As those who follow my blog, or keep up with me on Facebook, would know I go out to listen to or play Irish music every night. I have missed a couple of nights in the past 18 months. To some that might sound dull and one dimensional but so be it. I have my regulars and favourite haunts and musicians I just love playing with and I try and get there every week. Why, you ask? Surely it would just be the same and get boring. Well I’m here to tell you that that is what is so wonderful about sessions in Ireland. Same musicians, same venue yes but totally different night each time. The tunes are never the same, the session dynamics are different with different visiting musicians, and the ambience is different with a different crowd.
An example. Last night at the Cornerstone in Lahinch. The session was led by Yvonne Casey and Brid O’Gorman two local Clare musicians. That is normally enough for me as I love the combination of fiddle and flute. Eoin O’Neill on bouzouki was missing so immediately it was different. Tonight there was no backing the tunes had to stand on their own. On a personal note these kinds of sessions bring out the best in my playing. There’s nowhere to hide. No offence meant Eoin!. Brid’s sister (fiddle) and her son (concertina) joined us for a while and that was great. Unfortunately another regular Severin had jammed her fingers and couldn’t play. The boy sung a lovely song about a set of leaky bagpipes which brought the house down. I sung a few songs to an attentive and appreciative audience. It was just a lovely session and normally that would have been enough. But you just never know what is around the corner in an Irish pub.
Sitting across from us and riveted all night were two couples. After initially refusing an invitation from Yvonne to sing, during a pause in the proceedings, two of them suddenly burst into song in a strangely familiar language. The man had a gorgeous trained baritone voice and the song was full of life and humour even though we didn’t understand a word, It was fantastic.
We got chatting. It was in Hungarian.
I should say here that I am of Hungarian descent! Judit and Gyula have been living in Dublin for seven years and were taking Hungarian friends Aliz and Tamas on a quick visit to the Cliffs of Moher. We got on like a house on fire. It was like meeting family. Maybe we were. Long distant cousins, who knows? I’m sure I will meet them again.
Anyway that’s what Irish music does. I see it all the time. It brings the most unlikely people together.
Can’t wait for tomorrow night.
Great story Bob. Music does really bring people together. When you have a passion for something you can do it all the time. It’s not a question of getting bored. It’s a matter of exploring further into every nuance of the music, the dynamics of so session. It’s getting to know the people better and more intimately. It is impossible to “finish” the journey of one’s own accord.