• Tag Archives Music
  • Mad for trad is back.

    Due to technical problems outside my control, Mad for trad had to be canceled last Saturday.

    This week however, it’s back!

    So, tune in to http://digitaldarragh.com:8000/madfortrad at 7PM GMT, 2PM Eastern and 11AM Pacific.

    Don’t forget, www.digitaldarragh.com/madfortrad is the address for the page.


  • Live Music on DigitalDarragh.com

    It’s no secret that I really love Irish traditional music. From Cara Dillon, Julie Fowlis, Kate Rusby, Michael Mcgoldrick, Tommy Cunnif, Zoe Conway, Mick Ó Brian, Sharon Shannon and John McKusker to Guidewires, Lúnasa, flook, Grada, Stocktons Wing, Slide, Tripswitch and Téada just to name a few, I love it all. I have over a Terabyte of Irish traditional music and I want to share some of this with you.

    There are no decent Irish traditional music radio shows at the moment. This aims to fill that void.

    The show will air on Saturdays at 7PM GMT, 2PM Eastern and 11AM Pacific time.

    At the moment, there are a lot of ideas for making this show something you will want to listen to. Just some of the aims at the moment are:

    • Interviews and live performances by known and not so known Irish traditional musicians.
    • If permitted by musicians, short recordings of live gigs.
    • Interviews with lovers of Irish traditional music.
    • Reviews of specific new albums,/li>
    • Requests! Tell me what you want to hear. If I don’t have it, I’ll certainly get it.

    The content and format of the show is currently not set. It’s going to change and evolve over the next few weeks as people decide what they want. Get your say in by commenting on this post.

    This online broadcast is licensed by The Irish Music Rights Organization (IMRO.) Every step possible has been taken to ensure that copyrighted material is respected and artists are recognised appropriately.

    The stream will be available at the following address. If this doesn’t open in Internet Explorer or Firefox, paste the address into your media player of choice. http://digitaldarragh.com:8000/madfortrad.m3u


  • If only you were mine and Maeves dance.

    These are tunes composed by the legendary fiddle player Maurice Lennon A musician that I am very happy to play music with regularly when he’s in Ireland.

    The first tune, If only you were mine, was composed by him when he was 19 when his heart was broken after a woman he loved married.

    The second Tune, Maeves dance, was composed by him about two years ago. He watched a documentary that told of an Irish family who emigrated to Australia when their Daughter, Maeve was only six. After a short time passed, she was tragically hit by a car and was killed instantly. However, this is not what the documentary focused on. Instead, it focused on an imaginary world that Maeve created and wrote about in great detail in her diary. Maurice was captivated by this world and the second tune, recognised by its waltz tempo was the result of the inspiration he got from this world.

    People into Irish music may notice there’s a swing to the waltz tempo. Maurice likes to play it this way to attempt to illustrate the child like nature of the world and the inspired tune.

    I hope I do them justice.

    Oh. let me dedicate this to someone who I really hope has a fantastic music career ahead of them. I’ve been very impressed with her singing over the past few days.

    Use this link to listen to the recording.


  • You call that busy?

    Saturday was a very active day. I offered to go for a mooch as Emma calls it around Drogheda. A Mooch is Emma’s word for window shopping. Believe me! Window shopping for someone who can’t see the window never mind what’s behind it is as interesting as watching paint dry. But, Emma attempts to solve this by showing me every! Single! Item of clothing that she takes an interest in. Ah, it’s not bad actually. It’s worse when people don’t show you anything. You’re left standing there in a world of your own while the person you’re with ogles over things their looking at twenty feet away.

    I took her for lunch in a small restaurant down a narrow pedestrian street later that day. For the life of me, I cant remember what it was called. But, they do the nicest stake ever!

