Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gadding about during the Ennis Trad Festival 2010

Ennis Trad Festival brought a welcome  influx of musicians  and punters to the town last weekend. 

On Friday, I looked in to the Old Gound were there was a pleasant buzz of anticpation with visitors toting instruments of various shapes were checking in. On Saturday ,  I had lunch in the packed  Rowan Tree with my cousins Anne and Helen White   We  met chanteuse, Siofra Brock daughter of Paul  and   star of the West End  , Helen Ball, dining with husband Lorcan and baby.   Looking into Queens Bar there is a flurry of flautists and other assorted musicians  tootling  merrily away . On O Connell Street  dodging the heavy showers, I meet  travelling poet James Anthony Kelly and buy a copy of his poetry volume Porter and Emotion described as 'A vast diverse and varied collection'  . How could you resist.  I find it  somehow reassuring  that we still have travelling bards in Ireland .

Travelling Bard James A Kelly
 In Glór, I am just in time  to watch  the hapless presenter attempting to round up representatives of the runner ups who seemed reluctant to  collect their prizes and eventually  the winners ,  the Tulla Road  Ceili Band (not to be confused with the Tulla Ceili Band) are  eventually  shepherded  on stage to perform their valedictory set.  While some of the punters in my vicinity had selected them, there was quite a few who felt Corofin Ceili Band also deserved the crown but there was a spirit of general good humour generally about the procedings  and no one seemed to feel too hard done by.

Onto Sunday and  a workshop with London based Brendan Mulkere .As a teacher it is always a worthwhile exercise to put yourself in the role of student.  The blurb promises a 'consciousness raising awareness of  identity in one's playing and  place in the tradition . No pressure then. The session meandered through a selection of jigs and reels with emphasis on exploiting  notes of a triad  to extend a tune , the tutor demonstrating a sophisticated technique  unusually incorporating position shifts to third and second position. I found the The Plaza conference rooms  at the Temple Gate were  claustrophobic  for the numbers attending the  masterclass  and  the  start and finishing times were  unclear.  This format  where  a dozen or more  players of varying levels turn up  is very difficult for any teacher to prepare for and pitch . I suggest it would be worth trying a format where you invite onlookers to join a class delivered to a preselected group of  say three or four  representative players.

Brendan Mulkere with masterclass participants
 On paper , there were a number of attractive options but the latenes  of the start time of many of the main events dampened my enthusiasm when it actually came to propelling myself out of my fireside chair. Around midnight , whilst my glass slippers don't disappear, I am not really in the humour for reels and polkas, and so although I noted and anticipated the sessions, I let the opportunities to hear fiddlers Matt Cranitch and Maeve Donnelly pass . Oportunities to hear the wonderful local Brock Maguire Band   had presented themselves during the year
On the whole , I congratulate the organisers for injecting a sense of fun and live musical activity  in  these dreary November nights and days .

1 comment:

  1. I agree the gigs were on way too late.

    Joe, Ennis