February 2013 (Cover picture – Tony Floyd Kenna, Geoff Bennett, Drum Stig & Syl Burke) Over the next few days we’ll be adding pictures, reportage and video links from our little MT ‘mini-festival’ here in Dublin.
It is great to welcome fellow MT members from England and Northern Ireland and see them so seemlessly and easily fit in the locals ! On Sunday 10th. we had our second ‘MT Sundays’ event at Fibbers Rock Bar on The Quays. From England we had Geoff Bennett & Julia Johns. Rhiannah Warm joined us from Northern Ireland, a regular visitor now ! And of course lots of ‘locals’ – Sean O’Neill, Brian Aherne, Ciaran Brennan, DrumStig, Liam Oragh, Hannah Ni Chiosog, John Marron, Syl Burke, Valerie Bowe, Marlo Freeman…..Spirit Riders Alan Begley, Mick O’Doherty, Paul Lynch & Colin Bassman Griffith ….. Tony Floyd Kenna and more. Huge thanks to Tamala of Fibbers for hosting us.
by Geoffree Bennett
‘The title for this article comes from the spy thriller filmed in the eighties about a chance meeting between a spy and an actress but the article does not draw from that event.
It was a dark, damp morning. Any promise of improved weather was hidden in a cloak of fog. The road was long but light in traffic and the the engine hot.
In no time at all, the car was purring through anonymous streets searching for the ferry terminal. Then, out of the darkness a faint outline against the skyline told me I had caught sight of the ferry like a tethered behemoth surrounded by a long cage-like fence.
Soon my suitcase, guitar cases and I hunched around a small cafe table as I nursed a large paper cup of black coffee and in my mind penned a soon to be classic, ‘Outwardbound’. After a while I threw the jumbled thoughts and riffs into the back of my mind and began to people-watch, a favourite pastime. The line-up was assorted with elderly back-packers, bleary-eyed rugby supporters and a group of young fresh-faced and excited young women. I loved the way they undressed me without even looking. This thought soon joined the discarded song at the back of my mind.
The sailing was only made interesting by the newspaper puzzles and the sound of Darkey Kelly’s (the cd) in my ears. Before either were completed, the ferry had reached its destination and this Englishman was truly abroad.
With only time to take in the the bright skyline which explained why Dublin is indeed a fair city, I was once more nursing a black coffee awaiting the promised arrival of an old friend I had never met, Tony.
At this stage of my article I realise that the youngsters have drifted off to more exciting things and the elders have just drifted off but I am still here to continue the tale.
By evening, the fair maid from Pompey and I were seeking out ‘Fibbers on the Quay’ where we would finally meet the faces and voices I had hitherto only seen and heard through my lap-top.
I felt reassured by an earler comment from Sean O’Neill that I was not to worry should I be a disappointment and they would probably just write a song about it. I tried to cast back to an historic example of English failure but couldn’t find one. Imagine my excitement that I could be in the van, a first……but back to the story.
Fibber’s is a Tardis-like entity. It’s dark exterior opens into a dark interior but this leads to a well lit stage and a friendly atmosphere. Soon the faces appeared, smiling with hands and arms extended, ….had they not yet heard the rugby score?
The evening was an eclectic thrill as my heroes appeared on stage. The spirited ‘Spirit Riders’ led by Big Al Begley gave me something to tap my toes too and I could n’t resist the urge to dance like a dad remembering when ‘dancing like a dad’ was cool!
Famous faces drifted on and off stage and we were treated to some wonderful live music. Floyd Kenna et al performed and backed through the night and with a welcome reurn of the Riders all those songs from in my ears now came alive before my eyes. I admired Nelson Mandela’s sartorial elegance and imagined Ciaran Brennan in a new shirt. Occasionally, I would hear myself called to accompany on harp. I never knew the key but neither did the artiste so it mattered not!
The ladies were wonderfully represented with Julia, Rhiannah and Valerie all of whom I had heard before, joined by the amazing Marlo who took the stage and the floor by storm. Reluctantly we bade farewell after a wonderful evening thanking the beautiful Tamala for making it possible.
On Tuesday night, I took a short walk across to Darkey Kelly’s to meet yet more ‘old friends’ I enjoyed the arthurian set-up which allowed everyone to perform and everyone else to accompany. I enjoyed extemporising with the harmonicas but was caught out when called to take the instrumental break on a tune I didn’t know. I blame my inability to keep a melody on my education as a youth where I only learned harmonies. Still the faces continued to smile sympathetically much like that lovely ‘Meals on Wheels’ lady and the nurse who helps undress me on those embarrassing….but not unpleasant, hospital visits. (this is the fictional section of my article!)
