Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Willie Week - Tuesday

Mornings are tough. Jetlag is not completely gone, so getting out of bed is a challenge. Breakfast provides the immediate motivation. The tea here is strong and tasty. The B&B breakfast menu is the full Irish fry-up: fried egg, sausages, rashers (strips of thinly sliced fried ham), black and white puddings -- small, round shaped-meat patties that look like miniature cupcakes without icing -- accompanied by white toast with jam. My vegetarian version is eggs, tomatoes, and toast. There is also wonderful brown bread and soda bread as well as fresh fruit, yogurt, and an assortment of cereals.

We learned five tunes in Day 2 of the flute class. Several other tunes were given out but not taught. Lovely tunes, and excellent instruction. I am really enjoying this class.

The next notable event of the day was the Flute and Whistle Recital. All of the teachers performed. Several played together, bringing the total number of musical presentations down to 24. The recital was 2 hours long, a veritable tour de force with many regional and individual styles as well as great variety of tone. Among those who played were Mary Bergin, Conal O'Grada, Sean Ryan, Fintan Vallely, Mick Crehan, Brid O'Donoghue, Billy Clifford, Mick Hand, May Bonne, Roisin Nic Dhonncha, Louise Mulcahy, Tara Diamond, Eamonn Cotter, Mick O'Connor, Francis O'Connor, Marcus O'Murchu, Marion McCarthy, Eibhlin de Paor, Ciaran Somers, Adrian McCarron, Catherine McEvoy, Peter Phelan, Aiofe Granville, Siobhan Hogan, Francie Rasdale, Gavin Whelan, Peter Friehl, Phil Somers and John Wynn. All are well known in Ireland; only a few are well known in America. More's the pity!

Danika and Lauren at the ceili

After the recital I went with Lauren and Danika to the ceili (Irish word for set dance, pronounced KAY-lee) - not because I dance, but because I wanted to hear the famous Tulla Ceili Band. Together for more than 60 years, the band members have changed, of course, but they still play the style and repertoire made them famous. All of the players are excellent, but the most widely known player is fiddler Martin Hayes. He is quite a virtuoso and has a solo career in addition to being a band member. At the end of the evening he did a 20-minute solo spot, fiddle with piano backing. Everyone stopped dancing and gathered around the bandstand to listen. It was spectacular. He pulled out all the stops, and people clapped and roared. What a night! The Tulla definitely lived up to their reputation, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing them play. Here's a video clip of the Tulla Ceili Band playing at last year's Willie Clancy Festival. It gives you a taste of their music as well as what ceili dancing looks like.

© 2009, Linda Mason Hood
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