The tradition of rebel music in Ireland dates back many centuries, dealing with historical events such as uprisings, describing the hardships of living under oppressive British rule, but also strong sentiments of solidarity, loyalty, determination, as well as praise of valiant heroes.
As well as a deep-rooted sense of tradition, rebel songs have nonetheless remained contemporary, and since 1922, the focus has moved onto the nationalist cause in Northern Ireland, including support for the IRA and Sinn Féin. However, the subject matter is not confined to Irish history, and includes the exploits of the Irish Brigades who fought for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and also those who fought during the American Civil War.
Over the years, a number of bands have performed “crossover” music, that is, Irish rebel lyrics and instrumentation mixed with other, more pop styles. Damien Dempsey is known for his pop-influenced rebel ballads and bands like Seanchai and the Unity Squad and Beltaine’s Fire combine Rebel music with Political hip hop and other genres.