Irish Firebrands Adventures: Irish Trad (Part 2)

In today’s post we conclude our Irish Firebrands Irish music adventures.

Chapter 9: The musical pub crawl comes to pass. This photo of one of the Temple Bar district’s famous watering holes shows how the street scene looks to Lana when she goes out with Frank:

The_Oliver_St._John_Gogarty_(12893373475)

The Oliver St. John Gogarty, by Tony Webster.

He halted before one of the brightly painted façades. “The pub crawl starts here.” The décor was just generic pub – board and brick, brass and glass, and just enough lighting to be legal. A banjo player was conducting a singalong number with the bar patrons, but Frank shook his head. “They’ve a better menu upstairs – and better music. We’ll be finished eating in time to join the crawl.”

The upstairs room was crowded, but when Frank gave his name to the head waiter they were guided directly to a table by a small window crowded with a window box of colourful flowers. After Lana was seated, several musicians entered from another door and took seats on a bench at the side of the room. One bore a guitar, another a flute, the third a fiddle and the last carried a collection of tubes and straps, a stomach-shaped bag and an apparatus that suggested a fireplace bellows.

“What on Earth is that?”

“Uilleann pipes,” Frank said. “They’re bagpipes, but instead of blowing, the piper pumps that bellows with his elbow. ‘Uilleann’ means ‘elbow’.”

“Bagpipes! Uh-oh, I don’t know about this.”

“Why, what’s wrong with bagpipes?”

“They have the same effect on me as harpsichord music.”

“That being?” He raised his eyebrows.

Lana leant towards Frank and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “They arouse in me an overwhelming desire….”

He leant towards her in turn, fascination written on his face. “A desire?”

“To commit axe murders!”

He gaped at her, and then he winced. “Ouch!” Struggling to suppress his laughter, he drummed the tabletop with his fingertips to express his merriment.

The other musicians checked their tuning while the piper strapped himself into his contraption. Then he launched into a long, drawn out note that turned into a simple theme. After several repetitions, the guitarist began an accompaniment of chords, to which the pipes responded with a highly ornamented motif. The energy ramped up again when the flute and fiddle joined in, rounding out the melody and accompaniment with yet another theme.

… They left the restaurant just in time to join a flock of jolly tourists led by two musicians, who escorted them across the River Liffey to a private room above a bar. There, entertained by sweet music larded with salty humour, Lana learned how to tell the difference between jigs, reels and hornpipes. Later, when the group returned to Temple Bar, a pair of dancers joined the musicians in another upstairs room, where they demonstrated steps that Lana gamely tried, to the cheers of the artists and the applause of Frank and their tourist companions.

Chapter 21: Lana takes another musical excursion with Frank – this time to a fleadh cheoil (music festival) in Connemara (a region in County Galway, on the Atlantic side of Ireland). The musical section of this chapter was inspired by various performances and competitions, including this one:

cl272_all_Med

Click on image for Comhaltas full programme link.

Chapter 25: Some of the musical parts of the talent show in this chapter were adapted from Brian Cunningham’s performances at the Comhaltas event; from several recordings that had become part of my writing “soundtrack;” and spun off from performances featured in this video:

come-west-along-the-road-1

Come West Along the Road, Volume 1.

Another performance in Chapter 25 was adapted from a sean-nós vocal number heard in this recording, but I used a different version of the words (see below).

Séarlas Óg

Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile…
Anois ar theacht an tsamhraidh.

A Shéarlais Oig, a mhic Rí Shéamais,
’Sé mo mhór-chreach do thriall as Éirinn,
Gan tuinnte bróig’ ort, stoca nó leinidh,
Ach do chascairt leis na Gallaibh.

Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile…
Anois ar theacht an tsamhraidh.

Tá Séarlas Óg a’ traill ar sáile,
Béidh siad leisean, Franncaigh ’s Spáinnigh,
Oglaigh armtha leis mar gharda…
’S bainfidh siad rinnce as éiricigh!

Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile…
Anois ar theacht an tsamhraidh.

Sé mo léan géar nach bhfeicim,
Mur mbéinn beo ina dhiaidh ach seachtain,
Séarlas Óg agus míle gaiscidheach…
Ag fógairt fáin ar Ghallaibh.

Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile,
Óró, sé do bheatha ’bhaile…
Anois ar theacht an tsamhraidh.

(English interpretation)

Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home…
Now that summer’s coming.

O young Charles, King James’s son
Alas your distress upon leaving Ireland
You’ve left the country naked and barefoot…
Routed by the strangers.

Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home…
Now that summer’s coming.

Bonnie Prince Charlie will come over the sea
The French and the Spanish will be with him.
Armed warriors as a guard about him…
They’ll make the heretics dance!

Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home…
Now that summer’s coming.

What a pity if I don’t see it,
Although living for a week only, after
Young Prince Charles and a thousand heroes…
Scatter all the strangers.

Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home,
Hurrah, you are welcome home…
Now that summer’s coming.

Blog text © 2016 Christine Plouvier. Excerpts © 2012 – 2016 Christine Plouvier. All Rights Reserved.

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