show episodes
 
The Blarney Pilgrims Podcast is a weekly journey to the heart of Irish music. We interview players of Irish music about how they first came to the music and the place it occupies in their lives now. We use the word ‘heart’ intentionally, because heart is what this music, and the people who play it, are all about. It’s a funny, warm and often unexpected journey – and the tunes are crackin' too. Dominic Black has made radio shows for the BBC and NPR stations in the USA. He's also an oral histo ...
 
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show series
 
An absolute stoater! A Great Session = 'The maximum fun possible, every night!' From Dundalk to Belfast, and finding freedom in Edinburgh. Hamish Henderson and the wild nights in Sandy Bell's. Mike One-Shirt and Luke Plumb; Deaf Shepherd and the great encouragers like Cathal McConnell. The consolations of music. House sessions in Venice Beach, meet…
 
'I could play reels all night if I knew enough of them.' Country Sligo in the '50s and '60s, to London then Sydney. Father, mother and uncle playing the fiddle, learning at country house dances and 'having a go myself.' Ceili House on Radio Athlone, and looking forward to Friday night house dances. Falling in love with the accordion. Listening to t…
 
From Cavan to Glasgow. Party houses and late night tapes. Finding your feet in sessions that suit. Creating your own space to play. The Navvy poet Patrick MacGill, The Road Across The Hill, Newcomer and The Children Of The Dead End. In this episode we play: The Road Across the Hills Newcomer By and By Atone To listen, stream or download simply clic…
 
Tin whistle with Marian Egan (Flannery) in Hulme. Touring New Zealand and Australia. First banjos and joining Curragh. Toss the Feathers and choosing work over the road. The social side of learning. Joe and Jack Cooley and the lost tapes from America. The Love of Lucia, Kitty’s Twelve Roses and The Gort Mile. In this episode Angela plays: Port Chui…
 
Irish Fenian rebellion prisoners and the songs of the last convict ship to Australia. Ned Of The Hill, John Boyle O'Reilly and Exile In The Kingdom. The Stardust Hotel and the birth of Drogheda Boxing Club. The London squat scene, Jamaican sound systems and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Secret Family Recipes and looking back at tr…
 
Buying your first guitar with your confirmation money. Playing 182 tunes in two hours. Winning Réalta agus Gaolta. Cutting your teeth in Raglan Road Orlando. Finding a mentor in Kíla's Rónán Ó Snodaigh. Translating the craic. Avoiding the abyss of lockdown and a casual Disney Princess flex. In this episode Maċa play: Devil's Den Something Blue Feel…
 
Finding Michael Jackson in the Blue Mountains after ten years in a Buddhist Bush community. A year of four hour nights. Mozart with a Sligo lilt. Ten hour train trips for one hour lessons. Scottish baroque music, modal tunes, violin d'amore, and combining art music and folk music. Catch Shane Lestideau in Queenscliff during the Boxwood Festival fro…
 
Stiff Little Fingers, punk rock, rebel songs and finding your tribe. Getting your head shard. Good listening makes good music. An Achill Island session and a musical awakening. Losing good friends and finding solace in music. GameStop, countercultures, DIY creativity, Inflammable Material, and of course, The Irish Mandolin... 1-2-3-4! In this episo…
 
Digging into tunes. Paddy Jones. The Draoicht. Sports and music, and finding your place in both. Coaching basketball in Ireland and the Tralee Tigers. Carl Hardebeck, The Blind Bard of Belfast. The fiddle as an old person's instrument. Sliabh Luachra. Padraig O'Keeffe. Paddy on the Hardwood. Slow airs in sessions and New Mexico polkas. In this epis…
 
The Liam O'Flynn Award. Digging into the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Ulster hunting songs and mummers. Hare coursing. Life in Lurgan County Armagh. The Ceili House and legend of Seamus Tansey. Prehistoric cairns and building on the tradition. The magic of the session and finding inspiration in the music. In this episode Barry Plays: The Holy T…
 
We ARE the source.' John Kelly of Capel Street and Scattery Island. Hiding the fiddle under your jacket in Dublin in the rare oul times. Strange hornpipes, slip jigs, slides. Patsy Geary, Jimmy O'Donahue and Kilfenora's three bakeries. The memory palace and preserving a life. Ireland, Australia, Tommy Potts posters and the evocative power of seagul…
 
