similar inquiry be carried out. See ‘Were Bloody Sunday Soldiers Involved in Ballymurphy Massacre?’, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/ uk/2010/jun/20/call-for-ballymurphy-massacre-inquiry [accessed 5 April 2012]. For more recent information, see the families’ website at: http://www.ballymurphymassacre. com/cms/ [accessed 18 March 2018]. As of 2018, it appears an inquest will go ahead, though it will take a significant period of time and resources: https://relativesforjustice.com/ballymurphy-pre-inquest-hearing-long-fingers-being-shortened/ [accessed 20 March 2018]. 24. This information has been implied in interviews and conversations with the families (C. Carnevali, personal communication, 2 April 2012). 25. See http://bloodysundaymarch.org/for_justice/about-us/background/ [accessed 19 March 2018]. 26. Raytheon is an industrial corporation and a producer of guided missiles and specialmission aircraft. The protests were against the company’s manufacture of missiles used in Gaza.

Conclusion

q

The Musical Construction of Remembrance

T

he aim of this book has been to illustrate the multitude of ways that republican identities are expressed and negotiated through the contexts of republican parading bands, commemoration and music. Throughout this research, I examined the development of the bands and the reasons for joining and participating in a republican parading band as well as analysing the contexts in which those bands perform. The genre of republican music and songs was discussed and explored, and how rebel music informs republican political identities through the prominent themes that resonate with republican ideals was evaluated. The discussion of rebel music focused on the role of emotion and memory in rebel songs through analysis of the stories and narratives behind rebel song lyrics. Finally, consideration was given as to how commemorations are used to negotiate and maintain republican historical narratives through political ritual and how republican identities are communicated and managed through the symbolism and perceptions of the bands. This chapter draws out major themes around three key issues that are central to the work: 1. Based on theories of identity proposed by Jenkins and Nic Craith, who argue that identity is both fluid and socially mediated, the study began by summarizing what was learned about the construction and expression of republican identities through participation in the bands and through parading practices. 2. Connections between memory and emotion in rebel music performance are highlighted, with the focus on the significance that this has for republicans in relation to identity and commemoration.

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3. Finally, the concept of collective memory, both in commemoration and in rebel music, is explored to emphasize the key issues that surround republican remembrance in the expression of republican identities. As has been argued, republican identities are multivalent and fluid in response to changing political climates and opinions over time. With the onset of the Troubles, republicanism, as a political theory, has come to be perceived in the North as more of a cultural ideology with heavy political overtones. As a result, republican rhetoric has also changed and evolved, causing rifts among its followers in spite of attempts to appear linear and cohesive. The ways in which republican identities are managed and manipulated in response to the changing political climate are reflected within the varieties of republicanism that exists in Northern Ireland. Through music and emotion, memory and narrative, and the political ritual of commemorative practice, the identities of republicans are mediated within the wider collective of Northern Irish society.

Republican Identities Understanding the complexities of identity in Northern Ireland is about taking into account the historical and the political past, but it is also about grasping the nature of simultaneous truths and perspectives, an endeavour for which anthropology is particularly suited. At the beginning of this book, a personal overview of the republican movement and its history was recited in order to position the current movement within a chronological timeline and to offer background on republican historical narratives. Much of this history is consolidated and recontextualized in the face of current political concerns by different strands of republicanism, each of which devises its own interpretation and expression of the past to form customized historical narratives of republicanism. Chapter Three described in detail the four bands that were used as representative examples of typical parading bands in the North. It explained how each band, guided by its own set of principles and perceptions, fits into the larger collective of Sinn Féin republicanism. As discussed in Chapter Four, not all republicans (or nationalists) wish to commemorate or remember events in the same way, which can lead to contestation both within a broad ideal of republicanism, represented by the example of the Easter Sunday parades, and within a single strand of republicanism, as in the Bloody Sunday commemorations and debates over uniform styles. McAdams notes that the ‘problem of identity is the problem of arriving at a life story that makes sense – provides unity and purpose – within a sociohistorical matrix that embodies a much larger story’ (McAdams 1985 in Cornell 2000: 44). Likewise, proponents of each strand of republicanism negotiate and decide which parts of the historical narrative to emphasize and which parts to

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disregard, thus eventually forming a cohesive narrative that informs and supports their ethos and sense of identity as republicans. In writing about identity, Mach asserts: Identity is created in action. A group must be able to develop its own genuine and spontaneous activity, to create its own identity through active relations with other groups in its social and cultural environment. (1993: 264) While this definition registers the agency that is inherent in the creation of an identity, it also implies that identity is entirely self-made and singular. Forces both within and outside of Northern Ireland have helped shape what republicanism has become and the identities that have been forged. As bands interact with each other, with other republican movements (such as the IRSP), and with other groups struggling for recognition (such as the Basque community), their identities as republican bands change and develop as these connections grow. In his speculations on the future of Northern Ireland, Paul Mitchell has claimed that an ‘important feature of ethnic and national identities – one that contributes to their intense and enduring nature – is their ability to be premised on any evidence of (alleged) common ancestry and experience’ (1999: 266). The point of Mitchell’s statement is the strength that such rooted identities possess, and that the source of this strength stems in part from common experience. In a broader frame of reference, Nic Craith has mused whether in fact Protestantism and Catholicism are very different from each other; perhaps, instead, they are ‘merely distinct aspects of a common tradition’ (2002: 50). But while the question of similarity versus difference between Protestantism and Catholicism is tempting to answer, it glosses over significant details that fully describe the concept of identity in Northern Ireland. The characteristics that mark identity are best gleaned from considering differences and variations from within each group. For example, the IRSP’s strand of republicanism refuses to ‘sell out’ and maintains the opinion that violence is an effective means for change. The IRSP presents itself as an angry and unmoving faction that is filled with hatred for those who have oppressed them as well as for those who now eschew violence in favour of democratic politics. Their view is not that Sinn Féin has chosen a peaceful means of negotiation, but that Sinn Féin has taken advantage of the trust of ‘true’ republicans whilst ‘swigging champagne and playing happy families with our oppressors’.1 This particular comment indicates feelings of anger, betrayal and a sense of selfish benefit, yet the IRSP shares the same republican historical beginnings, the same musical repertoire and many of the same symbols and cultural icons as Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin’s own political rhetoric downplays violence and emphasizes the need for inclusivity, unity and strength if, as they say, ‘our day will come’.2 Increasingly, these disjunctions

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are becoming more obvious as the peace process is sporadically interrupted by pockets of protest and violence. The acts of violence carried out by the IRA and its factions since the early twentieth century have been contextualized in the historical narratives of republicanism that exist today. In his book on the narratives of violence in the North, Feldman writes: [C]ontemporary political acts of insult and injury are proposed and popularly received as re-enactments, replications, analogies, and echoes of earlier acts in a linear trajectory that eventually recedes toward an elusive historical horizon line of first injury, first assault, and first death dating back to the Cromwellian Plantation if not earlier. (1991: 35) Feldman’s assertion implies that violence perpetrated during the Troubles is intrinsically placed within a historical perspective, and thus the actions themselves reflect meaning and cultural significance. Indeed, this is how violent actions are understood and justified within commemorations. Seamus Woods, although he died young while preparing a bomb for an attack, is honoured for the sacrifice of his life and his family defend his actions as a freedom fighter against a background of oppressive hate and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. The justification of violence committed during the Troubles is a significant part of republican identity, as republicanism adopts the viewpoint that such violence was not only necessary for social and political reform but also for the defence of the Catholic/nationalist/republican community in the North. In this vein, republican martyrs are distinguished as heroes and freedom fighters, which in turn instils pride in republicans and legitimacy in the republican movement. The lineage of social insurgency, characterized by figures such as Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmett, James Connolly and Bobby Sands, authenticate and further legitimize the actions taken by republican volunteers. The emphasis on the history of resistance and political reform emphasizes qualities of strength, determination, loyalty and initiative within the culture of republicanism.

Performing Rebel Music In Chapters Five and Six, the focus was on how rebel music themes are designed to maximize the emotional effect on the listener and may assist in persuading them towards a particular political belief by questioning circumstances and events of the past with a republican bias. Rebel music may motivate, remind and educate republicans, but it also stirs up powerful feelings about events of the past that are difficult to justify in the present. The songs serve as a mnemonic not only for the past, but for emotions as well. Music speaks to a very visceral part of our consciousness and it can be played over and over without necessarily changing its effect on the listener.

192  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

Through music, republican bands perform expressions of identity and evoke memories for republicans and non-republicans. Music has been (and continues to be) a compelling means of articulating republican narratives and passing comment on political aggravations. Lyrics air grievances and convey opinion with emotional overtones, while performances create the illusion of unity and solidarity both within the community and beyond it. The lyrics – and, in the case of parading bands, the music alone – ignite feelings of melancholic nostalgia in memory of those friends and family who did not survive the conflicts of the Troubles. Rebel songs also stir determination and dedication in younger generations who hope to put their stamp on history. In another research context dealing with how memory can sustain historical events, such as the Great Famine, Wulff observed that ‘Irish people in the audience, with different pasts, remember what they have learnt about the Famine, and what they know about their family at that time’ (2007b: 35). Similarly, republicans attend commemoration parades and relate the narratives, songs and stories they hear to what they know or perceive about the Troubles, whether they lived through this time or not. Their perceptions are enhanced by song performances, speeches or stories that are recounted by witnesses. Performances such as parades and those in pubs and social halls possess an air of legitimacy and authenticity for listeners when the musicians who perform have witnessed the tragedies of the Troubles first-hand. Tom, a musician in a rebel group, explained that ‘people have a leaning towards us [because] we sing from our hearts and the pits of our stomach. We’re not just here to put on a show’ (Tom, in interview, 10 April 2006). The experience that Tom brings to the stage and the emotion that he displays in singing rebel songs (often about people or places he knew during the Troubles) impacts the audience emotionally. Tom explained the reactions he receives from audience members often include favourable compliments on his performance, teary-eyed audience members, generous donations from regular listeners and frequent requests for audio recordings of the band’s music. In the context of republican performances, and in conjunction with the specific themes that rebel songs recall, such as historical perspectives, martyred heroes, tragic injustices and global connections, performances like those at parades or social halls create excitement and energy around the politics of republicanism. Frith notes that ‘the term “performance” defines a social – or communicative – process. It requires an audience and is dependent, in this sense, on interpretation; it is about meanings’ (1996b: 205). The performance of a parade is an act of constructed meaning. The purpose of the parade creates and sustains meaning through commemorations, which the republican community then use to contextualize contemporary political aims. Parades can be viewed as a means of gaining (or sustaining) legitimacy and power, and they are a focal point for community gatherings. They provide entertainment, as one might expect, but

Conclusion  ■  193

the form of entertainment is loaded with political, historical and cultural meaning. Erlmann writes that performance can be ‘a form of communicative praxis in which meaning is always emergent, relational’ (1996: 16). For this reason, an exploration of theories of music and emotion through rebel songs and parading performances was undertaken. For republicans, the location of the parade – usually a memorial site – often has meaning of its own, but the music played, the speeches made and sometimes even the reputations of those in attendance also influence the form and tone of the event. The act of parading is one of assertion over space (both political and actual) and an expression of cultural identity and this is an echo of the political goals of the community. Using music as an expression of identity in this context is best explained by Frith, who writes: ‘Music seems to be a key to identity because it offers, so intensely, a sense of both self and others, of the subjective in the collective’ (1996a: 110). Music used in particular situations such as commemorative ceremonies can thus influence the way those situations are experienced and remembered and by music’s efficacy in evoking emotions in ceremony participants.

