Ireland Studies: Post 14

Hello,

It has been almost a week since my last post.  So I will start from the most recent and try to work my way back.  Last night was a one of the best nights, reason being I got to play in a session at one of my favorite trad pubs,  Tig Coilis.  Two of the musicians i have met before, the fiddle player Kevin, and the button accordion player Brennan.  They were both very nice, also in session was a very good guitar player, his name I do nor remember.  Also were two girls from the states who just arrive from some trad camp/festival.  Playing in a session is always the best, especially when the people say good things to you, and encourage you too play.  All the scream and cheering just adds to the energy.  

I was going to go to Doolin this weekend by the schedule for the buses on the website were not correct and I left me upset and not going because the time the bus was “actually” scheduled would have not given me enough time to see and experience Doolin.  Next time I’m in Ireland I will spend sometime in Doolin and enjoy every minute of it.

There are so many people here now in Galway for the Arts Festival that’s this week.

Reason for me not posting so much, is that I haven’t done much over this week.  This week we had majors essays due, so I was working on those two essays for most of the week.  This week I did not get to go out much and I feel this week was the week of the least amount of sessions I have seen.  Very sad I know, good thing I got to [play in one.  Made the wait much worth it.

Ben March, the bodhran maker I got my Bodhran from, are now friends on facebook.  He has been checking in on me and it is very nice of him to check how I am doing and how the drum is doing.  He gave me some names to check out when I am back home about a possible lesson, so when I get home I will call them up.

This week in music and dance class we had a session showcase, informing us about the pub sessions and some of the instruments we may find in on.  I quickly put together a video of that and also Last Monday I went to a pub that has traditional dancing and the dancers were ex-riverdancers.  That was exciting to see. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEdL3p7aCRM

I am on my last week of Ireland-ness.  Very sad.

 

Ireland Studies: Post 13

I am back from a fantastic weekend in Dingle.  It was a long bus right, but not too bad.  On the way there we stopped a a little park where they had older houses and a castle.  Nice little tourist spot.  We arrived in Dingle around 6ish, I think.  So of course when I got there I went pub session looking and Sam came to Dingle with us, and he talked about this one place.  His direction skills are that good, he seems to get his lefts and rights mixed, but we eventually found it.  The first night I saw a session with a button accordion and guitar player.  One thing about this group was the guitar player was by far the best guitar player I have seen, here that is.  He got so into it and his style was very unique, almost like a bodhran rhythmic style.  Percussive and he would walk a bass line while playing chords at the same time,  hard to explain but i have yet to hear it before.  One thing I did not like about the night, well one of many things, was the bodhran player I met in Galway who was traveling around “learning” the drum, and trying to sit into session was there.  Again I wanted to take his drum.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz5KUUfzKMI

On a side note, the younger kids here are crazy and don’t know how to be responsible.  After the session the pub kind of turned into a young persons night club with wicked loud music in the back, but good thing I was in the front where they would play trad music on the speakers, so it almost drowned out the loud music in the back.  lets say a lot of people got sick that night because of pure stupidity.  Can’t let those people bring me down, I still enjoyed my night.

The next day we went on on a trip around areas around Dingle, it was Beautiful.  I was talking to Mary and we said this would be the place to live.  This is no lie, the places outside of Dingle are sooo nice and peaceful, if I could I would I would just sit on the fields or the side of a cliff and just think and listen to the sounds around you.  If you are alone and there no one around you you hear the grass blowing in the breeze with the sounds of live stalk all around you, like sheep and cows.  Ireland: the land of cows and sheep.  The day was a little long, and a lot of people where feeling the the tireness kicking in at the end of the day.  We got back to Dingle around 4:30, so yet again I walked around for a bit and I got some cologne, I haven’t had some for some time.  It smells like old man, and it has a spicy-ness to it.  Add to my old man look with that.  After the little walking around I went back to the place to take a nap.  Apparently a lot of people have me sleeping, from what I have been told.  I have a signature sleeping form.  All you have to do is have a pillow put your arms around it, like you’re hugging it and fall asleep.  Thank you for all those who took picture of me sleeping, and I enjoy the comments that I have a peaceful nature when sleeping.

