Posted by: mdmusingsie | December 21, 2011

An Irish Christmas with Moya Brennan

I consider myself very lucky to be in a country where I can see so many of my favorite musicians play, and when I found out that Moya Brennan was doing a Christmas concert in Monkstown (Dublin suburb for the US folks) I jumped at the chance. Of course, like everything in my life, the ticket didn’t come easy. It would be really nice if PayPal could get into the 21st century, but that’s a whole other story.

In true Irish fashion, I requested a 7 pm taxi at my hotel for the nearby (4 km) 7:30 pm concert. It arrived “promptly” at 7:15, causing me to end up in the “cheap seats” balcony at the Monkstown Parish Church where the concert was to take place. Someday I’ll get used to “Irish time”.

The first half of the program featured assorted groups of young musicians from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann. The 7 – 12 year olds were, of course, the most adorable, all in matching Comhaltas t-shirts and Santa hats. There were plenty of whistle and fiddle players, along with a number on harp and concertina. I only saw a few bodhrán and accordion players. There was even a Uillleann piper in the youngest group – maith thú aige. It’s great that people like Moya Brennan give these young musicians an opportunity to showcase their talents in front of such a wide audience.

During one of the change-overs to a different set of musicians, the MC (TV personality Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh) enticed the children to sing a rousing chorus of Bualadh Bos (Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in Irish). Thanks to Bob Burke, I actually know that one!

The second half featured Moya Brennan, Cormac de Barra, and a host of accompanying musicians. They played a selection of tunes from the new Harps and Voices CD along with a wide assortment of Christmas songs. They also threw in a few Clannad tunes and one from Moya’s first solo CD. I just love hearing traditional carols sung in Irish (technically, I like just about any song sung in Irish). There is just something about the language that moves me in ways I can’t explain. Moya has a CD called An Irish Christmas, as well, if you’re interested. I picked one up at the show. Moya and Cormac really work well together with such complimentary harp and voice talents, it’s a genuine pleasure to watch and listen.

The evening ended with the children joining Moya on stage to sing Oíche Chúin (Silent Night) in Irish then English. It was one of those nights that you wish would go on so much longer than it did, but I enjoyed every moment and at least I have the CDs to listen to when I can’t see them live.

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