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A Day of Music: From Irish Whistle to Rock and Roll (2014)

After my night at the Crane Bar, I came back for more the next morning, as is customary at this bar. The morning “music jam” was played by a different musical group that featured an Irish whistle, which is much like a flute. The folk songs performed by the group highlighted the beautiful sound of the whistle. Its high pitch tunes were played by a musician who recognized me from the night before and during a break, he told me that he had been playing the whistle for a long, long, long time. A local couple from Galway, who come to the Crane Bar, every weekend, told me that the whistle player had, according to rumors, been playing the instrument for at least thirty years. The whistle player’s performance time, over the years, shows that in Ireland it is highly expected that everyone sing, play, tell stories and or write to keep the oral tradition alive from generation to generation. I definitely enjoyed listening to the whistle play performance, especially because it make me think of the song of the lark or to make a more local analogy, the song of the gray seagull. My second time at the Crane Bar was certainly worth the time spent.


After the Crane Bar, I have to wheel myself back to NUIG’s campus to attend a multicultural concert titled An Anú. The concert was open by a multicultural musical choir called Sonke. The name of Sonke comes from the Zulu African language word meaning together. The mane is important because the musical group also functions as a nonprofit that raises money to help struggling African families victimized by the many civil wars happening in the continent. The opening performance of the Sonke choir feature songs in the contemporary Zulu language and the ancient Māori language of the Māori people, native to New Zealand.


After the opening of the concert, the duo called An Anú came on stage and performed a fusion of Irish folk music, West African ballads, and new age/rock music that had a high level of social content and critic. One of the best songs in my opinion that the duo perform was “Native Sun.” This song is a response and protest against the displacement of native people from their native lands over the centuries in human history. Some of these victimized people include: the native guaranies in the heart of South America that now belong to Paraguay, the native Americans of the United States, the native people of Guatemala, the native of the West Indies, and of course the natives Irish speaking people that have been section off to Ghaeltachts Irish speaking villages.


Aside from the music and socio-political content of the concert, I found that the instruments used were interesting, specially the African instruments. The instruments were: kora (a long wooden instrument with twenty one strings), flute, Iris whistle, acoustic guitar, and darbuka (a long cylindrical instrument with one drum head).


The atmosphere of the concert was strongly multicultural and it was rich with the non-western musical traditions, despite the rock and roll.


I enjoyed it a lot.




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