Story and Place in Music

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Jun 18, 2018 / 0 comments

When you are working on creating something, or solving a problem, or sorting out choices, travel is often a good way to give you new perspectives on what is going on, to refresh your thoughts, to give you new ideas. That is as true when you are considering day to day life or the course of world events. 

Travel could be moving from your desk to look out a window. It could be a journey down to the end of your road. It could be a trip across the country, or around the world. It could also be a journey of the imagination, through books, through visual art, through plays or cinema -- or through music. 

Composers and songwriters take such journeys too, and share what they learn along the way. Here is music which speaks of journey to help you explore these ideas, and perhaps inspire travels of your own.

Story and Place in Music

Stories from her own experiences and ideas commissioned from others make up the tunes Hanneke Cassel composed for her album Trip to Walden Pond. Reflective or lively, they all share a sense of journey, be that geographic or in other ways. Here is fiddle player Cassel, along with Mike Block on cello and Shane Shanahan on bodhran, with one of the lively sets, pairing up the tunes Passing Place and Silver Special

On her recording Wanderer, Cara Dillon has many songs referencing travel and journey, as you might expect from the name of the album. Dillon comes from County Derry in Northern Ireland and maintains strong ties with her home, but marriage and her work in music have meant she's spent most of her life away from the place where she grew up. She has that personal experience to draw on in the songs. They range from sorrowful to hope-filled to the reflective. Gentle and quietly joyous is Dubhdara, which was written by Shaun Davey. That is Sam Lakeman on piano on the track with Cara.

Aoife Scott offers a lively, hopeful, and joyous take on landscape and journey with her song All Along the Wild Atlantic Way. A moment to offer congratulations to Aoife  -- shortly before this writing, she was honored to be named as Irish Folk Act of the Year at The Irish Post Music Awards. All Along the Wild Atlantic Way is on her album called Carry the Day.

Continuing on with the rather Celtic theme of things, here is a song in Irish. It is called An Bealach Seo 'Tá Romham/This Road Ahead of MeAltan performs it, with Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh singing the lead. Written by Moya Brennan (you will know her from Clannad, as well as her solo work) with her father Aodh Ó Dúgáin, it suggests journey and hope, whether you know the language or not. You may find the song on Altan's album The Gap of Dreams.

There are thousands of songs about journey and travel -- just about every culture on earth has some, telling stories both happy and sad. 

To bring this selection of music to a close, here is a song which encompasses the sadness of journey along with the hope and trust of it. The song is called Somewhere Along the Road. It was written by Rick Kemp. Cathie Ryan sings it, accompanied by Pat Mangan on fiddle and Patsy O'Brien on guitar. You may find it on Cathie's album called Somewhere Along the Road. That recording came out several years back, and you may also like to see Cathie's recent album, Through Wind and Rain.



Other stories in this series....

Music for a Winter's Day

Music for a Winter's Night

Three Feet or So: Music and Creating Positive Change in the World

Geography of Hope: Music of Immigrants and Refugees

Autumn: Music of Harvest and Home

Music for Reflection

Music for a Winter's Eve

Music for Winter's Changes

Music: Listening for Community

Music of Resilience

Music: A Path to Community and Connection

Journeys Through Landscape in Music

Living the Questions: Music for the Journey

Music: Songs of Hope and Respect

Journeys Through Landscape in Music



Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road