Lean mé/Follow by Email

Cuardaigh focal G-B/Search words Irish-Eng

08 September 2014

D'aimsigh mé é/Found it

"After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the things we need most in the world".

Bígí ag caint le chéile. Talk to each other.

Maidir le/Regarding: Simone Felice - (is that [si-mo-ne fe-leech-ay] or [sigh-mon fe-llisse]?). OR "Love song to Jean"

01 August 2014

"Each and every one of my body hairs is caught in a rubber band" Oh my Loom!

+++That loomin' mother-of-a-loomer Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin just came in and said "gimme your blog or I'll wrap your nose in a loom-band nose-holder". So I gave her my blog.
Aisling Ní Acamé+++

I opened a tin of sweet corn the other day and found a... LOOM BAND in it. No I didn't, but I thought that would catch your attention.

But we *have* officially changed our son's name from Oisín Ó Maoileoin to Oisín O, Meloom.

Loom dresses, loom suits, loom ties and dicky bows. Loom buddies. The craze is on. Tie-died loom bands, multi-coloured loom bands, glitter loom bands, glow-in-the-dark loom bands. I swear.

Loom bands were invented in 2011 but didn't enter this life until 2014. (And what a colourful, welcome and eventful entry it was. And fixture it has remained.) A few weeks ago on the other side if the stream someone bid £150,000 on Ebay for a loomy dress (but pulled the bid back), and 5 months ago on the other side of the pond, tv talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel asked the kids of America to send him their loomy creations. This is what he did with them, for charity.

and this:

and this:

I said it before, and I'll say it again. I swear.

The things are everywhere. As Jimmy Kimmel said "Each and every one of my body hairs is caught in a rubber band". Good ole Cheong Choon Ng! Looming rolling in it he must be. _________________________

+++Loom off and gimme my blog back! Aisling Ní Acamé+++

24 July 2014

Simone Felice - (is that [si-mo-ne fe-leech-ay] or [sigh-mon fe-llisse]?). OR "Love song to Jean"

+++That big bleedin' stealer, Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin, aka "The Rogue" from that fab new Irish-language music radio programme "Rogha Bhríde" (Bríd's choice), ran in AGAIN this morning and said "gimme your gd blog or else". So I gave her my blog. (after wondering "what the hell is gd, you gd stealer?").
Aisling Ní Acamé+++

THINGS (lots and lots of)
about the concert last night July 23, Róisín Dubh, Galway as part of "Galway International Arts Festival"
(not even very, very, very, very, very, VERY, vaguely in the line of a review)

I just sent an email to my long-lost friend in Pasedena, California. I hadn't seen him since the 29th of March 1984 in Saratoga Springs, New York. (or did you drive with us too to JFK Tim? That morning after Bob woke us up with William Tell's Overture a-blasting all around the house - the most effective and memorable alarm I've ever had in my life).

Since getting back in touch with him (Tim) two months ago through a series of couchsurfing-type adventures*, I had had a few very close "come finally to San Francisco" calls (it has been at the top of my "want-to-go-to-places list" for many's a year. It has graduated to "I'm-going-regardless" places). *From the 5-piece band from SF who played a house concert in my living room, to a guest from "just down the road from Pasedena" (hi Oliver) to a wonderful woman from "right over the Golden Gate bridge (the OTHER side of it)" (hi Marisa!).

I had more California-dreaming moments last night. I went to a concert of Simone Felice at Galway International Arts Festival with opener Samantha Crain, and loved it. I had never heard of either of them. Not until 20 minutes before the show when my friend Jean (I love Jean) played me 20 seconds of Samantha on Spotify and I said "well, I'm going". Jean wasn't that mad about Simone (not at that millisecond), but I quickly spotified him and said "well, I'm going".

Both singer/songwriters did some numbers which brought me closer to San Francisco. I wrote down the line from Simone but then lost my festival programme. But I did remember the words " ...if you go to LA, and meet a girl...look her ... in the eye and tell her I'm doing fine", so I googled it just now, and found the missing words. "If you go to LA and meet a girl out walking in the drizzle and the rain, look her straight in the eye and tell her I’m doing fine [...]". Yo liked it.