A bit of beach time, and the third of our compilations from the year of 2020. Featuring Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Una Monaghan, Jason Rouse, Emma Lewis, Joanie Madden, Rita Farrell, Daithí Gormley, James Keane, Tara Howley, Sean Lally, Cathy Custy, Hajime Takahashi, Catherine McEvoy, Ciaran Kelly, Cameron Mather, Áine Tyrrell, Sean Mathews, Liam Thom…
 
Ahh, the week between Xmas and NYD. Sure what else would you be doing but watching classic TV and making best of 2020 lists. Here's part 2 of our SMASH HITS 2020 to help you through. Don Meade -The Haunted House and The Lark on The Strand Shannon Heaton - P. Joe Hayes Number 2, The Cottage in the Grove and The Mother and Child Reel (with Matt Heato…
 
All the best of the tunes and songs from the last year of Blarney Pilgrims Podcast. And by way of thanks, the conferring of titles on the Patron Saints who've supported the podcast over the last year and a half. 'Out of the blue, maybe thirty, forty birds come and they all start singing beautiful, that was the feeling it had like, you know...' Than…
 
The legend. 'We just kept climbing up that mountain.' The hardest working woman in folk music. Hearing Mary Bergin and the beginnings of a career in the entertainment business. New York, the drive to succeed and picking up the phone thirty times a day to get a gig. Balls, weddings, county dances, and the circuit. An American in Ireland. Tour(s), in…
 
So much in here: piping as meditation and not setting fire to the old Ganley flute. Starting on the whistle but falling for the pipes despite the danger. The eternal conversation: reeds, drones and regulators. The session spaces of Belfast, open piping closed piping, Tommy Reck and saying 'I Love You' to Liam O'Flynn. Being a girl and running an al…
 
Stories of a life in music, so far. Ancient tunes and new ones, losing a loved one and finding her again through tunes. The Irish connection. Out of The Wind, Into the Sun: depression, loss, and the therapeutic power of psilocybin mushrooms. Recovery into music. All of everything in a single tune. 'Keeping myself in the air as an artist.' Country s…
 
A chat to mark passing the 100K download mark, with Gerry McKeague of Belfast and Geelong. About what we've learned so far and where we're going. Seriously great fun, and a lovely chance for us to think out loud about what this all means to us. And to say thank to all of you who've travelled with us this far. Tunes: Darren plays Sandy River Belle a…
 
Kilfenora; the nervous you get playing in front of ten people, worse than playing in front of a thousand. Leaving your ego at the door. Being happy with what you're doing, being happy within yourself. First hearing the pipes and the trials of competition. Restless creativity, and finding your way to Riverdance. Managing social media and the inner s…
 
" 'England gave me everything I ever wanted.' " The Quarehawk. Big Tom, Margo, the Manchester scene; Irish, English, and in-between. A love of England and making a whole out of two halves. Grieving, and crafting an album. Fathers, sons, boys, men. Asturias, the flute and identifying as one thing or another. Getting Kepa Junkera to play on your albu…
 
Jig songs, syncopation and keeping away from the funky chicken tunes. Playing out til 4 in the morning with your dad on a Fleadh Saturday night. The magic of Donegal, chancing your arm for a Riverdance audition and not talking to Maria Carey at the pyramids. Finding your own musical voice. Battering, sets and the beauty of West Clare dancing. Youth…
 
From Ballsgrove to Dooley Gate. Drogheda singing group to Marcelo Bielsa. Innovating and finding your voice. Halloween, bonfires, fireworks, hash and Scrumpy Jack. Parochial Kavanagh, Jinx Lennon, Blindboy Boatclub and the rise and fall of the commuter belt. This is Sean Mathew's second appearance on the podcast and it's bloody good for the soul I …
 
Mitching classes to work on your music. Sean-nós: 'My granny would have just called them songs.' Tradition and change, art and technique and the soul of the thing. Writing in English, writing in Irish. Activism, collectivity and music as barriers against despair. The tunes: Two reels - The Green Bunch of Rushes and The Merry Sisters of Fate Tá na P…
 
The elusive nya! Making tunes your own, ornamentation and phrasing and the old East Clare style. Francie Donnellan, Seamus Bugler, Martin Woods and a tune by the stove. Learning, loving, leaving the music, and returning. 'Songs My Father Sang,' the journey, knowing yourself and the truth in music. The tunes Cli plays this week: The Corner House and…
 