The Emotional Power of Politics Milton has suggested that ‘anything that affects the emotional quality of a perceived event or situation might ultimately affect the impact of that event or situation on the perceiver’s knowledge of the world’ (Milton 2002: 65). Rebel song performances create and instil memories about memories: as younger generations strive to understand the pain of living through the Troubles, they learn in an environment that encourages sociability and politicization with likeminded peers. And, as Milton observes: In other words, the common western assumption that our learning is biased by the emotional state in which we learned is well founded. On the other hand, the equally common western assumption that knowledge can be emotionally neutral has no foundation. (2002: 66) The emotions that are evoked by listening to rebel songs facilitate the perspectives that young republicans come to inherit about the republican past. As Svašek has pointed out, ‘the emotional life of feeling and thinking selves is normally marked by past, present and future interactions with others’ (2006: 97). Like Blacking’s (1977) conception of ‘fellow-feeling’, music emphasizes the sociality and conviviality of experiencing music together in framed contexts such as concerts and parades. Coupled with the political messages and narratives that rebel songs relate, the significance of rebel songs in influencing senses of republican identities becomes clearer. As younger generations listen and absorb the messages given in rebel songs, they internalize the feelings and intensity of

194  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

those messages through persuasive and emotive lyrics that incorporate themes already prevalent in republican culture. The feelings that are evoked by rebel songs may cause hostility and sectarian behaviour, as Darragh and the case study example of the Devenish Bar suggest, but they may also spark interest into the background and history of republicanism (as several band members quoted in this book have mentioned). Rebel music played at commemorations invites a sense of belonging and familiarity that enhances ritual aspects of commemoration, too. Blacking points out: ‘Music cannot instil a sense of fellowship, … or any other state or social value. The best that it can do is to confirm situations that already exist’ (1995: 36). He explains that ‘music cannot be transmitted or have meaning without associations between people’; it is ‘too deeply concerned with human feelings and experiences in society’ (Blacking 1973: x). His point is that music does not exist in a vacuum void of meaning and sentiment. Music, as a creative manifestation of expression, is thus concomitant with emotional significance and meaning created out of social interaction because of its human origination. As the comments from Tom (from a rebel group) and Terence (from Saoirse Volunteers) have demonstrated, playing rebel music has allowed them to engage with republican history and politics on a personal level. For younger members such as Charlotte and Frankie (from Banna Cuimhneachán and the Irish Patriots), it was music and the act of parading that prompted their interest in republican parading bands. Other members, like Jim and Mary Ann (from the Irish Patriots and Banna Cuimhneachán), feel that rebel songs express essential aspects of republicanism, such as loyalty, determination and the injustice that they have experienced during and since the Troubles. Some members feel the songs are a way of motivating others to get involved in the republican movement politically, while others sought the creative outlet of music-making to explore republican ideals and politics. De Nora asserts that ‘music is in dynamic relation with social life, helping to invoke, stabilize and change the parameters of agency, collective and individual’; she goes on to clarify that by ‘agency’, she means ‘feeling, perception, cognition and consciousness, identity, energy, perceived situation and scene, embodied conduct and comportment’ (2000: 20). While this statement may seem to allow music more than its fair share of influence, it also acknowledges and emphasizes the significance that music can possess for some communities. In addition, De Nora points out that music can have a profound effect on the way people perceive – and feel about – themselves, their experiences, and others (2000: 17). Similarly, O’Shea argues that: [B]ecause music is non-denotative, in the sense that sounds in music depend upon the signifying processes of language in order to take on meaning, music is more open … to be interpreted in varying and even

Conclusion  ■  195

contradictory ways. This potentiality allows musical elements to accumulate delineated meanings, which are the product of images, associations and beliefs that inhere, not in the musical elements themselves, but in their social relations. (2009: 2) It has been argued that strong emotions are conveyed through the performance of rebel music and symbolism both in a parading context and in pub or social hall performances by rebel groups. Some of these emotions are implied through the lyrics, such as in the songs ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Go On Home’ (see Chapter Five), while others manifest through performances at rebel nights (as Darragh explained) or at parades (such as chanting ‘up the RA’ or pairing music with eulogistic speeches about the deceased). Set in the frame of a commemoration ceremony, music acts as not only an aide-memoire and an interesting diversion from political speeches, but it enhances the commemorative experience by infusing it with powerful emotion. Memory is also rarely free from emotional vibration, particularly when the memories echo hardship, tragedy, frustration and anger. Milton notes: [T]he perceived need for political action, to keep alive a claim for compensation, for instance, can be an incentive to maintain the intensity of feeling in oneself and in others … emotions must be kept alive so that justice can be pursued. (2005b: 221) The republican community repeats to itself the importance of remembering through the music, and the music provides not only the means of reflecting that remembrance back at the community, but it also offers a source of memories tout court for younger generations. Without the power of emotion, songs become simply a series of notes with text, and without meaning music would be far easier to dismiss or ignore.

Changing Political Emotions As Northern Ireland maintains a post-conflict era, there are those who wish to see rebel songs vanish from the stage and street. Darragh, whose views were discussed in Chapter Five and who lived through the worst years of the Troubles, sees rebel music as an outlet of unnecessary hatred and aggravation. Though he does not deny the strong element of identity that is embedded within the lyrics (and thus the music), he believes the identity that is promoted is one-sided and hollow and merely a fraction of what Irish culture means to him. His folk band’s repertoire includes many popular Irish folk songs such as ‘Roisín Dubh’ and ‘Éileen Óg’, but he is still pestered by requests to sing ‘the real’ rebel songs. He laments:

196  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

We’ve had eight years now of relative peace, and we’ve not one folk song to commemorate peace … [the audience still] want[s] to know when we’re going to sing the Irish songs, and I say ‘we are singing Irish songs!’ And they say ‘no, the real Irish songs’. That’s what I’m up against! And what do you do? (Darragh, in interview, 21 March 2006) The continued performances of rebel songs irks him, and he struggles against what he perceives as a tide of ignorance about a more objective ‘warts and all’ Irish history. However, Adam, a musician in a popular rebel group, believes that rebel songs are an important aspect of republican education and insists that in order to play rebel music effectively, you must believe in its message: ‘You’ve got to [believe]… You’re tellin’ stories about things that have happened in the past. And also things that hopefully will happen in the future. It’s an education at the same time it’s music’. (Adam, in interview, 17 March 2006) From a different perspective, music aside, strong emotions such as anger, hatred, frustration and grief are often assuaged by understanding and reconciliation. With a history steeped in tragedy and tragic events and a stable political machine, many republicans are placed in the position of justifying their violent past through commemoration and remembrance while simultaneously trying to draw attention away from it and embracing a nonviolent future. A sense of justice can be necessary in finding and sustaining peaceful negotiations (Hamber, Kulle and Wilson 2001; Hamber and Wilson 2003; Lewis et al. 2008; Templer and Radford 2007). For instance, in his bitter account of his time in (and subsequent break from) the Provisional IRA, Eamon Collins writes: I truly believe that only by confronting our past actions, by understanding the forces which drove us to carry them out, can we hope to create the possibility of a society in which these actions do not occur again. (1997: 2) Collins’s book was written out of overwhelming feelings of guilt and condemnation regarding his participation in acts of political violence while with the IRA. According to Collins, he believes that publishing his story might incite ‘a deeper process of reflection about the causes, and nature, of political violence within Northern Ireland’ ultimately to convey the ‘true horror’ of the conflict (1997: 2). His wish to engender understanding stems from a desire to demonstrate his sober reflection ‘about what had happened and [show] that it is possible to become a different person’ (1997: 2). This is simply one person’s perspective, yet his determination to reveal the ‘truth’ about republicanism and his emotional motivation for doing so is telling. Clearly, this has not been true for all strands of republicanism, as bomb threats and violent attacks still occasionally occur. But for the majority,

Conclusion  ■  197

particularly those who support Sinn Féin, they commemorate the past while vindicating the violence of that time. As well as evoking emotion within a particular context, republican commemorations (along with rebel songs) help to unite republicans in the ways in which they think and feel about their history, by providing a narrative of tragic events. And music, as Frith has noted, ‘constructs our sense of identity through the direct experiences it offers of the body, time and sociability, experiences which enable us to place ourselves in imaginative cultural narratives’ (1996a: 124). Frith is describing the process by which identities come to be understood by both the group and by others. The fact that this is accomplished in part by music introduces another level of understanding that must take place if we are fully to grasp how identities are constructed, maintained and expressed.

