Posted by: mdmusingsie | June 11, 2010

More trad Music

I went to another concert this week. St. Nicholas Collegiate Church has traditional Irish music on Monday and Wednesday nights (though the schedule didn’t have anything yet for up coming weeks). It was a small group of musicians and small crowd (25-30).

St. Nicholas’ is a medieval church in the city center of Galway, dating from the 1300’s with lots of gothic detail. It was expanded in the 16th century and Cromwell did his damage in the mid 17th century. They have a few pews but mostly chairs set up in one of the alcoves and the stage is the remains of James Lynch’s concrete/stone tomb (first mayor of Galway). Originally I thought it might be a little strange to be playing music on top of someone’s tomb, but after reflection, decided it was a great place for music. Not that I plan on having a tomb, but a celebration of music on top of mine would be one of the better uses of such a space. Of course churches tend to have very good acoustics as well.

Other people are buried under the floor of the church with some of the grave markings still legible. Now that’s one type of burial I do not entirely understand – having people walking over your grave all the time. Playing music is one thing, but just people wandering about is more…disrespectful is the closest word I can find. Not to mention that hundreds of years of treading over them has caused much of the carvings and words to be obscured. It was a common practice in those days, however, as I’ve seen the same thing in many old churches in Ireland and the UK. All this gives a new meaning to dancing on someone’s grave.

The musicians were Charlie Lennon, Micheal Ó hEidhin, Maire Uí Dhroighneáin, Brian McGrath, and Cormac Begley. Cormac led off the evening with a few concertina selections including one played on a gorgeous instrument from the 1870’s. Maire Uí Dhroighneáin performed a number of lovely sean-nós tunes followed by Brian McGrath with a set on his banjo. There was a short intermission after which Maire performed several more songs followed by Charlie Lennon on fiddle and Michael Ó hEidhin on concertina. The latter two gentlemen performed many tunes and mentioned that they were working on a new CD. Charlie told us that most of the sessions these days are all jigs and reels and he wanted to make sure people don’t forget the other types of Irish/Gaelic music such as flings, airs, hornpipes and “other bits”, which is primarily what he and Michael played and the likes of which will be featured on this new CD.

As with all the music I’ve been to see, it was very enjoyable, especially the variety available. There’s currently a festival underway linking Galway to Stirling, Scotland, so who knows where I’ll end up next.

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