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28 May 2015

The New Andy Lamy Show - Colourful, Musical and ehr, Birdsong?

++That big thieving thief Bríd, from that freaking fab radio show "Rogha Bhríde" barged in to my office this morning and grabbed my blog right out of my effing hands shouting "Gimme yer blog or I'll whack you over the head with this new blackthorn stick." So I gave her my blog. I've seen that New Blackthorn Stick in action! And its thorned good! Aisling Ní Acamé++

--That would be "darned good" Asho!--

The New Blackthorn Stick, Andy Lamy

The purpose of this blog entry is to provide an English-language transcript to the Irish-language excerpts from the "Rogha Bhríde" radio show broadcast on 07 May 2015 for Andy Lamy and his musical friends and fans in the USA!

Find out why preemption is preemted in this radio show/interview about Andy Lamy's new CD, The New Blackthorn Stick, AND what it means that Clive Barlow is the Mary Bergin of Birdwatching!!!

Click with your right mouse to open the PODCAST in a new window.

Welcome in to the Flirt Fm Studio here at NUIG Galway [the National University of Ireland, Galway]. You're listening to Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin presenting the programme "Rogha Bhríde".

We have something special today as I will be focusing on the music of a musician from New Jersey, USA. This is a person who usually concentrates on the clarinet, and that with the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra. For a certain number of years, he has been drawn to Irish traditional music, and as he will tell you [himself], he has made the acquaintance of some musicians who are known to us all, including some musicians indeed who you have often heard on "Rogha Bhríde" on Galway's Flirt FM. So stay tuned in to hear who I'm talking about, and to hear the whole lovely story.

You'll also hear some of the beautiful music that is on this beautiful new cd by Andy Lamy {cat out of bag? Aisling}... and the name of the cd is "The New Blackthorn Stick"... one piece will be broadcast for the first time ever on this programme today, believe it or not, a new song which has never been played on the [air]waves, but today it will be played here on "Rogha Bhríde" on Galway's Flirt FM. And what did she say? "Hup a dúirt sí!" ('Hup' she said).

I'm going to start out with a musician who greatly inspired Andy Lamy on his musical journey towards Irish music. Have a listen now to Frankie Kennedy playing "An Feochán".

Absolutely gorgeous, Frankie Kennedy playing "An Feochán" composed by Tommy Peoples. And as I said before that piece, Frankie Kennedy and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh... their music... greatly inspired Andy Lamy on his musical journey towards Irish traditional music. We'll now go to the telephone conversation I had very early yesterday morning [6 May, 2015] - Andy! Are you there?

Well, here's a piece of music for those people [button accordionist and fiddler Tom Dunne from Wexford, and fiddler Tony Horswill from Birmingham] who inspired Andy Lamy to go and play Irish tradition music, in that pub in New Jersey, St. James' Gate. The piece I chose is track 5, slip-jigs - I love slip jigs myself - and this is The Echo of Carrowkeel, The Cock and the Hen, and Hardiman the Fiddler.

"As we got them" CD photo - inspired Andy Lamy to play Irish music.

12:05 [Hey, check out the gorgeous guitar intro! Aisling Ní Acamé]

16:24 Absolutely gorgeous ... the slip jigs there "The Echo of Carrowkeel, The Cock and the Hen, and Hardiman the Fiddler", track 5 on that lovely new cd "The New Blackthorn Stick" released by Andy Lamy, and he was on the clarinet there and on the bass clarinet, together with Pat Mangan on the fiddle, John Nolan on the accordion, Gerry O'Sullivan on the pipes, Greg Anderson on the guitar, Kevin Crawford on the flute, and Steve Holloway on the bodhrán.

And as I said earlier, in the next excerpt of the interview we'll hear Andy talking about the first track on the CD "Felix Gone Fishing" and how the title came about. Also at this stage, I'd like to thank all the musicians who are on the CD, and that in your name Andy Lamy. Therefore I would like to thank in Andy's name, to, and may you know that there is much more to these names and these musicians than what I'm saying about them here, but you will be able to read more about it all in the review that will be published by Aisling Ní Acamé, and that in the weeks ahead. Now, thanks as I said to, first Brian Conway on the fiddle; Steve Holloway on the bodhrán; Dillon Foley and Pat Mangan, on the fiddles; John Nolan and John Whelan on accordions; Jerry O'Sullivan on the uilleann pipes; Gabriel Donoghue playing bouzouki and gorgeous piano; Greg Anderson and John Walsh on the guitars; Donny Carroll the singer from Cork singing gorgeously; Haley Richardson on the fiddle; Mike Stewart on the fiddle and viola... the viola on that gorgeous track "Tiarna Mhaigh Eo"...; Jonathan Storck on bass; and the Irish musicians or famous musicians, Kevin Crawford on the flute; Mary Bergin on the tin whistle; Dermot Byrne on the accordion and Floriane Blancke on the harp. And of course the gentleman himself, Andy Lamy, and himself of course playing the clarinet and the bass clarinet. It was himself who composed some of the music and who directed the musicians.

