Hip Hop Shamrock

by John Riggio

"Hip Hop Shamrock" is just what you might think: An Irish hip hop piece with a Celtic-style lilt, "wah" guitar, and disco strings. (Okay, maybe you weren't thinking that.) A harp plays various motifs throughout and is joined by our cool string section at points. The good news is, it's very singable. The toughest part for vocalists is probably swinging the sixteenth notes at the chorus (measure 13) and coda. (See? We just told you in the notes for "Feelin' Jazzy" that it's "usually" the eighth notes that swing. Clearly not so, here. Plus we told you that sometimes hip hop stuff swings. And look at that! An example right before your eyes! Or would that be ears? Either way.) One trick we like to use to help kids swing is to emphasize or accent the second note of a swing rhythm. In this case, it's the second sixteenth note.

The tune is mostly in unison, but at the coda it breaks into an optional divisi. It's just octaves, so it's not too difficult to learn if you want to use it. And it makes for a great finish.

The breakdown section at measure 17 is reserved for any movement of your choice. If you or one of your students is a talented choreographer, you could use hip hop or Celtic styling here, or even combine the two! It's only four bars, so you won't have to come up with much. But if you are featuring a dancer or two or three or whatever, and you want the movement to continue, you sure could let it go on after the breakdown. It could be more subdued while there is singing, or it could be right out front, part of the focus. Your call.

Here are a few ideas for programming: You could have your kids cut out green construction paper shamrocks (or draw them), then dance around with them. Or just hold them and use a few simple motions here and there. Like during the breakdown section. They could wear shamrock hats, shamrock glasses, shamrock T-shirts, and of course, lots of green!

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.