After months of interviews, I’m assembling Episodes of the Irish Music Stories Podcast. Here’s why I’m compelled to share the bigger stories behind the Irish tradition. (Hint: it’s not just about playing tunes together):
People from all over the world come together to play Irish music and dance. And I’m talking to lots of them to learn why and how Irish music (and related Scottish, Cape Breton, Bluegrass) brings so many together.
As fiddle player Liz Carroll said to me in her home in Illinois, even within the specific field of traditional music, there’s so much diversity.
“People have different skills.. When you talk about a community of people you have all the time in the world for–well, it’s because they all have these other skills. There are all different people in the world: the person that plays a million variation variations; the person who plays one; the person who plays none. I could find myself appreciating all of it.” –Liz Carroll
You don’t have to play the accordion or know dance steps to learn what tradition is all about. And you don’t have to be Irish to consider what it has to do with history and heritage, now that it’s played by people in Germany, Cape Town, Tokyo, and Colorado.
It’s a good time to learn more about our differences. There are lots of data banks out there compiling our distinct information in order to SELL us stuff– to influence us, to distract us, to numb us, whatever. Connecting with people and digging in/learning is a more sustaining course of action for me. It keeps me thinking, it keeps me frugal, it keeps my heart open.
Accordion player John Williams said, with all humor and all seriousness,
“A lot of my musical exploits in print have been described as better than TV… more live mano a mano contact, that’s what [an Irish music session is]. It’s better than sitting around! There’s that Sunday malaise. So.. go to the pub.” –John Williams
And Sam Sednek, children’s librarian in Medford, MA talked about the power of telling stories in her interview with me earlier this year,
“Sharing stories is a great way to connect people. Interesting things that we learn about others.. what we believe in, what’s good and bad, how to succeed and how to fail. All of that is a story. Sharing stories with your kid through reading or through personal stories is a powerful way to make your kid more empathetic, expressive, more creative, more everything.” –Sam Sednek
I’m heading to Ireland on Sunday (so no post next week). I’m hoping to return with a heart-full of stories and will publish the first full Episode on Tuesday February 14th. Here’s to empathy, creativity, and more live mano a mano contact this year.