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Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite
The Wolfe Tones Phenomenon by Alex Fell is a book about one of the most popular folk and ballad bands in Ireland. An international success, particularly with Irish communities that settled elsewhere in the world, they are a group of very accomplished musicians. With their roots in 1960s Ireland, they went on to play Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, and alongside artists such as John Denver, Glen Campbell and Joan Baez. Irish history and culture are inextricably linked with this band. This book attempts to place the Wolfe Tones in a political and social context, and in doing so discovers the influence they had in bringing about the Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland.
The Wolfe Tones Phenomenon comprehensively examines the music of the Wolfe Tones, the history of the band and the meanings behind the lyrics. It also provides a wealth of easily accessible historical and cultural information about Ireland which turned out to be extremely engaging. The many images of the band helped to bring the contents of the book to life. Those who follow folk music, and the Wolfe Tones in particular, will enjoy the detail. The band used the ballads to tell the story of Ireland and the Irish people, something they were very passionate about. It was shocking to learn that the contents of their songs was one reason why they have often been shunned by popular media and denied the publicity they deserve. Alex Fell did a good job analyzing the culture and politics surrounding their music. I feel this book is an important cultural reference point for those interested in the subject.