The above photo, known at least locally as "Dancing At The Crossroads" represents a time in Irish history when dancing was prohibited by the English. The Irish would meet on country roads, often where the roads crossed, bring food, drink, and music, while watching out for British soldiers. They danced their country dances, the ceili dances and set dances we dance now. Believe it or not, this is still practiced in some areas of Ireland today, but, with more modern conveniences to the players and dancers alike. Motor vehicles are what the folks look out for now instead of British soldiers!
And now, more traditional players.....
Button accordian player Billy McComiskey is a local based musician out of Baltimore, MD. He is a legendary player and learned from the cream of the crop.
Check his music out www.myspace.com/billymccomiskey.
This is his son, Sean, who also plays button accordian with the knowledge passed down from not only his father, but, many of his fathers peers also.
Sean is a part of the next generation of those who carry on the tradition of the music. Passing on the tradition is an integral part of Irish music.
The band that my husband and I play in do educational demonstrations at our local public library system. Some come to hear the music, but, most come for the history. The history of the music, the instruments, and the players. The folks who come range in age from 4 years to 85 years. We interact with everyone during the demonstration because we want them to ask questions, we want to hear their stories, we want to know if they play music. The demonstration typically only last an hour or so. They questions and references afterwards can go on for a bit.
The satisfaction from doing these demonstrations doesn't come from applause, well, maybe a little, but, mostly it comes from knowing we've possibly sparked someone's interest in the music. To try and pass it on. To keep it alive. To have a sense of community.
So, with that being said, tomorrow - the instruments of Traditional Irish Music and of course, more players.