And Samantha Crain sang a song and/or told a great story about SF. I can't remember it. There were so many wonderful lyrics during the two hours, and so many fine stories. I thought of the great quote that was on the cover of the 2013 Cúirt International Festival of Literature brochure. It has fallen down the back of the set of drawers which holds my cd collection, so I guess it'll be collecting dust there for another while. I've tried to find the cover on the ole googler, without success, and there's more important things to be done. (if anyone has a copy lying around I'd really appreciate a photo of it though). The quote went something like: after food, shelter and companionship, the most important thing we need are stories. Yes sir/madame!

to be continued

09 July 2014

Triple Crown for "Shannon's Lovely Vale"

+++That bossy boots, Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin, aka The Rogue from that fab new Irish language radio programme "Rogha Bhríde", ran in again this morning and said "gimme your blog or else". So I gave her my blog.
Aisling Ní Acamé+++

I've never bought a Céilí Band cd in my life, but I'll never forget growing up with that distinctive sound streaming from Raidió na Gaeltachta, that "style of music from a bygone era". And then I got a beautiful cd today in the post from Danny O'Mahony (míle buíochas le Danny), "Shannon's Lovely Vale" by the Shannon Vale Céilí Band.

So I listened to the cd from start to finish without reading the credits or titles. My favourite piece was the hornpipe "Shannon's Lovely Vale", funnily enough not only the name of the céilí band, but also the name of the CD. Triple crown!

The packaging is beautiful. I'm a big fan of well produced cds. Well produced anything in fact. The liner notes tell us that my favourite tune was composed by Leitrim fiddle player Maurice Lennon in honour of The Shannon Vale Céilí Band, as is the whole set it is in, track 15 - "Master Shanley's/Shannon's Lovely Vale/The Road to Garrison". Maurice joins the band on this track.

There are some beautiful photos on the inside of the cover (right and above), a ticket from a "Grand Dance" in 1961 (before I was a twinkle in my mother's eye) and two photographs of the original band members, Dr. Mick Sweeney who formed the band in 1960, Martin Brown, Liam Power, Harry Power, Jerry Flaherty, Richard Casey, Séamus Hussey and Den McCarthy.

It's only now as I write this, 6 hours after I started listening to the cd, that I turned to the final page of the cd cover, which names the current band members. Do I feel stupid now! :-) Danny O'Mahony is the band leader! I hadn't realised that. I just thought he was helping his pals to promote it. (I didn't recognise you in the photo Danny! Brón orm!)

The cd opens with a joyful set of traditional reels "Molly Bawn and The New Moon Meadow". I played the second one a few weeks ago on my radio show "Rogha Bhríde", the Connemara version "Joe Mháire Mhicilín" lilted by sean-nós singer Meaití Jó Shéamuis Ó Fátharta.

There are reels, jigs, barn dances, walzes, polkas, hornpipes, a march, and two songs on this cd. Is there anything missing? Slides. Do céilí bands play slides?

I love the corny old drumming. Nothing beats a good good céilí band drummer (sic). The drums shine on track two, "The Nightingale and Nóra Chríona" jigs. And that drumming on the wee wooden whatyemecallit box makes me laugh. For joy. And while we're on "corny", you couldn't get much more corny than the band's version of the song "The Sand Hills of Kilmore". I love. I feel like playing the repeat button, but I'll never get this review written if it do that!

The highlights? The piano intro to track 7. I know, I know, it's only TWO NOTES, but it's so nostalgic! The aforementioned wee wooden whatyemacallit box. The drumming in general by John Collins. Patsy Broderick's piano accompaniment. The fine flute playing stands out (there are three flute players). But then so does the banjo. And then it's the accordion. The changes! For example on track 7, the change from "The Swallow's Tail" into "The Mountain Road". Priceless. The classics like "The Legacy" jig. The beautiful treatment of the previously unrecorded song "The Lordly Shannon Side". The starts. The finishes. From start to finish. It's gorgeous.

"Vigour, elegance, vitality and sweet music" are words taken from the liner notes. They're all here. And what I felt after a day of listening to this gorgeous cd (sorry for repeating myself) was joy and happiness. The happy sound of The Shannon Vale Céilí Band.

PS I'm just reading Danny O'Mahony's biography as I write this. Ah now, radio programme host? Radio Kerry? Guess I'll be taking a trip to the cottage soon!
PPS There's only one thing I need now. Any chances of a copy of ‘In Retrospect’ Danny?
PPPS What, I didn't mention the best cd disc design I've ever seen? A replica viynl. I know, I know, it's probably been done before. I don't care. Problem! If I want to photograph it, I'll have to take the cd out.
PPPPS Did I mention the cool drum-roll intro on track 3?

+++ENOUGH! Could I get my friggin' blog back now? Aisling Ní Acamé+++

As always, Aisling welcomes corrections, even to things written by thieving rogues.

30 April 2014

Post scriptum - "Pictiúir à la Ceart" - Screams, Shrieks and Grunts go leor!

This is a PS to my previous post - [Seán T. Ó Meallaigh's] "Pictiúir à la Ceart" - Screams, Shrieks and Grunts go leor!

