What a strange and wonderous world this is.
Before I try to explain that simple remark, let me say that I am
third-generation American. My heritage is Russian Jewish, with grandparents
on both sides coming from White Russia before the turn of the current
In spite of that Russian Jewish heritatge or, perhaps, because of it, I
have felt a special affinity with Ireland for some time -- a sense of
connection with the heart and soul of the land, the people, the history, the
organic nature of Irish life itself, and the trials and the tributions that
come with it. I could make a strong case for a "Universal Soul" -- a soul of
similar passion and pain, hope and joy, magic and melody, shared by those
peoples around the globe who have had to survive and thrive for generations
in the face of crushing authority, a highly structured society and a
dominating gentry -- but I won't.
In 1990 I was fortunate enough to make a pilgrimage to Ireland. I stayed
in a 1700s farmhouse B&B a few miles outside of a village not too far inland
from the ferry port on the southeast coast, and met warm and gracious people
every where I went. My hosts, who were formerly strangers, introduced me to
their friends in town (and even forced me to enjoy 'tart and tea' with them),
pointed out this shop and that landmark, escourted me throughout the
surrounding countryside, walked me through the village church (built in 1250
+/-) and took me to visit with the village priest, with whom I enjoyed a long
conversation of substance, not platitudes. After several days in that
village, I drove to Cork via country lanes which I occasionally shared with
flocks of sheep. I have great stories about basically rountine, day-to-day
adventures, explorations and discoveries, but that's now why I am writing
Since buying this new Pentium hotrod, loading in my WP6.1, signing on to
AOL and later subscribing to the 'CELTIC-L' as soon as I found it, I haven't
been on-line much. I always have work to do when I'm on the computer -- I'm a
professional daydreamer and practicing wordsmith -- and it seems that I'm
always three days and four projects behind! So I don't spend too much time
reading my e-mail and, as we all know, the CELTIC-L can be abundant. It
accumulates in bunches! Apparently, we are an enthusiastic if not also a
Lately, I have been trying to go through much of the e-mail from CELTIC-L,
especially those dealing with music, probably because of the connection with
that soul thing, I suppose.
My own exposure to Irish music goes back to some early rock cross-over
(?), folk, folk- rock and related, including stuff by DONOVAN, the IRISH
ROVERS (Unicorn); the CLANCY BROTHERS & TOMMY MAKEM; the KINSTON TRIO;
PETER, PAUL & MARY; much of early BOB DYLAN; TRAFFIC ('John Barleycorn'),
SINEAD O'CONNOR and 'Danny Boy' (originally for me, at least, by JACKIE
WILSON, a R&B singer who did it circa 1962, and most recently by HARRY
Of late I have taken a very pleasing bite of CLANNAD and THE CHIEFTAINS
("Long Black Veil" -- with STING, MICK JAGGER, SINEAD O'CONNOR, VAN MORRISON,
RY COODER, MARIANNE FAITHFUL, TOM JONES and the ROLLING STONES!).
So the e-mail about Irish music struck a chord (pun very useful here). I
have just returned from a buying splurge at INCREDIBLE UNIVERSE (if you
haven't experienced that retailer's concept of "shopping as entertainment"
yet, you w-i-l-l !). The selection was very limited in Miami's heavy
Latin-rhythm orientation, but I did buy another CD by CLANNAD, one by a
Scottish folk singer named DOUGIE MacLEAN, a related CD
(TROUBADORS OF BRITISH FOLK, volume one) and "Let the People Sing" by the
WOLFE TONES -- a direct result of being introduced to that group by CELTIC-L.
THE WOLFE TONES ARE COMING !
THE WOLFE TONES ARE COMING !
Coincidentally (or not!), earlier today I received a copy of "FLORIDA
IRISH AMERICAN" (February 1996) published by the Irish Cultural Institute of
Florida. I have received the newspaper for about four years. The cover of
the new issue announces the 10th annual IRISH FEST, scheduled for FEBRUARY
16, 17 and 18 at Bubier Park in downtown FT. LAUDERDALE.
The two-and-a-half-day festival includes arts, crafts, goods, products,
culture, community events and, of course, music.
Friday night, February 16th, has been declard 'Celtic Rock Night'. The
acts performing include the SEAN FLEMMING BAND, HEDGE SCHOOL, TINKER'S
DAUGHTER, GOATS DON'T SHAVE and BLACK 47.
Performing on Saturday, the 17th, and Sunday, the 18th, are: the WOLFE
TONES, the MAKEM BROTHERS, SUNDAY'S WELL, IRISH TIMES, NOEL KINGSTON,
BLARNEY, the WHOLE SHEBANG, CAHAL DUNNE, JOHN EGAN, AVALON, DERMOT O'BRIEN
and DENNIS DOYLE.
I have multiple reasons for writing. I do want to send a warm hello to
my friends on the CELTIC-L list, especially those across the ocean in
Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Britain and the Continent. I also want to give
back what I can to the information on Irish music. And I want to share the
news about the opportunity to personally see the WOLFE TONES, the newest
evolution of the MAKEM BROTHERS and some of the other Irish performers coming
to South Florida in just two weeks.
I also want to say, universal soul to universal soul, that 'Irish' doesn't
just refer to a country or a people or a place or a heritage or a color of
one's hair (for those who still have a full head of hair) or a type of
social-relaxing-with-friends-after-work type of establishment.
Irish is also a state of mind. And the beauty of that is that, regardless
of where you may be at any given moment, you can always be Irish.
Now, if I could only hit the Florida lottery once or twice, I could buy a
couple of hundred CDs and catch up with so many of you who have been into
Irish music for as long as I have been into -- and away from -- good-old
Rock-n-Roll. And then I would buy tickets for Shannon!
Warm regards from South Florida and the Tropics,
(A [log in to unmask])
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