Three great songs from Irish musicians to help celebrate Celtic New Year

What better way to celebrate the beginning of the darker half of the year than listening to some Irish music?
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Irish music is awesome, of course. Celtic New Year is also most excellent. The day actually starts on Halloween at dusk and goes until dusk on November 1. The day is a celebration of the end of the harvest season and the darker half of the year, which sounds rather gloomy, but then one should be happy they are alive, right?

The exact date of when Celtic New Year was first observed is unknown, but there are mentions of the day as early as the 9th century. Thankfully, music accompanies the day, and Ireland (and the Scottish Celts) have a history of making great tunes.

There are so many Irish musical artists to choose from, obviously, so just having the three below does a little bit of a disservice to others. Still, the following three tracks are worth listening to at any point in the year.

Three great songs to listen to on Celtic New Year

Van Morrison - "Celtic New Year"

I will start with an obvious song, but that is OK because the track itself is ridiculously beautiful and catchy. Plus, Van Morrison might be the most iconic Irish singer since the earth was formed so not having a song by him here would border on being criminal. "Celtic New Year" is 6 minutes of slow excellence.

Van Morrison plays the acoustic guitar in fantastic harmony with the electric lead, and there's a whistle on the track. Released in 2005 off the Magic Time album, "Celtic New Year" sounds like Morrison from the mid-1970s. In another word: Amazing.

U2 - "New Year's Day"

U2 has become something of a polarizing band, a lot of it due to the band and Apple forcing the album Songs of Innocence upon the public by being an automatic download to help launch the iPhone 6 in 2014. The band has also sold 170 million records or so and sometimes that level of success can make many people think the group sold out some. Maybe they did to a degree.

But in 1983 U2 released a fantastic album called War which included the tracks "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day." The latter of those two songs has little to do with Ireland, though. It's about the Polish Solidarity movement. Still, the song contains some of the Edge's best guitar parts ever and a bass line that is immense. The video is also fantastic (you can click the above and see for yourself).

The Pogues - "If I Should Fall from Grace with God"

If you want a song that epitomizes folk punk, this is the one. Played with abandon by the band and with seething vocalist/lyricist Shane MacGowan, the song is about death but also a love of Ireland. There is also some humor in the lyrics as well such as the verse, "Bury me at sea/Where no murdered ghost can haunt me/If I rock upon the waves/And no corpse can lie upon me".

The track is the title song to the band's third and most popular album, one that features "Fairytale of New York" as well. "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" was a bit overplayed in the early 2010s as it was used for a Subaru car commercial. Still, it's a fun track for Celtic New Year. Or for any part of the year, really.

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