A Supergroup at the National Celtic Festival. Remembering and forgetting the names of tunes. Ballintubber, County Mayo and musicians in the house. The freedom of the open road, to Boston and Australia. Maintaining a love of kids even when you've been teaching for twenty years or so, and fostering a growth mindset - in children, and yourself. Thanks…
 
The hornpipe is the rebel, the wink, the wee pocket of mischief. Electronics, samples, rhythms. The harp, and the influence of Janet Harbison. Performing for others and performing alone. Art and listener responses. The Star Factory, mapping Belfast, engineering in sound. Gender, power, Mise Fosta and equal representation in the music business in Ir…
 
'Know when you've landed.' A first trip to New York and painting the town with Joe Burke and friends. Bill Fuller's ballroom empire, The Woodworm Hotel, and the John Barleycorn. Overcoming adversity and reaching some sort of contentment. Paul Brady, Michael D. Higgins and staying with the music. The tunes in this episode, recorded beautifully by Ka…
 
The legend. A photo of a photo, pictures within pictures. Father's shift work at Clondalkin paper mill and growing up in Drimnagh. Memories of those that are gone, embedded in the tunes, and bringing them back each time you play. Ceoltóirí Chualann, not letting on that you play the diddley-eye stuff and midnight gigs at the age of 11. 'That quiet p…
 
'Philomena Begley on a tractor!' Tuesday night is music night, learning tunes before the oven timer goes off. To fleadh or not to fleadh; to lilt or not to lilt? The players of Mullaghoran, County Cavan and keeping open to as many influences as possible. The banjo, the mando and joys of teaching. An open hearted approach to music and the fun to be …
 
A Belgian neighbour in Nigeria and a first encounter with the recorder and whistle; traditional music in Thailand and a global musical imagination; Maria Carey, melismatic singing, Paddy Tunney and the Ulster song tradition; Irish music with Chris and Aidan and John, and meeting Matt Molloy. Holding on to a singer so they don't drift away. Composin…
 
A pause in pandemic times and what you hear when you hear Seamus Ennis; Phelim O'Reilly, Anton McGowan and doorway street sessions; holding onto infectious rhythms from youthful summers. Theoretical physics and musical headspace. 'What is it? What was it?' The irresistible core at the heart of a great session. Schrödinger's Irish tunes, the real mu…
 
Welcome To Country; Ireland, history, emigration; who we are and where we belong. Finding culture, finding your self and finding the courage to take to the road. Away from suburban life and Tupperware. Gender disparity in Irish radio, Robert Kee and Fred Dibnah. This is such a lovely chat - what better way is there to spend an hour? Thanks Áine. Th…
 
Sunday morning sessions at The Coach and Horses, Finsbury Park; summer road trips to Ireland and back, via relatives' houses, Fleadhs, sessions and the Holyhead ferry; learning to play in Anne Caulfield's house in Luton; competing and adjudicating; becoming a teacher of music and recording your first album. All that AND Barings Bank. Nick Leeson ho…
 
Teenage musicians, crackin the floor in a Drogheda pub and the Wednesday of the Fleadh; passing on the music; community and tunes in Hull, Leeds and the Coventry; the Holyhead night ferry; an English accent in border country, Crossmaglen sessions and the accordion as passport. Elaine plays these tunes: Two jigs - Kitty's Rambles (from Vincent Tighe…
 
It doesn't get better than this. 'A good reel would wipe the cobwebs off his heart.' Last Night's Fun and Joe Cooley, a -kick-you-in-the-chest-kind-of-accordion-player.' Looking for the ghosts of James Morrison and Michael Coleman on the streets of New York City. Translating the music of the fiddle into the language of the box. A grandmother's reco…
 
Discovering the uilleann pipes on a road trip to Donegal; oils on metal; generative art and music; not settling in Northern Ireland; MIDI pipes and the Cardiff scene; restoration and the mysterious conversations which only pipers understand. Thoughtful and engaging stuff. In this episode Jason plays: The Rocks of Bawn followed by Kitty Got a Clinki…
 
Taking on the old tunes. Records on the wall. The art and laughter of Michael Grinter. The Teetotallers, that Gort Tape and the Irish music scene in 80s Birmingham. Living in America. The birth of Lúnasa. And the rise and rise of TV snooker and Irish music. Gold. The incredibly talented and generous Kevin Crawford joins us for a mammoth chat down t…
 