Shaping Collective Memory In the ethnographic analysis of this book, it is clear that memory plays a large part in the maintenance of republican identity. As Irwin-Zarecka points out: First, collective memory is intricately related, though in variable ways, to the sense of collective identity individuals come to acquire. And second, it is imbued with moral imperatives – the obligations to one’s kin, notions of justice, indeed, the lessons of right and wrong – that form the basic parts of the normative order. (1994: 9) Her second point, in particular, is pertinent to the republican community. In using music as a mnemonic, republicans remind themselves of what they perceive as injustice at the hands of the state, the British Army, Protestants, and other opponents of republicanism. While the songs help to unify and educate the republican community, they also carry the consequence of passing down prejudices and opinion rather than objective facts (for instance, in the songs ‘Pearse Jordan’ and ‘Aidan McAnespie’, discussed in Chapters Five and Six). Irwin-Zarecka goes on to assert that ‘collective memory is then a significant orienting force, or, something we need to understand better in order to account for why people do what they do’ (1994: 9). The fact that much of republican history is interpreted for the political purposes of republicanism is a point that is neglected when it comes to the question of identity. Cornell notes that it is belief rather than fact that is significant: What matters is not the validity of representations but their effects: the degree to which the narrative and its component parts are understood – by group members or by outsiders – as illustrative or exemplary, as capturing something essential about the group in question. (2000: 44)

198  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

Cornell’s assertion is important in regard to republican identities. The majority of republicans draw from collective memories of events that are reiterated at commemoration parades and in political rhetoric. Identity is as much about negotiation and multiplicity as about assertion, and what a group believes about itself must also fit within a larger social context. Republican identities have been significantly shaped by the tension and tragic events leading up to and during the Troubles and the interpretation of emotions that are intertwined with and evoked by the memories of these events. Jarman maintains that ‘Removed from their generating context, social memories function as signifiers without signifieds, as themes or metaphors in which the meaning is generated and added in the process of remembering’ (1997: 7). Commemorations offer the opportunity and the space to remember tragedies and significant events of the past in the present, thereby taking control as the ‘memory makers’ of republican narratives (Viggiani 2014). As the peace process has taken root, republicans have searched for ways of making sense of their past. Brown observes: Republicans interpreted attacks on them as part of the new phase of the struggle, ‘the battle of ideas and the battle for truth about the armed conflict’ and memorialization provided a useful platform to deflect these attacks and echo one’s own historical interpretation. (2011: 55) As a form of ritual, commemorations are a way of remembering the past in a framed context. The form and structure of these events ritualize and reaffirm historical narratives by the retelling and the reading of the roll of honour (list of the deceased). Reading the Irish Proclamation at Easter confirms the aim of the movement, linking the present with an idealized past. As historical narratives are modified in the face of current politics, memories about people, places and events are altered in a commemorative context to reflect cohesion with the community’s expectations and republican ideals. For example, in Seamus Woods’ commemoration, his character was revered as courageous and self-sacrificing for foregoing a life of marriage and children in favour of participating in the republican struggle and ultimately losing his life, despite the fact that his death occurred when a bomb he was making went off prematurely. His actions are considered no less a sacrifice, though the circumstances surrounding his death, when viewed from a broader perspective, were bred from violence. In cooperation with the peace process, Sinn Féin’s current political stance renounces physical force and aggression. Yet to abandon the commemoration of Seamus Woods would mean alienation of a large part of their constituency, a constituency who, in the past, most likely supported Sinn Féin’s paramilitary wing (the PIRA), whether actively or passively (see Sluka 1989). The justification of the PIRA and

Conclusion  ■  199

Sinn Féin’s violent past is tempered with the current trend towards inclusion, tolerance and democracy. As Boyarin notes: Memory is neither something pre-existent and dormant in the past nor a projection from the present, but a potential for creative collaboration between present consciousness and the experience or expression of the past. (1994: 22)

Commemorating Identity Politics in Rebel Music Commemorations offer a venue for the negotiation between the past and the present. Political speeches provide context and the affirmation of the republican movement’s legitimacy. The negotiation of a collective republican identity requires the agreement of an historical narrative. Republican commemorations, by appropriating past events into the present context, present an image of continuity, legitimacy and strength that is sustained by Sinn Féin’s political rhetoric and affirmed through the political ritual of commemorating the past through speeches, songs and displays of support. During the process of commemoration, memories that are inextricably linked to an unsettled past and a turbulent political culture are brought into the present, to be re-enacted, reconsidered and renegotiated. Memories that recall injustices, tragedies, death or destruction are foremost in republican songs, but these are countered with descriptions of valour, determination, loyalty and, above all, sacrifice. By emphasizing particular aspects of history and contextualizing historical narratives within contemporary commemorative practice, republican identity is thus informed and expressed through a selective representation of the past that portrays a selective set of ideals. Jarman has argued: ‘Reducing the past to a formalized and generalized ideal allows for a multiple layering of memory whereby events and people over widely differing periods of time can be equated with one another’ (1997: 7). Memories of the past and particularly of the Troubles are, to some extent, enshrined and encoded in rebel songs. The songs do not change as the tone of the speeches might, but the songs convey strong emotions regarding perspectives of the past. Songs assist in the process of preserving events or individuals in the collective memory. Just as Shelemay observed in her research on Jewish pizmonim, it can be asserted that republican music: … brings the past into the present through both its content and the act of performance, while also serving as a device through which longforgotten aspects of the past and information unconsciously carried can be evoked, accessed, and remembered. (Shelemay 1998: 7)

200  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

It has been illustrated how rebel music has come to be an important element for the continuation and preservation of republican expression. The songs encourage young people to ask questions about the past, and they offer recognition to the older generation who have lived through the worst of the Troubles. Memories in this context are recounted through the interpretations of the narrator and thus may not be an objective window into the past but, as Vergote has noted, ‘to identify memory as the conservation of traced fragments of the past is a misleading terminology; it would have us believe that memory reproduces an objective time’; he concludes that ‘the truth of the past is decided, therefore, through present recollection’ (1996: 270–71). This has been most noticeable through the public statements made by Sinn Féin as they attempt to move away from the party’s strong associations with its paramilitary wing, the PIRA. For example, the murder of Robert McCartney in 2005 by PIRA members, following an altercation that broke out in a Belfast bar, was whitewashed by intimidated witnesses and PIRA sympathizers. These actions were met with anger by McCartney’s Sinn Féin-supporting family. The McCartneys staged a protest demanding answers and equated the cover up to ‘the lies told by the British government about Bloody Sunday’.3 In the weeks following the incident, Sinn Féin issued a statement that the party had a ‘clear and unambiguous commitment to democratic politics and the pursuit of our goals by legal and peaceful means’ and that they ‘reject criminality of any kind and that no republican worthy of the name can be involved in criminality’. The statement also included that Sinn Féin was determined ‘to see all guns taken out of Irish politics and to be part of the collective effort that will create the conditions where the IRA ceases to exist’.4 It is clear from these statements that Sinn Féin wish to be trusted as a democratic political party that promotes the success of the peace process, and yet the irony is that this promotion is carried out not only through media statements but at republican commemorations. Shortly following the above statements, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams publicly denounced criminality and gave his support to the McCartney family at an IRA commemoration in south Armagh. While the present cannot change the past, the memories by which the past is relived can be altered and adjusted to make sense of the present. Jarman notes: We use the past by remembering selectively those events that help to explain or justify what is happening in the present, a present that can therefore be portrayed as the inevitable and only outcome of those same events. The changing needs and circumstances of the present mean that memories are monitored and re-evaluated, and our understanding of the past is adapted to changing circumstances. (1997: 5)

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Although made in reference to collective memory in general, Jarman’s point nevertheless underlines the unease, for some bands, that has accompanied the proposed band alliance: changing contentious images and revising band uniforms to reflect a new, nonviolent republican culture seems to some a renunciation of republicanism’s courageous past. This struggle between remembrance and respect is negotiated through commemoration events. By referring to the past, organizers of commemoration events legitimize present actions, but they also tailor memory narratives in the context and the current frame of the present, utilizing what Irwin-Zarecka calls the ‘framing process’ (1994: 141). In this framing process, the narratives of history are performed and negotiated. McBride observes: In Ireland … the interpretation of the past has always been at the heart of national conflict. … [P]erhaps more than in other cultures, collective groups have expressed their values and assumptions through their representations of the past. (2001: 1–3) By choosing to highlight certain triumphs and tragedies of the past through speeches or songs, the republican leadership dominates the political narrative. And yet some republicans, Gerry Adams included, perceive that without change and adaptation, republicanism has no future.

Concluding Reflections When I began my research, many people asked me why I found republican parading bands so intriguing. Some asked this question bemusedly, while others were wary. My response, while it grew more detailed and specific over the course of my fieldwork, remained essentially the same: in a place of conflict such as Northern Ireland, parading seemed a multivalent method of challenging the status quo while commemorating the past. Commemoration parades and bands are saturated with meaning and significance for republicans and, yet, I suspect that only a fraction of people know of their existence. When speaking about my research to the general population, most were surprised to hear that republicans parade in a similar fashion to loyalists, but with different objectives and perspectives, which makes comparisons troublesome and inaccurate. Although republican parades do occasionally make the news, I believe the fact that they parade on commemorative dates best known to them and stay within a localized, republican/nationalist area has meant that they have gained little attention from the public at large. Likewise, the attention from academia on republican parading has been comparatively limited in comparison to the amount of literature that has been produced or is being done on Orange or loyalist parading.5 Throughout this book the aim was to provide a clear picture of the culture of republicanism as it is currently perceived and lived by republicans in

202  ■  Lullabies and Battle Cries

Northern Ireland. The detailed analyses in these chapters has offered anthropology a perspective of republican parading and explored how republican identities are expressed and adapted through changing social and political circumstances. It advances current research on political ritual, commemoration and memory, and identity within a politicized arena in a place of conflict, by focusing on meaningful practices and events. The range of concepts explored in this research (republican identities, commemorative parading, rebel music, emotion, memory and political ritual) illustrates the clearest possible picture of republican bands and republican parading. What is remembered in rebel music, what is affirmed and evoked through ritual and what is marked by the marching of feet through the streets provides cultural knowledge and political affirmation and a foundation that enables and encourages younger generations of Northern Irish republicans to create identities in a context where identity – ethnic, political and social – is an intense issue. This book has explored these issues and offered perspectives from a significant portion of Northern Irish society, particularly as the political climate moves away from violence and conflict and settles into democratic dialogue and peaceful negotiation. The future of republican parading bands is uncertain, as several members have cautiously mentioned, but they do not indicate that they are willing to give up what has arguably become a republican cultural convention. For instance, Terence, of the Saoirse Volunteers, put it this way when asked about the future of republican bands: The likes of ourselves, we’re a memorial band and a lot of them are memorial bands and I hope they keep going … I hope that we’ll keep going for the foreseeable future, because at the end of the day the volunteers still have to be remembered. We like to think that every time you go out and march that their relatives see us and say [that] they’re still remembered, that we’re not letting the memories of their loved ones die. So that’s important to us and it’s very important to them. (Terence, in interview, 26 October 2008) The dialectic that is played out in the streets is becoming less an act of protest and more an act of negotiation for both union and debate. What Shelemay (1998: 6) calls the ‘musical construction of remembrance, an expressive outcome or residue of the process of remembering’ remains at the heart of republican culture and its communities. Through the political ritual of commemorative parading and the expression of emotion and memory through music and songs, republican identities are negotiated, constructed and maintained in a political atmosphere of change and mediation.

