Brian Conway is one of the finest County Sligo-style Irish fiddlers in the United States and abroad. The winner of several All-Irish Fiddle contests in Ireland, the native New Yorker has been playing fiddle since was ten, continuing a musical tradition that Irish musicians brought to this country and which has continued to evolve here. He brought his fiddle to the KRWG studios to talk with Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin about the music he plays and the musicians who taught and inspired him, including his father. And while here, he demonstrated a little bit of the unique Sligo "accent" that defines Sligo-style fiddle-playing.
Tagged with “music” (397)
The really big questions.
Revisionist History goes to Nashville to talk with Bobby Braddock, who has written more sad songs than almost anyone else. What is it about music that makes us cry? And what sets country music apart?
Troika episode 31 is almost a ‘Music for Stars Part II’. Carrying on the theme of ambient ‘post-rock’ music that featured in the first ever episode, I’ve chosen three beautiful tracks that I particularly think of at dusk. That half-light is an ideal visual for this style of atmospheric music, and it’s presented here without interruptions or long opening spiel. I don’t even name the tracks, as I decided to leave it to this post to pass on that information:
- ‘Building Clouds’ by Olavi Louhivuori
- ‘Even if You’re Never Awake’ by Stars of the Lid
- ‘God’s Teeth’ by This Will Destroy You Enjoy!
The story behind Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the impact it has had on audiences.
Memories of the much-loved song Who Knows Where the Time Goes? written by Sandy Denny.
Sandy Denny was just 19 years old when she wrote ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes?’, her much-loved song about the passing of time. Soul Music tells the story behind the song and speaks to people for whom it has special meaning.
The record producer Joe Boyd and founder member of Fairport Convention Simon Nicol remember Sandy and her music. We speak to musicians who have covered the song, including folk legend Judy Collins and the singer Rufus Wainwright, about what the song means to them. And we hear from people whose lives have been touched by the song, including the singer-songwriter Ren Harvieu, who suffered a back break in a freak accident and found strength in the song during her recovery. And neuroscientist and best-selling author David Eagleman explains why the years seem to fly past ever more quickly as we grow older. Also featuring contributions from Sandy Denny’s biographer Mick Houghton and Dr Richard Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Music at Newcastle University.
People reflect on the emotional impact of the country-pop crossover track.
Wichita Lineman, the ultimate country/pop crossover track, is the subject of this week’s Soul Music.
David Crary is a lineman from Oklahoma. He describes his job - storm-chasing to mend fallen power-lines; travelling on ‘dirt roads, gravel roads, paved roads… up in the farmlands of Illinois and Missouri… down south in the Swamplands… it ain’t nothing to swerve in the middle of the road in your bucket-truck to miss an alligator ‘.
He recalls the first time he heard Wichita Lineman, travelling in the back of his family’s Station Wagon, listening to the radio… thinking that being a lineman ‘must be a cool job’ if someone’s written a song about it. Also a part-time musician, David has recorded his own version of the song which sums up his working life… on the road, working long hours, away from his wife and six kids.
Wichita Lineman was written by Jimmy Webb for the Country star Glen Campbell. It tells the story of a lonely lineman in the American midwest, travelling vast distances to mend power and telephone lines.
Released in 1968 it’s an enduring classic, crossing the boundary between pop and country. It’s been covered many times, but it’s Glen Campbell’s version which remains the best loved and most played.
Johnny Cash also recorded an extraordinary and very raw version. Peter Lewry, a lifelong Cash fan, describes how this recording came about, towards the end of Cash’s career.
Meggean Ward’s father was a lineman in Rhode Island… her memories of seeing him in green work trousers, a plaid shirt and black boots, wrapping his cracked hands in bandages every morning before setting off to climb telephone poles are interwoven forever with Wichita Lineman… as a child she always felt the song was written for her father, who else?