Competing in your first Fleadh, hearing the ocean in the music and searching out the rarest old tunes. Learning from older players, driving to sessions with your dad and a road trip to a Belfast terraced house in search of a fiddle. In this episode Aifric plays: The Golden Castle / Mickey Callaghan's Fancy Rolling in the Ryegrass and Woman of the H…
 
'The artist is like a blind caterpillar at the end of a leaf reaching out into the darkness.' Staring The Reaper Down. Life in music, Shoogelnifty and Sandy Bell's in Edinburgh. All night sessions in Borneo, Pretty Peggy-O and teaching Andy Irvine bouzouki parts to an audience including...er...Andy Irvine. In this episode Luke plays: The Log Cabin …
 
The real deal. Part one of two. Incredible playing and great chat: the painters of ancient Egypt and the joy of playing in an orchestra; De Danaan, Planxty and Schubert; Martin Carthy and Nic Jones and the thrum of existential rhythm. Truth be told, we don't have much to add to this show - it'll all in the tape. Next week: Shooglenifty and living i…
 
The northern flute style; working the bar at Matt Molloy's pub; capturing songs for posterity; on sean-nós singing, music as a release; life in Boston, and the regional sound of Melbourne Again, this interview was a long time coming. We had actually planned to record it the week Covid hit so we pulled the plug. Now fast forward 12 weeks and we fina…
 
Irish tunes on the harmonica - seriously awesome. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Eddie Clark, New York's Irish music scene in the '80s; Bill De Blasio's busted progressive cred and The Catskills Irish Arts Week. Don Meade on Irish tunes on the harmonica, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Eddie Clark, New York's Irish music scene in the '80…
 
Accordion tunes in the 90 degree heat. On the '80s Cowboys and Irish music in Dallas, Texas. On De Danaan kicking up a dust storm; the Charlie Piggott route to falling in love with the banjo and struggles in learning to play. The O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and the sweetness of playing music with your kids. Ken Fleming's such an easy going guy, …
 
On growing up with traditional Irish music, on taking ownership, on finding festivals, on 92.7 Fresh Fm, on Austral and creating a dance party, and losing yourself at Woodford Folk Festival . Way, way back in June last year we caught up with Austral during the National Celtic Festival. During that interview we said we'd love to sit down and chat wi…
 
On accordions, melodeons, the push draw and The Pure Drop; Portrush sessions at the Harbour Bar, Ballycastle sessions at The House of McDonnell. The snug. Athlone. The borderlands of Fermanagh, Coleraine and Ceili House. And Coronation Street even gets a mention. As in - and I'm paraphrasing - 'Now and again something might have been taped over wit…
 
'When you're playing with other people...and you get that feeling that is above and beyond life, in a sense. Where you just go, this is why I exist. This is as happy as this bunch of cells can be, right now, on this planet.' If there’s a better way to spend an hour and a bit of your day than listening to this week's episode with Ewen Baker, I’ve no…
 
On ABC song books, on the south-western coast of Victoria, on Scottish cèilidhs, on the highland pipes, on learning and teaching and on the understanding of air. This interview has been a long time coming and it was everything we hoped it would be. Thanks so much for your time, your patience and your beautiful tunes Merran. If you'd like to contact…
 
There's a single story or a thousand stories in this week's episode. The story of Mick Doherty, Donegal fiddle player of the famed Doherty family of tinsmiths, travelers and musicians. The story of his father's music, and of his grandfather's music. And woven in and around it all the figure of Johnny Doherty - Mick's uncle - one of the iconic Irish…
 
On the Swannanoa Gathering with Finn Magill, on ethnomusicology, on the difference between Irish and Celtic, on her time in Cork and finding lock-down inspiration in Quarantunes. Hailing from North Carolina and now residing in North Michigan, Hannah Harris is a wonderful fiddle player and ethnomusicologist. Hannah recently recorded her first album …
 
On the creation of Ceol FM, on equal access; on finding the pipes, on creating community and space for upcoming players, and on seeing a need and acting on it. Darragh Ó Héiligh is a phenomenal uilleann pipe player from Drogheda. He has tirelessly worked to grow and share Irish music, not only within his town with Music At the Gate, but also nation…
 
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