Traditional Irish musicians send Caroline O’Shea off to Trinity

What do you get when a traditional Irish flute, whistle, and piper heads off to Trinity College, Dublin, for some masters studies in Literature? Well you get good Traditional Irish musicians playing lively Irish traditional tunes, and, maybe, a full fledge house party.

traditional Irish musicians

What started out as an invite for 6 to 10 musicians blossomed into a full fledge celebration. This was a true American Irish production.

First the relatives started to show up, now I didn’t tell the relatives, but through the wonders of Facebook they received the word. The local cousins all showed, which added another fifteen to the show. Then I get the text that my out of town sister, brother in law, nephew with wife, and rugrat, are on their way over, oh, and our NYC brother is coming by too. That’s great, in a nice way, add another 6.

Turns out my wife mentioned it in passing to her north shore friends who knew they had to give Caroline a great sendoff, add another 6. Then the local friends, local family, and a few neighbors who saw the crowd and headed in. I was sure I didn’t buy enough burger.

Which brings us back to the traditional Irish musicians. The first rule in cooking burgers is don’t leave the food plate near young musicians! Those millennials are good for two or three burgers a piece. I gave strict instructions, get the food past the musicians, I mean the relatives have to eat too.

Well the kitchen is full of my wife’s friends, the family room is full of cousins and family, the back deck is full of my crew, and the musicians have the living room. It’s time, I ask Caroline if her fellow Irish trad players might play? She says sure, not much food left anyway.

And play they did!

It’s hard to describe the treat it is to hear good Irish traditional music played well

The traditional Irish musicians are as follows:

Dan Acardi (fiddle, concertina), Lindsay Straw ( bouzouki, gutar) , Caroline O’Shea (flute, whistle, Pipes) Ben Gagliardi (concertina), Devin McCabe (concertina), Caitlin Finley (fiddle), Andrew Boyd (fiddle), Rebecca McGowan (flute), and Bill DeRusha (whistle). Rebecca is mainly a dancer (a really good dancer!), and so is Hannah Pelton, who was there but just hanging out.

I guess all that food was well worth it, and to be honest I think Dan and Ben were the main culprits on the glutton front. The doorways to the living room were filled with cousins and friends eager to hear but not wanting to interfere. The truth be told there was no way to interfere, in fact they really should have flooded the room and feel the music as well.

To round out the night Grace O’Shea gave a rousing rendition of “Grace” with sister Caroline, and then shed some good country vibe on the crowd with a knockout version of “Jolene”.

This was one good send off, can’t wait for the welcome back party.

 

Cheers.

Irish things to do for the summer, the best Irish things..

Irish things to do.

what Irish thing to do today?

Ah the lazy, hazy, crazy, days of summer are upon us. So of course I wish to put an Irish bent on Irish things to do. The best Irish things to do of course.

Irish things to do:

Find a festival.

If you happen to be traveling to Ireland there are a myriad of festivals, from plowing competitions, to potato festivals, to art festivals, feises and fleadhs. Find the one you like the best. Some are small and intimate and some are large extravaganzas like the Galway Arts festival, but small or large there is fun to be had.

If you are staying near home don’t fear as their are plenty of Irish fairs that take advantage of the summer weather. The fairs are nice but they do take a time commitment and sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little more laid back…so…..

Find some Irish music.

There is always some Irish music playing near you, sometimes you are lucky and a day of Irish music will come to town, like the CelticfestMilton which is playing June 26 2016 in Milton, ma.

My favorite Irish music opportunity is to find a good session. Now good session means different things to different people, but nothing screams contentment like great old Irish tunes being played well by great musicians. If you are in the Boston area checkout these venues for a good Irish session:

The Burren Somerville

The Druid Cambridge

The Brendan Behan Jamaica Plain

and for good singing acts Mr. Dooleys Boston has plenty of Boston’s best.

 

Now if you are looking for maybe the best of Irish things to do and maybe you don’t want to travel you might consider your own Irish music festival.

My favorite music selections and libations for my personal Irish festival

The Ivy leaf trad music, really good, with one or two songs as well, but mainly instrumental this link will take you to their site and you can buy their music if you choose

Once you have a nice base of trad it’s time for the Irish music legend Luke Kelly, I like Luke Kelly’s greatest hits but you can’t go wrong with anything from the legend who was Luke Kelly.

