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date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter demonstrates that studying the experiences of queer musicians and dancers is vital to understanding the relationships among music, selfhood, and social identities in Irish traditional music. By breaking the silence around LGBTQ performers of Irish traditional music through ethnographic interviews with queer musicians in the United States, this chapter addresses the paradox that non-normative participants experience musical performance as simultaneously liberatory and confining. This chapter explores musicians’ feelingful experiences of “the music itself” as an escape and examines the issues queer musicians face in gaining recognition in the Irish traditional music scene. More broadly, this chapter begins a conversation about nationalist assumptions around sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and race still implicit in the (re)production of sounds and bodily practices considered “Irish.”

Keywords: Irish traditional music, sexuality, gender, LGBTQ, queer, Ireland, nationalism, tradition

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