Hello Music Lovers,
What is happening with you these days? Myself, right now I'm trying to eek out a bit of time for music whilst co-managing the family – all that music management experience is finally paying off (!) Taking a ten piece band to a gig overseas is nothing compared to getting through an airport with just two kids. I must say it has given me an empathetic sense of respect for working and especially single mothers; One little person and some support from extended family and life kind of continues on... but two... two is a whole other ballgame, as far as I can see it's another layer of volcanic chaos to add to the bedrock of daily life. Onward! I type quickly before the volcano erupts....
Here she is – enter Liadan ( pron. Lee-a-din) Mary Lynn – we call her Lía or LeeLee for short.... so happy to report that she arrived safely on 16 March 8lbs of snuffling joy, and we are all in love with our little quiet miss. She is a wee dote and Lochlann is being a sweet big brother - hopefully that will continue....
Fair Plé Ennis
I'm part of a team helping to organise a concert in Ennis on Friday - on the eve of FairPlé Day, an international day of positive musical activism promoting balance and inclusivity in all aspects of the traditional music business. There are lots of concerts and events happening around Ireland and abroad on the 8th and 9th of June.
FairPlé is an advocacy group based in Ireland that was founded in February by a group of musicians whose mission is to achieve gender balance in the production, performance, promotion, and development of Irish traditional and folk music. It advocates for equal opportunity and balanced representation for all. You can read more about the organization on the website, www.fairple.com.
The Ennis concert features an incredible line up of world class musicians, as you can see on this beautiful poster, designed by artist-fiddler “Beanie O”. Please come out and support the musicians wherever they may be!
It's coming up soon! A truly great highlight of the teaching year – The Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week. Tickets sell out fast and furious for this great week of teaching, learning and collaboration. Here is a little snippet of porch life during Celtic Week, 'Swannanoa' a beautiful song composed by Janis Ian.
“Keep showing up despite the chaos. Be humble in the pursuit of your art and ruthless about finding the time to make it. ”
– Courtney E. Martin, Columnist
A note to finish on a recent visit to a glasswork installation by American artist Dale Chihuly- I loved seeing these giant alien-like beings lurking in, blooming in and dominating the neat and tidy gardens... Let's plant our musical and artistic seeds and watch those crazy creatures GROW!!!!
Have a great Summer everyone,
Slán anois, xo Nuala
Lá Fhéile Pádraig faoi mhaise daoibh! Happy St Patrick's Day to you all when it comes around on Saturday folks! With a little bit of luck we will be busy welcoming our new baby to the household by then – a tiny new addition to the family is due to arrive on Friday, so please wish us luck! They say ignorance is bliss and with baby Lochlann (pictured here) I must admit I just didn't realise exactly how much pure luck is involved in birthing tiny humans... so this time around I'll say, yes please to rituals, prayers, crystals, candles, finger and toe crossing... whatever floats your own particular spiritual boat, please keep us in mind this Friday morning 15th March EST!
THE ALT SALLIES FORTH.....
Because of the beautiful arrival, I am sadly unable to go on tour with The Alt as John and Eamon set sail for.... Hawaii and a slew of dates across the USA – ably booked by Captain Greenhill Esq. - thank you Matt! I'm very sorry to be missing these shows, but am very happy to report that I will be more than capably replaced by Irish fiddle legend Kevin Burke (for adventures in Hawaii!) and our friend Cathy Jordan from Dervish for the USA mainland dates. Sure there will be lots of great music and craic in store for our audience members - I'll be thinking of you all :)
www.thealtmusic.com for tour dates and more!
She Moved Through the Fair – A little Background
To celebrate St. Patrick's Day – here is a version of “She Moved Through the Fair” which I recorded for Eric Rigler and Dirk Freymouth's beautiful new live CD, and a little background on the song....
According to the informative website www.mainlynorfolk.info, She Moved Through the Fair was first collected in Donegal by poet Padraic Colum (1881-1972) and musicologist Herbert Hughes (1882-1937), and published by Boosey & Hawkes in London in “Irish Country Songs” in 1909.
The Irish tenor John McCormack recorded the song in 1941. He seemed to have introduced the change from “my young love” to “my dead love” in the last verse.
Margaret Barry learned “She Moves Through the Fair”off a gramophone record by “Count John McCormack” as she said in a Karl Dallas interview. She sang it in on two separate recordings made by Peter Kennedy in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, in 1952!
She Moved Through the Fair
My young love said to me, "My mother won't mind
And my father won't slight you for your lack of kind"
And she stepped away from me and this she did say:
It will not be long, love, till our wedding day"
As she stepped away from me and she moved through the fair
And fondly I watched her move here and move there
And then she made her way homeward with one star awake
Like the swan in the evening moves over the lake
Last night she came to me, my dead love came in
So softly she entered, her feet made no din
She laid her hand on me and this she did say
"It will not be long, love, 'til our wedding day"
Purchase the Live on PBS SoCal CD here: http://www.pipesandguitar.com/store/live_on_pbs_socal/
Fair Plé Movement
On the subject of the legendary singing of Margaret Barry, I will mention the Fair Plé Movement here, a newly formed organisation which addresses the gender imbalance in all areas of Irish traditional and Folk Music. For those of ye reading here without Irish, 'plé' means 'to discuss' but also it has a double meaning as 'Fairplay'.
