Saturday, September 15, 2007

rain songs / dance

"So, I hear Maryland's having a drought?"

Hearing: James Connolly by Black 47


(Yeah, the picture's way too dark, and the date on it is wrong, but that's from Friday night, September 15th, at Canton Waterfront Park.)

"So, I hear Maryland's having a drought?," Larry Kirwan asked us, a bit bemusedly as rain poured down off the platform over his head, "us" basically getting soaked.
He went on to say something akin to, then Black 47 arrived and all is well. Ah, we did need the rain. After, when he and the other great band members were hanging out, supposedly to sell cd's and t-shirts, I told him that the crowd really would have been larger if not for the rain.
Not that he seemed bothered. He'd also said he'd be in New Jersey today, which I would know if I'd had time to read the e-mail newsletter he sent out last week, and he promised to take the rain with him. Ha.
Today, same place (Canton Waterfront Park, Baltimore Irish Festival), a few of the Maryland Irish (step) Dance schools will perform, including the other senior troupe at M's dance school. At some point after a ceili band, including Billy McComisky (sp) and Laura Byrne (sp), well-known good musicians play, today's headliner will be none other than Maryland Governor, Martin O'Malley, back to his musician moments with his band, O'Malley's March. It's cool, windy, and dry out today. He'll get a good turnout
M's in a feis today. Thankfully, L's mother asked Sh and I if M could do a 2-hand with L for this feis. M's never been able to dance at this feis previously, as she's always been with C. Sh said she hadn't thought of signing M up, but would. So, yeah! AND, M's 4-hand Oireachtas-hopefuls team will get a chance to compete, also. Nicely, figures are at the end, so M's not dancing first thing for figures, than waiting all day for her regular dances.
This means I'll race off momentarily to run an errand for Dad, visit him (I do every morning now, plus often again later in the day), and then get to the feis in plenty of time to see and be with M.
Update: Southern Region requirements to move up to Preliminary Champion are one hardshoe first place, and one softshoe first place, in Open Prizewinner. M has that. M's Irish Dance (ID) school requires a first place in all four of the main dances (reel, hornpipe, slip jig, treble jig). Works for M.

It was the die-hards out last night. Still a respectful sized crowd. Friend and I ended up, by the end, right up front. Funky Ceili was, of course, at the end. Several were dancing (a guy near us looked as if he thought of joining us and combining his group and ours). I practiced a couple actual step dance steps M and Ma taught me this past week. This is why. This is why we dance.
It's not the fru-fru feathers or flowers in the solo dresses (ack, I dislike those, anyway, and what's up with the fake tan crap I hear is popular in the higher levels in some regions?). It's not about winning awards. It's not even just about the fun and joy and love of dancing. It's the culture. It's the sharing and camaraderie (sp).  We're not so oppressed at this point, that we will be kept from dancing, and celebrating life.  (Not that the full culture ever died, not that everyone ever stopped dancing -- one possible explanation for the Irish step dancers holding their arms so straight down by their sides, and their backs straight, is that the British soldiers could walk by windows and perhaps see jumping, but not obvious dancing.)

Larry Kirwan is also a profecient writer and politician, aware of many political global things, of course, including Ireland affairs. Black 47 played Downtown Baghdad, and a new one, Stars and Stripes. More current events. And they played James Connolly, with several moments of the crowd with one fist in the air, respectful, solidarity and all that. He and his band members play great music, fantastic stuff. I love it.
There are bagpipes and penny whistles and bodhrans, along with electric guitars and a rock-band style drum set. There is a celtic flair, and it's fun stuff. Larry Kirwan wears his trademark green suede shoes. He chides us for not singing loudly enough during 40 shades of blue "Philly did better than this. DELAWARE did better than this. Come on, Baltimore." And we responded again, loudly this time.
Yet, there are never moments when the "average" person is forgotten (and yes, he's not only for the Irish, but anyone who has been downtrodden and such, including current immigrants into the USA). That we CAN dance, that we CAN holdfestivals. That we CAN have a voice.
My Honest Tea today says, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead. To me, the band Black 47 is a bit of an icon, legendary, and quite personable, really. A good reminder that we're all worthwhile, and we can work hard, and enjoy a bit of life, too. Worth dancing to:) Here's to all those feising today. I sure hope M has a good time, and yeah, if she wins firsts, wow, but if not? It's okay.
She'll be with friends, and family, and dancing. That we CAN dance, is a good thing.

Sorry it's taken so long between entries, all. Been super swamped lately, back to work and Dad discharged from the physical rehabilitation center, both on the same day that M started school. Ack. But, it's all good, right?


  1. I think the 'back to school' rush had us All super-swamped:) we lazed through the summer, and then bang! right back into practices,school functions, and fitting everything into a busy schedule again!

    Hugs to you, hang in there with your Dad. Hope he and your brother are doing well.


  2. I really enjoyed the rhythms of this entry; your love of dance really shone through. There is poetry in your words, "This is why. This is why we dance." Hope that your dad is doing well and that M is having a great school year.--Sheria

  3. It sounds like a great time, but I was particulary taken with what you said about having a good time & dancing...not just the winning.  That is such a good spirit to have.  I've not heard of Black 47 ~ I'll see if I can find anything on the web & give a listen.  I'm always up for new music.  Have fun & take care,