Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bucket List #1

    Well, I have officially started my bucket list.  I love being a musician, but I equally love to sail.  That being said, I came across an event that I refuse to miss the next time Ms. Opportunity knocks her little fist on my  head. 
       Every four years, some of the world's finest racing sailors circumnavigate 39,000 nautical miles in the Volvo Ocean Race.   This June 30th, they will be ending their epic race in Galway City and I will be on board my 22' O'Day in Barnstabe, Massachusetts.  Not a shabby trade off, I admit.

Photo courtesy of Tanya Bokat photography

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

dust off those Cds

It's amazing what you find if you do alittle light housekeeping, especially while organizing that LP and CD collection. I came across an Ossian recording, "Totally Traditional Tin Whistles" featuring an array of accomplished musicians playing the heck out of this modest little instrument. I started listening to track 16 which features Fintan Vallely playing two double jigs, Sixpenny Money and Paidin O' Raftery. Ossian released this recording but I don't have the slightest idea when they did it. So here is the jig, Sixpenny Money, played slightly slower than the recording for your learning pleasure. It is a lovely whistle tune, even for those who are reluctant to smile at you when you walk into a session armored with a whistle.

Here is the manuscript:

Sixpenny Money

Monday, May 7, 2012

Let me tell you, it's been a long time coming

    Today felt like Christmas.  By my anticipation, I opened the door in a blur as the UPS woman stood there with two packages.  I signed in a hurried state, said "thank you" and ran for the utensil drawer in the kitchen. After carefully slicing the plastic tape adhering to the "well insured" box, I opened it...very slowly.  Much care went into making sure this parcel was secure and I sure as heck wasn't going to hastily open it.  The "flute" has arrived.  Wrapped with more packaging tape and bubble wrap lay a  dainty black case made by Northwind Cases in Tucson Arizona. I opened it slowly, eyes actually shut and smiling at me was a gorgeous African blackwood and silver 8 keyed flute made by the well respected wooden flute maker, John Gallagher.  I put the flute pieces together and discovered a sound that made my heart melt.  How do I verbally describe the sound?  I will try to describe the initial sound like a sommelier who tastes wine. When playing the higher register, it sounded refined, sweet, and crisp like an apple.  The lower register produced a strong presence, very powerful in timbre. It was so effortless to play that I felt as those I was committing a crime.
    But, here is the kicker, I can only play it for 5 to 10 minutes a day and increase it 5 to 10 minutes each successive day.  I have to break in the flute gently, folks.  Patience is a virtue and as much as I lack it right now, I have to bite this bullet and do precisely what Mr. Gallagher says.  All I can say is, I have fallen in love and there is nothing my husband and children can do about it.  They will have to accept this new personality with open arms into our new musical family.
    Oh, and what other package?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bernard Murphy's Polka

The "Tune Du Jour" this evening at the New York Irish Center will be Bernard Murphy's, written by 7 time All-Ireland champion on the button accordion, John Whelan.  He is a true master of his craft and a great friend.  This tune is featured on his 2001 release of "Celtic Fire."  Here is the manuscript: Bernard Murphy's written by John Whelan