Sunday, February 26, 2006


Last night, for the first time in months, I was back on stage with the guys in the band, having a party -- a ceilidh -- for a proposed Heritage building.

The building in question is an old school in a really old and picturesque part of the lower mainland. The school itself is in pretty good shape, but the land around it has appreciated in value, and developers are salivating at the acreage on which it sits. Already, the surrounding area looks like it has been infected with ticky-tacky.

For those who are familiar with this area, the school is on the north arm of Burrard Inlet in an area of Port Moody called Ioco. The view from up there is stunning. Of course the developers are salivating!

But a lot of the people who live in the area would prefer to keep it like it is -- undeveloped. And one good way to frustrate over-development is to have something declared a Heritage site.

One of the guys in my band has some connection with the Heritage people, and they all got into a conversation a few weeks back...and the result was our ceilidh, which was geared to bring people's attention to the aims of the Heritage committee.

We were the host band, and we were joined by a couple of other truly excellent local musicians, all of us forming an arrangement-optional jam session for the event. Because the other musicians were not familiar with our arrangements, we just blew them all off and kept watching for those shorthand signals that musicians develop with one another. There were times during the night when goose-bumps ran down collective backs at the accidental perfection of something we had just done...

The venue was the school gym, which made for a really lively sound (yes, we needed monitors -- quarter-second bounce from the back wall threatened to throw us all off). People brought pot-luck dishes, other decorated, the kids popped all the balloons, one at a time (which sound is really startling inside what was essentially an echo-chamber).and everybody danced.

This was the opening salvo, I think. In the future, there will probably be a few fundraisers and publicity gigs -- all unpaid, but lots of fun to do. And if we get to work with the calibre of musicianship we worked with last night, I'm ready to go for it.

I was reminded that this is how Great Big Sea got started -- doing ceilidhs around the local area. I think I'd like to skip the incident with the bus, though (they all almost got killed when their bus crashed on the way into Vancouver for a gig on February 9 -- read the entry for February 10, 2006). And, being the drummer/percussionist of the group (as well as some arrangements and vocals), I wanna be Sean McCann when I grow up.

Starting a musical career in your mid-fifties? Why not? I can think of more boring things to do, for sure...


Blogger Balbulican said...

Tell me more about your band and the stuff you guys do!

I put myself through college playing Celtic music with a few bands that ranged from horrid to pretty good - Wickentree, The Gaels, the Celts, all in the Ottawa area. Then I got lucky and fell in with a group of really fine traditional musicians that included Ian Robb, Seamus and Manus McGuire (now Moving Cloud), and Grit Laskin (the luthier, and guitar/pipes/mandolin/bouzouki player for Stan Rogers). That was before I moved north: when I moved back south there was less time in my life, but a group of us still get together and jam.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:11:00 AM  
Blogger DazzlinDino said...

A DRUMMER!!!!!! Hey, how can you tell a drummer just split up with his girlfriend?????

Easy, he's homeless.....


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:48:00 AM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Balb: There are three of us, and I'm the "baby" at performing -- never did any until a couple years ago. The other two are professionals who decided for some reason that I would make a good addition to the sound. I play bodhran and other percussion "instruments," a lot of which I make myself (and still learning that craft, as well). I also do some vocals and arrangements, having the "ear" to hear what is not -- but should be -- there.

The other two have been performing since they were barely teenagers, and collectively, they have the largest number of musical instruments I've ever seen in one place. They also know, and have played with, every musician in and out of the lower mainland, it seems. I'm still getting introduced to them all.

The two we were jamming with on the weekend were Adrian Duncan of Skystone, and Mary Brunner, also sometimes of Skystone:

Next thing we're booked for is with the Irish Descendants on Saint Paddy's Day in Maple Ridge:

We have plans for a CD and some radio programming (that last being in the planning stages, still, and I don't know all the details yet); we've got all the songs ready for the CD -- we just have to get some studio time, now.

Dazz: That is almost the truth -- drummers don't get no respect. Unless they're in a celtic band(and even at that, the drummer is always the butt of jokes -- but nice jokes -- it is so-o-o-o easy to get revenge when you're holding the beat in your hands...).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 8:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Joseph Cambell used to say: "Follow your bliss".


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 2:24:00 PM  

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