    While doing a bit more mooching, I got a call from a friend. He asked if I’d be interested in doing a gig with him that night. It gets interesting though. When he called me, he had no one else organised. He forgot he had the booking so didn’t have the usual line up. The couple hadn’t even asked for a piper but he knew he could rely on me to pull things together musically if he got musicians that hadn’t played music with us before. He had to organise a base player, a drummer and a guitar player / singer. Luckily, Paul, our usual base player was available. This fella is without a doubt one of the best base players in the country. He can make it talk! He can play everything from pop, rock, jazz, blues, and country to Irish traditional. On drums we had Gary. We hadn’t played with him at all before in fact, I don’t know where Conor found him at all! But he was fantastic. Aside from Alphrid, a drummer that I don’t get to play music with often enough, he’s probably one of the best drummers I’ve heard around Ireland. Some would call his style too busy but I liked it. It was very technical but there was a lot of great improvisation in his playing that really suited. Although he and Paul never met before their percussive styles matched very well. Finding a guitar player and singer was much more difficult. We called over 40 people between us. From Belfast to Dublin we exhausted all our contacts. At such short notice no one was available. An hour before we had to leave for the gig we got a call. Our normal guitar player already knew about the gig and because he knew he couldn’t do it he organised someone else that he knew locally to stand in for him. Olly was his name and he was brilliant. He had done his research and had a lot of our normal set list learned off. He made it his own though by throwing some others into the mix too. It all went very well. He was able to relax into our style very quickly.

    So, with a replacement drummer and guitar player / singer, we still got the normal sound of the willing fools.

    The bride and groom were ecstatic at the end of it. Very few people were not up on the floor dancing by the end as well so it was a great result.

    But, as Connor said while we were carrying the equipment in, “ok, we’ve proven that we can pull a gig out of the bag within a few hours with everything going against us time and time again! Just once I’d like to turn up for a gig without putting together a new band.” He’s right! There’s nothing we haven’t had to plan around.

    I’ll have to tell you about the five hour search for a guitar string in Israel during their Sabbath day which is a Saturday that resulted in a visit to some random person’s house and getting lost in a multi story underground car park that had been locked from the outside. But that’s for another boring morning while commuting to work on the train.

    Back to this weekend, the wedding was in the most fantastic hotel I’ve ever seen. It’s a place called Darver castle and it’s about ten to fifteen miles south of Dundalk. Huge stone walls, ornate floors, massive archways and very large rooms make this place a site to behold. Getting to the castle is a funny drive. You go down nice main roads for a while then you turn down this road that is just about big enough for a car to get through. It is one of those very old roads with grass in the middle. You meet the three huge gates to the castle after a few minutes. When you go in through the gates you drive through a huge expansive driveway. It’s such a world apart from any other hotel I’ve ever been to.

    A picture taken from the Darver castle website showing the side of the castle.  The lush grounds surrounding it are also seen.


  • Music Music and More Music… Recording again.

    I’m really enjoying playing music at the moment. Last nigt I invited three musicians over to the house to play around to see what sound we could come up with. The result has potential.

    Have a listen to these.

    The first is A few jigs. I had only met Nial, the fiddle player five minutes before recording this… It still turned out well. I especially like the change over from the Kesh to Tatter Jack walsh. the second and third tunes. Although, the change into the Kesh from the first jig who’s name escapes me is quite nice as well.

    The second song we recorded was from a singer called Julie Fowlis. Here, Trudy sings accompanied by Andrew on the guitar, Nial on the Fiddle… twice because he does some cool things that make him self sound like a small band all on his own and my self on the whistle and Bodhran. The result doesn’t sound too bad at all. Considering we had never played together before it could sound really polished after some practise.

    What do you think?


  • Italy trips over for another year.

    I was back in Italy again with the Willin Fools for the third time this year last weekend. We played in Padova and Lake Garda in Riva, Malcesine pronounced something like melchaznay and torbole pronounced like torbolay.

    As usual we played in some fantastic venues. One of the places that really stands out was a private island about two hours drive from Padova. It was the coolest place I’ve ever seen. There were roads but they weren’t really used for cars. Bikes were much more common. They weren’t locked to anything either. The people there just left them anywhere they wanted. It was just the coolest place ever!

    Oh, the beach that we played beside was also the cleanest tidiest beach I’ve ever seen too. And because the weather was so hot, the water was actually a very comfortable and warm temperature.

    I have to get loads of pictures off three band members but I need to travel to them so I’ll try to do that over the next while. There will also be a few videos posted as well.

    As a teaser, have a look at these:

    A picture of the lake. This is where we swam from usually.
    picture looking at the narrow part of the lake.

    Looking across the lake with a fantastic view of the mountains at the other side.
    picture of a wider part of the lake with mountains on the other side.

    A picture of the stage before the gig.
    A picture of a reasonably large stage with mike stands, a few instruments and lights set up.