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.

This was a short blog


Ireland Studies: Post 6

Hello again,

It’s been two days since my last post but here are the details. Yesterday was a great day for one reason, but I will leave that for the end.  For lunch I had bacon, potatoes, cabbage, and a white gravy.  The bacon looked and tasted like ham really……. I think it was.  I had both my archaeology, which we learned about the neolithic period, and music and dance, which we talked about the history and important of uillean pipes in Ireland.  Also, we had a Gaelic language class we could go to if we wanted to.  It was fun but Gaelic is hard.

Of course after all that I went and listened to some session in town, but this time I brought my Bodhran.  Hoping maybe someone would invited me to their session. I went to Tig Coili’s first where when I got there there were two fiddle players player.  They did invite me into the session but of course I was too afraid to join in so I sat and listened. There was and older gentlemen who was sitting and listening but one of the girl fiddlers gave her fiddle to him so she could get a drink.  Apparently this guy could play, and it was great to hear a man at his age still has some chops.  Here’s a picture and I think the man next to him is Santa Clause.  He must like Irish music.

After that session the banjo player from the past two night came and a bodhran player.  I sat next to the bodhran player and asked hima few questions about player. He was very helpful, I learned how to get the bass and treble tones out of the drum.  He was wicked good, and it was very inspiring. To get off topic there was a little girl, probably 4 or 5 years old who was dancing around the pub, and some Ravens football fans, I think they actually where from the states because it was a family. I left and met up with some other students.

We went to the Crane, first time ever going to this pub. The session was very relax and less crowded than Tig Coili’s. We sat and listened but after a while everyone left to sea shore to watch the sun set,but I stayed at the pub and listened.  Shortly after A couple came in and sat next to me.  They were at Tig Coili’s and they saw me.  They where from Southern Ireland and come to Galway every once and a while. They wanted to hear me play, and their was no bodhran player. And you know what I got up and got my bodhran out and sat next to one of the players and asked if I could join in.  They were please to have a bodhran player.  I played my very first session that night, for about 1 hour of more, and it was great. Near the end of the session my friends came back and where surprised to see my playing. They where not the only ones cheering my on apparently. The two Irish folks that wanted me to play were asked by some other people who I was and what I was playing. They where apparently from the state and it was their first trip to Ireland. After I spoke with them, they where from New Mexico and on vacation.  They said it was good to see an American playing Irish music.  It’s always a good feeling to know someone enjoyed listening to you play.

Even though it wasn’t perfecting playing, it was my first time and I had a BLAST!!!

Ireland Studies: Post 5

Well yesterday was my first free day, and what did I do but spend it going and listening to sessions.  The first session was at Tig Coili, apparently is is pretty well knowing for its sessions.  It won and award in 2006. There was origanlly a flute player, banjo, and fiddle but a little later a bodhran player came for a little while.  He was wicked good, and he played top-end style.  I do not know how to play the style of playing, and its cool.  One day I will learn. The second session I went to was at the Merry Fiddler.  A nice small pub, with a nice young group of players.  A flute, guitar, and piano accordion.  A also a  banjo player joined and and sang a few tunes.  But something else this session had was a dancer for a few sets she danced, which was very nice to watch.

I went to all these session with a girl named Claire, she is a student in the program and she is from Australia.  I have only met two people outside of the USA in this program, another girl from Canada. Well Claire plays the fiddle, and she put some money down to buy one here.  So when she does I will be playing some Trad Irish tunes.  My family says we should just play outside with a hat and and could probably make a lot of money.  I don’t know if the other people in the program are as interested in the music here as Claire and myself are, so now I have  session buddy.

Okay here it goes, I am sure many of you are wondering and want to ask if the beer here, more so does Guinness taste better.  As some if most of you I am more of a Smithwicks drinker when it comes to beer.  It is an Irish red ale.  But back to the subject.  The answer is YES, the beer here does taste better.  The Guinness and the Smithwicks taste less bitter than at home, probably because it doesn’t have to travel as far, and also the bartenders take care of there beer. One cool thing I got once was at Taaffs was Smithwicks with with foam Guinness on top. It had the wonderful foam of the Guinness with the taste of Smithwicks.

Today I have much reading to do and I hope to play my bodhran later, and of course catch a session.