Having moved to the Triangle fairly recently from Nova Scotia, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to connect with other Celtoids in the area, especially singers. It’s usually pretty easy to find Irish musicians and dancers in this part of the US, but not so easy to find folks who know or care about the traditions of Scotland and Cape Breton (other than Highland dance and piping). So when I spearheaded a Gaelic music, song, and dance event at Johnny’s in Carrboro last Saturday, I had no idea if there would be much interest.
Boy, was there ever! We had a huge crowd show up and I couldn’t be happier with the enthusiasm and participation from the community!
We started off the evening with standing-room-only attendance at the Gaelic sing-along. The whole group joined in on the choruses of traditional songs led by Tom Terry, Michael Newton, and me, including “An Fhideag Airgid “(“The Silver Whistle”), which was recently featured on the hit TV series Outlander.
Next, my husband, Michael (AKA, Dr. Newton, PhD in Celtic Studies from Edinburgh University), taught the group a collection of Gaelic phrases, from the oh-so-polite “Ciamar a tha thu?” (“How are you?”) to the decidedly naughty “Gun gabh am Fear Mór thu!” (“May the Big Man – the Devil – take you!”).
Then Tyler Johnson, Alison Arnold, Trish Hornick, and many friends pulled out their instruments for the session and the place really got lively! As much as I love a good Irish session, it was really fun to hear a big group playing mostly Scottish and Cape Breton sets featuring waltzes, strathspeys, reels, jigs, hornpipes, and probably other tunes that I would have kept track of if I hadn’t been stuffing my face with delicious scones and clotted cream from Johnny’s. In spite of the crowded quarters, a number of folks got up to do some steps, including an Apple Chill clogger and a few of my students. It’s always great to have the opportunity to dance to live music!
Many thanks to all the people who made this wonderful night possible!