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In the Presence of Magicians

November 26, 2013

Omós the latest CD  from Peadar O Riada's website

Omós the latest CD – from Peadar O Riada’s website

Last night at the Church of St Nicholas in Galway three magicians took to a small raised area under the apex of the vaulted ceiling. Each one has already made his own outstanding contribution to traditional music. But the urge to continue, to collaborate, to explore is undiminished.

Triúr – Peadar, Caoimhín and Martin –  played their hearts out for us last night. The music was all composed by Peadar.

The small Monday audience – how privileged were we! – may have been sat in our seats, but there were transcendental moments where it must have seemed that our bodies were empty shells and our spirits burst and fizz-banged out, up to the rafters, all at a bows bend or at the insinuation of box buttons.

At one point we were offered (offered!!) a choice: a slow air, or a polka. Maybe because it was a chilly night our toes felt a need to tap – we chose the polka. I don’t know its name and I’ve messaged Peadar on Facebook to find out.

All I know is that the two fiddles and the box started out calmly, politely, as one would with a new partner at a dance. By the middle of the tune, the notes were high above us, dancing in the space between the musicians heads and the ceiling. I could nearly see them: spirits of notes, whizzing around like ghosts at play. Then they formed lines, like those colourful ropes seen on church bells and




they went.

Bow run against bow run, and the punchy box managing the current of air. Magicians making music.

How can a polka sound like a dance of joyous bells?

Perhaps it was the fact that we were in the medieval church, or that the acoustics there are so wonderful.

For myself, I would have been happy to have polkaed on, all through the November night.

Maith sibh Triúr!

Here is a taste of what you can hear on their CDs:





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  1. Love that, Karen. Fair play to you for trying to express it. (I’m at Peadar has linked to your post on Facebook > I’m at ) Hoping to see them (again) in the Mansion House tonight. Such small audiences at such great concerts is indicative of something seriously amiss in our culture.

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