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Celtic Notes

Celtic Rathskallions
24/11/2015

Last Thursday at the Alta Vista branch, the Celtic Rathskallions came to play (another one of our MASC-sponsored events for older adults), and a good time was had by all!

The Celtic Rathskallions are Wendy Moore and Arthur McGregor, two local musicians who have travelled throughout Canada and Ireland, performing and teaching in various venues, both with local orchestras and by themselves.

On Thursday, Wendy and Arthur treated us to a variety of traditional and original Celtic melodies, a few of which were familiar to the audience. “Song for the Mira” was a particular favourite, as was “Early One Morning”, the theme from The Friendly Giant TV show.  

The Celtic Rathskallions interspersed the musical numbers with tales from their voyages and stories about the songs that they were singing. (For example, the folk tune “Fields of Athenry” has been adopted as an anthem by a few Irish rugby teams.)

The musicians employed a panoply of instruments, including guitar, banjo, bodhran (frame drum) shakers, tin whistle, long (low) whistle, harp, auto harp, English horn, and oboe (or “refined bagpipe”, as Wendy called it). Wendy even gave us a sample of her step dancing -  in rubber boots, no less!

With luck, we’ll have the Celtic Rathskallions come back to the library in 2016, and we hope that many will attend! In the meantime you might like to borrow their CD, All Around the Circle. It's actually for children, but there are a few songs for adults on it as well (to keep parents entertained). The Celtic Rathskallions will also be coming out with a new CD (I believe for adults, this time) in 2016.

Where I belongContinuing on with the Celtic theme, Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea was in town this past weekend as a guest of The Barenaked Ladies at the NAC. If you didn’t get a chance to go, you might console yourself by listening to the recently released audio version of Doyle’s memoir, Where I Belong, which we have in our collection as a downloadable audiobook. (You'll have to be patient, though. There's a waiting list already.)

Doyle narrates the audiobook himself, and this works really well. Hearing him tell his own story, in his own voice and his own accent, the listener can’t help but be transported to the Newfoundland of Doyle’s childhood, to a family home full of music and a fishery-based town full of colourful characters (including the author’s grandfather). While there is much humour to be found in Doyle’s descriptions of his family’s routines and his neighbours’ interactions, there is also much love. One can sense that although his curiosity and ambition led him to leave Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, as a young man, Doyle has never really left his community behind. 

By the way, if you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas, the paperback edition of Where I Belong, published by Doubleday Canada, is also out this fall. 

Image: Where I Belong

Where I Belong

By Doyle, Alan
Image: Where I Belong

Where I Belong

From Small Town to Great Big Sea
By Doyle, Alan

All Around the Circle

By Celtic Rathskallions

Celtic Rathskallions