Friday, March 21, 2008

St Patrick's Night

"I sing the same song three times"

Not in a row, of course, but over the course of a night we sang 'Fields of Athenry' at least three times, 'Wild Rover' twice, and numerous other Irish standards.

What was I doing - an English lass - singing Irish songs on St Patrick's Night? Well... sometimes you just get offers you can't refuse. Richard phoned up and said he wasn't well, but had to do a gig, could I help him out? Of course. Why did he call me? Because every other musician, and most certainly all those who play Irish music, was already booked! OK, I may be bottom of the barrel, but I still said yes.

We played in a corner of a busy bar that was part of a posh hotel in Cambridge. The bar was teeming with Guinness-drinking punters - some Irish, some Spanish, some American and ... well, I didn't go round and ask every single one where they were from, but Cambridge being the multi-cultural city it is, they came from all over.

I played bass and sang a couple of my songs, but most of the night it was Irish standards. Richard also sang some U2 and van Morrison songs and I have to say he did a sterling job. He worked hard, singing in a rough and harsh voice (not his normal style, the poor man was really ill) and sounded, I have to say, perfect for the occassion.

One young Irish lass asked if she could sing, I said sure, join in. But she took that to mean join us on stage. She grabbed Richard's mike and sang loudly, and rather out of tune, and in a very odd time, but to the great delight of her friends.

There were some daft promotional hats, lots of green teeshirts and a very enthusiastic irish gentleman in a three piece suit with a striped green shirt. The two young American lads I talked to wore baseball caps - the type with no strap at the back that you wear back to front. One, Sean, was a guitar player. He was visiting his friend who was at one of the Cambridge colleges. He, however, was in real estate in Massachussets. We had an interesting conversation about architecture, in one of the brief breaks we had. Ohh... if I'd be 20 years younger and single! ... well, 25 years younger? Hmmm... ok. Never mind, back to the music.

Richard continued to sing though his voice got rougher and he was looking rather ill. His wife Bridget played bodhran and sang a couple, but on the whole it was Richard, with accompaniment by me, who carried off the night.

Next year? Well, I don't have any gigs booked for St Parick's night... so if a bass playing English girly who can sing 'Fields of Athenry' and actually like the song, you know where to find me... (that is, if you have a fistfull of cash and some HUGE bouncers ready to haul out the over-enthusiastic, Guinness- and Magners-fuelled madly spinning, dancing, singing, grinning drunken idiots who get just that bit TOO close to the band....)
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