Sarah Makem, a native of Keady, Co Armagh, was a traditional Irish singer. She was the wife of fiddler Peter Makem, mother of musicians Tommy Makem and Jack Makem, and grandmother of musicians Shane Makem, Conor Makem and Rory Makem. Sarah Makem and her cousin, Annie Jane Kelly, were members of the Singing Greenes of Keady.
In the 1950s, song collectors from the United States toured Ireland recording its musical heritage. Makem was visited and recorded by, among others, Diane Guggenheim Hamilton, Jean Ritchie, Peter Kennedy and Sean O’Boyle. Her rendition of “As I Roved Out” opened the BBC Radio folk music programme of the same name in the 1950s.
Note: Footnotes take you to lyrics, but not necessarily to the recordings of Sarah Makem, as many of the songs are traditional.
Makem collected, performed and/or composed, and handed down hundreds of songs including:
“As I Roved Out”
“Blow Ye Winds”
“The Butcher Boy”
“Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold”
“The Cot in the Corner”
“Dobbin’s Flowery Vale”
“The Factory Girl”
“Farewell My Love, Remember Me”
“I Courted a Wee Girl”
“The Jolly Thresher”
“A Man in Love He Feels No Cold”
“Mary of Kilmore”
“May Morning Dew”
“Month of January” (“The Forsaken Mother & Child”)”
“On the Banks of Red Roses”
“Our Ship She’s Ready to Bear Away”
“Robert Burns and his Highland Mary”
“A Servant Maid in her Father’s Garden”
“The Wind That Shakes the Barley”