Happy Songs of Death

In memory of Michael Younger.

“Happy Songs of Death” is a joyful juxtaposition of the morbid and the comic that celebrates murder ballads, the Black Death and starving to death. Celtic songs, American songs – and notably several of Marc Gunn’s original compositions all affirm that death is just the other side of life! Artists through the centuries have found inspiration in these same themes. Join Marc Gunn in a fresh look at all things mortal.

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die anymore than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”
– G. B. Shaw

This album began many years ago when I was introduced to the music of Italian musician Angelo Branduardi. He had a delightful little song called “La Pulce D’Acqua”. One day, I decided to translate it and found out the title meant “the flea of the water”. Intriguing, I thought. So I tried translating more and a wild idea came to me. This song was about the Black Death!

In fact, it wasn’t, according to some Italian friends who actually understood the meaning of it. I was disappointed by that, but thought it would be cool to write an upbeat song about death. Then while chatting with Andrew McKee, my former bandmate with the Brobdingnagian Bards, the title arose–Happy Songs of Death. It took me four years or so for the album to come about, but here it is.

The songs are an upbeat mix of traditional folk songs and original songs about death. There are murder ballads, people rising from the dead, war, my own song inspired by the Black Death, and a general celebration of the dead.

I was so excited about this album that I had TWO CD covers designed for it. One by Ingrid Houwers who desiged by Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers CDs and the other by Nikki O’Shea who designed my What Color Is Your Dragon? CD and the Bards Comic.

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Track listing

  1. Isn’t It Grand, Boys?
  2. Won’t You Come with Me? (Gunn)
  3. Twa Corbies
  4. Clementine Blues
  5. Johnny Jump Up
  6. Jug of Punch
  7. Red, Red and Black (Gunn)
  8. Whiskey, You’re the Devil
  9. High Jeannie High
  10. Rosin the Bow
  11. Foggy Dew (Kearney/O’Neill)
  12. Waxies Dargle
  13. I’ll Drink from Dusk ‘Til Dawn (Gunn)

Thanks to everyone who happily embraced this somberly delightful idea. Special thanks to those who passed on to greater things.

All songs traditional, except as noted. Instruments: Marc Gunn (autoharp, vox), Ari Koinuma (guitar, mandolin, percussion, bkg vox), Jamie Haeuser (bodhran, bkg vox), Mike Younger (bkg vox). Produced by Ari Koinuma. Graphics by Ingrid Houwers and Nikki O’Shea.

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Irish Drinking Songs


This CD may look a little familiar if you are a fan of Marc Gunn. The tracks are identical to his CD “Irish Drinking Songs: The Cat Lover’s Companion” and for good reason. It is the same CD.

Why are there two different covers?

I love the original CD cover, but there were some misunderstandings regarding the original CD. It is not a CD of “Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers”. It’s a CD of Irish drinking songs. In fact, it is all the original Irish songs parodied on the the aforementioned CD.

So if you love Irish songs, this is the perfect Marc Gunn twist on Irish drinking songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Finnegan’s Wake
  2. Black Velvet Band
  3. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
  4. The Moonshiner
  5. I’ll Tell My Ma
  6. Patriot Game
  7. Black Is the Colour
  8. Bonnie Ship the Diamond
  9. Gypsy Rover
  10. Wild Rover
  11. Barnyards of Delgaty
  12. Fiddler’s Green
  13. Lord of the Dance

Produced by Ari Koinuma. Photography by Marc Gunn, Kristen Roger, Nancy e. Pearsall. Celtic Cat Logo by Ingrid Houwers. Graphic Design by Molly C. Loar, James McDaniel II

Heart’s Ease: Instrumental Autoharp Music

Take a breath…listen. Listen to an instrument that in the hands of Marc Gunn, becomes a pathway to fairy fields and drifting clouds, to magical realms and deepest dreams.

The autoharp — conventionally known as the instrument of middle schools and German engineers — is transformed into an expression of heart, spirit and soul, with Celtic roots and fairy branches, and the capacity to erase all but the calm, happy and comfortable end of a day.


Heart’s Ease began about five years ago while I was recording Soul of a Harper. I recorded my first solo instrumental tunes, and I loved them. At the time, I thought about recording an instrumental album inspired by the fae folk. My first tunes were named that way. But two years ago, I started back on the path, starting with “Stardust Serenade”, a song inspired by the movie Stardust. The others came in bursts with fans and friends naming the tunes.

This is a relaxing album of peaceful heart-felt emotion. Imagine sitting in a warm bubble bath, a candle burning, and you’ll have an idea of how to enjoy this peaceful CD, perfectly named Heart’s Ease.

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Track Listing:

  1. Stardust Serenade
  2. Heart’s Ease
  3. She Vanished in the Mist
  4. Songwind
  5. The Mage of Mirth
  6. Desire
  7. Amber Wednesday
  8. Fairy Tale Waltz
  9. Summer’s End
  10. Wildflowers of Party Field
  11. Return to Lonely Mountain
  12. Song of Assisi
  13. Phoenix Tears
  14. Of Twilight Shores