Posted by: mdmusingsie | January 30, 2017

Temple Bar Trad Fest – cuid a dó

Last night’s concert was similar to the previous with a mix of new and old (for me anyway).  Na Mooney’s is part Irish (Na = The) and part Anglicized (Mooney) name of the O’Maonaigh family from Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore), Donegal.

If you’re not immediately familiar with the name but have been reading my blog for a while you will have heard of Altan and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh – one of the queens of Irish traditional music.  With her sister Anna, brother Gearóid and his son Ciarán, they form the heart of this traditional music family.  But it doesn’t stop there.   Extended family were included as well including Mairéad’s young daughter Nia and Ciarán’s wife Caitlín Nic Gabhann, along with honorary member Manus Lunny who co-produced their recent CD.

Mairéad and Ciarán took the lead, introducing the majority of the tunes and having some entertaining banter.  Both Anna, who said “I don’t speak” and Nia who just shook her head when asked to make a few remarks before their respective tunes, were happy to take a background seat to the festivities.  While most of the jokes were by and between Mairéad and her nephew, Caitlín got in a dig of her own when she mentioned marrying into the clan – “the things you have to do to get a gig these days.”

The night was full of a mixture of newly composed tunes and custom arrangements of traditional numbers.  Nia, still young, is definitely coming into her own as a musician with both vocals and fiddle – no great surprise, given her mother’s extensive talent (and father, Dermot Byrne’s too).

Despite no one taking up Mairéad’s invitation to dance in the aisles, the group had a brilliant time on stage and there was plenty of toe tapping in the audience.  Speaking of toe tapping, having gone from never hearing of it to two concerts in a row, Caitlín added a bit of that foot percussion to several tunes as well as a full blown dance.  When you can play another instrument, in her case, concertina, and tap out an alternate rhythm with your feet, that’s quite an accomplishment.  Maith Thú to her and Emmanuelle Le Blanc.  This makes walking and chewing gum look like child’s play.

There’s a nice article about the Mooney family here if you’re interested.  I now have 2 new CDs to add to my collection!

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Opening the show was another talented Gweedore musician named Emma Ní Fhíoruisce. The woman is what, in the industry, they would call a belter; she has a strong and powerful voice but can also master the subtleties.  Another emerging talent from the musically steeped region of Donegal.

I had my good camera so here’s a few photos of St. Michan’s church – creeping towards 1000 years old (first church on the site was in 1095).  (Despite having a 15mp camera on my phone, it doesn’t take that great of photos, unless you’re just viewing them on the phone – they certainly don’t scale.)

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St. Michan’s Church organ (rear or church)

You can see some damage from damp in the upper corners of the front of the church, but it looks much better than last year. Hopefully the funds from these concerts are going towards restoration efforts.

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St. Michan’s Church

As a side comment on concert goers in general, it continues to surprise me that people arrive at a venue with festival seating (no assigned seats) and although they see a hundred or more people already seated, they head to the front looking for empty seats, as if the rest of us further back hadn’t thought to check.  Humans certainly are an interesting species to observe.

 

 

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