And as I said before, we'll talk now... I'll talk now to Andy about the first track on the CD. [ooooooooooh, Tom Billy's jig - my favourite of all time. Did I tell you about the time I wrote to Jimmy Saville and asked if he could fix it for me to play bodhrán with Mary Bergin playing that tune??? I know, I know!]

26:10 Ohhhhhhhhhh Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Just in case you thought you were listing to "Rogha Bhríde" here on Flirt FM, Galway's alternative radio station, YOU'RE NOT! BECAUSE I'VE JUST RENAMED THE SHOW TO "THE ANDY LAMY SHOW"... And why would it not be about Andy Lamy - a man of multi talents, a classical musician on the clarinet... he is currently playing with the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra... he has played with The Knoxville Symphony, and The Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and... who has he NOT performed with... St. Louis Symphony, Royal Opera of London, and many more. But I'll let him tell you the story himself. {WHAT??? WORLD DEBUT OF WHAT??? ON WHAT RADIO SHOW???}

36:26 Lovely! That was Andy Lamy and his friends playing "Sister Josephine", and that was for all of Andy Lamy's friends who were playing with him last night [6 May 2015] in Dunnes in White Plains [New Jersey].

37:46 Well, we'll have another chat now with Andy with him describing the youngest musician playing with him [on this new CD], a wonderful fiddler... and her name is HALEY RICHARDSON... she started playing Irish traditional music when she was 5 years old... she was 3 years old when she started playing the fiddle, and when she was 5 years old her mother saw a poster in the library... and ... advertising that Kevin Burke was going to be playing in the library, and she decided that she would bring Haley to that concert, and when the concert was over Haley said to her "mammy, I want to play like that!" ["and the rest as they say..." Aisling]. We'll now listen to Andy describing this great musician and her music teacher [Brian Conway].

You're playing isn't bad at all Andy! You're doing fine! We'll now listen to a track from the CD on which Haley is playing, this is track 4, the beautiful air "Tiarna Mhaigh Eo"... together with Haley Richardson here on fiddle, is of course Andy himself on the clarinet and bass clarinet; our own Dermot Byrne is on the accordion; Mick Stewart is on the viola; and Floriane Blancke on the harp; and Jonathan Storck playing bass. A gorgeous tune here that Andy Lamy got from Néillidh Boyle from Donegal and which he heard on the CD released by Claddagh Records called "A Feeling in the Blood" [what a name for a CD! Aisling] Have a listen to this, and enjoy it!

Absolutely gorgeous! That was gorgeous! Especially the gorgeous echoing of the fiddle by Mike Stewart on the viola, and also the gorgeous echoing of the clarinet by Dermot Byrne on the accordion, our own Dermot! [Okay, okayyy! Donegal, Donegal, Donegal! You know who.] Well, Andy Lamy is a multi-talented person as I said at the beginning of the show. Not only is he a musician who has been performing for years, but he is also a bird expert, and he has travelled a lot in different countries in Africa. In the next interview excerpt I'll talk to him about that.

56:08 We'll go back to the music then, and we'll listen to one of the tracks on which Mary Bergin is playing, these are jigs called Gallagher's Frolics, Paddy Taylor's and the Mist On the Meadow, and together with Mary Bergin here, are Andy Lamy on clarinet, Steve Holloway playing beautifully on the bodhrán, and Greg Anderson on the bouzouki. And we're almost coming to the end of the show... I'm going to play a few more tracks for you, one of them being a song "Come to the Hills"... and this song beautifully sung by Donie Carroll from Cork.

1:06:02 My heartfelt thanks to Andy Lamy from New Jersey, USA, and all his musical companions on that beautiful brand new CD, "The New Blackthorn Stick". And I'll be playing that again and again [on Rogha Bhríde - Bríd's choice]. I'm going to leave you with a piece of music from Galicia, and that is more of the music which much inspired Andy on his musical trip towards the traditional music of this country. And I would like to play a piece now from Carlos Nuñez'... the name of the CD is "The Brotherhood of Stars" and the track I picked is a gorgeous song called "Cantigueiras", sung by six women, or maybe there are seven of them {it would be 6!!! Aisling} called Xiradela. Listen to them here singing and playing those lovely little drums that they play, called "tambourines". This song is beautiful, and full of energy and full of celebration, and I would like to dedicate this to you, Andy Lamy... this is for you, for the wonderful music you have made and sent to us. Thank you very much for "The New Blackthorn Stick", and may it have lots of success. And I'm sure it will!

1:07:00 Thank you so much for that CD Andy. Well, I've come to the end of the programme again, I'll be talking to you again next week, and as usual, I hope you'll be listening!

