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Follow Your Dream, Day #403: The Songs of Erin

There's an important element of classic Lord of the Dance which isn't often discussed: the songs.

Lord of the Dance gleefully revels in breaking all the rules of traditional Irish dancing. A dance drama staged as a rock concert, it is brash, loud, unapologetic, and proudly features 100% Irish dancing throughout. But the classic show is also staged as a vaguely medieval Celtic fantasy, and a big part of setting that presence is the vocalist character, Erin the Goddess.

A chorus-like archetypal character, Erin appears only three times in the show: immediately after the opening number, immediately preceding the final number of the first act, and right before the plot climax in the second act. And the songs she sings, especially in the original 1996 iteration of the show, serve as oblique foreshadowing for the major plot elements that take place afterwards.

These are *old* songs; for a show that revels in being so completely wild outside the box, it's at first glance a counterintuitive choice. But if you dig deeper, you see that it's about grounding the show and its setting in a firmly Irish identity. As with everything else in Lord of the Dance, it is the strong contrasts that make the show work so well: good versus evil, love versus lust, hope versus despair -- and tradition versus modern. In order to see how far you've come, you need to be able to see where you've come *from.*

The song selections have changed over the decades -- last year, when we polled you, it was "Carrickfergus" from the 1998 Hyde Park show that proved to be the fan favorite -- but they're an important element of the mythos of Planet Ireland, helping to set the tone for each iteration of the show. So, for fun, we've compiled all three of Anne Buckley's songs from the original 1996 version of the show into one continuous video for you.

Turn the lights down, close your eyes, and dream of Planet Ireland.


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