Women have historically been in a minority within the world of Irish traditional music and this continues to present times – it is not a rare occurrence for myself to find I am perhaps the only female touring musician on stage at a particular event or festival, and the Fair Plé movement, which is supported by men and women alike, wants to raise awareness and address that imbalance. Currently getting up and running, Fair Plé Ennis had our first event – a session supported by Ciaran's Bar on 3rd March – a wee blast of that is to be seen here!
Check in with www.fairple.com in future for further information on happenings around the country. #50/50Trad #Fairplé
Gentle Folks, Time seeps through our fingers like sand on Venice Beach... June flew by with several special markers: my old pal Oliver Schroer (RIP)'s birthday, then Father's day came and went, I thought many times about writing this email and yet... somehow there was never a spare moment.
In memory of Oliver and for all you dads and sons and daughters out there - here is a track from his 2008 record 'Freedom Row' entitled 'All the Little Children in the World'. Enjoy!
Now I find myself in a quiet corner of the Appalachian Mountains, visiting with the inlaws and finally catching a few moments to write to you, kind reader. Since Lochlann arrived we have developed, shall we say, a finer appreciation of family life, adult alone time and clean clothes - and a burgeoning delight in life's simple pleasures....
The support of family is allowing me to do a few special music projects and tomorrow I will head out to meet up with Songster O Leary as we prepare for a couple of shows over the weekend. Then after a week at the teaching highlight of the year - Celtic Week at the 'Swannanoa Gathering' - close by here in NC, I will head out with the band to Dublin Ohio for one of America's biggest Irish Festivals. Hup!
I hope you are doing well reader, and keeping your chin up amidst the huge upheaval around the globe. Through what are dark days for so many of our fellow brothers and sisters, let's keep communicating and creating, especially through the arts and through music -languages that know no borders.
Myself and my sh*t-kicker poet husband, A. J. Roach have been having lots of fun and lots of no-sleep with our wee darling Lochlann Oliver.
Calling all SoCal-ers, Ready your Diaries!
Saturday 4th March If you live in Southern California, please turn on your box and tune into this PBS Special. Nuala is a guest on there with Titanic piper extraordinaire Eric Rigler and friends. Help spread the word with this Vimeo Teaser: https://vimeo.com/204083101
Saturday 27th May Nuala will be playing with this group at the PBS Member Concert as part of Scotsfest @ Orange County Fairgrounds, Costa Mesa, CA
Resistance is Flutile!
Nuala will be part of the teaching staff at Acadia Camp in Maine in June and at the Swannanoa Gathering NC in July. Registration has opened for these amazing weeks of music and community- the spaces fill up really quickly, so get in there and grab a spot if you are thinking about it!
A gathering of Irish music players and fans to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union and show support for civil rights will take place on Sunday 5th March. . The Los Angeles session will be at Timmy Nolan's Bar, Toluca Lake. Proceeds will go to the ACLU, whose Director of Immigration Rights wrote this week that “The Trump Administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well being of our communities and even protections for vulnerable children.” These sessions are happening in cities and towns across the U. S. Check out the link on the poster to find the event nearest you, or start your own!
After a string of great shows across the States this Summer, Nuala Kennedy Band will be taking a hiatus while a wee addition to the family arrives in November! We had a lot of fun especially festival-ling outside at Culver City Hall, L.A., in Madison, Wisconsin with our pals Dervish and up in the Upper Peninsula of Sault Sainte Marie, MI where this post gig pic was snapped. Thanks especially to my traveling companion, Irish guitarist and singer Mnter O Leary for a couple of wild swims and duo concerts out on the East Coast of the U.S. - a heads up for ye folks here that we are working on a duo album for release in 2018. Looking forward to that very much. Here's a video of The Night Visiting Song which will be on there:
"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
What dark changes are happening in the world. In a time of great upheaval and sadness at the result of the Brexit vote, and the recent outbursts of xenophobic and homophobic hatred, I am put in mind of the quote above from American musician Leonard Bernstein written in response to the murder of J.F.K.
To follow our passion more devotedly than ever before.... There is great solace in music and the arts, great comfort in creating things of beauty, comfort in the time we spend working creatively both together and alone. It is a place to seek refuge when the world can be overwhelming, a place where we can respond and reply with grace to questions which are often beyond our individual control. Particularly with traditional music, what a joy to have this rich heritage to dig into, to seek out old pieces, to contribute new ones.... to pass on our interpretation of and love of the tradition to our friends and students. For me it's a Summer filled with quite a few music camps: Acadia Trad School, ME, The Swannanoa Gathering, Music Arts and Dance week in D.C. and Augusta Heritage Week in West Virginia.
Nuala Kennedy Band will hit the road again in August. See TOUR page for details! Here we all are playing two jigs and a reel in studio:
Nuala's new recording 'Behave the Bravest' is out now! Order your copy here!!
Nuala appears on 'Beg and Borrow' the latest Battlefield Band recording, highlighting the connection between Ireland and Scotland, which is available here: www.templerecords.co.uk/beg The record features a host of special guests including Christine Primrose, Leo McCann, Don Meade and Tony Demarco!