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Music, Emotion and Identity in Ulster Marching Bands

Flutes, Drums and Loyal Sons

Gordon Ramsey

Ulster’s marching bands form perhaps the most vibrant participatory folk music tradition in contemporary Europe, and are one of the most significant and visible elements of working-class loyalist culture in the divided society of Northern Ireland. Their significance springs largely from the central place they have assumed in the lives of their members.
This book presents an ethnography of three County Antrim flute bands from the very different genres of ‘part-music’, ‘melody’ and ‘blood and thunder’. The author explores the emotional rewards of communal music-making and the way that identities are formed through the acquisition of tastes, competences and skills within specific communal contexts, paying particular attention to the impact of class position. These issues are examined in the context of the competitions, concerts and street parades that are central to the social lives of thousands of band members and supporters in Northern Ireland.


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Glossary of Abbreviations - xi


Glossary of Abbreviations The following abbreviations are used: AOH Ancient Order of Hibernians BLSOU Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster Flute-Band BVFB Ballyclare Victoria Flute-Band B&T blood-and-thunder (f lute-band style) DUP Democratic Unionist Party FMM Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band IRA Irish Republican Army OO Orange Order NIBA North of Ireland Bands Association NINIS Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service SDLP Social Democratic and Labour Party UBA Ulster Bands Association UDA Ulster Defence Association UVF Ulster Volunteer Force

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