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Notes   1. Cited in Chapter Four. The full text of the speech is available at: http://www.socialist. net/irsp-easter-commemoration-2008-speech.htm [accessed 28 May 2011].  2. This is from the Irish phrase and Sinn Féin slogan ‘tiocfaidh ár lá’, meaning ‘our day will come’. The phrase is attributed to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.  3. The Guardian. 28 February 2005. ‘People’s Revolt against IRA Gathers Momentum’. Available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/feb/28/northernireland.northernireland2 [accessed 22 May 2012].  4. See http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/3989 [accessed 21 April 2012].  5. For research focusing specifically on republican or nationalist parading, although a few of these are set within a comparative context, see McCann (1985); Jarman (1997, 1999a); Jarman and Bryan (1998, 2000a); De Rosa (1998); Dunn (2000).

Appendices

q

APPENDIX I: SURVEY

1. Survey Results Over the course of several months during my fieldwork in 2009, I handed out 100 surveys to eight different bands across Northern Ireland and one based in Glasgow. I received sixty-six responses, and many of those who responded left one or more questions unanswered. I have provided what totals I can where a question was answered, but please note that the totals may vary. Some bands were asked further questions and this is indicated below.

Question 1: What is your age? ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

A – 16 or under

4

7

B – 17–20

7

4

C – 21–25

6

2

D – 26–30

5

0

E – Over 30

23

4

1

TOTAL

45

17

4

UNKNOWN MALE/FEMALE 3

206  ■  Appendices

Question 2: Are you male or female? ANSWER A – Male

45

B – Female

17

Left Blank

4

TOTAL

66

Question 3: What is your occupation? (36 members were asked this question) [Of the four who left this answer blank, two people told me they did not want to answer in case they were recognized, despite the anonymity of the survey.] JOB DESCRIPTION

TOTAL

Chef

1

Student

8

Shop Owner

1

Retail Manager

1

Stockroom Assistant

1

Production Manager

1

Unemployed

3

Labourer

1

Housewife

1

Joiner

1

Taxi Driver

1

Medical Receptionist

1

Playgroup Assistant

1

Draughtsman

1

Painter

2

Storeperson

1

Waitress

2

Left Blank

4

Appendices  ■  207

Question 4: How long have you participated in a parading band? (Including any time spent in previous bands) ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – Under a year

7

3

1

11

B – Between 1–2 years

1

4

0

5

C – 2–5 years

12

3

0

15

D – 5–10 years

5

4

2

11

E – 10–15 years

2

1

0

3

F – Over 15 years

17

1

1

19

Left Blank

2

0

0

2

Question 5: Why did you join the band? [Note: Three respondents circled two answers. These are designated by asterisks (e.g. in the Males column, one person circled both A and B). Both answers are included in the totals column.] ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – To be part of the community

1, 1*

1

0

3

B – To take part in politics or current events

15, 1*

2, 1*

3

23

C – For something to do

0

0

0

0

D – To learn an instrument

0

1, 1*

1*

3

E – Because a family member joined

0

0

1*

1

F – Other (please state)

4

0

0

4

Left Blank

2

0

0

2

In a sentence or two, tell me why you joined the band? (30 members were asked to elaborate) Responses from male respondents: ‘Closer to the family, because of hunger strike.’ ‘To show support for the band and movement.’

208  ■  Appendices

‘Roman Catholic, supported the republican movement since the day I was born.’ ‘To learn music.’ ‘To remember our dead.’ ‘I joined because of the struggle for Irish freedom.’ ‘Because I am a republican and wanted to join a band.’ ‘To learn to play music.’ ‘To commemorate our republican dead.’ ‘To promote [?] republicanism.’ ‘To be part of the struggle.’ ‘To learn a musical instrument.’ ‘To learn to play.’ ‘Wanted to play an instrument.’ ‘I was interested.’ ‘’Cause I love musical instruments.’ ‘My uncle started it then it was just a new experience and also I am a republican.’ ‘Enjoy being in the band.’ ‘I am a republican and interested in bands.’ ‘To commemorate Ireland’s dead and act of defiance against British rule.’ ‘Because one in the family in it.’ [sic] ‘To honour Ireland’s patriot dead.’ ‘Mark respect for dead volunteers.’ [This answer was given three times in total.]

Responses from female respondents: ‘It inspired me to strengthen my republicanism.’ ‘I have been supporting the band for years.’ ‘Because I was interested in the band.’ ‘Love the music.’’ ‘Because you meet new people.’ [This answer was given twice in total.] ‘I joined the band as I get to play an active role in commemorating.’ ‘I joined the band because I like to commemorate those who made an impact on Ireland.’

Appendices  ■  209

‘To remember the dead.’ ‘To remember volunteers, martyrs, etc. that died for our country.’ [This answer was given three times in total.]

Question 6: Are any of your family members also in a band? (This includes extended family too) ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – Yes

29

11

4

44

B – No

15

6

0

21

Left Blank

1

0

0

1

Question 7: What do you think is the main purpose of a republican band? [Note: Five respondents did not answer.] Responses from male respondents: ‘To remember our patriot dead.’ [This answer was given five times in total.] ‘To add colour and music to republican parades.’ ‘To promote the history of the republican struggle.’ ‘To keep the parades colourful and to keep republicanism alive – may the struggle go on.’ ‘To remember our comrades.’ ‘To show our beliefs.’ ‘To keep the spirit of Irish republicanism alive.’ ‘To commemorate fallen volunteers.’ ‘To give people the chance to be part of the struggle.’ ‘To promote Irish language, music and history.’ ‘To commemorate our comrades.’ ‘History.’ ‘It sends out a message.’ ‘To keep alive republican parades and bring some life to parades. To keep young ones interested in republicanism.’ ‘To parade in memory of our dead.’ ‘To commemorate Ireland’s dead and to make commemorations more attractive to young people and have a lively atmosphere at the event.’ ‘Republicanism is the main purpose.’

210  ■  Appendices

Responses from female respondents: ‘To remember the people that died for Ireland.’ [This answer was given four times in total.] ‘To remember Irish history and the dead.’ ‘To remember those who died to free their land.’ ‘I think the main purpose is to honour our republican dead.’ ‘To play Irish music and remember the dead.’ ‘To show what we believe in.’ ‘To promote republicanism.’

Question 8: Please complete the statement by choosing TWO of the following answers, and indicate which is your main reason by marking a 1 next to it. [Note: Most respondents did not indicate a preference, but just simply circled two answers. One female respondent circled all five answers. See below for those who did indicate a preference.] Being in a band is important because you can: ANSWER

MALES FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – Learn to play music

7

2

0

9

B – Educate others on the history of the struggle

33

15

8

56

C – Promote the goals of the struggle for the future

32

10

4

46

D – Make friends/socialize with community members

7

3

2

12

E – Give young people something fun and creative to do

2

2

0

4

Left Blank

1

1

0

0

Of those who indicated a preference: ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A

1

0

0

1

B

10

5

1

16

Appendices  ■  211

C

3

0

0

3

D

0

0

0

0

E

0

0

0

0

Question 9: How did you learn about the republican movement and its history? ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – From my parents/friends

26

12

3

41

B – From school

4

4

1

9

C – From books/on my own

15

5

1

21

D – From music

4

5

1

10

E – From the band

10

7

2

19

F – From political events

14

6

1

21

Left Blank

1

0

0

2

Question 10: Do you think that bands should play music other than republican or traditional/folk music? Why? [Note: Respondents were asked to circle Yes or No and explain why they chose their answer. One person circled both.] ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – No

33

14

1

48

B - Yes

4

1

1

6

Left Blank

8

2

1

11

The reasons given were: Responses from male respondents: A – No, because … ‘It’s not relevant to our parades and we’re not Huns.’ ‘It’s a republican band to remember republican traditions.’ ‘What has other music got to do with our history and dead?’ ‘It’s a republican band.’ ‘It’s about the struggle and we want to play it.’ ‘It is not part of our culture.’

212  ■  Appendices

‘It’s about volunteers.’ ‘Johnny Cash has nothing to do with us (Irish republicans).’ ‘[It] will take focus off the struggle.’ ‘I think we are a republican band so only republican songs.’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘We are a republican band and our purpose is to promote our struggle and future goals through music.’ ‘It’s about being republican.’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘It’s our culture.’ ‘We are republicans and therefore we play music to remember our dead volunteers etc.’ ‘Of republican views.’ ‘Other types of music doesn’t appeal to me.’ [sic] ‘Music is about certain events in Irish history and about the memory of people we commemorate.’ ‘It would not look right.’ ‘We are ultimately an Irish republican band, playing Take That or the theme of the Teletubbies does not get our message over.’ ‘They [?] republican bands to commemorate republicans past and present and future things and doing it through song helps.’ ‘We are an Irish republican flute band.’ [This answer was given twice in total.] ‘No.’ [This answer was given three times in total.] ‘It’s about the struggle and it’s better to stick to it and keep it.’ ‘Depends on which kind of band.’ ‘Republic music is our stuff.’ ‘Republican and traditional music most represents what we march for and why.’ ‘They would have no relevance to the meaning of the commemoration.’ ‘Part of Irish history.’

Responses from female respondents: A – No, because … ‘They are supporting the republican movement so it’s only appropriate.’ ‘It’s a republican band.’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘It is songs about our volunteers.’ ‘The music the bands play reflect and tell the stories of the struggle.’ ‘Bands have their own reasons to play songs and if other songs are played, most bands will be the same.’

Appendices  ■  213

‘It has nothing to do with republican bands.’ [This answer was given three times.] ‘Folk music is nothing to do with republican music.’ ‘Traditional/folk music isn’t really republican and doesn’t really say about Ireland’s struggle.’ ‘I do think bands should play [?illegible] music, but other music –’ ‘Republican history is more important. Other music would detract from that.’ ‘No I don’t think the bands should play other music.’

Responses from male respondents: B – Yes, because … ‘Irish republican music has been born from oppression.’ [sic] ‘All Irish music is relevant to the bands.’ ‘I believe the wider selection played, the better because it enables the band to take part in other events (not republican).’ ‘It’s not always about the struggle (i.e, St. Patrick’s Day).

Responses from female respondents: B – Yes, because … ‘I think the band should play more than just republican music.’

From unknown m/f respondents: No, because ‘it’s about remembering Irish republican volunteers.’ Yes, because ‘it depends on the kind of parade.’ No, because ‘it’s a memorial flute band for republicans who lost their lives.’