The actors Máire Bhreathnach, Eoin Ó Dubhghaill, and Neasa Ní Chuanaigh from Seán T. Ó Meallaigh's "Pictiúir à la Ceart". (Photo: Andrew Downes). Looks like this bunch don't give a flying f*** either! Looks like I might not have to look very far for likely suspects for Lee Delong's series of Irish workshops set to roll out in late 2015 in preparation for a new devised co-production in 2016. Watch this space!

Oh, and you read it here first. The bit about Seán T. Ó Meallaigh being a funny man.

13 March 2014

"Pictiúir à la Ceart" - Screams, Shrieks and Grunts go leor!


+++ Tháinig mo chara dílis Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin de rith isteach ar maidin agus scread sí, "TABHAIR DOM DO BHLAG, NÓ BANG BANG GARDAÍ". Thug mé di mo bhlag.

My good friend Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin ran in this morning yelling, "GIMME YOUR BLOG OR BANG BANG GARDAÍ. So I gave her my blog. Aisling Ní Acamé +++

Normally, naturally, I would write this in my native tongue. But I’m writing it in English. For a reason.

Luckily, I had to drag myself down to the Taibhdhearc Theatre in Galway on Sunday morning last to collect musical instruments I had left there after Lee Delong’s "Night of the Living Clown". Complete with post-production exhaustion. Normally I’d have been complaining. But I wasn’t.

For I stumbled upon rehearsals for “Pictiúir à la Ceart”, a devised piece of theatre based on the Leaving Cert Irish exam. The set, and the snippets I saw, were enough to make me go and see the opening performance early the following morning. Together with 21 girls from the Presentation Secondary School, Galway, and their two múinteoirs.

It is a play which was produced by An Taibhdhearc, the National Irish Language Theatre, based on the Leaving Cert oral Irish exam. It was written essentially for school students of Leaving Cert Irish. It could just as well be based on the oral German exam. Or the oral French exam. Or the oral Italian exam.

But being based on the Irish exam, it’s especially interesting to this reviewer, as no-one has a thing about French or German or maths, or chemistry or biology or home economics. How many theorems do you remember then? I’ll give you parallel line, cutting off equal segments, on some friggin’ transversal line.

The play has been described as “A sneaky cheeky look behind the pictures of the Oral Irish Leaving Cert Exam”. It has also been described as fast, furious and funny. (Probably by the producers themselves.) It is. And more.

The Taibhdhearc’s recently appointed new Manager and Artistic Director, Anne McCabe, invited director Seán T. Ó Meallaigh to devise a play for schools based on the infamous LC oral exam “Picture Sequences”.

Ó Meallaigh whose understated “some of [the pictures] are quite boring" (my translation) went about the job with gusto. He’s a funny man.

Ó Meallaigh is a prolific Irish language actor, writer and director. He also has acting credits further afield, alongside Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne and Colm Meaney. He devised this play with three actors from the TG4 soap opera “Ros na Rún”.

The director’s main aim here, rather than to create a series of sketches, was to create one story based on a selection, à lá carte, of the exam pictures, with students as the main characters. He spent a week with his team of actors, warming up, playing silly games, brain storming, improvising and trying out different ideas. He then went away and wrote the script, based on those workshops: “Pictiúir à la Ceart”.

“Ceart” means “correct”. Many Irish and Hiberno English speakers pronounce “carte” or “cart” as “cyart” or “ceart”. Think Donegal man saying “the cart before the horse”.

Ó Meallaigh’s characters are students studying for the oral exam. They are also actors in rehearsal for different productions. So what we see are a series of “plays within a play”, using different styles and effects which keep the audience on their toes throughout. And the stage manager.

Having personally taught Leaving Cert German, I was originally attracted by the three huge blown up pictures of the detested, unimagative, and yes, Seán, quite boring “oral picture sequences”. These make up the set design, together with three black boxes of about 20x14 inches, which act as all means of outdoor and indoor furniture/contraptions/vehicles of transportation/whatever you’ll be having yerself. The actors are dressed in black. Everything is black and white, like the drab exam itself.

Only there’s nothing drab in this production.

This play requires split-second timing. It delivers rapid character changes, and well-timed sound and visual effects. Slap stick. Social commentary. Audience participation. It’s all here. Self-effacing Apocolypse-Now-opening-scene evoking puppetry, which might be lost on the teenagers. But they found it hilarious anyway.

The tragicomic elements, for example scenes depicting our youth’s culture of weekly binge-drinking- and junk-food-eating habits, rung especially ironic as the theatre echoed with laughter.

President Higgins was supposed to make an appearance, but well, er, he was nowhere to be seen.

The show I saw was the premiere. There were some technical glitches, for example with the timing of video sequences. The black curtains supposedly there to “mask” backstage, sometimes moved so much that I wondered if someone back there was shooting bows and arrows.

