Before the Coming of Spring
Cold sunlight glinting on the rocky fields of cloud,
The high shrill note of Winter's happy piper
Rises and lifts my dreamer far above the crowd.
Love comes again to the narrow day and riper
Than ever it was when Summer's apron flapped
Upon a drying line. The spacious time
Has gathered up its little things, but we have rapped
On Beauty's golden counter half sublime.
-Patrick Kavanagh, In Winter
While the blog has been in hibernation, like the squirrel we've been emerging from slumber through the winter to engage in activities that continue our mission in music and research, our fruits as ripe as in summer. We enjoy the creativity of others, inspired by winter and spring and develop our own, inspired by the changes life brings.
In early December we were delighted to go back to Youghal to continue with the development of the Artistic Plan for Brú na Sí. Daithí was joined by graduates Joanne Cusack and Ellie McGinley and there was an intensive weekend of workshops that introduced more elements of the Youghal suite, which is being composed by Daithí, to the group. A visit by John McGrath of the Clock Gate to the teach cheoil was a particularly inspiring highlight.
Back at home we were delighted to perform in Ardee Golf Club and the church choirs were central to Christmas celebrations. Daithí's article concerning music and academia with a focus on Louth was published in a special issue of Musicology Research on Geography, Music, Space. Another article, from a project with colleagues in Birmingham was published in the International Journal on Digital Libraries in January and convened the potential of digital libraries for engaging in music research. With other publication deadlines met, we look forward to starting more of our research publications in 2019.
The SMI / ICTM postgraduate conference took place in Dundalk in January asked a number of our students were involved in organising and presenting at the conference. The annual ICTM conference was hosted in February in UCD and we developed a paper on the Oriel Traditional Orchestra that addressed the conference theme ‘social interaction and change through music'. We were excellently situated in a session alongside Maurice Mullen of DKIT who is examining music in Fingal and Pamela Cotter from UL who presented on her research concerning Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Our presentation, informed by a recent survey of members, highlighted the impact of the orchestra and the benefits of music in the community.
February was busy as the Johansons, on tour from Estonia, visited Dundalk where they facilitated a masterclass and workshop. The BA Theatre and Film students at DkIT performed Huis Clos under the direction of Daithí and our colleague Mark Fearon. The Oriel Traditional Orchestra continued preparations for the premiere of Daithí's work ‘The Oriel March'. Daithí joined Scale Force for a session in Byrne's inn Dundalk. Led by Olive Murphy, the group creates a wonderful atmosphere and maintains an excellent ethos that encourages participation in Irish traditional music. Adèle composed a special piece for the christening of our son, which we performed on that wonderful occasion.
Although wet, the arrival of Spring promises sunshine and we have a busy diary of activities to take us to Easter and beyond. We look forward to meeting friends, creating music, sharing learning and engaging in research. We hope you continue to join us.
So winter closed its fist And got it stuck in the pump. The plunger froze up a lump In its throat, ice founding itself Upon iron. The handle Paralysed at an angle. Then the twisting of wheat straw into ropes, lapping them tight Round stem and snout, then a light That sent the pump up in a flame It cooled, we lifted her latch, Her entrance was wet, and she came.
Séamus Heaney, The Rite of Spring
‘Curating and annotating a collection of traditional Irish flute recordings to facilitate stylistic analysis’ with Münevver Köküer, Islah Ali-MacLachlan, and Peter Jančovič, International Journal on Digital Libraries, 2019, 20(1), 1-15.
‘Listening for Tradition: Contributing To a Regional Musical Identity Through Higher Education and Research’ Musicology Research Series 2018, 4(2) 'Geography, Music, Space'.