After the probably 2 hour nap on the couch in the lobby, I went to the sessions and this night it was a guitar player and a fiddle player who also played flute and whistle.  Great session for many reasons.  One reason being there was a young girl whose grandfather asked the musicians if she could dance to a few sets.  She did so, she was 13 and had been dancing for 8 years.  As a comment from and earlier blog,  Sara wanted to talk about sean nos and the more recent style of Irish dancing.  This younger girl did not dance sean nos,  I was talking with her and her grandfather, and watch out Sara she is young and a fears dancer.  She has a good chance of a life of dancing in her future.  To the end of the session some girl ask if she could play the fiddle and she did for a few sets, was a great part of the session having three musicians playing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BZETTfiJuY

At the place we stayed at the owners had a dog, a boxer, and her name was Bella.  The sweetest dog ever.  She would great you in the morning for breakfast, just watching at the door of the dinning area.  I spent many moments just sitting with her and petting her, and on occasions getting a kiss from her 🙂 This is one thing I miss about Dingle is Bella and her cute face and nice nature, very relax.  She must love all the attentions. 

I am back in Galway and  I am done with class for the day.  Tonight I have plans to see some dancing a place in town.  I met the owners last week and they said they would save a few seats for me near the band to watch some Irish dancing.  Sara I will tell you how the dance,  it probably isn’t sean nos dancing because sean nos is only danced ina few towns in Ireland any more.

One last night, people have been asking what my hat looks like, state wise.  Here is a picture a friend of mine took.  This was not staged, I did not know they where taking this.  I was just waiting at the wall to help Mary get over and anyone else who may have needed it.

Ireland Studies: Post 12

Today I had two potato dishes, for lunch and dinner.  Other than that and class and of course the session I went and saw, I did not do much.  I only had one class and I was done by noon.  So after that I went into town, and went hat hunting.  It was a success, I am happy.

I went to a session tonight to the Kings Head, my homestay father likes that place.  But this was a good session for there were two dancers.  The accordion player had to play the bodhran for one tune because the bodhran player had to go pee, but I must say he was wicked good at the drum. I have a picture of the two dancers, they danced this set with brooms which was fun to watch.  I was also lucky to get a video of them dancing in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLmlym0UYnc 

I wont be posting anything for the next few days because I will be in Dingle for the weekend, and I am not bringing my computer.  From what I hear there is a good music scene down there.  I will take a lot of picture and i will post some on this blog and ill be posting all of them on my facebook.  So, if you want to check them out I would wait and check on Monday night or Tuesday morning.

 

Ireland Studies: Post 11

Today was the day of our first assessments, and it was too bad.  Surprisingly I more comfortable with my archaeology exam than my music and dance one.  The exam setting was ehhh, we are all in one big room and we had one and half hours to take the first exam, and if we finished early we could start the next one or leave.  So, you had to sit there, but the second one after you finished you where aloud to leave.

After the assessments, I want home and took a short nap, then went over a friends place and made dinner.  We made some pasta with a onion, carrot, and meat sauce.  It was good, then after we all just hung out for a while and relaxed.  After I wanted to hear a session so I went into town and went to Taaffes first.  Was only there for a little while then I left and hit up the Spanish Arc, where the session was much better.  Probably the most mainstream traditional session  I have heard, way more contemporary sounding.  I like this feature on the camera where you can video tape so again I videoed a little part of the session.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU0Kjbz79aw

I received an email from Ben March today, asking how I was and how the bodhran is.  It’s nice to get an email from the maker of the instrument asking how his drum is doing.  I just found out the bodhran player that was in Flook, John Joe Kelly, just purchased a drum from Ben.  🙂

Ireland Studies: Post 10

Hello everyone,

Hope everyone had a great forth of July, I did.  Other than studying and going to class, I went to a fiddle recital/festival in Milltown Malbay Co. Clare, which is about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Galway.  This place was a nice little town, the one thing i liked is i saw so amny people carrying their instruments around and there was a span of about 5 pubs in 2 minutes and they all had music.  They played into the weee hours of the night, it was nice because it would get quieter as the night got later.

