ITSC were delighted when Paul Harrigan & Una Ni Bhriain gave us a day to teach some songs at their week long Summer School in Colaiste Ailigh, Letterkenny. We joined a vibrant & buzzing gathering of musicians of all ages and at 10 o’clock we scattered to class rooms around the school.
Knowing that there would be a gang of younger singers during the day, ITSC invited Maurice Leyden & Jane Cassidy to run an hour of action songs especially for them. Their verdict was it was the best ‘in and out of dusty bluebells’ they’d ever seen!
As for the ‘older’ singers, the day was a pleasure – such a fine bunch of people who threw themselves into singing and enjoying Inishowen songs. We used the Inishowen Song Project to introduce singers and songs and then focused on a few to learn – Maggie McGee’s I’m Bidding Adieu and Paddy Kelly’s Sweet Amerikay. Colm Toland gave us the history behind local songs The Cambria & the Stars of Dunaff, leaving us all to feel how important it is to learn & keep stories of place alive by learning songs. We chatted about songs, discussed tips on learning songs, had our own wee session, and diverted ourselves with among others, John Campbell’s rendering of Mabel’s ass (don’t ask!).
And at the end of the day, we sang to a gathering of the whole Summer School – Colm, Bredgeen Harkin, Eleanor Lamb, Brian Doyle & myself, with our ‘students’ joining in the choruses of the songs we learned.
We left Letterkenny happy to have spent time with new singers and really proud to have been able to share a bit of what ITSC is all about –
singing & enjoying ourselves!