Report on our trip to Ireland…

Report on our trip to Ireland…

Thank you, thank you, to all who gave me suggestions on our trip. I actually had a lesson with Mary MacNamara, thanks to the Custys of Custy’s Music of Ennis. They have a beautiful store—and they are as wonderful and warm there as anyone could wish. We heard wonderful music at Cruise’s, Fawl’s and Poets’ Corner in Ennis. Drove around the Dingle, and did the Ring of Kerry,and, on the advice of a friend, went to Ring and visited Mooney’s Pub, where they most graciously allowed me to join in their session. We did our part in supporting the good folks at Guinness (we stayed in the towns, so we could walk), helped out the Irish economy, walked about 100 miles, drove over 600 miles, and had a wonderful time!! The music scene is a little sparse during the week because it is so late in the year, but we had a wonderful time anyway. Mary MacNamara is not only an incredible concertina player (she has 2 beautiful CD’s) but is a charming, lovely person and an incredible teacher. I could go on and on (in fact, I think I have), but—who can describe it???? I did a very tourist thing. I sat at the Cliffs of Moher with my concertina—and played "The Cliffs of Moher" and a few other tunes. I could not have done that in the summer because there would have been too many people around, but I am very happy to have done it. Now you know how low my sense of taste and pride can sink! πŸ™‚ Next thing you know, I’ll send in a tape…look out!

Re: Report on our trip to Ireland…

Well, you’d better darn better! πŸ™‚

Aren’t the folk at Custy’s nice? It’s my favorite Irish music store in the entire world. Be sure to check ‘em out on the Web. You can order from them at any time through the website. I loved Ennis. So, what did you learn in your lesson with Mary MacNamara?

Hey, maybe someday we should organize a meeting of The Session in Ireland — wouldn’t that be a blast?

Zina

Re: Report on our trip to Ireland…

She talked to me about smoothing out my bellows action (don’t "drive" the concertina, she said) and about style, finger position, and relaxing as I play. My teacher in Illinois said "What—you’ve never heard any of that before?" I told him sure, but I BELIEVE Mary MacNamara…she laid familiar things in a new way.
I am all for having The Session in Ireland!! Give me lots of notice, so I can save up my milk money. πŸ™‚ Ennis would be grand.

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Cassie, what did she say about style, exactly? Mary MacNamara plays East Clare style, doesn’t she?

zls

Re: Report on our trip to Ireland…

She talked to me about relaxing and smoothng out my sound, adding "expression," in other words building phrasing through gentle crescendos and diminuendos, some ornamentation but not elaborate. Variations tended to be rhythmic rather than melodic. For example, if there is a dotted quarter note in a jig, it could be played as three eighths, one an upper neighbor, or three repeated notes, or a quarter and and eighth—you get the idea. Also, she plays things at a lovely, gentle tempo, and the tunes have a lilt and a lift that is lost at faster speeds. It’s as though there is room for light and air—-how can I explain something so ineffible? It’s not that they were slow—they just weren’t rushed. I have both of her CD’s, and they are truly beautiful and lyric. I can already feel a difference in my own playing, a settling in, or a gentle sigh of relief. She told me that she plays "traditional" style, and she lives and teaches in Tulla. I consider myself so incredibly fortunate to have met her and had even one lesson with her. Does this beging to answer what you asked me….?
Cassie

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Thanks, Cassie; yes, it does answer what I was asking. I’d be curious to hear her thoughts on phrasing parabolae and such, but I’d have to get that from her, of course. I like the phrase about light and air — I’ve heard it called leaving room in between the notes, but light and air is much more poetic. πŸ™‚

That non-rushed style on quick tempos is one of the most elusive things to catch. I’m still working on it. It comes better for me when I know the tune inside out, backwards, forwards, and upside down. But I’m trying my best to get it, as it’s one of my favorite things about the music.

We got lost coming out of Tulla in the fog one evening, after taking a friend to a doctor’s appointment; we missed the road to Craughwell. It was weird driving in the fog on those narrow roads — I felt like I was driving in a tunnel!

Zina

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We got lost 2 weeks ago in the fog on the Dingle—ended up on Connor’s Pass. The only reason we know that is because there was a map with a "you are here" sign, which we nearly ran into . It was very, very scary at the time because of the drop-off on the side of the road and the zero visiblilty. Now, of course, we just call it an adventure.
I know what you mean about knowing the piece inside out. It’s something like this—I have to know the notes so very well before I can let the space around the notes come alive. I once heard a music teacher from France describe the Music Fairy to some very young piano students. The music fairy only comes and sits on the piano during the spaces between the notes. The adults in the room (including me) were absolutely spellbound. Oddly enough, I often think of the Music Fairy as I am playing or singing, and invite her to come visit me in the spaces between the notes.
Where do you live? I am in Beloit, Wisconsin
Cassie

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Beloit! I once visited there with a friend while touring through Wisconsin. As I recall, it was a very nice, friendly town. I’m in Denver, Colorado, myself.

Connor’s Pass is pretty way up there, if I recall correctly. Yipes. At least I only had to worry about driving into a wall. Heh.

I love the Music Fairy crack! I shall have to remember it, if only to crack up the other musicians during a session. πŸ™‚

zls

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Just a glance at the craic and I must add that Western Clare is me ole stomppin grounds, as they say here! I also know Tulla Road well, and the Barrons who are at Newpark House…"Dia Duit , Declan!" I miss home so much, and hope to be back in the Spring…And I will too, if I have to swim!

Also, everyone uses the word "session" but if ye are truly interested in Irish spelling, it is "Seisiun"… just a bit of Eire for those who obviously love her as much as I!

Dhia is mhuire dhuit, agus slan abhille!

Cait

Report on your trip to Eire

in addition….sorry…

The word that you use, "Crack" is pronounced alright enough, but the Irish spelling for the word is "Craic". I could probably write a book on the Irish ways of speaking…and the way the world appreciates her lyrical approach!

Beannachtai,

Cait

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Cait, I don’t want to be a stickler here but… while it’s true that "seisiun" and "craic" are the Irish words for "session" and "crack", both are originally English words. (Yes, even "crack" - there’s a common misconception that this was originally an Irish word).

So, it doesn’t really make much difference if you use the English or Irish spellings. In fact, if you’re writing in English, then it makes more sense not to interject Irish words at random.

You can if you like, though. You can say "seisiun" for "session", "craic" for "crack", "ceol" for "music"… I’m sure most people will understand both spellings.

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Know exactly what you mean about Mary Mac, Cassie, she has really created a style of playing which fits in so well with that laid back east Clare style. Funny when you think that her first instrument was the accordeon. I go to Ireland every year for my summer hols but never move outside Co. Clare. I suppose that

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Mike, are Charlie and Jack Coen related to Tommy? We’ve a question out for info on him under the comments for Christmas Eve, a Tommy Coen tune…

Zina

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Now that

Re: Report on our trip to Ireland…

Jack plays the flute & Charley (the preist) plays the concertina, they’re both in the NYC area, Jack has taught many players he’s the Mulvihill of flute teachers There isn’t any direct relation to Tommy Coen as far as I know - I’ve never seen two brothers with such different personalities.