PS: Haley Richardson, Dillon Richardson (I'd like to hear those voices "crooning and harmonizing together"!!!) "Heart on a String" cd arrived in the post today!!! (28/05.2015)
PPS: Thanks too to Iris Nevins who plays the harp, who gave Andy Lamy his first ever Mary Bergin CD. "HUP a dúirt sí!
PPPS: The Catskills Irish Arts Week??? I wanna go too!

"Rogha Bhríde" on Galway's Flirt FM


21 May 2015

Wild and Wonderful "Dancing at Lughnasa"

Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa"
Directed by John Keane
Knocknacarra Amateur Theatre Society
20-23 May 2015, 8pm, An Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway
Ticets €15/€12

Photo Johanna Ní Mhaille
"Dancing at Lughnasa": Michael Mundy looks back with bittersweet nostalgia on the lives of his mother and her four sisters in a small town Donegal in 1936, a year that saw the return of their missionary brother, Father Jack from Africa, as well as a rare visit from Michael's estranged father. The play is a beautifully wrought portrait of life in rural Ireland as the five Mundy sisters deal with the conflict between happiness and propriety, joy and duty, all set against the backdrop of the Lughnasa harvest festival.
(From An Taibhdhearc website)
I went to see the opening of this play last night. Me, myself and 8 other theatre buffs.

What stuck out for me were the set design and lighting (which in the words of another audience member were "authentic and atmospheric, transporting us immediately back to 1936"). The ensemble acting, as well as the choreography (Rionach Ní Néill), were powerful, and although I hate clichéd commentary, the performances of Geraldine Holmes as Kate Mundy, Paul Hughes as Father Jack, and Ailbhe Sleven as Rose Mundy were indeed stellar.

Sharon de Bhaldraithe deserves a special mention as this was her stage debut. She was believable all the way, and her eye contact was impressive. Michelle Lyons' very strong Maggie Mundy added a very-much-needed light-heartedness to the story, often getting belly laughs from some of the aforementioned theatre buffs.

Iva Grillo Gannon as Christina Mundy gave what I thought was a very brave performance - also a first public performance on stage for her - not an easy task for a foreign national all the way from Albania to fit into the Donegalese of it all. I'll return to that below.

To complete the cast, Darragh Lucey gave us a very likeble Gerry Evans (tough job to make a baddie likeable!), and Ciaran Dorrian doubled as narrator and the young Michael Mundy - not an easy task, carried out smoothly for the most part.

The ensemble work was superb, and the tableaux therein created were striking. I often wished I had a camara, although I wouldn't have been allowed to use it anyway. The positions of the actors on stage in this regard was always well-thought out, never accidental. The choreography was superb - (yes, I did steal that word from the play, didn't I?) - the dancing, at times wild and at times gently romantic, made you wish you could get up and join them.

Especially powerful were the scenes with Father Jack, due not only to the wonderful performance of Paul Hughes, but to the group dynamic. The sisters felt every word he was saying, and you could see the family's history and the heartache of their thoughts in their faces. Precious moments where I noticed myself holding my breath and where you could hear a pin drop.

For an amateur group of actors, it was a very good effort at getting their tongues around a Donegal accent. Rose in particular would fit in rightly in the hills of Donegal! Some of the other actors slipped in and out of it, but surprisingly to this very critical Donegal ear, this didn't bother me in the least - quite simply because the whole production was believable from the word go.

Sometimes the voices were too low - we were sitting at the front and had to strain our ears at times to hear. The bird sound-effects were overpowering to these ears, perhaps due in part to the aforementioned. Quite a few times I could see behind the wing curtains, ironically called the "masking legs", ironic as they did not always mask the legs behind them. And I would go the extra mile myself and put some oil in the cod-liver oil bottle which had just come from the village shop. The pace was slow at times as another audience member pointed out, adding quickly that on the whole it was an excellent performance for an opening night by an amateur group, and with faith of a pick-up in tempo during the play's run.

Apart from those tiny nit-picked nano-no-nos, it was thumbs up all around when all nine of us came out of the theatre. And for hours of discourse later. In the words of one of the bunch it was "magical". Yes, that sums it up!

Not an easy task to direct a group of amateur actors I'm sure, but bravo agus maith thú John Keane. Job iontach ar fad déanta agat!

You have three more chances of seeing this excellent production - calling everyone, especially those in and around Knocknacarra, to give your heart a holiday - head to Donegal in the 1930s. You'll be glad you did! To book your tickets contact An Taibhdhearc at www.antaibhdhearc.com/ or call 091-563-600

Thanks I'm sure to the sponsers:

St. Anthony's & Claddagh Credit Union
Tom Sheridan's, Knocknacarra
Joyce's Supermarket, Knocknacarra
Dunnes Stores, Knocknacarra
Joyces Community Rooms
Fahy Travel, Bridge Street
Learn2Drive School of Motoring
Lyons Auctioneers, Woodquay
Crowes Bar, Bohermore
Mullins Londis, Shrule
Decorate Your Own, Woodquay