Traditional Irish Music (Part 1)Submitted by Séamusín on Mon, 04/28/2014 - 14:08
My earliest memories are great big sessions in my New York city apartment. A dozen musicians, and maybe a dozen listeners, all gathered around the table, playing music and laughing. I have a recording of the party right after my christening. Not yet a week old. Some of the best music I have heard, on that cassette tape. Many of new York city's greatest players, right there in my apartment building. Among them, Martin Wynne. He played a gentle version of Lad O'Byrne's reel.
My Father started playing music when he was a kid. He learned from both his parents. Both fiddle players. He started out on the penny whistle, and then moved on to the accordion. He left Ireland for England when he was 14 to send money home, after his dad died. He was on his way to becoming one of the best musicians in the country(that's what people tell me). When his father died, so did any ambition to record. He stayed in England off and on until he was 29. Then he moved to New York.
He met my mother in the traditional Irish folk scene in new York city. She was a young metropolitan communist hippie. He was just looking for somewhere to drink. She was into folk music because it was trendy and all back to the land and stuff. He was into folk music because he didn't have a radio growing up.
He was very quiet my whole life. We didn't talk. He was from a different culture. He was very poor growing up. No electricity type stuff. He learned to work. He didn't learn baseball, or football. He didn't go hunting or fishing. He just worked. But when he came home, he played. Every night religiously. The story goes that they used to give him a penny whistle in the bars. That got him back into it. Then someone suggested that he take up the flute. Not much different. That's what he played when I was growing up.
My mom died when I was 11, and I turned into a little shit. I had complete freedom. I didn't have to go to school, didn't have to work. I could just do whatever I wanted. My dad didn't understand public schools. He didn't understand what his role was. He was hardly ever home, and when he was he was dead tired. He left at 4 in the morning, came home at 5 or 6. He showered, changed into shorts and a polo, and went laid down on the couch where he would watch the news or read the paper. After about an hour, he would sit up, pick up his flute and start playing. We didn't talk about much. He knew I was into computers and games and school(HA!). He figured if I just kept going and he just kept going I would turn out alright. My mom had an old bodhran(drum) that she used to mess around with. I took it down from the mantle one day, and started to play along. This was the first time we really connected. Looking back, I think it is probably why traditional irish music is so important in my life.
Like I said. I was a shit. Ended up getting sent to live with my Uncle.
Wow. I just realized how involved this story is. I was really just going to introduce my love of irish music to the community. I guess I am writing my bio. Didn't I say that in the beginning? Irish music is my life. It is my Bio.
To be continued...