There isn’t much to say but I saw a fiddle recital, where I would say about 30-40 fiddlers played a couple of tunes.  This one guy I really enjoyed even though he wasn’t playing a fast really, something about his sound and style was really nice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEYYG08pE_g

This was a short blog

Ireland Studies: post 9

What a great weekend,

Went to the Cliffs of Moher, which if none of you know was actually in the Harry Potter films.  They are huge cliffs at the coast. Best part was getting on your stomach and crawling your way to the edge of the cliff to look below to the crashing water below.  I went with a group of people, I would say there was about 20 of us from the program who went the cliffs.  Got to meet a lot of new people studying in Galway, which is always great. A few people where scared to look over the edge.  Maybe another day. We also had a walking tour of the Burren where our tour guy was wicked funny and at the end his wife and mother had homemade pies waiting for us.  My very first carrot cake in Ireland. MMMMmmmmm

Sunday the group that didn’t go to Dingle this weekend went to the Aran Island, where we go to bike around and see an old fort.  The bike ride was great only about 6miles of biking the whole time we were there.  While on the bike ride I met a nice donkey, walked right over, where I just rubbed his nose and relaxed from the bike riding.  When we go to the bottom of the fort we had lunch, where I had tomato soup, brown bread, and yet again carrot cake 🙂  Our tour guide to the fort had a boxer dog who just wonder around, really nice dog.  The whole way up I had to help Mary up, this is the older lady and is so funny.  The fort was a sight to see, and a wonder how people so long ago could have built something like this.  Again there was cliff where we could look over the edge and yet another wicked experience.  Both to and from the Island we took a ferry where Mary and I danced on the top deck and just had a grand time.

There was too much to type and explain, but all I can say is come to Ireland and see it for yourself.  When we got back on Sunday a few of us got together to study for exams which is this Tuesday.  Good to study, I have hear so many people say they haven’t done any work/reading yet.  Good luck to them.  Even though you need a 70 to higher to get an A, they don;t understand that these professors will be grading wicked hard  if an 70 is an A.

Happy fourth of July everyone!!!!!

Ireland Studies: Post 8

Hello,

Today is Friday and it’s my first weekday of no classes, so today as the mother at the house I’m staying at “relax today.”  Just that I will do.

Two days ago when Claire was going and checking out fiddles at this gentleman’s place I went along because he was a bodhran player.  His name is Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh, if you google his name you will see he is a big deal in the bodhran world.  He has made many improvements to both playing and the making of bodhrans.  Such as, the helping of of the invention of tune-able bodhrans, and blush playing on the bodhran.  While at his house he had my take my bodhran out.  He looked at it for a while and played it for some time, which i must say was a sight to see.  He said it was quite a decent drum, so I will take his word on it.  Then he wanted to hear me play, talk about being intimidated.  He just wanted me to play a straight eighth note feel.  As I did that he was telling me how he see so many young players playing the drum wrong with a straight wrist and not curved, which will hinder them later on life with the drum and cause problem with the wrist.  He is a nice guy, yet he complains a lot, HAHA he’s not a real fan of bodhran players.

The past few days I have been session deprived, so I went to a session last night, after not going to one in two days.  Claire and I went to a nice pub where we met Mary, she is also in the program.  She is an older later, I would say in her late 60s 70s.  She so nice, and apparently she wants to adopt me, because I was helping her over the stone walls when we had out archaeology field trip. She lives in Maine but she move to the states when she was a little girl from Ireland and this is was first time back since then.  She is one happy little soul.  We sat and listen to the session, which was very good.  They will be playing at Taaffes this coming Tuesday, so I know Claire and I will be going and Mike my roommate said last night he wants to come to a good session sometime, so maybe he will come.  After the session Claire talked to the fiddle player and when he plays as Taaffes next week he said he would bring his old fiddle he doesn’t use for her to barrow and try out.

This weekend I will be going to the Aran Island, so that should be a lot of fun. Till then I hope to hear a lot more session and play some bodhran.