I’m here in Europe for a few weeks sharing my music with audiences and passersby. A short and solitary visit to my ancestral land of Great Britain took me to Northern Ireland, where I met local musicians at a country pub. Two men with tattoos and muscled necks, not young, sat at the bar. A lone American woman in search of my first taste of Guinness, I wandered in at the suggestion of my country guesthouse concierge and took a seat at the bar.
The little pub went quiet upon my arrival, but soon was buzzing again with friendly people who asked me questions and teased me about ordering a pint of Guinness. There were such witticisms as “We hate the stuff, but we don’t have to drink it, we’re Irish”, and “Maybe you should have ordered a half pint for your first time.” No, I didn’t like the Guinness, and my new friends jovially offered to buy me my preferred drink of Diet Coke. But beverages aside, the conversation was all about music. My new tattooed friends, John and Kenny, were tough looking single dads who work in a local factory and have a band called J & K. They play American country music with some Irish music on the weekends.
I was inspired by their passion for the music. As they spoke about it, their eyes softened and their voices sweetened as if remembering a dream. I was sad that I was leaving the next day because they had a gig in a small nearby town. I wanted to hear them play. As I left the pub, the toughest looking one said, “As I told my wee one, if you have music, you’ll always be alright.” I agree.
Heading back towards the airport the next day, I had one night to spend in Dublin. I wanted to hear some real Irish music but didn’t have time to search around too much. I decided to join Dublin’s Musical Pub Crawl. (HYPERLINK “http://www.discoverdublin.ie/musicalpubcrawl/mpcvideos.htm”http://www.discoverdublin.ie/musicalpubcrawl/mpcvideos.htm) Touristy, I know, but it was highly recommended and since there was a soccer match between France and Ireland that night, I thought the musical pubs would be a little less crowded.
I got lucky! The Pub Crawl was lead by two amazing Irish musicians who took us to two very quiet pubs and really taught us about Irish music while playing examples. I have posted a couple of videos from my flip cam for your listening pleasure.
At the end of the night, they made what they called “The Noble Call.” In Irish music, they believe that everyone has a song to sing and that it is your duty to share your song, no matter how well you sing. So at the end of an Irish music session, the paid musicians go out for a beer and leave the audience alone, waiting for one crazy person to launch into a song. It is considered rude to interrupt so everyone listens and sings along if they know the refrain. Then another person offers a song, and another, until late into the night. The musicians come back and join in too.
They did the Noble Call at our session and I decided to be the crazy person to start it. I sang a song my grandmother taught me called Mockingbird Hill. A newlywed couple sang a song about a hurricane party in New Orleans and another woman sang a song she had written about slavery in America. People really shared and even those who didn’t sing appreciated it. It was colorful and fun. I could feel that more people wanted to sing but decided not to for some reason. Regret.
I am a singer. I cannot deny that I am a singer, nor can I stop being one. I love the stage and the power of singing to transform any situation into light. I am the dreamer of dreams. I am the bringer of beauty. I answer the noble call and share myself with others through singing.
If you have a song, sing it every day. In fact, it is your duty to find your song and to sing it. Sharing a part of yourself with others through singing is a safe and lovely way to change the world for the better. It is an Irish inspiration…