Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Broken String Band

Well well well, we met a superb Ulster-based 5 piece bluegrass band last Friday evening, at the Star of the Maze Orange Hall (near Down Royal racetrack).

A local historical re-enactment group called "The Rising Sons of Dixie" put on a great night's crack and a load of good ol' Southern homecookin. We were there to provide a wee bit of music, as were the Broken String Band.

They're based around Belfast and Bangor and are "proper" full-time musicians (not just rakers like us) Really good guys - Gibson and Ivan knew one of them, Ivan Moorehead, from bands they were in in days gone by. Their fiddle player is Geordie McAdam (used to be in Appalachian Strings) as did Wilson the bass player. Michael the banjo player/vocalist used to be in the Soundhogs, and the mandolin player Adrian is Ivan Moorehead's brother. They were absolutely superb. If you want some real, pure, 16-notes-a-second bluegrass, these guys are for you. They did two sets, we did one in the middle - the evening kicked off around 9 and it was well after midnight before we got away.

When we did the Ulster-Scots stuff we may as well have been speaking Chinese, the poor folks in the audience hadn't a notion what we were talking/singing about - even with our lyric leaflets in their hands. Especially when I said "hoo can A dae ocht whun A hinnae got ocht tae dae ocht wae"... hmm... and then there was the joke about the Iraqis in Portavogie... must remember that these things only work in Ulster-Scots speaking areas!! We finished with an acapella version of "Did Christ Oer Sinners Weep", which we'd dug up out of an old Confederate army hymnbook.

I must admit we were wile rouch, instruments really going out of tune and everything a bit haywire, but we had a good night and met some really nice people too - including the Broken String Band.

I'm sure you'll be reading more about them very soon (if they had a web site I'd put a link here - but you can check them out each Wednesday night in session at Balloo House restaurant/pub, near Killinchy in County Down)


Colin Maxwell said...

Greetin's frae an Ulster Scot frae doon south in Cork. I enjoyed yer blog. Do try and keep it regular. I startit my ain twa days ago. I thocht I wud link tae yer website an' saw tha blog. I'm originally frae Belfast (so I am) but my mither was frae near the Sixroadends in Donaghadee. She had the hamely tongue at times. I enjoy yer music especially "Gran Time cummin" and so thair is. Hallelujah.

Colin Maxwell