A Session in Kinvarra

Ennistimon, lunch with friends and Kinvarra with Dermot Byrne, Florianne Blancke and others.

Spent a little time waking up, playing tunes (if you’re not a musician our schedule would drive you crazy). We live for the music on this pilgrimage, we eat, drink, breathe and bathe in the tunes. Often we’re playing before we’ve even really woken up, individually working aspects of a new tune or set we’ve wanted to learn or just heard the night before. Some might call it a madness, we just call it playing tunes!

Janelle texted then called wanting to set up a meeting and lunch. She suggested 10:00 and I countered with 11:00. We’re a bit bleary early, session start at 9:30 or 10:00 and end at 12:30 or 1:00, sometimes later. By the time we get back to our place and calm down we’re in bed at 2:00 or later, musician’s hours. We drove in to Lisdoonvarna met John, Janelle, Cathy and Timothy and guided them up to our eyrie on the hill. We had a nice lunch which Morgan presented beautifully as he always does. He’s an artist in so many things. Our guests had to drive back down and all the way to Shannon since they flew out the next day. We said goodbye and grabbed naps.

We were told by the musicians at The Roadside there was to be a session in Kinvarra so we headed over there in the evening. We didn’t know what pub it was in so we drove there, parked and scouted  until we found it at Connolly’s We saw a poster on the wall stating that Dermot Byrne and Floriane Blancke were at this place every Monday. As soon as we saw the name we knew who they were. Dermot is a great box player, he toured with Altan when they played in Spokane back in 1996 and has been an active musician for decades.

Florianne is a marvelous harpist and Don and I have played the CD they put out together on our radio show. The two of them together make very lovely music. By the time we got there the session was packed. Once again we were a bit late and didn’t feel like crowding in. A little more intimate session is what we crave, and as Morgan states, once you get a certain size it seems like it becomes about proving you can play the tunes and keep pace. They took a break and when we had a chance we said hello to Dermot and in the conversation it understood we were players. He said that we should grab our instruments that “it would calm down a little later” but we demurred. Morgan mentioned to him that he could play about half the tunes they played and Dermot with a moments hesitation said “well, why don’t you just play over the second half” Irish wit, man their fast.