My mind aglow after my writing group’s meet, I spontaneously popped into Garvey’s pub in Eyre Square. It was a Tuesday evening some time after 9 and there was a trad session in motion. My focus shifted from the hands of one musician to another as they all became one with their instruments, creating a rhythmic energy that was bigger than any of them, but of which they were all an essential part.
A man with long curly black hair, who looked like what I’d imagine of one of Dumas’ three musketeers, thrummed away on his bodhrán, providing the session’s heart beat. It transpired that he was Spanish. A flame haired lady from Brazil (but who looked very Irish) fiddled away frenetically in unison. A Japanese man sat on the outskirts, enthusiastically endeavouring to hold the flow and lose himself in the rhythm. A bespectacled and bearded English gentleman fiddled along in harmony. A somewhat entranced looking Irishman strummed away on an Irish buzuki, providing a rhythmic consistency to the momentum. Another lady, slender and tanned, (I’m not sure where she was from) accordion-ed along with them, providing a melodic back drop which could almost make one believe in fairy tales, leprechauns, and the luck of four leaf clovers.
The cultural melting pot of which this group was comprised embodies the soul of the new Ireland, with all its cultural diversity. The nationalities were varied but the passion for creating Irish music together made them as Irish as anybody could claim to be.
The music painted images in my mind of salmon swimming thousands of miles through perilous seas to their home in Ireland. The expressions of the musicians were hypnotic, and the movements of their hands looked instinctive and effortless, just as surely as the rhythm of the salmon looks. Even though, like salmon, they came from far away places, they were, as much as anyone could be, home.
The music, in its entirety, embodied a singular unity, absorbing everything into its essence. Like an unrelenting complement to the cycles of nature it was if the entire universe flowed through every note. It resonated with a sense of family, of friendship, of recreation, of procreation, of madness, of infinity, of infinite hope, of neverending despair, of possibilities, of impossibilities, of heaven, of hell, of never being away from home, but of being home everywhere.
I must return to see if I have the same experience sans Guinness.