Then you have other choices to steer your Irish festival, these are your Irish things so what direction you go in is up to you. Maybe, Women of Irish music, Mary Black, Frances Black, Delores Keane. Maybe a bit new wave with Luka Bloom or Lunasa. Maybe a little rockier with the Cranberries or the Corrs, or full on rock with Rory Gallagher or Thin Lizzy. Then there are always the Chieftains, Van Morrison, Paddy Reilly, or the Undertones.

Once you have your music selections you going to need some food and libation.

There is a great book A course called Ireland about traveling Ireland and golfing where the author describes a meal served to his group in an upscale hotel,

“each table was brought the same sides to share along with carrots and greens came a generous helping of au gratin potatoes, a banquet sized bowl of boiled potatoes,and a baked potato for each of us.” I knew I’ld been in Ireland too long when three sides of potatoes didn’t strike me as funny, but in the face of so much starch, the guy next to us stopped the waitress and asked her to please bring him a bowl of french fries. It was almost enough to make me reach for the carrots, but I didn’t.”

So pick you favorite starch cooked your favorite way, maybe for the summer a good potato salad is appropriate, and a bowl of crisps as well, go full on Irish and get the new large sized bag of Taytos brand crisps.

Now my old friend Alfie, who is dearly missed, would throw a bit of goat on the grill, but, it’s your party so pick your main meal as you like, these days you can get Irish sausages and rashes from any good grocer. Since I’m an American of Irish descent, I’ll add the American stables of Steak tips and chicken tenderloins, hot sausage, and grilled veggies.

Now what to wash it all down with?

White lemonade, sure,

Club soda? sure, but I’ll have a lemon club, though most like the orange.

Lucozade? not really my cup of tea.

Tea? always appropriate, my choice is Barrys Gold.

Then of Course you could have a nice pint of stout.

Then again a nice cold ale might hit the spot, in moderation of course.

I’ll confess to enjoying a good Pepsi with my grill feast, not very Irish, that seems to come later, a few good stouts or ales, always enjoyable.

After a Guinness or Smithwicks or Magners, or Beamish, maybe a wee taste of a good Irish cream. The king is Baileys but the best may be Coole Swan give her a try.

So when you’re looking for nice Irish things give these a try or suggest your own.

Cheers.

 

Thin Lizzy the classic Irish band.

To those that come to this site to hear classic Irish music well you are in for a treat. Granted it will be a little different than Planxty or Dervish, a bit different than the Ivy leaf or Chieftains, but classic Irish at it’s best.

Thin Lizzy is classic Irish.classic Irish thin lizzy

Formed in Dublin on a wing and a prayer, fighting for traction for years and an overnight success over a decade of hard work, to, in the end, have a tragic conclusion. The Thin Lizzy fire though burned brightly and changed  Rock and Roll, and Rock and Roll listeners as well.

If you research the rise and fall of the band Thin Lizzy you will find a traditional Irish song may have been their salvation. The traditional Irish folk song “Whiskey in the Jar” was released against the bands knowledge or wishes by their record label at the time Decca. The single went to number one on the Irish charts, topped the english charts and Europe as well.

There’s two lessons in this little ditty,

  1. You never know what the listening public is thirsty for, sometimes they just want to hear a rocking version of a classic Irish traditional song.
  2. keep on throwing spaghetti at the wall eventually it sticks.

In 1976 seven years after the core of Thin Lizzy formed their most famous album was released. This came after near hits and lots of misses occurred, guitarist fired, rehired, record labels changing, band choices criticized, and long weeks as back up bands on tour. The glorious life of a not yet discovered Rock band. Not yet discovered until “Jailbreak” was produced with the bands most iconic single.

The best thing about his album, though many don’t know what an album is, is it had great complimentary songs as well. the Albums title song Jailbreak is a rock and roll classic with that banging dual guitarist assault.

Then there are the other great tunes such as cowboy song or the Warrior and the less known song Emerald.

But when you are done listening to the whole collection from the Jailbreak album you are either exhausted or invigorated.

The sad part of this tiny snippet of the bands accomplishments really ends with the death of The voice of Thin Lizzy Phil Lynott at age 36. So to pay homage to the music of the man that was Thin Lizzy (though the band continues) we’ll end with one of my favorite Thin Lizzy tunes and a little light hearted and hopeful.

