Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Every other Wednesday Traditional Irish Music Sessions


I sketched at Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub (4308 Curry Ford Rd., Orlando, FL) on November 4th. Every other Wednesday, Vicki Gish, and Scott Vocca host a traditional Irish music session at the pub. Kathleen Cavanagh, has been playing the uilleann pipes for years. These three are members of Crooked Road, which keeps the traditional Irish music alive in Central Florida. 

An Irish Session is a gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music (occasionally including other Celtic genres such as Scottish, Brittany, Cape Breton, and French Canadian) on traditional Irish instruments. Traditional Irish music is made up of dance tunes such as reels, jigs, hornpipes, slides, and a few other miscellaneous forms including polkas, set dances, airs and songs. It is not so much a performance, but a sharing of traditional tunes among the musicians and those who care to listen. The instruments might include fiddle, flute, accordion, uilleann pipes (pronounced ILL-in), concertina, tenor banjo, whistle (a.k.a. penny whistle, tin whistle), mandolin, bodhrán (pronounced BOW-ron), guitar, and sometimes piano.

At this session there was a visitor from out of town. He was visiting from Minnesota and he found this Irish session to help him celebrate his 30th birthday. He had with him a bodhrán and his beat helped enliven every set. This is fairly common for musicians to visit from out of town.  There is no pressure to keep performing, so between tunes, musicians would relax and sip Guinness. I glanced at the bar several times to consider ordering a pint, but didn't see a bartender. Once I started to sketch, I was lost in thought. Vicki got up to order and she bought me a pint. Which I didn't expect, but I'm grateful.

Sketching at an Irish Music Session is a delight. I tap my foot to the beat and sway a bit as the sketch progresses. Perhaps traditional watercolor is more appropriate for a Irish session, but I used the tablet since I had come straight from teaching digital art to my students at Elite Animation. A little girl kept struggling to see what I was doing but her bigger sister kept pulling her back to be polite. A patron at the bar decided to pose in the archway behind the musicians so I could include him in the sketch.  Everyone laughed at his gesture.

Mark your calendar, the next Irish Music session is November 18th, followed by December 2, 16 and 30.

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