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between Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Camp, the String Summit, Rockygrass,the Pickathon,Grand Targhee,Yarmony Grass, and some rendezvousez with other friends in between, you'd have to infer that this was a fun summer. As far as that goes, that's correct... th music and musicians were great and carried me through. I have some photos on my website showing some of the onstage scenes, and will add some information here soon... off to Targhee today.
We took either shuttle buses or whoever had cars out to Inish Beg where they had workhops, the roads are barely wider than the bus out here and it's so beautiful and serene. It's a farm estate on a little island far inland in the system of waterways and hills here, they have these great rolling swards of grass down to the water with sheep and a million birds. The folks who live there now had to pretty much rebuild the whole place from square one, and now there are guest houses and a pool and all the gardens & animals. I walked out to the front field and the crows and other birds were going at it and all the sheep were shouting at each other... It was a total cacophony. They have a separate garage with these amazing antique cars, the guy showed some of us around and we looked at a couple of amazing vintage 1939 Bentleys and some weird little bubble car-type things with 3 wheels, and some antique bicycles that Portlanders would flip out over. Two of those old penny-farthing bikes with solid rubber tires, and what is supposed to be the first 'modern' bicycle, real nice, just amazing... One thing they sure do have here is great old stuff. The last day was nuts...we were at The Glebe, an outdoor restaurant/B&B in an old hillside ruin with the grass ampitheatre dug into the side of a hill overlooking the whole bay of Baltimore. I don't know how it happened, but Aoife's dad Brian had shown up (apparently he had been leading some kind of tourist jaunt) and Laura Cortese, another young nuclear VOM fiddle diva & a big contingent of the other younger Bostony folks Including one kid from Michigan, Adam somebody who dances incredibly and this guy who's just like Rushad only on fiddle, Qweevin,(Caoimhin) whose name I'll never be able to spell. I get the feeling that this is how it works there in Middle-earth... People just conjure themselves up on cue. The show had Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill with a giant film crew filming, get this, Jeremy Irons' debut on fiddle (He's a famous movie star). Some kind of Irish public TV special about celebrities getting into traditional music. At first I was thinking "being John Malkovitch", you know that movie where the guy crawls into John Malkovitch's mind (Irons...Malkovitch...those two are sort of linked in my brain for some reason... do you ever see them together? and the guy becomes a puppeteer... but no. He's just interested in it. He's just into fiddling and getting back into it after years. Jeremy got through two tunes pretty well with us all rooting for him, helped by Martin and Caoimhin. And he made it so much more than tolerable by first reading some Yeats and just being generally charming and brilliant. So in the aftermath (nobody leaves a concert around here,they just turn to each other & start telling stories) I was talking & hanging and in the midst of the milling about I got introduced somehow to Mr. Irons who turned out to be the most charming & interesting guy in person and it turned out that he actually saw the ROS show and was interested. After a great 3 bowl of chili dinner with Declan's great big family (they ran that restaurant for years and totally know what they’re doing), it was back to the hotel where most of the shows and jamming happened over the 4 days. After the evening set by this violinist Tim Klihpius, the most uncanny Stephane Grapelli imitator yet (slightly wierd for me but fantastic if you never got to see Steph) and another huge emotional blowout archetypal set and sit-in with Martin & Dennis and a very long ecstatic jam session until light with a bunch of people playing hundreds of tunes I'll never learn. Lucky to be in Ireland on the second weekend of May 2008...there was not a better place to be.
and the Baltimore Fiddle Festival
My group The Republic Of Strings was invited to attend the Baltimore Fiddle fester, on the southwestern coast. Declan McCarthy & his family put it on. They used to own a restaurant in Baltimore. It's spread out over 4 days in this little tiny town, with performances & sessions spread out among the pubs and workshops. The great Annbjorg Lien also played, was amazing, I took her workshop, it's useless. I'll never look like her. In place of sleep, I was chugging vitamins and asprins and stuff and not feeling too bad. Also Jerry Holland & John Doyle, a great but very loud Galician band, and others to be mentioned.
Good Republic o'Strings show on Friday. We had Aoife out there singing with us and Brittany Haas, with Scott Nygaard and Tristan Clarridge. Cathal Hayden the fiddler for 4 Men & A Dog dragged me into an insane all-night session with him, Jerry Holland, an amazing irish fiddler named Brid somebody, and Mr Doyle -- thankfully I was far too drunk to be scared out of my wits like I shoulda been. Brittany got to lead an old-time jam in town at a pub which was a great melee, with beers all around & around. AnnBjorg's really good at that oldtimey Appalachian stuff too. Photos are visible at http://www.myspace.com/conkelleher
...to yet another website where I get to distribute my music and information. This looks like it will be a fun place to visit and add stuff, but of course that all takes time... I'll try to get stuff up here and figure out how to use all the groovy tools as quickly as i can. In between shows, that is. Best wishes, Darol