Highland Sun ®
Thursday, February 19, 2004

So what are you doing this St. Patrick's Day? If you want to join up with us for some music, you better act fast. We've got multiple bookings for March 13, 14, 17 and 20th already. (Yes, a busy week!) More details later, still working out just exactly how we're going to get from point A to point B in the time available between gigs on each day...


While rambling across the web, I stumbled upon this interesting discussion of regional Irish fiddle styles. There's still nothing as enlightening as actually being there to experience the styles firsthand, in their native geographical / social / linguistic environment, but it's a nice description nonetheless. I think the connection drawn between spoken language / dialect and musical style is a powerful point, and it all helps get a better understanding of why the music sounds the way it does.

Hey look at that, a self-tuning guitar. As if frets weren't enough already... Being so deeply entrenched in high-tech as I am, I certainly appreciate a lot of what computer technology has enabled musicians to accomplish. But there's a lot of unnecessary gadgetry out there too, and something like this strikes me as just being a crutch. If you've trained your ear well enough to play, why do you need this? If you haven't trained your ear well enough yet, how does this help you become a better musician?

Ah, so much to catch up on. Got an inquiry from Kelly Clement in Taos, New Mexico for our Celtic Crossover CD, so as of January 25 we've been getting airplay there on Kelly's "Celtic and Beyond" radio show on KTAO 101.9 FM. Thanks for your interest, Kelly, and do be sure to drop in here again to say hello!

And for anyone else, if you have a favorite radio station / show that could use a dose of Highland Sun-shine, let me know...

So, Valentine's day has come and gone, along with President's day, and we're in full swing for St. Patrick's Day. The time just keeps flying by.

My software company has been keeping me really busy, as usual. But in my off-time I've been keeping busy on the dancing front. Just had a great weekend with Everything Celtic at the Riverside Dickens festival, and took a few pictures there to share with you. (If you browse around there you'll find pictures from some other expeditions online as well.)

Now I've also started taking some dance classes with Maire Clerkin at the Celtic Arts Center. It's been years since I was dancing regularly and rigorously, and it's really exciting. Music and dance, what else could one ask for, eh?

Happy New Year!

Well, another year has passed, and Howard marked it again by attending the Frankie Kennedy Winter Music School in Donegal. As always, this year's festival (the 10th anniversary!) was filled with great concerts and jam sessions. Of course, like in previous years, some of the best times occurred well after the close of the festival.

This year's festival ended on a Friday, but Howard decided to hang around in Bunbeg thru Monday for the weekly Monday night seisiun at Hiudi Beag's pub. This turned out to be quite a fine night, with Francie & Gearoid Mooney showing up, along with Dermot Byrne, Stephen Campbell, Ian Smith, and several others (whose names I can't recall at the moment!).

The highlight from this final night in Gweedore was Howard being invited to perform on RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta the following morning. After a long night's playing and imbibing, who could refuse? Despite having crawled in late, Howard showed up at the studio at 10AM the next morning, and played this set that was broadcast around 11:15AM the same day. RTE WAV file (1MB MP3 encoded WAV file)

(Sorry for the static, radio beeps, and windshield wiper noise. This was recorded in the car, while driving along the road from Dunlewey to Termon, and the radio signal faded in and out driving thru the hills.)

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