Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve got around to making an episode of Troika, 10 months in fact, and a lots been happening since then. So for this episode, I’ve chosen three tracks that represent what’s happened since the last one!
Tagged with “music” (382)
The second of two rambly conversations with artist, musician, producer and polymath, Brian Eno.
The first of two rambly conversations with artist, musician, producer and polymath, Brian Eno.
It’s Springtime in Boston. And this month’s episode is a fresh invitation to connect with people, and emerge from Winter!
John Williams and Amy Shoemaker
I chat with Tina Lech in Boston, John Williams in Chicago, Eoin O’Neill in Clare, and Brian Conway in White Plains, NY about the sessions they lead. I learn how each player runs these distinct weekly music gatherings–and what Irish music means to them, and the listeners who come each week.
And trust me: whether you already play the accordion, or you’ve never been to an Irish session in your life, the story here goes way beyond a few tunes in a pub.
I hope you’ll join me as I try to decode what sessions are all about. My conversations with the session leaders–and with Boston producer Brian O’Donovan, fiddle teacher Laurel Martin, and flute players Melissa Foster and Scott Boag opened my mind and my heart. There’s plenty of music heres, too.
The Wednesday Session - jointly hosted by local musicians Kenny Hadden and Colin Edwards – will bring you the best of traditional and contemporary folk music.
The programme will include music and songs from the traditions of Scotland, England, Ireland, and also much further afield.
We’ll keep you informed about local events, and occasionally have live guests in the studio to talk about their music. Look up The Wednesday Session at SHMU on Facebook.
Celebrate Traditional Irish Music
This inaugural episode tells the tale of Cormac Gaj and the band he formed with fellow Boston tweens. I learn about their amazing journey to the All Ireland music competition in Sligo; and I dig into what it meant to Cormac… and to all the parents, teachers, and peers who were in on the qualifying round in New Jersey, and the big Fleadh (contest) in Ireland. Whether you already play the fiddle or you don’t know anything about trad music or dance, you’ll join me, Shannon Heaton as I visit Boston and Dublin Comhaltas branches (Irish music schools); Mary MacNamara’s kitchen in Tulla, where she teaches music and organizes Irish music exchanges; and Cormac’s living room where he tells his big story. Great stories here from Chicago fiddler Liz Carroll, too. There’s plenty of music here, too. Full music listings and information at www.irishmusicstories.org
Stephen Sackur talks to Brian Eno, the hugely influential contemporary music maker once styled the ‘brainiest guy in pop’ – except the word ‘pop’ does not really fit. Briefly a member of Roxy Music in the early ’70s, he then went his own way, creating ambient music, developing audio-visual installations and collaborating with a host of big names including Bowie, U2 and Coldplay. His output has been prolific and varied, but what is he? A musician, a composer, or an artist impossible to label?
Kirsty Young’s castaway this week is Bruce Springsteen.
His career has brought him 20 Grammys, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award and his albums sell in their millions around the world. He grew up in New Jersey where the Catholic church played a central role in his early life. The family teetered on the brink of poverty, and his first guitar was rented, rather than bought. He spent his apprentice years as a musician and singer with local bands before landing a record deal in 1972. When ‘Born to Run’ was released in 1975 it turned him into a household name. His first Top Ten single was ‘Hungry Heart’, ahead of his most successful album ‘Born in the USA’ which was released in 1984.
In spite of having long transcended the environment he grew up in, Springsteen has remained a chronicler of blue-collar lives. His records are frequently a political commentary on the struggles of ordinary Americans. In the Nineties he settled into family life with his wife Patti Scialfa who sings with his E Street Band.
Marie-Louise Muir explores the tradition of keening for the dead in Ireland.
Keeners were the women of rural Ireland who were traditionally paid to cry, wail and sing over the bodies of the dead at funerals and wakes. Their role was to help channel the grief of the bereaved and they had an elevated, almost mythical status among their communities. The custom of keening had all but vanished by the 1950’s as people began to view it as primitive, old-fashioned and uncivilised.
Now, broadcaster Marie-Louise Muir sets out to ask what’s been lost with the passing of the keeners.
She travels to Inis Mor, a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, where one of Ireland’s last professional keeners - Brigid Mullin - was recorded by the song collector and archivist Sidney Robertson Cowell in the 1950’s. Brigid’s crackling, eerie evocation of sorrow echoes down the years to capture a tradition in its dying days - a ghostly remnant of another world.
Dr Deirdre Ni Chonghaile is a native of Inis Mor and thinks modern funerals have taken on an almost Victorian dignity in a society that in general has become far less tolerant of extravagant displays of grief. Deirdre believes it was this very extravagance that helped lead to keening’s demise. Its emphasis on the body and human mortality was in direct conflict with the notion of a Christian afterlife and the influential role of the keening women may even have been regarded as a threat to the patriarchy of the Church.
As the story of the keeners blends with the waves and winds of Ireland’s west coast, Marie-Louise reflects on the passing of this once rich tradition.
Producer: Conor McKay.
Bridget Mullin with Sidney Robertson Cowell, keen performance and conversation. Smithsonian Folkways, Ralph Rinzler Archives.
Neil O’Boyle, keen demonstration on fiddle. Irish Traditional Music Archive, Dublin
Eithne Ni Uilleachan, ‘Grief’ from the album Bilingua (Gael Linn)
The Gloaming ‘The Pilgrim’s Song’ from the album ‘2’ (Real World)
Milk Carton Kids ‘Wish You Were Here’ (Anti/Epitaph)
Brian Eno ‘The Ship’ (Warp)
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