Glen Campbell also gave an interview for this programme. Shortly after the interview was recorded, Campbell went public about his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. His contribution to the programme is brief, and includes an acoustic performance of the song. It was a real privilege to record this, appropriately enough, down the line.
It’s honeybee season. And if all is well, bee colonies are at or near peak population this month.
Also buzzing down the mountainside: a poverty of pipers, to help me dissect uilleann pipe logistics, lure, and lore. For “The Piper” I talk to the Rowsome family, Tim Britton, Tom Rota, Patrick Hutchinson, and Isaac Alderson.
Now, the Irish uilleann pipes CAN drip with sweet, rich melody. And they are also as temperamental as hornets, as Tom Rota describes:
“You know, I don’t want to play anything else, but sometimes I just want to throw them on a fire and just be done with it. They’re hard to tune and maintain. Some days they sound great, and then two hours later they sound terrible… so pipers have this kind of built in sarcastic irony going on, this kind of love hate thing with the instrument, which I think is part of the tradition, really. And it’s really kind of fun.” –T. Rota
Pipers can lead a double life — as Irish musicians who play tunes together and enjoy deep social connections. And also as players of this demanding, temperamental, complicated contraption that only fellow pipers can truly understand. Pipers seem to connect to pipers of the past, perhaps even more than other instruments do with their predecessors. Patrick Hutchinson explained this beautifully:
“The tradition is a conversation between those who’ve gone before us and those who are here now. And they’re not gone, because the way they play is preserved in people’s fingers. And when you play and you quote other players, as pipers do, those other players are brought into the conversation.” — P. Hutchinson
These days people play the uilleann pipes all over the world. Some do come from five generations of pipers, but many come to it from non-musical families. As Isaac Alderson notes,
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from: who you are, where you came from. But what matters is the spirit and heart you bring to it… If you approach it with respect and a genuine desire to become proficient, I think it’s wide open.” –I. Alderson
I hope you’ll tune in on this conversation about uilleann pipes. Whether you already know about Seamus Ennis—or you don’t know anything about Irish culture—these conversations speak about challenge, gratitude, and reverence.
Tune: “Silver Spear,” from Kitty Lie OverArtists: Mick O’Brien & Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh
Tune: “Heartstrings Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton
Tune: “Tom Billy’s Butcher’s March,” from Swimming Against the FallsArtist: Joey Abarta
Tune: “Triumph Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton
Tune: “Padraig O’Keefe’s 1 & 2/The Humours Of Ballydaly” from Notes from the HeartArtists: Louise and Michelle Mulcahy
Tune: “The Praties are Dug and the Frost is All Over” from 40 Years of Piping
Artist: Seamus Ennis
Tune: “Pipe Solo – Slow Air” from Standing Barefoot at the AltarArtist: Tim Britton with Chulrua
Tune: “McFarley’s/Mill Na Maídí” from Harvest StormArtist: Altan
Tune: “Jackson’s Frieze Coat” from Irish Wind MusicArtist: Bill Ochs
Tune: “Kesh Jig” from In ConcertArtist: Bothy Band
Tune: “The Old Coolun” from Take Me TenderArtist: Jimmy O’Brien Moran
Tune: “Garret Barry’s/The Bucks of Oranmore” from In ConcertArtist: Paddy Keenan with the Bothy Band
Can sound kill? Inspired by a Kate Bush song, we ask whether sonic weapons could work.
"It started while listening to the excellent Experiment IV by Kate Bush. The premise of the song is of a band who secretly work for the military to create a ‘sound that could kill someone’. Is it scientifically possible to do this?" asks Paul Goodfield.
Hannah consults acoustic engineer Trevor Cox to ask if sonic weapons could kill. And Adam delves into subsonic frequencies with parapsychologist Chris French to investigate their spooky effects.
A lot of Troika episodes are auto-biographical, and this one is no exception. This time, I want to revisit the years 85, 86 and 87, when I was a fan of three bands, all roughly linked in a family tree.
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