A little somethin’.

March 24, 2008 at 10:39 pm (Uncategorized)

I was visiting the grandparents (on my dad’s side) this weekend for Easter – it’s a lovely little house in the suburbs of New York City, right outside of Brooklyn, and with a beach to boot.

It’s odd, living in New Jersey in a house that speaks more of us as American with little glimmers of Irish ancestry here and there (along with some random art, and a Japanese cloth painting). The house itself has airs of being global, but with a certain American pragmatism in terms of placement of essentials (TV, Fridge, stove, et cetera).

Their house, by comparison, is small, but the atmosphere is decidedly European. A family crest of arms facing antique pictures of ancestors, a CD collection with more Irish than you could shake a stick at, a decorative sword, some kitschy ceramic mementos with traditional sayings, and a fridge plastered with equal parts Jesus and family pictures.

Oh, and a garden leprechaun.

Anyway, I happened upon a small song book of traditional Irish fare. I asked to borrow it, and they’ve let me; It’s got chords and whatnot listed, as well as the key for reference, so I’m fine in regards to playing them. Besides, a good 70% of ’em are in D, so that’s cake.

I think the most interesting thing is trying to piece together an attachment to a culture I’ve only seen and heard, but never experienced. Playing some of these songs (quite badly, I might add – damn 2/4!) is a lot like meeting somebody who was a big influence on you when you were, say, two or three, and not seeing them again until you were eighteen. You can’t quite tell why you like this or that, but you know they’re the reason for it.

One song I particularly like is “Finnegan’s Wake” – the Dropkick Murphys covered it on their Do or Die album. Great, funny song. I mean, how can you not love a song about a wake where the dead guy wakes up?

It should be interesting to see what my perspective is like after I’ve gone through it and memorized a couple of these songs… it’s getting in touch with my roots.

-Brian

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