A Happy New Year!
I spent the New Year holidays in Ireland for the first time since I moved here three years ago. There was an Irish trad music winter school in west Donegal after Christmas for five days from 28th December Monday to 1st January 2016. I participated in this winter school and celebrated New Year there.
|初日のFiddlers' Concert。Brid Harperが演奏中。|
This winter school, Scoil Gheimhridh Ghaoth Dobhair (I can never remember how to read it), celebrated its second year anniversary this time. The former school, Frankie Kennedy Winter School, finished 2 years ago after 20 years, and it is now re-named and re-formed.
Originally, Frankie Kennedy Winter School had started to commemorate the Belfast native flute player, Frankie Kennedy. The Winter School has been organised by a wellknown Donegal fiddler and singer from Altan, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, the wife of the late Frankie Kennedy.
In this newly reformed winter school, there were many events such as concerts and a four-day-workshop(it was ran between 10am-1pm for 4days/100EUR=good value!).
Our fiddle workshops were divided into two big groups: Beginner (1 class) and Intermediate/Advanced (5 classes). I could not make it to the first day due to my work in Dublin, but it seemed the grading test had been performed to decide the classes (Except for Mairead’s class, its grade was not really obvious, though..).
Here is a list of the tutors for the intermediate/advanced level fiddle lessons;
- Bríd Harper （幼い頃から数々の全国大会で優勝。ﾌｨﾄﾞﾙの申し子とも言うべきか。/Won heaps of All Ireland championships since her childhood. A heaven-sent fiddler. ）
- Cathal Hayden （北ｱｲﾙﾗﾝﾄﾞのﾃｨﾛｰﾝ州出身で、実家はパブ。/Born in Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Playing in a pub run by his dad.）
- Martin McGinley（Glentiesでのﾌｨﾄﾞﾗｰｽﾞｳｨｰｸのセッションで上手い人がいる！と印象的だった人物。今回先生をしていると到着日に判明してびっくり。/I had actually seen this impressive person at the fiddlers’ weekend in Glenties. It was surprising to find on the first day of the lesson that he was one of the tutors.）
- Ciarán Ó Maonaigh（個人的には、去年のコンサートの模様を見て感激した人物。/I was really impressed by his playing on YouTube from the previous year.）
- Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh（前述のAltanの中心人物。/The main person in Altan as above.）
I felt unneccessarily nervous and found out I didn’t have to play a tune for the grading. Instead, I exlpained what level I was in; as usual, I said to Mairead, “I’m upper-intermediate now, but I would like to reach the advanced level”. Mairead whispered something in Irish, and told me “Cathal(‘s class)!”
It was limited to 10 students per class at maximum, and on avarage, there were around eight students per class. However, there were only four students in my class with Cathal! I was so glad to know there were less people compared to summer schools.
At the beginning, our tutor Cathal told me that he would not teach us (What the hell!). He said he had never taught students. In brief, I realised he wanted us to absorb as much as we could.
The other students played four tunes which they learnt on the previous day (I was wondering how hard they worked on learning such a lot of tunes in one day, regardless of the fact they had a grading test on the same day!). Then, Cathal ‘taught’ us one Polka and said to us, “it’s time for a cup o’ tea!”. Since then, we had some relatively long breaks every time we finished learning one single tune, so this system left us alone in an empty lobby, while the other students were in the lessons.
He let us go an hour and a half earlier than the schedule. Hold on, we still have plenty of time!
I had a quick chat with a guy in the reception about our lesson that finished that time. He stood up quickly and dissappeared somewhere. Two secons later, the guy caught Cathal and showed up again.
Cathal: “So, were you looking for me?”
Me: “Oh, no, no! I’ve just told this guy ‘the lesson has already finished.’ !”.
Cathal: “Would you like to play more with me?”
Me: “Oh, could we? That’ll be great!!”
Cathal: “Sure. As you were not here yesterday...”
Between the jigs and the reels, I had a very special and gorgerous private lesson (How lucky I was!!).
The teacher had dark rings under his eyes and looked a bit scary, but he was really kind. In the end, he said to me we could have a short private lesson again on the following day (I was a bit doubtful about what he suggested, but actually he did what he said!).
〇Day 1の曲/ Tunes of the Day 1
1. Fisher's Hornpipe
2. JF なんとか/JF something...
3. Loch and Boat
4. Donegal Reel
〇Day 2の曲/Tunes of the Day 2
1. Riding on a Load of Hay (Polka)
2. The Ballynahula/Teahan's Favourite (Polka)
3. The Leverette (Hornpipe)
4. Sporting Paddy (Reel)
〇Day 3の曲/Tunes of the Day 3
1. Happy Hornpipe
2. Dairy Maid (Reel)
3. Rosewood Jig
〇Day 4の曲/Tunes of the Day 4
1. Will you come home with me? (Jig)
2. The Glen of Aherlow (Reel)
＋Student Session (12.30pm~)
One year and eight months have passed since I first picked up the fiddle.
At first, everything, for instance the ABC system and the way to learn by ear, was unfamiliar to me. And now, I have gradually understood how to learn Irish music; especially, joining the summer music school let my skills improve a lot. I’ve got a strange feeling I could notice how much I improved. In a sense, I realised I could change myself to some extent in a year and a bit.
サマースクールでは「耳で学ぶ(learn by ear）」に慣れず、ひとりだけ他の人たちとハーモニーを奏でている時もあったけど、今回は１フレーズ４回通したくらいで弾けるようになり、直前のフレーズも忘れることなくレッスン内の時間で他の人たちと同じように弾けるようになっていたのがびっくり。
At the summer school on Achill Island, I sometimes played “harmony” with others by chance because I did not get used enough to learn by ear. However, this time it made me possible to acquire one phrase by playing only four times or something, and the following phrases without forgetting the previous bars. By the end of each lesson, I managed to play with others without harsh “harmony”. (None the less, local kids could play in their own ways with loads of ornamentations and nice rythms. Hats off to them!)
|レッスン後、日没の１６時まで散策。Glenveagh National Parkにて。|
The other three students in my class were all around 15 years old, secondary school students (However, they looked so mature for their ages compared to Japanese at similar ages in general). With only four years of experience on the fiddle, one of them had already taught people and released a CD with other players. What I noticed during the winter school was that the community brought up people in here.
It was during the school that I first found out about Altan (so I can’t say anything magnificent), but it is amazing for a local band to pass on the spirit of music to the children in the area. It’s just beautiful to see the tradition was moving over to the new generations.
地域による演奏法をRegional Styleと言い、Donegal Styleも存在する。
Donegal has a strong tradition in fiddle music. There was no surprise if we came across a session where almost 80 per cent were fiddlers.
There are some regional styles in Irish music, and Donegal style is one of them. I don’t have good enough ears to tell the differences between regional styles yet, but it seems to me that Irish music is like a language. With some reginal styles, it is as if it has different dialects.
I found this winter school meaningful not only because I learnt some new tunes, but also I found a new goal to achieve in the next stage.
As Danny Meehan, a “living fossil-like person (Am I a bit rude? I hope not!)”, said in his lecture, we should have our own style. This – to have my own fiddle style- is my next big aim to step up to the advanced level.