Question 11: What do you believe, in your experience, is the most important reason for music at commemorations? [Note: Four respondents circled two answers. These are designated by asterisks (e.g. in the Males column, one person circled both A and C).] ANSWER

MALES FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – It teaches young people about republican history/the struggle

20, 1*

6, 4*

1, 1*

33

B – It brings an element of interest to a parade/event

9, 1*

4, 1*

1, 1*

17

214  ■  Appendices

C – It reminds people of the past and the movement’s goals

9, 2*

2, 4*

2, 1*

20

D – It is not important – commemorations would be the same without it

1

0

0

1

E – Other (please state)

0

0

0

0

Left Blank

1

0

0

1

Question 12: In a few sentences, please tell me what benefits you believe bands bring to commemoration events: [Note: Eleven respondents left the question blank.] Responses from male respondents: ‘It brings an element of the old militant look to a parade and let people know that republicanism is still alive.’ [sic] ‘They add music and colour and there is also competitions between bands.’ [sic] ‘The music and colour of the parades.’ [This answer was given three times.] ‘Gives interment [sic – entertainment?] to the parade.’ ‘History and learns youths from the modern [?] day the struggle and events of the past 30 years and beyond existed.’ [sic] ‘Help remember dead volunteers.’ ‘Bands bring awareness and a livelier bit of craic.’ ‘A sense of pride and lets people know the meaning of the struggle.’ ‘Bring element of interest and commemorations our dead [sic].’ ‘It brings a bit of life to commemorations and helps remind people of our struggle and what we have lost and won – just by hearing a song can remind someone of the importance of our fight.’ ‘It gets people going and brings a sense of pride to the event.’ ‘It’s good.’ ‘[Commemorate] together.’ ‘People love to hear the music.’ ‘Express your views on the republican movement.’ ‘It brings colour and music which everybody enjoys.’ ‘Makes the event more lively and colourful and appealing to younger people.’ ‘It attracts younger people, when we are ranked up it encourages others to rank up in a similar fashion.’

Appendices  ■  215

‘It helps promote /teach about the history and future goals by remembering ex-volunteers past events through song.’ ‘I think it brings a bigger crowd.’ ‘It can be a way of bringing people into the republican family and by giving an education will also help people in understanding the objectives of the republican movement.’ ‘Spirit, commitment.’ ‘Young people can learn.’ ‘Bands play music which reminds and teaches people about the things they are commemorating.’ ‘To show support.’ [This answer was given twice in total.] ‘Music, colour, entertainment.’ ‘Colour and music.’ ‘Music.’ ‘They play music which commemorates past volunteers and civilians which keeps their spirits alive.’ ‘They bring spirit and music and colour.’ ‘The music provides an interesting element to the parade.’ ‘Shows respect, provides an atmosphere.’ ‘Makes it more interesting.’

Responses from female respondents: ‘They provide people with republican music and shows the strengths of republicanism through young people in the band.’ ‘To remember volunteers.’ ‘Honouring people who [have given] their life [for] Irish freedom.’ ‘It shows that you remember the people who died a lot for Ireland now.’ ‘Bands are a colourful and lively addition to commemorations. They also let children and adults play an active role at these events.’ ‘It brings people together to see if [they] still want to remember and it also brings speakers to speak about our goals and aims for the future.’ ‘It tells people about the Troubles in the past and who suffered because of it.’ ‘It helps people learn and understand about our struggle and the people who died for our country.’ [This answer was given four times.] ‘The noise of the music brings out people.’

216  ■  Appendices

‘The bands attract youth to the parades allowing the more important message to be delivered to a bigger audience.’ ‘They help –’

Responses from unknown m/f respondents: ‘It gets young people involved and remembers about the people having fought [and] died for Ireland.’ ‘They bring enjoyment and music [to] the parade.’ ‘Music.’ ‘It brings more life to the commemorations.’

Question 13: Which song do you believe best represents your understanding of the politics of the movement? Why? [Note: Seventeen respondents left this question blank.] Responses from male respondents: ‘Commemorative songs: it tells the story of our fallen comrades and friends.’ ‘Roll of Honour – it gives a good understanding of what we have lost and won.’ [Roll of Honour was put down three times.] ‘Something Inside So Strong’ ‘Go On Home – to make Ireland a 32 Democratic Republic.’ ‘Hughes Lives On’ ‘Sean South from Garryowen – my name’s Sean.’ ‘Many songs.’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘Songs about Ireland because that is what we march for.’ ‘A Soldier’s Song/National Anthem’ – ‘It’s what we are about.’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘The Provo Sniper because I believe in forcing British withdrawal from Ireland.’ ‘A Nation Once Again’ ‘Song for Marcella – it represents the struggle in so many ways.’ ‘Joe McDonnell’ ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’ [This answer was given twice.] One respondent wrote that the question should be changed to: Which song do you believe best represents your understanding of the politics of the band? Why? [His answer is given above.]

Appendices  ■  217

‘International Brigade – Although our ultimate struggle and goal is for a united socialist and democratic Ireland we must continue to support the cause of international socialism.’ ‘Death Before Revenge. The ten men came into the world with nothing and died with nothing. It shows the barriers they had to face and discrimination but it just made their spirits stronger like everybody through the years.’ ‘The Roll of Honour.’ ‘Sniper’s Promise because it lets the people understand that the republican movement wasn’t about being cold-hearted killers that the media can portray.’ ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free.’ [This answer was given twice in total.] ‘All of them are important.’ ‘The People’s Own MP because it showed that the people supported our struggle and that politics was the way forward.’ ‘The Boys of the Old Brigade.’ [This answer was given twice in total.] ‘Foggy Dew.’ ‘All songs.’ ‘National anthem – Soldier’s Song.’ ‘Four Green Fields.’ ‘Shoot to Kill – 3 men shot in front of my house, reason I joined the band.’

Responses from female respondents: ‘Soldier’s Song’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘Patriot Game – it represents the fight of Irish freedom in every word to me.’ ‘Joe McDonnell, as this song describes how a young man played his part in the struggle for Ireland’s freedom.’ ‘Joe McDonnell. This song represents the way Joe grew up and why he became so bitter to British rule.’ ‘Only Our Rivers – because the words give information to what happened in the Troubles.’ [This answer was given five times.] ‘Roll of Honour.’ ‘A Nation Once Again – it is the ultimate goal.’

Responses from unknown m/f respondents: ‘Death Before Revenge. It tells of Irish people where treated.’ [sic] ‘Roll of Honour – remembers what the cause is.’

218  ■  Appendices

Top three listed songs (both male and female respondents): 1. Roll of Honour 2. Only Our Rivers Run Free 3. Amhrán na bhFiann/Soldier’s Song (the Irish Republic’s national anthem) Question 14: Do you think it is important for band members to be involved in politics? ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – Yes

36

12

2

50

B – No

6

3

2

11

Left Blank

3

2

0

5

Question 15: Are you active in the movement? (Like campaigning, leaflet drops, going to events, etc.) ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – Yes

31

12

1

44

B – No

2

0

0

2

C – Only with the band

9

3

2

14

Left Blank

3

2

1

6

Question 16: Have you had any other musical training or do you play any instruments outside the band? ANSWER

MALES

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F

TOTAL

A – Yes

10

5

1

16

B – No, I only play with the band (or march in the colour party)

30

9

2

41

C – I’d like to but don’t have the opportunity

2

1

0

3

Left Blank

3

2

1

6

Of those who answered yes and explained: Responses from male respondents: Yes, ‘I can play the spoons.’ Yes, ‘rock band.’

Appendices  ■  219

Yes, ‘drum.’ Yes, ‘I play the tin whistle at home.’ Yes, ‘did play the violin in school many years ago.’ Yes, ‘play penny whistle. Just a hobby.’ Yes, ‘I am learning to play the guitar.’ Yes, ‘traditional music.’ Yes, ‘also play guitar.’ Yes, ‘bodhrán, tin whistle.’

Responses from female respondents: Yes, ‘in school.’ Yes, ‘tin whistle.’ Yes, ‘I play the violin in school.’ Yes, ‘keyboard in school.’ Yes, ‘I can play the tin whistle and the accordion and the keyboard.’

Responses from unknown m/f respondents: Yes, ‘tin whistle.’

Question 17: What does being in a republican band mean to you? [Note: Five people left this blank.] Responses from male respondents: ‘To bring equality, justice and peace to all the people of Eire and ultimately reunite our country.’ ‘Keepin’ the name of K. [Kevin] Lynch alive.’ [This answer was given twice.] ‘It gives me a sense of pride and allows me to show that side of me to other likeminded individuals.’ ‘Like being part of the struggle and its history.’ ‘Everything.’ ‘Another voice for a united Ireland.’ ‘Means a lot as I am a republican and want to keep the band alive.’ ‘Means a lot like going playing at events to remember.’ [sic] ‘It means I can commemorate our brave volunteers who died for us and our liberation.’

220  ■  Appendices

‘It’s normal for me for the fact [I’m] a republican.’ ‘A lot, it’s all about our dead, their families, it helps youth be part of the struggle. Gives you a sense of doing something worthwhile.’ ‘It gives me the opportunity to learn more about my history and also to teach others about our history and struggle and what we need to do in the future.’ ‘The honour of marching at events.’ ‘It’s my history.’ ‘It’s good for people.’ ‘Means I get to commemorate our republican dead who gave their life for our country.’ ‘In a republican band it tells the people what you are and what you stand for.’ ‘Making sure the memory of the republican dead is kept alive.’ ‘Republican men.’

Responses from female respondents: ‘Keeping the memory of the republican dead going to this day and on.’ [This answer was given four times.] ‘The republican band means a lot to me. This reason is because I like the reasons we march and to remember those who give me a reason to be proud.’ ‘Being in a republican band gives me the opportunity to attend commemorations and to take part. I have met new friends and old friends through the band.’ ‘I am in it because some of my family members were in it so I wanted to become a member.’ ‘To have fun and meet new people.’ ‘A lot because it’s a band for my volunteer.’ ‘Everything.’

Question 18: What do you think it says about who you are? Responses from male respondents: ‘It says we are the people that will lead our people and our nation.’ ‘Loyal and prepared to do a bit to further the struggle.’ ‘A part of something to help remember republican traditions.’ ‘It says that I will never forget my history and the men and women who died for Irish freedom.’

Appendices  ■  221

‘I’m a republican.’ [This answer was given five times.] ‘Dedicated band member.’ ‘Don’t know - hopefully that makes me a better person.’ ‘That I am interested in our history and struggle and as a young republican I am not afraid to show what I believe in.’ ‘Because it better.’ [sic]

Responses from female respondents: ‘Everyone has their own ways on what they see in people in the bands but I really like being in it.’ ‘An Irish republican.’ ‘Dedicated band member and a person who is interested in the republican movement.’ ‘That I am a strong-minded republican.’ ‘It says I am a republican and I am proud of that fact.’ ‘It says that I am a very proud person to be commemorating people and it also shows that I’m a person who wants to continue on with remembrance.’ ‘That you are a republican and you are there for the remembrance of people who tried to free Ireland.’ [This answer was given four times.] ‘It says that I’m a republican and that I respect the volunteers, martyrs, etc. that died for our country.’