Ironically, there was some not very “ceart” grammar, for the sake of ease comparative to making a feminine noun masculine, like a Frenchman saying “la père”, which would make himself and his country folk go scarlet.

For some reason linguistic correctness seems not to be so high on the priority list of many Irish language productions I have seen. As I recently said to a TV script writer, it is such a pity, in view of the level of professionalism of every other aspect of the production, that the script was not proofread by a professional linguist*. This mind boggles.

I also felt disappointed, and surprised, by the tiny audience.

Apart from the linguistic issue, these glitches were minor in the face of the whole, very professional, production. I think even Gerry Motherway** would forgive them.

What a wonderful way to introduce teenagers to the magic of theatre! They won’t have noticed it. It will have happened subconsciously. Because these giggling girls will only be thinking of that handsome actor (“whah, you don’t watch Ros na Rún? He’s in it. Duh!”)

I don’t watch the TG4 soap opera myself either, but I have seen Máire Bheag Bhreathnach’s “Mo” on occasion. An actor with an earthy, and very believable down-played acting style. Together with Eoin Ó Dubhghaill (Ros na Rún’s “Fiach”) and Celtic Media Festival award winner, Neasa Ní Chuanaigh, the quality of acting of all three actors was high and consistent throughout.

A particularly memorable scene was the Wimbildon one, complete with slow motion screams, shrieks and grunts which would make Maria Sharapova the colour of the tennis ball itself. Students possibly reminded by this soundscape of another physical caitheamh aimsire were shrieking too, with laughter.

I went to the toilet when the play was over, hoping to find some of the above-mentioned giggling girls to eavesdrop upon. Sure enough seven giggling girls of different ethnic backgrounds gabbled away in excitement. “It was hilarious”.

“Did you like it?” I asked. Chorus of “Yeah”. “Why?” “It was funny”. “Anything else?” “When yer man came and sat in the audience – it was hilarious”. I thought I heard the word “understood”. “Did you surprise yourselves?” “Yeah”. “Why?” “Cause I think we understood most of it”. “I think you did too.”

They’ll NEVER see those picture sequences in the same light again!

This is not only a play for teenagers. It is a play for everyone in Ireland – whether you love it, hate it, are rusty or fluent, would like to, don’t have the time to, wish you did, wish you had tried to, or simply just had it shoved down your throat. Even if you shit on it*** you'll surprise yourself. The parents of the teenagers will be laughing. Their mammies will be laughing at themselves played by Eoin Ó Dubhghaill.

Think Des Bishop talking about “An Modh Coinníolach”. If you like that you’ll love this too. (RTÉ’s future-new-Irish-language-senior-editor**** take note. Fringe Festivals. Comedy festivals. Theatre festivals. Universities. TheJournal.ie)

It’s for all of you that I wrote this in English. My pleasure.

* For a professional Irish language proofreader, contact Odí Ní Chéilleachair or Máire Ní Chualáin of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUIG, either of whom would be delighted, I’m sure, to put you in touch with a reliable professional proofreader (if they’re too busy to do it themselves that is) http://www.acadamh.ie/faoin_acadamh/foireann/liosta.html
** The mother of all theatre critics.
*** my own coinage. From German “darauf scheißen” – literally “shit on it”, figuratively “not to give a flying f***”
**** As recommended in the recently published Report of the RTÉ Irish-language Working Group

Máire Bhreathnach, Eoin Ó Dubhghaill, agus Neasa Ní Chuanaigh ón dráma "Pictiúir à la Ceart". Grianghraf: Andrew Downes

"Pictiúir à la Ceart" tour dates:

Déardaoin 13 Márta 2014 – An Cultúrlann, Béal Feirste 1.30in

Dé hAoine 14 Márta 2014 – Áras Inis Gluaire, Béal an Mhuirthead, Co. Mhaigh Eo 10.30rn agus 1.30in

Ticéid le fáil ach glaoch ar an Taibhdhearc ar 091-563600

To book tickets or to book the show, phone An Taibhdhearc Theatre on 091-563600

Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin is a musician, a translator, a fledgling radio presenter (FlirtFM, "Rogha Bhríde"), an ex-lecturer of Ger-Eng translation, and an ex-sufferer of trying to teach the, in her own words, gruesome and insulting (to both students and teachers alike) German syllabus, complete with picture sequences, to suffering Leaving Cert students. She doesn’t have the solution to the scourge of this type of exam, but she would blindly trust Coláiste Lurgan, in Indreabhán, Co. Galway, to be able to come up with it. With their eyes closed. (If you don’t know Coláiste Lurgan, youtube them.) ‘Course they should get Seán T. Ó Meallaigh on board too.

+++An dtiocfadh liom mo friggin'' bhlag a fháil arais anois? Maith a bhean! Aisling Ní Acamé+++