Dancing in the Moonlight.

I have no idea if the writing on this little post is good bad or awful as I’ve spent all my time listening, I miss Phil Lynott.

 

Cheers.

 

Raised on songs and stories

There are few songs, at least in modern times that evoke as much feel for the Irish than the great Pete St John’s “Rare old times”. The line that strikes at the core is the iconic “Raised on songs and stories” I think it is what separates a true Irishman from the rest.

 

raised on songs and storiesThis Saturday night last I went to the local Irish Cultural Center in Canton Ma. to hear a young girl and her acoustic guitar play a few tunes. The bar was full of Rugby players fresh off the pitch and some aspiring footballers taking in some pre season practice. The songs she sang were mainly American country songs with a few pop hits thrown in. I know, I know, what does this have to do with Raised on songs and stories? Be patient I’ll get there.

When the boys are fresh off a match, or watching a match, the discussions and attentions in the pub afterwards are about the match. The music is an after thought, a nice after thought, but not the main attraction.

raised on songs and stories

The young lady did know one Irish traditional song, and with a slight introduction that it was her father’s favorite song and hoped she did it the justice it deserved she belted out her version of “Grace”. Well you know those Rugby players all stopped their banter as a really nice, passionate, version of “Grace” caught them. At the songs conclusion, a round of applause from all, a bless his soul for Jim McCann for he has recently passed, and did she know any Luke Kelly.

 

Raised on songs and stories, The songs about Irish heroes forever retold in music, forever appreciated by generations young and old. The telling of the story is important, the singing of the song is important, that doing the song the respect it deserves is of utmost importance. I suppose that’s what Pete ST. John instinctively knew when he wrote that line, that all Irish are held together with a thread of story and song.

Not a bad way to be raised at all, I can think of no better,

Cheers.

 

Irish poetry in Irish song

Irish poetryI was sitting around in a local pub with a musician friend of mine and we got discussing some music he was thinking of putting down on a cd. Now I love discussing the ins and outs of what goes through an artists head, musically that is, but the thing he was most interested in was a poem he wanted to include. So this got me thinking of some famous Irish songs that include Irish poetry and the massive impact Irish poetry has on the feel of the song or cd.

Irish poetry in Irish Song

  • The first song that comes to mind is the song about Irish Patriot Michael Collins appropriately titled “Michael” by Johnny McEvoy which has a moving set of prose to add power to an already powerful rebel song. I once heard an Irish born rugby player belt this out from the bar, intro and song done flawlessly, and to put it in American form, He was awesome.

 

  • One of my favorite pieces of Irish music is the the Lonely Boatman by Finbar Furey and the Furey Brothers. I’m not sure if its the Irish poetry, the sea, the ship, or the boatman that captures my heart. Now that I think of it, the more likely reason I love this song is that I’m a sucker for a slow air.

 

  • There are times when an artist recites a poem and you would swear he is singing especially when he is a legend of Irish music Luke Kelly. Thank God for youtube and this rendition of Luke Kelly’s Irish Poetry.

For What Died the Sons of Róisín

 

  • My favorite version of the parting glass which includes the poem “Forever in your debt” by Kirk Jones, a beautiful haunting, yet hopeful tune.

For those not conversant in the Irish language here is the English translation;

With thanks to those who blew the wind
and those who sailed the ship,
We sailed it tight against the tide
and I shall be forever in your debt.

 

  • And as it is the day after election day in my part of the world we’ll end with a poetic rendition from the Woletones and their tribute to the founding fathers and patriots who fought and died for the independence of The United States.

Please add your favorite song that has Irish poetry included, or perhaps a favorite verse of an Irish poem that has been put to music and let others know the richness of Irish poetry.

Cheers,

 

 

 

Irish music for fun.

Though I love Irish traditional music there are times when I need a less ancient form of Irish music for fun. I use to call this modern music but my kids would call them golden oldies, but I needed a pick me up so here goes.

As my friend Richie Schoal would say Elvis is King, can’t really argue with him, and yes I know Elvis is a Brit, but of Irish descent of course.

For those of you who wish their Irish music straight from the shores of old Erin I’ll go back to another classic Irish band and one of my favorite less known songs.

