Historically people in Ireland gathered to play music. They gathered in each other's houses or even at the crossroads where dancers were also part of the entourage. Yet, the purpose of the gathering was camaraderie and friendship. The motivation was to inspire and vitalize each other. Times were difficult; there was poverty, there was hunger and there was the constant worry of providing food and shelter for the family.
Even in the 1950's and 1960's musicians were motivated to play, just for the sheer love of the music. Those who worked on the building sites could be seen cycling to work with a box or fiddle strapped to the back of their bicycles. A dedicated co-worker would have arranged cement bags to be used as seating and the kettle would be boiling on the open fire. With accordions and fiddles poised, music and glee would fill the air, everyone energized by the beauty of the music; that alone sustained them. And 50 or 60 years later, people still talk about those sessiúns, the fun, the Joy; all worries were eclipsed by those tunes over the whistling kettle and open fire.
It is this ethos that motivates me today to play music. It also prompts me to re-examine the aura and impression of the phenomenon known as the traditional Irish music seisiún. It can be found everywhere; is it really a true replica of the original gathering that we've learned about and is the collective intention really the same?
I have this idea that in many ways we are susceptible to taking almost too much from from the music genre known as traditional Irish music.
A perspective of "What can the music do for me?" seems to abound. More gigs perhaps or more money?. Prestige or maybe it's fame?. I sense, that in some ways, we can take so much from the music, that finally, it has nothing more to give. And then we are left with music that sounds listless and dead.
My vision is to give back to the music; to honor those who came before me, who passed it along to me. To respect the culture and heritage from whence it came.
I ponder the idea of giving recognition to the deeper meaning and the purpose of the music. I believe it is very different to the purpose that we are liable to attribute to it today.
"A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more." Rosabeth Moss Kanter
As a music teacher my goal is to pass along the East Galway style of playing traditional Irish music, with specific attention and reference to the playing and teaching of Eddie Kelly. My ambition is to communicate the true context of traditional Irish music. It's original purpose and intent to me, is that of generosity and altruism.
My work as an impresario involves the organization and management of various traditional Irish music gatherings. These events take many forms including workshops, ceilithe and concerts. The aspiration is to showcase what is referred to as 'The Pure Drop' i.e musicians and teachers whose style exemplifies the older tradition of playing Irish music, with special emphasis on phraseology and rhythm. Featured artists will hail largely from Ireland.
I love to play the fiddle. And I love to join with others as we weave and blend in the melodious wafting of the tunes; Paddy Fahy, Eddie Kelly and all the tunes whose origins are so old we know not from whence they came. To share my sense of musical purpose with others, by playing the fiddle brings me true Joy.