Thursday, January 14, 2010

What exactly is craic?......

Have you ever been in a pub or at a festival and over hear someone say " that was grand craic?" Well, I'm going to tell you what "craic" (pronounced crack) is to me.
I guess an explanation of the word itself is in order here. Craic is a term that the irish use to express that great fun was involved. It typically but not always involves music. You could be listening to your favorite band play at a venue or you could be participating in a session or ceili. Or you could be sitting around with your friends having a pint and a relaxing evening. These are all possible moments of craic. All of the above apply to me and my view of grand craic.

The pub session - when the musicians are tight and the tunes are flowing. That to me is the grandest craic of all. You never know who may come in and play some tunes with you.

An impromptu session born out of music camps. You meet and play with folks from all over the country and folks from across the pond, too. Sometimes you join in a play some tunes, other times you get a pint and just listen. Listening to those who make their living by playing music, but, still take the time to teach those of us who yearn to learn is a great inspiration. It tells me they truly love what they do and want to share their knowledge and skills. If you play an instrument, sing, or dance and have never been to a music camp you are really missing out. It doesn't matter what genre of music you're into - irish, bluegrass, old time, cajun, swing - there are camps all across the country for it. You name it, it's out there. They typically are a week long immersion of learning. Classes and demonstrations during the day, staff concerts and jams/sessions until the wee hours of the morning at night. New friends become familiar faces year after year. I can't tell you how many friends my husband and I have made going to these camps. You come home one very tired puppy, but, you recover from the nights of lost sleep and take back memories that you will cherish.

Festivals are another place to find grand craic. This photo is from a local one called the Deer Creek Fiddlers Convention. Old time and bluegrass competitions and jams are had for this day long event. Even though I no longer play this genre of music, I still love to listen!
Festivals are another of our favorite things to do and they are all over the country, big and small, all types of music, there for the mere admittance price of a couple of bucks. They are typically family oriented and a safe place to go with your kids, too. Some are day long, some are weekends or longer. I can guarantee there's a festival out there to fit every one's taste.

And finally, another type of craic for me is ceili or contra dances. Watching Morris dancers falls into this category for me too.
Now, I don't dance. Quite frankly, it's ugly. I've tried. I've learned what my limitations are and dancing is a no go. I'll stick to playing for the dancers. However, I love to watch the dancers. Their graceful, timed movements to the music. I envy them.
Yeats said it best in his works the Fiddler of Dooney -
"When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, Folk dance like a wave of the sea"
If you've ever been in a crowded room full of dancers, you know exactly what this means. It's a beautiful thing to behold.

Now I'm longing for warm weather and festival season. It will be here before we know it, but, in the meantime, I'll play in the session at the pub and have sessions here at the house.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know about the music camps. You must have a wonderful time! Thanks for the wave image of the dancers. Great!