Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Deireadh Seachtain den scoth-An almost ideal weekend
What a weekend gone by. My three passions in life(apart from the one who'll get the roses today), all rolled into three days, and with fabulous results, except for one two minutes.
It started on Friday night with probably my favourite music group of all time, the wonderful Moving Hearts. The line-up of Dónal Lunny, probably Ireland's most talented musician/producer/composer/director, Keith Donald, who can make a sax sing sweetly, Davy Spillane, master piper and whistler, the ever-smiling Eoghan O' Neill on the bass, and the super-percussive Noel Eccles on percussion and Brian Calnan on drums were joined on the night by Graham Henderson on keyboards and Anto Drennan on guitar. This was the music of my youth, therband I remember seeing at least forty times from the first occasion at Siamsa Kilkenny in Nowlan Park in 1981 I think.
One of my own personal stories relating to the Hearts occurred on my wedding day in Jenkinstown church, all of 17 years ago. The tune we had picked as a reflection piece after communion was a piece from 'The Storm', the instrumental album which the lads were celebrating on Friday. It was called 'Tribute to Peadar O' Donnell, written to celebrate the life of one of Ireland's inspirational Republican Socialists. Unfortunately, the parish priest of the time took exception to 'any tributes to communists in my church', and instructed that it not be played. A tune of another name, but bearing remarkable similarity to the arranged tune was played on the day. When I looked up at the concert in Vicar Street on Friday, who did I see except the Clara!!!! Piper, Billy Carrigan, who had played the tune on the day. Smiles all round:-)!
One of the dozens of faces I recognised was former Students Union leader, Giollaiosa Ó Lideadha, who was President of USI in 1985/86. Gizz, as we called him, is now one of the country's leading barristers, and still a charming rogue. The womens' heads still turn when he appears I noticed, although he has also kept his radical credentials alive. He even professes to occasionally reading this blog. He was also, mind you, the only USI President to send pics of himself out to every college, although he always claimed somebody else did. I remember there was a ferocious row about which union activist got to keep it! Anyway great to see you again Gizz, and it's time the USI lads organised a decent reunion again.
Back to the music, it was a fantastic gig, rolling back all the years with all of us slightly greyer, slightly fatter, slightly slower fans still lapping it up. As Eoghan quipped after a rocking version of 'McBrides', "Can we have two respirators and an ambulance please?" Here's to the Hearts taking to the road again, and maybe one or two of the former vocalists will join in. If ye can do Planxty lads, this shouldn't be too difficult!