On July 1st, I went to a cultural event called “James Gallagher and Friends” which was part of the “5th Colours Fringe Festival” that is hosted by Galway city from July 1-8, 2014. First, I must say that on that night I was still not used to Irish time, so I expected that the event would begin on time, but of course that didn’t happen, it started half hour late. When the event started, I was a little put off by the jazz being performed in an Irish pub, but by the second performance, I understood that the event was multicultural. This was because the second performance was given by James Gallagher playing a banjo and singing an Irish folk song. As the event went on, the audience made up of performers and listeners alike began to participate in a cultural exchange, since some of the performers asked the audience to sing along or keep the beat.
The performance also featured a song in Irish, reminding me that in the western parts of Ireland like Galway Irish is kept alive alongside English. The song was a relaxing change of pace from the jazz and the banjo, because it was sung acapella. One of the concluding songs of my night was an original song, sung by an Afro-Irish singer. His performance reminded me of the rhythms of the American South that for me evoke a forlorn mood similar to that of the Spanish gypsy duende and canto jondo. All these musical and cultural connections to Irish folk music, the Afro-Irish and American south, and the music of the gypsies that I am describing comes from what I learned in “Music around the World” and “Sikh Musicology” taught by Dr. Francesca Cassio, the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology and an Associate Professor of Music at Hofstra University, New York.
Coming back to the cultural event, I enjoyed it as much as I could because it exposed me to the many colours of Irish music, but unfortunately I had to call it a-night early because, at one point, I could not tolerate the cigarette smoke anymore. Aside from that I enjoyed the cultural event very much and cannot wait for more events to come my way.
P.S. I am also happy to report that I have not found any significant barriers to my full participation in the festival with regard to my Electric Assist wheelchair…BUT to my shame, on my first night on Galway, I fell from bed in my sleep…I’m not used to twin-size beds.