Question 19: Do you think it is … [Note: Only 30 members were asked this question. Five respondents circled both answers. These are designated by asterisks (e.g. in the Males column, three people circled both A and B). Both answers are included in the totals column.] ANSWER

MALES

A – More important for a 2, 3* band to play well and look good

FEMALES

UNKNOWN M/F TOTAL

0, 1*

1, 1*

8

B – More important for a band to make an effort and show spirit

16, 3*

4, 1*

2, 1*

27

Left Blank

0

0

0

0

222  ■  Appendices

2. Survey Please be as honest as possible in answering the following questions. If you do not wish to answer, please indicate so or leave blank. The results of this survey will be part of the research I am undertaking for a PhD degree at Queen’s University Belfast, and will be used only in the context of that research. No names or identifying features will be used. If you would like to know the results of this survey or anything more about it, please email me at [email protected]. Thank you for your cooperation!   1. What is your age?   2. Are you:   3. What is your occupation? a. 16 or under a. Male b. 17–20 b. Female c. 21–25 d. 26–30 e. Over 30 4. How long have you participated in a parading band? (Include any time spent in previous bands.) a. Under a year e. 10–15 years b. Between 1–2 years f. Over 15 years c. 2–5 years d. 5–10 years 5.

Why did you join the band? a. To be part of the community b. To take part in politics or current events c. For something to do d. To learn an instrument e. Because a family member joined f. Other (please state)

  6. Are any of your family members also in a band? (This includes extended family too.) a. Yes b. No   7. What do you think is the main purpose of a republican band?   8. Please complete this statement by choosing TWO of the following answers, and indicate which is your main reason by marking a 1 next to it.

Being in a band is important because you can: a. Learn to play music b. Educate others on the history of the struggle c. Promote the goals of the struggle for the future d. Make friends/socialize with community members e. Give young people something fun and creative to do

Appendices  ■  223

  9. How did you learn about the republican movement and its history? (Please circle) a. From my parents/friends. d. From music. b. From school. e. From the band. c. From books/on my own. f. From political events. 10. Do you think that bands should play music other than republican or traditional/folk music? Why? a. No, because

b. Yes, because

11. What do you believe, in your experience, is the most important reason for music at commemorations? (Please circle only one) a. It teaches young people about republican history/the struggle b. It brings an element of interest to a parade/event c. It reminds people of the past and movement’s goals d. It is not important – commemorations would be the same without it e. Other (please state) 12. In a few sentences, please tell me what benefits you believe bands bring to commemoration events: 13. Which song do you believe best represents your understanding of the politics of the movement? Why? 14. Do you think it is important for band members to be involved in politics? a. Yes b. No 15. Are you active in the movement? (Like campaigning, leaflet drops, going to events, etc.) a. Yes b. No c. Only when with the band 16. Have you had any other musical training or do you play any instruments outside the band? a. Yes (please explain)

b. No, I only play with the band (or march in the colour party). c. I’d like to but don’t have the opportunity.

17. What does being in a republican band mean to you?

224  ■  Appendices

18. What do you think it says about who you are? 19. Do you think it is … (Please circle one) a. More important for a band to play well and look good. b. More important for a band to make an effort and show spirit.

Thank You! – Go Raibh Maith Agat!

Appendices  ■  225

APPENDIX II: REBEL SONGS 1. Rebel Songs in the Genre Note: Some older historical songs have been omitted, as this list is representative of what is commonly played in current repertoires. Approximate count: 169 8 May A Lamentation on Allen, Larkin and O’Brien A Nation Once Again Aidan McAnespie Ashtown Road Auf Wiedersehen to Crossmaglen Ballad of Billy Reid Ballad of Ethel Lynch Ballad of Hugh Coney (2) Ballad of Kieran Doherty Ballad of Martin (Doco) Doherty Ballad of Pearse Jordan Ballymurphy Roll of Honour Banna Strand Billy Byrne of Ballymanus Blood Stained Bandage Bobby Sands Bodenstown Church Bold Fenian Men Bold Robert Emmett Boulavogue Boys of the Old Brigade Boys of Wexford Bring Them Home Broad Black Brimmer Bye Bye Ballymena Captain Dooley and the Boyne Celtic Symphony Collusion Is No Illusion Come Out You Black and Tans Crumlin Jail Death Before Revenge Disband the R.U.C. Drumboe Martyrs

226  ■  Appendices

Farewell to Bellaghy/McElwee’s Farewell Father’s Blessing Felons of Our Land Flag of Freedom Follow Me Up to Carlow For What Died the Sons of Roisin? Four Green Fields Four Strong Winds Free At Last Free Belfast Freedom’s Sons Freedom’s Walk General Munroe (2) George and Pop Go On Home God Save Ireland Going Home At Last Grá Mo Chroí, I Long to See Old Ireland Free Once More Grace Green, White and Gold H Block Song Henry Joy Hughes Lives On Innocent Until Proven Irish Ireland Divided Ireland Over All Ireland Unfree Ireland United Ireland’s Fight for Freedom Irish Ways and Irish Laws It’s a Grand Oul Country Jackets Green James Connolly (2) James Larkin Joe Hill Joe McCann (2) Joe McDonnell Kelly the Boy from Killane Kevin Barry Kinky Boots Let the People Sing Lid of My Granny’s Bin

Appendices  ■  227

London’s Derry Lonely Woods of Upton Long Kesh Loughgall Martyrs Lullaby to Heaven Mairead Farrell Mandela Song Meet Me at the Pillar Memory of the Dead Men Behind the Wire Men of ‘81 Merry Ploughboy Michael Boylan My Last Farewell My Old Man’s A Provo No, You Won’t Be Marching Down the Garvaghy Road O’Donovan Rossa’s Farewell to Dublin Off to Dublin On the One Road Only Our Rivers Run Free Over the Wall Pardon Me for Smiling Pól Kinsella Provie Birdie Provos Lullaby Raymond McCreesh Rebel Song Reverend Willie Rifles of the IRA Rising of the Moon Roddy McCorly Roll of Honour S.A.M. Missiles in the Sky Say Hello to the Provos Scapegoats Sean South Sean Treacy Shall My Soul Pass Through Old Ireland Show Me the Man Sing Irishmen Sing Skibbereen Smashing the Van

228  ■  Appendices

Sniper’s Promise Something Inside So Strong Song for Marcella Streets of Gibraltar Sunday Bloody Sunday (2) Take it Down from the Mast Take Me Home to Mayo/Ballad of Michael Gaughan Teddy Bear’s Head Ten Brave Men The Battle of Carrick Hill The Battle of Inglis’ Bakery The Belfast Brigade The Black Watch The Boy from Tralee The Dying Rebel The Falls Road Taxi Man The Field of Athenry The Fields of Aughnacloy The Flight from Mountjoy The Foggy Dew The Helicopter Song The Informer The Legend The Magnificent Seven The Patriot Game The People’s Own MP The Smuggler The Songbird The Two Brendans The Ulster Way The Ultimate Sacrifice The West’s Awake The Youngest of Them All They Shoot Children This Land is Your Land (Irish version) This Little Place Called Ireland Tiocfiadh Ár Lá Tom Williams Up Went Nelson Viva La Quinta Brigada We’re Celts Wearing of the Green

Appendices  ■  229

Whack Fol the Diddle Willie and Danny Willie Maley Winchester ’73 Winds Are Singing Freedom Women of Ireland Wrap the Green Flag Around Me, Boys Yo Ho, I’m a Provo

2. List of Songs Noted in This Book 1. ‘(Ballad of) Aidan McAnespie’, Gerry Cunningham 2. ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ (A Soldier’s Song), Peader Kearny and Patrick Heeny 3. ‘Boulavogue’, P.J. McCall 4. ‘Bold Fenian Men’, William Rooney 5. ‘Boys of Wexford’, Robert Dwyer Joyce 6. ‘Come Out You Black and Tans’, Dominic Behan 7. ‘Fields of Athenry’/‘Fields of Aughnacloy’, Pete St. John 8. ‘George and Pop’, Unknown 9. ‘Go On Home’, Tommy Skelly 10. ‘Grace’, Frank O’Meara and Sean O’Meara 11. ‘The Helicopter Song’, Brain Warfield and the Wolfe Tones 12. ‘Hughes Lives On’, Gerry O’Glacain 13. ‘James Connolly’ (version one), Unknown 14. ‘James Connolly’ (version two), Unknown 15. ‘(Ballad of) Joe McDonnell’, Brian Warfield 16. ‘(Ballad of) Kevin Barry’, Unknown 17. ‘The Legend’, Dan Hennon 18. ‘Let the People Sing’, Unknown 19. ‘(Ballad of) Mairead Farrell’, Unknown 20. ‘Men of ’81’, Unknown 21. ‘Minds Locked Shut’, Christy Moore 22. ‘A Nation Once Again’, Thomas Davis 23. ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’, Michael McConnell 24. ‘(Ballad of) Pearse Jordan’, Maire McNally 25. ‘Plastic Bullets (They Shoot Children)’, Robin Dunwoody 26. ‘Prisoner’s Anthem’, Gerry O’Glacain 27. ‘Rifles of the IRA’, Dominic Behan 28. ‘Roll of Honour’, Gerry O’Glacain 29. ‘Sean South of Garryowen’, King and Costello 30. ‘Song for Marcella’, Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane

230  ■  Appendices

31. ‘Something Inside So Strong’, Labi Siffre 32. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, Yoko Ono 33. ‘This Land is Your Land’ (Irish Version)’, Woody Guthrie/Unknown 34. ‘(Ballad of) Tom Williams’, Arder Corr 35. ‘The Two Brendans’, Unknown 36. ‘Unfinished Revolution’, Peter Cradle 37. ‘Willie Maley’, Unknown

