|Singers Session with Tim Dennehy photo Colm Keating|
Round the house for the last time now your fleeting steps retrace
Shape the silence to a golden reel and dance away all care
Through the night I hear your whisper, "dance a set for me in Clare"
From A Winter's Tear by Tim Dennehy
|Clarecastle singer and hurler Dean Power|
image courtesy of Clare Champion
The last time I was in Power's Bar in Clarecastle was the occasion of the farewell concert of local tenor Dean Power prior to his departure for a young artist's position at the Bavarian State Opera. As Dean shared the stage with some of the world's finest international opera stars in his role of Nathaneal in the Tales of Hoffmann, fellow members of the Clarecastle Singers Club gathered in the local bar for the 12th annual session last Friday night in one of the events of the Ceili at the Crossroads Festival.
If you haven't been to one , singers' sessions or clubs are a very particular type of musical evening. The emphasis is very much on the solo unaccompanied voice and instrumentals are rarely a feature. At the ones I have attended , the song selection has been in a traditional mode usually in English. They are presided over by an MC or a Fear an Tí who calls for order and calls on contributers in turn and generally keeps proceedings moving along smoothly. This makes this type of evening a bit easier to navigate than the musicians session where the etiquette isn't so apparent. In contrast to many choirs in the area, there was a greater proportion of gentlemen than ladies voices.
The songs came thick and fast with interludes of funny stories before finally a short break to gather breath. Fear an tí, Tim Dennehy resumed the session with the spoken word, a poem by Michael Coady from Carrick on Suir (reproduced below) and one of his own self penned songs , A Winter's Tear one of the most powerful renditions of the evening. The were reminiscences on the late and much missed Peadar McNamara, long time host of the singers sessions in Clare . Last night as I was leaving at nearly midnight, local TD Joe Carey was being called for a song . I gather the singing went on til the early hours and everyone who wished to contribute was heard . Fearr an Ti Tim Dennehy was assisted by Anne Whelan and there was excellent order for each contribution from the large gathering. A truly inclusive musical experience
Listen to Deirdre Callinan Griffin singing and talking about sean nós tradition at a workshop in Clarecastle on Saturday morning.
The Raw Bar Festival of Traditional Singing
The Singer and the Song Willie Clancy Week 2012
Come the Sails Michael Coady was one of the featured poets