The evening continued with wonderfully improvised music. I finally met the great Joe McGuinness, Wanman Shau; dozed off to Sean O’Neill’s lullaby; tried unsuccessfuly to play the wine-glass to Greg Clifford’s performance; admired superman’s new shirt; winked at the beautiful but I imagine long-suffering Hannah and accompanied my new friend Brian Aherne who reminds me of a friend I used to sing in pubs with in the sixties. A truly international flavour came with the Anglo-Irish partnership of Roadbike Julia singing in French with Liam Orah.and the north-south combination of Rhiannah Warm and Brian Aherne performing Rhiannah’s ‘Run Rudy Run.’ I look forward to seeing the video footage but also to viewing the images captured by a Liverpudlian, called Adrian Wharton who appeared and asked if he could photograph the event. I have looked at his facebook page and he seems to be a fine image-taker. Look him up!
That night I sadly bade farewell but meant adieu. I hope to revisit and perhaps to welcome you all here in the land of the ‘oppressor’ (Thanks for that great inroduction Tony!)
This would be the much-welcomed end to my article had not fate taken a hand. I arrived at the Ferry port to meet my afternoon ferry only to find it cancelled, leaving me idle at the terminal for six hours.
Sean O’Neill had invited me to join him at a local radio station that afternoon (with presenter Keith McLoughlin) had I not been sailing. My taxi-driver, a credit to Dublin in the shape of one Michael Mann phoned Sean on my behalf (I have language difficulties) and then drove me to Sean’s house without bothering to switch on his meter! I then had the new experience of accompaning and playing at the radio station. I have since spoken to both the listeners, Tony and a Wayne Gilroy.
After a quick cuppa with the lovely Shirley, I was escorted back to the ferry for a comfortable crossing and return to terra slightly firma but still vibrating from that music, laughter and spirit.
Thank you all so much for a wonderful adventure. I hope you will have me back. I promise not to write another travelblog!’
Geoff, Julia, Mick & DrumStig http://musicianstogether.com/video/N8SXKBH32HWR/MT-Sundays-2-Juia-Geoff-Rhiannah-Mick-amp-DrumStig-at-Fibbers
Rhiannah & Brian with John & Colin http://musicianstogether.com/video/8YNH2KRWS1B2/MT-Sundays-2-Rhiannah-Brian-John-amp-Colin-at-Fibbers
Rhiannah & Brian with John & Colin http://musicianstogether.com/video/AXDG9GX1UWSA/MT-Sundays-2-Rhiannah-amp-Brian-with-John-amp-Colin-at-Fibbers
MT8 Tuesday 12th. February…..
‘Extending accross the pond, Darkeys, Tuesday 12th. Feb. 2013
Roll call; Rhiannah Warm ( Northern Ireland), Brian Aherne, Seán O’Neill, Geoffree Bennett (Engerland – great to meet Geoffree for the 1st. time , superb harp player), Julia Johns (also from accross the pond ) Liam Orlagh , Vacant Chair (sob – no !, I meant sob as in cry lol ) , Syl Burke, Wanman Shau, Mick Brady, Ciarán Brennan and Hannah, Chris Burke, Greg Clifford ( better late than never lol). One notable absentee was ‘Vacant Chair’ aka Tony Floyd Kenna ( he says he’ll bring a note to explain ). A lot of people said it wasn’t the same without TFK. I said I agreed but wasn’t that good – nobody agreed with me ! lol.
I seized this opportunity to try to be in charge although drew the line at sitting in the revered seat of the maestro. I wasn’t the only one to not take the seat, everyone was afraid they might be struck down by a bolt of lightening or something !
It was a great night – one of Darkey’s best. I believe that (as with the MT site ) the fact that rather than being over-critical ,everyone is so supportive, it brings the best out in us all. People are taking more chances, being a little more adventureous and getting more confident because, there is no fear of ridicule, if things are less than perfect. I think these meets help us to demand more of ourselves and we can see or learn, that there is always more that we can do to improve and get more from our music.That said, just being there is an end in itself !
As you can see frome the roll call above – there were so many turns (all great) that, it would take forever to go through them all. One of the highlights for me was TFK’s Alison (in his absence) , it turned into a great jam that took on a life of it’s own. It was good to meet our friends from outside the pale and accross the pond ( that’s Dublin for, outside of Dublin and accross to England lol ) . I Hope others will follow next time or, maybe our good example will rub off in other countries . It would be interesting to see a few videos of meet-ups from other countries and what their approach to ‘this sorta thing’ might be.’ Wanman Shau.