Especially like this live version, Really can’t beat Philip Lynott of Thin Lizzy fame.

What do you get when you combine the greatest Irish traditional group with the most prolific Irish singer of modern times, you get the heartbeat of Ireland.

If you ever need to just kick back and lose yourself in the music well Van Morrison is your man and combine him the Chieftains and life just gets better.

From the kings of Irish music to Irish music for us working stiffs, A nice little ditty from the Boomtown Rats.

And we’ll end this little break form the world, this mulligan for mental health, this lemonade and easy chair respite from reality with a nice Irish pop band.

Hope you had a bit of fun remembering and listening to some of the music Ireland is responsible for. There are plenty more bands and songs that could have been added to this collection, and in the end you have to choose what gets you in the mood.

Well maybe one more, a little more on the rocker side of the spectrum but perfect for that last summer day on the beach.

Cheers.

 

 

 

New Irish voices.

I think I’m becoming a broken record, for those of you who can remember what a record is, that is. I recieved a video in my comment section with new Irish voices singing  an old Irish Folk song, which is why I love having this blog don’t you know. Polly Vaughn is the song and surprisingly is about the tragic accidental shooting of Polly Vaughn or Molly Vaughn, the true love of the shooter, I know how shocking that a traditional Irish folk song can be about such a tragic event. The singer on the video is called “Sive” but I kinda like her given name of Sadhbh O’Sullivan, and she has a haunting beautiful voice, I wished she focused on Trad or Seanos because she would be absolutely brilliant at it. The Pandy corporation (the instrumental to the video) experiments musically kinda of the next Alan Parsons which is great if you are into the electro vibe shake and jiggle sort of thing. Give her a look/listen.

So as is my way, a little googling and seems as miss O’Sullivan is quite accomplished and quite at the start of the musical journey. What I found reveals a beautiful voice with a jazz feel and a natural soul, ready to take on the world, the next new Irish star.

It does my heart good to see/hear the next wave attacking the music world, and I’m sure ending up on top.

The other nice thing about checking out new personas is they always have friends who are remarkably talented. In this case Janet Grogan another Dublin native.

watch out world WOW, my only regret is that the main stream music world will end up with these two new Irish voices, my hope is that after they conquer the world they may throw a good Irish folk song in.

New Irish voices

The songs and videos do more justice to their talent than this humble blogger could ever do, so if you  happen to see a marquee with the names O’Sullvan and Grogan, or Sive and Grogan, at some small club or pub somewhere go in and see the next big thing, while they are still undiscovered.

Cheers.

 

 

Dublin Artist Bill Treacy sings out for his Ireland.

The nice thing about having a blog and exploring interesting things (Irish) on the web is sometimes the story comes to you. Todays post is just such an occurrence. We all know the internet is used to get out your message, all the different blogs, sites, stores, are busy spreading their own story, trying to build traffic, steal a little “link” juice, trying to get to the level where their sites make them some “easy” cash. To which I say “God Bless them”. One of the comments made to yours truly, I’m sure, was in an effort to get some traction going for a Dublin Artist, singer, songwriter, Bill Treacy. I am glad Bill still had the energy to post a comment or two to the site, as the song he is promoting was pretty damn good, and probably a bit focused on todays Ireland and her current financial conditions.

The Music industry is a tough nut to crack, and most overnight success stories are usually preceded by years of thankless, payless, days of struggling and self doubt. But the will to prevail runs strong in those brave  few who persist, attain, and overcome. To this, I thought I owed a little bit of space to Bill. If you believe in helping talented folk singers download Mr. Treacy’s mp3 or upcoming Cd. and let the modern Irish bard be heard. If you happen to be a Dub you already know Bill plays around town, but if you’re visiting here’s a bit of an inside tip. From a comment Bill left on the Blog sometime ago

*Next time you’re in Dublin to pop into The Ha’Penny Bridge Inn on a Sunday night.
I play with my band The Ha’Penny Heads a load of Folk and Ballads with Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Fiddle and Harmonica. The Punters all join in and Atmosphere is Electric. It’s really old school with Locals and Tourists. Judging by your website I know you’d love it.
Hope to see you soon”
Cheerio.

