I vaguely remember ‘Carolan’ music when learning to play the violin all those years ago, but apart from that I drew a blank when it was suggested to me over the phone.
Wedding music. The thought freaked me out, man. Just think… all those specialist musicians out there waiting to screw you as soon as you mention the ‘W’ word, just because they’re handy with a few strings and a plec. Everyone I researched cost at least nine hundred quid. For an hour!!! We’re in the wrong job lads! But; happily, a friend piped up one day and suggested I ask her second-cousin’s brother in-law’s nephew who happens to play in Dan’s bar in Greystones of a Tuesday night. Apparently those fellas can do amazing things with Mandolins and flutes that would blow the acoustics right out of a church, so myself and TAT went to have a gander last night.
What an atmosphere! Dan’s is a tiny pub that looks like it’s the household pet belonging to The Beachhouse bar/restaurant next-door. It’s like as though somebody left it there by mistake, or maybe its neighbour partook in a course of steroids…Dan’s bar is a strange but beautiful place.
The group of lads consisted of two guitarists, a tin whistler, a mandolin player, a box-squeezer, and a very timid bodhrán player. That was before the Uileann pipe player happened by, bringing a Venezuelan chap with a Suzuki guitar (a cuatro?) and a very beautiful singing wife who stopped time with her songs about the moon. A chap wandered in towards the end, ordered a pint, and drank it while singing all fifty-nine verses of a pretty comedic Irish song, then buggered off again. The Accidental Terrorist and I were quare’n entertained, and discussed becoming part of the furniture there at some point in the future.
They played a few Carolan tunes for us to give us a taster for Churchy things to come, that might have sounded something like this:
Apparently Turlough O’Carolan was a blind itinerant Irish harper who lived from 1670-1738 and got an enormous thumbs-up from Mr. Vivaldi himself for his music composition. He wasn’t rated much as a musician by his peers, rather for his poetry. For example, he fell off the wagon once, and penned the following poem;
He’s a fool who give over the liquor,
It softens the skinflint at once,
It urges the slow coach on quicker,
Gives spirit and brains to the dunce.
The man who is dumb as a rule
Discovers a great deal to say,
While he who is bashful since Yule
Will talk in an amorous way.
It’s drink that uplifts the poltroon
To give battle in France and in Spain,
Now here is an end of my turn-
And fill me that bumper again!
Problem sorted! Thank God for Irish Trad, and for the fact that I don’t have to pay through the nose to see some young wan’s Aria on my wedding day. Now, to find a babysitter…