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Index

A Adams, Gerry, 3, 47, 49–50, 61n9, 98–9, 107, 112, 168, 181, 183–4, 200–1 An Phoblacht, 50–1, 63–4, 86n1 Ancient Order of Hibernians, 54–8, 101, 112, 183 Anderson, Benedict, 23, 26, 142–3, 147, 178 Anglo-Irish Agreement, 49–50 anthems, 94, 103, 133, 142, 157, 168, 216–8 B Ballymurphy Massacre, 184, 187n23 Banna Cuimhneachán (Band C), 63–4, 69, 71, 75, 83–4, 100, 110, 132, 145, 159, 170, 173, 177, 186n1, 194 Barth, Fredrik, 22 Basque, 102, 104–5, 125, 181–4, 190 Bauman, Richard, 143–4 Belfast, 2, 4, 6, 10–1, 13–4, 16n11, 29, 45, 49, 55–7, 64–5, 67, 84–5, 90, 92, 96–8, 100, 103–4, 107–8, 112–3, 133–4, 136, 149, 151, 153, 166–7, 179, 182, 200 Belfast Agreement. See Good Friday Agreement Blacking, John, 144, 193–4 Bloody Sunday, 15, 47, 124–5, 138, 163, 168, 172, 179–85, 186n13, 187n21, 187n23, 189, 200. See also commemoration of Bloody Sunday Bloody Sunday March Committee, 183 Bourdieu, Pierre, 35 Bowyer Bell, John, 43–5, 48–51

q

Bryan, Dominic, 19–20, 24, 37–8, 54–9, 101–3, 146 Burton, Frank ‘telling’, 18

C Cohen, Anthony, 24, 26, 142 Commemoration of Bloody Sunday, 15, 163, 172, 179– 85, 189 of the Easter Rising, 28, 42, 50, 55–7, 72, 82, 85, 88–90, 93, 95–103, 107, 109–10, 113–4, 124, 127, 146, 153, 167, 171, 189, 198 and emotion, 29–31, 38, 141, 164–5, 173, 188 of the Hunger Strike, 1, 85, 113, 118, 167 and memory, 14, 19, 30, 32, 34, 58, 67–8, 75, 83, 101, 110, 124, 127, 143, 147–8, 156, 160, 170, 172–3, 180, 185, 188–9, 191, 196, 198–9, 201 and music, 2–6, 36, 64, 100, 124–5, 143, 148–9, 157, 167–8, 170, 185, 194, 196–7 and parades, 1, 6, 21, 24, 54, 63, 66, 77–8, 101–3, 110–3, 129, 140, 160, 174, 201 and politics, 4–5, 19, 28, 32, 35–8, 51, 53–4, 64, 80, 83, 86, 93, 96–103, 111, 113, 127, 129, 146, 157, 160, 162–3, 170–1, 176–8, 180, 184–5, 186n6, 186n8, 192, 196–7, 199–201

250  ■  Index

and power, 34–5, 37–8, 54, 86, 100, 129, 178 and ritual, 5, 14–15, 34–8, 97, 105, 146, 160, 162–3, 169–70, 174, 188, 198 of Seamus Woods, 15, 164–5, 169, 172, 191, 198 community, 3, 5–6, 10, 12, 14, 18–9, 23, 25–7, 29–30, 33–4, 36, 45, 55, 58–9, 62–4, 68–70, 75, 81–3, 86, 96–7, 102–3, 107–9, 111–4, 118, 120–2, 125, 127, 130, 133, 136–7, 140, 142–7, 149, 155, 158–60, 164, 166, 170, 174, 178, 180, 190–3, 195, 197, 207, 210, 222 communities of practice, 27–8 the construction of, 15, 26, 143 imagined communities, 23–4, 26, 142 Conflict Archive on the Internet, 59, 60n6, 61n19–20 Connerton, Paul, 32, 123, 170 Connolly, James, 42–3, 85, 89, 92, 104, 121, 123, 124, 19. See also under songs Continuity Irish Republican Army, 50 Conway, Brian, 32, 172, 180–1, 184 Cumann na mBan, 42, 60n4 D De Rosa, Ciro, 20, 64, 68, 203n5 Democratic Unionist Party, 59, 97, 99, 114 Denisoff, R. Serge, 117–20, 122 Derry (Londonderry), 2, 6, 55, 124–6, 135, 179–81, 183–4 Free Derry, 125–6, 183 dissident republicanism, 27, 98, 99 Doherty, Kieran, 49, 61n8. See also under songs Drumcree, 58–59, 61n20, 118 Durkheim, Emile, 35 E Emmett, Robert, 96, 191 emotion, 4–7, 14–7, 19, 28–30, 38, 49, 102, 137, 139, 142–3, 148, 150, 154, 158, 160, 162, 167, 202 and memory (see memory and emotion)

and music (see music and emotion) and politics, 3–4, 29, 193–7 English, Richard, 42, 44, 46–50, 53, 87n8, 105, 108–11, 113 Equality Commission NI, 25 ethnicity, 14, 18–24, 26, 34, 68, 88, 111– 2, 122, 163, 174, 190, 202 F ‘fellow-feeling’, 144, 193 Fianna Fáil, 43–4, 184 Fianna na hÉireann, 47, 75, 87n9, 104 fieldwork, 8, 10–14, 16n11, 21, 27, 30, 33, 63, 71, 82, 135, 162, 171, 201, 205 Fine Gael, 44 flags, 2, 5, 55, 75–6, 90–3, 95, 100–5, 109, 127, 138, 140, 170, 181, 183–4 Flags and Emblems Act (1954), 55, 58, 101 flute bands. See parading bands folk music. See under music Foucault, Michel, 23, 109 Frith, Simon, 132, 137, 154, 192–3, 197 G Gaelic Athletic Association, 77 Gaelic League, 107 Geertz, Clifford, 7, 21 gender, 7, 9–11, 14, 19–21, 62, 83, 85, 87n9 Good Friday Agreement, 60n1, 112–3, 116, 165, 186n7 Guevara, Che, 101, 119–20 Guthrie, Woody, 103 H Heaney, Seamus, 8, 15n6 ‘hero-martyr’, 123–4, 131 ‘hidden transcripts’, 129–30 hunger strike, 2, 48–9, 51, 67–8, 96, 100, 113, 119, 124, 147–8, 167, 207. See also commemoration of the Hunger Strike I identity and ethnicity (see ethnicity) and gender (see gender)

Index  ■  251

and language, 19, 23, 36, 97, 103, 105, 107–8, 115n18, 138, 142 markers of, 6, 10, 14, 19, 25, 190 and music. See music and identity and nationalism, 19, 22–3, 41, 46, 58, 102, 108, 111, 190 and politics, 19, 36, 48, 53, 80, 86, 131 and republicanism, 4–6, 21, 24, 27, 35– 6, 40–1, 58, 80, 86, 102, 146, 149, 175, 178, 185, 189–91, 191, 197, 199 social identity, 3, 14, 17, 19–23, 26, 34, 88, 163, 166, 188, 190, 193, 198, 202 Ireland (Republic of ) anthropology of, 14, 17–8, 32 Irish (language), 36, 105, 107–8, 111–2, 115n18, 209 Irish Citizen Army, 42, 95, 109 Irish National Foresters, 56, 58, 101 Irish National Liberation Army, 47–8, 51, 60–1n8, 61n13, 93 Irish Patriots (Band A), 8, 62–4, 69–70–1, 73, 80–5, 103, 128, 141, 147, 159, 174, 177–8, 194 Irish Republican Army, 2, 43–53, 60–1n8, 61n11, 69, 84, 87n8, 92, 95, 98–101, 104–5, 109–13, 166n24, 118–9, 124, 127–30, 138n8, 141–2, 146, 150, 159, 161n3, 165–7, 171–3, 176–7, 191, 196, 200, 203n3 Irish Republican Brotherhood, 42–3, 115n4 Irish Republican Socialist Movement, 47, 54, 88, 90, 92–3, 99, 104, 112–3, 183, 190 Irish Republican Socialist Party. See Irish Republican Socialist Movement ‘Irishness’, 69, 107, 136, 145 Irwin-Zarecka, Iwona, 155, 158, 197, 201 J Jarman, Neil, 19–20, 31, 38n2, 54–8, 88, 101–3, 105, 109, 114, 115n14, 198–201, 203n5 Jenkins, Richard, 7, 19–20, 108, 111, 188 Jordan, Pearse, 89, 91–2, 113, 114n3. See also under songs

K Kelly, Gerry, 164, 171, 186n5 L Londonderry. See Derry. loyalism, 18, 41, 51, 55, 57–8, 60n7, 97, 102, 107, 110, 114, 118, 121, 138n2, 166, 201 and parading bands (see under parading bands) Lutz, Catherine, 28–30, 147 and Abu-Lughod, Lila, 28–9 and White, Geoffrey M., 30 M Mandela, Nelson, 121 Mattern, Mark, 117, 120–2 McAnespie, Aidan, 125. See also under songs McCann, Mary, 54–5, 103, 118, 123, 131, 152, 161n5, 203n5 McDonnell, Joe, 148. See also under songs McGuinness, Martin, 50, 59, 114, 184, 186n5 McFarlane, Brendan (Bik), 119–20, 230 memory, 5, 14–5, 17, 25, 31–4, 37, 49, 58, 64–5, 74, 108–9, 113, 118, 141, 147, 156–7, 158, 160, 169, 180–1, 183, 185, 188–9, 192, 200, 202, 209, 212, 220 collective memory, 14, 28, 31–4, 37, 139, 155–6, 158, 163, 170, 173–4, 180–1, 189, 197–9, 201 and emotion, 29, 32, 138, 140, 158, 188, 195, 198–9 ‘memory makers’, 109–10, 155, 198 and music (see music and memory) Milltown Cemetery, 90, 92, 95–6, 99–100, 104, 107, 110, 115n9 Milton, Kay, 21, 29, 39n6, 193, 195 Mitchell, Claire, 25–6, 36, 111–2 Moore, Christy, 122, 125 Murray, Gerard and Tonge, Jonathan, 44–5, 47–8, 50–3, 60n1 music

252  ■  Index

and commemoration (see commemoration and music) and emotion, 3–4, 6, 15, 28–30, 32, 117, 121, 131–2, 139–46, 150, 152, 155, 157–8, 160, 162, 188–9, 191–7, 202 and identity, 3–5, 23, 114, 121, 130–7, 142, 146, 149–50, 154, 160, 188, 192–5, 197, 199, 202 and memory, 3, 6, 14–5, 19, 32–4, 138–41, 147, 154–5, 157–8, 160, 162, 185, 188–9, 192, 195, 197, 199–200, 202 music-making, 5, 21, 28, 30, 32–3, 82, 86, 144–5, 148, 160, 194 and politics, 3–4, 6, 19, 33, 36, 117–43, 145–6, 149, 154, 156–7, 159–60, 161n5, 188–9, 191–6, 199–202 and resistance, 51, 79, 102, 104, 127–38 traditional Irish music, 63, 134, 136–7, 149, 161n5, 168, 211–3 See also rebel music; songs ‘musicking’, 144, 148 N narrative, 3–6, 11, 14–5, 19, 23, 31, 33–8, 53–4, 99, 104, 108–9, 114, 122, 130– 2, 136, 138–9, 145, 148, 150, 154–5, 158, 160, 162–4, 166–7, 169–70, 172–4, 185 National Graves Association, 96, 104, 127, 164 nationalism, 22–4, 41, 43, 46–7, 50, 55–6, 85, 104, 107–10, 113, 117, 159 Nic Craith, Mairead, 19, 21, 23–5, 68, 105, 107, 111–12, 188, 190 Northern Ireland anthropology of, 3, 14, 17–21 ‘the North’, 15n5 Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, 47, 180–1 Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 25 O Official Irish Republican Army, 46–7, 180