Find Bill Treacy Dublin artist at

Ha’penny Bridge Inn

42 Wellington Quay
Temple Bar
Dublin 2
Co. Dublin

Venue: Ha’penny Bridge Inn

Now that’s as nice an invite from a talented Dublin Artist as you are going to find. I hope to beat you to the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn, but short of that I’ll give another listen to WOE by Bill Treacy.

Dublin artist

Cheers.

Devri Irish Music CD review and links

Devri CdWhat do you get when you take a couple of Irish fellas, mix in some veteran American country guitarist, add an Irish trad player, and a Cambridge cop? You get Devri’s newest CD “Broad Street”. Declan and the crew have put together an Irish American story, anchored by “Leaving Ireland” written by Declan Houton that tells the story of the dual loves of our Boston Irish. Landmark music venues of Mr Dooleys and Paddy Barrys  bring the local flavor thats easy to taste for anyone from the Boston area.

Larry Flint gets to show off his down home vocals and  homestyle guitar work in a nice mood setting rendition of “Junior” This CD walks the tightrope between Traditional Irish Folk songs and American city tributes with an Irish trad beat. The songs represent the band in so many ways, Proud of Ireland and Love of America, their songs represent both, class.

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The Girls come front and center on “Ride On” a show stopper and must hear whenever Pauline and Devri get together. Pauline Wells’ dynamic voice set off by Caroline O’Shea’s haunting low whistle  provide one of the best versions of this song as you are going to find. Slow and haunting to start then they crank it up and Pauline Devri Cdbrings it back home as the band lets loose.

For those that are loyal Devri followers this CD is a welcome representation of the band, for those still new to the band the CD represents a definite Irish tradition with American country touches. But this is an Irish Cd with classics, Black and Tans, Flight of Earls, Tell me Ma, Lovely Irish Rose, Ride On, Mountains of Mourne, and a nice 6:16 of trad/fusion music to wrap it up.

Devri CD release Cruise Boston Harbor June 15 2013 to support Lucy’s Love Bus

On Saturday, June 15th, 2-5PM:
Join Devri and special guests on board the ‘MV Freedom’ as they celebrate the launch of their new CD, ‘Broad Street’ ! We will be sailing from Rowes Wharf in Downtown Boston for a 3-hour Cruise of Music & Craic. Devri is a proud member of Lucys Love Corps, and is delighted to announce that a portion of The Cruise’s profits will be donated to Lucy’s Love Bus. Tickets are $25 and can be reserved by calling Declan at 617-347-1260, or by emailing info@devriband.com. Or pick them up at The Old Court Pub in Lowell at 29 Central Street

If you can’t get your hands on a CD or you like living in the cyber world you can order downloads @http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/devri 

Have fun,

Cheers.

Time for some Irish music

Irish music is a good way to spend a day, a night, an afternoon, or an evening, and it’s a Irish musicnice way to remember the good days of old and those to come. The joke about Irish folk music is that every song has to do with some tragic event, rebellion, lost love, or eviction, but there are plenty of uplifting Inspiring irish folk songs to pep up your spirits.

A few positive uplifting Irish songs and Irish music.

  • Cliffs of Donneen, after all it’s a nice place to be on a warms summer day, my favorite Irish music version is sung by Paddy Rielly.
  • Song for Ireland, best sung in old pubs where fiddlers like to play.
  • Irish rover, except for the poor old dog being drown it’s a pretty upbeat lively Irish folk song and you never know when you might need some nanny goat tails.
  • The Jug of Punch, Especially nice on a pleasant evening in the month of May.
  • The Hills of Connemara, Running moonshine or more accurately poteen and sharing same with your local priest just has an uplifting effect.
  • I’ll Tell me Ma, except for maybe some young fellow getting a talking to, it’s a really a popular lively song.

So when you need to sing a happy tune or at least listen to one there’s no reason why that song shouldn’t be an Irish one. When the news of the day gets a bit overwhelming, and you just need a break from the everyday doldrums, maybe it’s time to learn a few pleasant Irish songs. In the famous words of Seamus Moore ” Lighten up when you still can”

Now to my fellow Tourists you should know that country music is just a wildly liked in Ireland as it is back home, my favorite being the humorous Irishman genius Seamus Moore.

So taking Seamus’s advice I’ll try to steer clear of the politics for a while and get back to what is good in the world, Irish music, Irish food, and Irish fun.

Cheers.