Big Strong Man

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"Big Strong Man"
Genre Irish folk
Language English

"Big Strong Man" or "My Brother Sylveste" is an English-language folk song. Though commonly associated with Ireland and performed by Irish bands, it may be of North American origin.[1] The song was popular with Canadian soldiers in World War II.[2] The song is about the singer's brother Sylveste, hyperbolically described as a giant of a man capable of extraordinary feats, such as swimming from New York to Italy.[2] Set in the early 20th century, the song contains allusions to boxers Jack Dempsey and Jack Johnson; it also credits Sylveste with averting the sinking of the Lusitania.[3]


Artists and groups who have recorded the song include:


  1. ^ O'Connor, Edward (14 March 2008). "Big Strong Man — Irish History in Song". Edward O'Connor. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Hopkins, Anthony (1979). Songs from the front and rear: Canadian servicemen's songs of the Second World War. Edmonton: Hurtig. ISBN 0888301723. OCLC 15905196. 
  3. ^ "Big Strong Man (My Brother Sylveste)". Brobdingnagian Bards. Retrieved 13 February 2013.