Ógra Shinn Féin, 2–3, 15n3, 39n8, 52, 65, 81–2, 104, 155, 164 Orange Order, 54–6, 59–60, 61n17, 118 P Palestine, 104–5, 125–6, 181, 183–4 parades Bloody Sunday (see commemoration of Bloody Sunday) Easter (see commemoration of the Easter Uprising) Hunger Strike (see commemoration of the Hunger Strike) Orange, 15n2, 37, 54, 57–9, 201 and parading tradition, 14, 19, 37, 40, 54–9, 101–3 Parades Commission, 59, 61n21, 61n24 parading bands loyalist parading bands, 9, 38n2, 62, 85–6, 87n6–7, 129, 178, 188n11, 201 republican parading bands, 3–4, 6, 15, 20–1, 24, 27, 55, 60, 63, 79, 84, 103, 117, 123, 125, 127, 130, 135–6, 142, 145, 148, 150, 155, 172, 179, 185, 188–9, 192, 194, 201–2 performance, 3, 5–7, 15, 20, 30, 32, 35, 60, 78, 88, 104, 118, 130, 133, 137, 139–40, 142–5, 148–9, 151–5, 158, 160, 188, 192–3, 195–6, 199 political commemoration. See under commemoration political ritual. See under ritual protest, 19, 47–8, 51, 57–8, 67–8, 86, 102, 104–5, 113–4, 117–20, 122, 128, 130, 142, 150, 179, 181, 187n26, 191, 200, 202 and music (see music and resistance) and resistance (see resistance) Provisional Irish Republican Army, 46–7, 50–1, 53, 59, 91–2, 97, 105, 107, 113, 171, 180, 196, 198, 200 Public Order Act (1951), 57, 101 R Radford, Katy, 85–6, 87n6, 186n11 Real Irish Republican Army, 51, 61n12

Index  ■  253

rebel music, 4, 11, 15, 33–4, 63, 102, 117– 8, 121, 123, 130–9, 143–4, 146, 149– 51, 154, 156, 160, 162, 164, 188–9, 191–5, 199–202. See also songs classifications, 122–7 ‘rebel-rousing’, 151–2, 160 Rebels (Band D), 63–4, 71, 176–8, 185, 187n15 religion Catholicism, 18, 24–5, 34, 36, 45, 47, 54–6, 58–9, 61n16, 85, 88n3, 101, 105, 107, 111, 127, 129–30, 134, 146, 161n5, 166, 170, 183, 190–1 ‘cultural religion’, 111 and identity, 14, 19, 24–6, 36, 111–112, 178 and politics, 24–7, 36, 55, 111, 178 and ritual, 18, 36, Protestantism, 4, 18, 24–5, 34, 36, 47, 54–7, 59, 82, 86, 95, 101, 107, 110, 121, 127, 134, 149, 161n5, 166, 178, 183, 190, 197 republican movement, 3–6, 11–2, 14, 27, 36, 38, 40–1, 45–9, 51–5, 58, 60, 62, 64–5, 67–9, 75, 80–1, 83–4, 86, 88, 96, 100–1, 103, 107–10, 112, 114, 128, 133, 138, 142, 153–4, 156–7, 163–4, 173, 178, 180, 185, 186n6, 189–91, 194, 198–9 parading bands (see under parading bands) Republican Socialist Movement, 91–2, 112 republicanism, 40–1 Irish, 3–6, 14–5, 27–8, 33, 38, 52–4, 58, 60, 62, 64–5, 67–9, 80, 82–3, 93, 96–100, 104, 108–9, 111–3, 117, 119, 125, 132, 136, 138, 142, 145, 149–50, 157, 160, 162–3, 170, 172–6, 179, 183, 185, 189–91, 194, 196–7, 201, 208–10, 214–5 and nationalism (see nationalism) history of, 14, 40–55 resistance, 51, 58, 79, 86, 102, 104–5, 108, 127–30, 166, 181, 191 and music (see music and resistance)

ritual as action, 29, 35, 38 and commemoration, 3, 5, 14, 34–8, 162, 170, 185, 194, 198–9, 202 political rituals, 3–4, 15, 19–20, 34–8, 146, 160, 163, 169–74, 185, 188–9, 199, 202 roll of honour, 97, 100, 115n15, 198. See also songs Royal Irish Constabulary, 56, 161n3 Royal Ulster Constabulary, 56, 58, 91, 124, 138n8 S Sands, Bobby, 48–9, 51, 60n8, 118–21, 132, 138n3, 143, 191, 203n2 Saoirse Volunteers (Band B), 62–4, 70, 81, 83, 128–9, 172, 176–7, 194, 202 Saville Report, 138n7, 172, 184, 187n23 sectarianism, 18, 112, 149, 180 Shelemay, Kay Kaufman, 6, 33, 155, 160, 199, 202 Siffre, Labi, 133, 216 Sinn Féin, 2–3, 5, 27, 37, 41, 43–6, 49– 53, 55, 59, 62–3, 65–6, 68, 80–1, 85, 92–3, 96–101, 103–4, 107, 109–10, 112–4, 116n24, 129–30, 132–3, 137, 140, 154–5, 163–4, 171–2, 174–81, 183–4, 186n7, 189–90, 197–200, 203n2 Sluka, Jeffrey, 13, 16n11, 166 Small, Christopher, 139, 144, 148 Social Democratic and Labour Party, 47–8, 50, 52–3 social memory. See under memory (collective) socialism, 42, 46, 97, 217 solidarity, 27, 38, 92, 104–5, 113, 115n17, 127, 140, 149, 157, 181–2, 184, 192 songs ‘(Ballad of ) Aidan McAnespie’, 125, 135, 158, 197, 225, 229 ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ (A Soldier’s Song), 94, 168, 217–8, 229 ‘Boulavogue’, 123, 135, 225, 229 ‘Bold Fenian Men’, 129, 135, 225, 229

254  ■  Index

‘Boys of Wexford’, 123, 135, 225, 229 ‘Come Out Ye Black and Tans’, 95, 135, 229 ‘Fields of Athenry’/’Fields of Aughnacloy’, 4, 118, 135, 228, 229 ‘George and Pop’, 135, 159, 226, 229 ‘Go On Home’, 90, 121, 129–131, 157, 195, 216, 226, 229 ‘Grace’, 133, 135–6, 226, 229 ‘The Helicopter Song’, 228, 229 ‘Hughes Lives On’, 95, 216, 226, 229 ‘James Connolly’ (both versions), 95, 123–4, 135, 138n6, 226, 229 ‘(Ballad of ) Joe McDonnell’, 74, 95, 133, 135, 148, 157, 216–7, 227, 229 ‘(Ballad of ) Kevin Barry’, 95, 227, 229 ‘The Legend’, 121, 228, 229 ‘Let the People Sing’, 143, 157, 227, 229 ‘(Ballad of ) Mairead Farrell’, 2, 95, 138n8, 141, 167, 227, 229 ‘Men of ‘81’, 135, 160, 227, 229 ‘Minds Locked Shut’, 125, 229 ‘A Nation Once Again’, 95, 135, 147, 216–7, 225, 229 ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’, 146–7, 216–8, 227, 229 ‘(Ballad of ) Pearse Jordan’, 89 (caption), 91–2, 113, 114n3, 124, 135, 138n6, 157–9, 197, 225, 229 ‘Plastic Bullets (They Shoot Children)’, 157, 230 ‘Prisoner’s Anthem’, 157, 230 ‘Rifles of the IRA’, 95, 135, 142, 159, 227, 230 ‘Roll of Honour’, 95, 135, 147, 216–8, 227, 230 ‘Sean South of Garryowen’, 216, 230 ‘Song for Marcella’, 119, 143, 157, 216, 228, 230 ‘Something Inside So Strong’, 133, 216, 228, 230 ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ (all versions), 124, 135, 141, 157, 195, 228, 230 ‘This Land is Your Land’, 103, 115n16 ‘(Ballad of ) Tom Williams’, 133, 135, 229–30 ‘The Two Brendans’, 95, 228, 230

‘Unfinished Revolution’, 122, 130 ‘We Shall Overcome’, 103 ‘Willie Maley’, 118, 229–30 See also rebel music South, Sean and Fergal O’Hanlon, 45, 124. See also under songs Special Air Service, 138n8 Special Powers Act, 56–7, 101 Sunningdale Agreement, 48, 60n7 Svašek, Maruska, 28, 193 symbols, 5, 14, 19, 23–4, 26, 28, 32, 34–5, 37, 53–4, 57, 66, 68, 85–6, 88, 101– 5, 108–9, 113–4, 116n23, 119, 125, 127, 132–3, 138, 140, 142, 144, 146, 159, 162, 169, 175, 178, 181, 188, 190, 195. See also flags T ‘tiocfaidh ár lá’, 132, 203n2 Tone, Wolfe, 37, 42, 96, 127, 191, Tonkin, Elizabeth, 20, 31–3, 163, 186n2 Troubles, the, 2, 4–5, 15n2, 18, 26, 46, 58, 60n6, 67, 69, 78, 82, 86, 92, 115n15, 126–9, 132, 134–5, 139, 147, 149– 50, 155–6, 160, 172–3, 189, 191–5, 198–200, 215, 217 Turner, Victor, 35 U Ulster Defence Association, 118, 130, 138n2 Ulster Volunteer Force, 107 unionism, 18, 41, 48, 52, 57, 59, 86, 93, 99, 101–2, 107, 110, 112, 114, 178 United Irishmen, 42, 95, 109 W West of Scotland Band Alliance (WOSBA), 90, 114n2 Widgery Report, 138n7 Woods, Seamus commemoration of, 15, 164–5, 168–9, 171–2, 186n3, 191, 198 Workers’ Party, 47 Workers Solidarity Movement, 184 Wulff, Helena, 9, 19, 28, 30, 145, 192

Index  ■  255

Y young people, 6, 14, 52, 62–3, 65–6, 69–71, 74, 77–8, 80–3, 85, 87n9, 90, 125, 128, 132–3, 142, 145, 147, 149, 152, 155–7, 165, 167, 173, 177, 194, 200, 209–10, 213–6, 221–3

younger generations, 3, 15, 31–2, 80, 124, 130, 141, 145, 155, 157, 160, 163, 192–3, 195, 202 Z Zimmerman, Georges, 123, 131, 141