Learning about Irish folk music


It was a 3-concert weekend.

After Filipino music Friday night, we went to the Unitarian Church for Four Shillings Short.

Aodh Og O’Tuama and Christy Martin are nominally based in California but mostly seem to live out of their van, finding lodging when offered.

As Martin said, their lives for more than 20 years have been based on “a place to play and a place to stay. We can go anywhere on the planet.”

While in town to perform and see family in Lockport they stayed at Stella Niagara.

Their array of instruments is bewildering. O’Tuama’s playful humor and wit is a nice accompaniment to music played on traditional instruments.

Martin played everything from a hammered dulcimer to a Sitar and a bodhran drum.

O’Tuama joined in with an array of tin whistles, as well as a psaltery and a krumhorn.

A psaltery is a triangular stringed medieval instrument. The krumhorn is a double-reeded woodwind.

Hearing music for the first time makes it sometimes difficult to remember but the Grim Reaper Rag was a fun song filled with euphemisms for death, “bought a one way ticket on a freight train out of town.” “Bought the farm”. “Sleeping with the Angels” and more.

The sanctuary at the church was perhaps 60% full. The acoustics in the room were good. The crowd, much like the congregation, skewed older.

Still, it was great to hear remarkable music in a beautiful place.

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