The Shamrogues were fortunate enough to have a Monday night in July with a very special guest, Mary Bergin, tin whistler extraordinaire up close and personal. Ms. Bergin having just spent the previous weeks teaching at the Catskills Irish Arts Week in sweltering heat and humidity and prior to that, a week in her homeland during the Willie Clancy Week was kind enough to visit the Shamrogues.
Gracious hosts Gregg and Claire Burnett opened their home for a lovely evening of music, refreshments, and of course the craic. The night was filled with Mary’s wonderful playing of jigs, hornpipes, airs, and reels, some old favorites and some recent compositions. The rhythm and flow of the music had people tapping their feet and bobbing heads along in time, whether intentional or not, as the music mesmerized everyone. Smiles and nods of pleasure abounded with every tune. Mary was accompanied by a longtime friend Cathy Clarke from Saratoga Springs, NY on bodhran and for a few tunes by fellow Shamrogue John Brennan on guitar.
Mary shared her personal insight for inspiration that she receives from the surrounding countryside, nature, and coming from Galway, especially the ocean. The sounds of the ocean in its perpetual ebb and flow with rhythm and balance. Mary also announced that she has just launched a tin whistle tutorial in three book volumes with accompanying instructional CDs. The tin whistlers in the audience took notice with big smiles of approval (even the seasoned whistlers).
One observation made during the evening of Mary’s playing was that she liked to change whistles in the various keys for each tune, rather than just one whistle throughout. Mary played an air on a Bb whistle that just grabbed everyone with a big hug. Lovely tune.
Another tune particularly stood out for this writer, the Mooncoin Jig from the Feadoga Stain 2 album, pure magic displayed with style, personality, as the technique/execution/passion came to the fore. I am sure everyone else had their special favorite tune also.
The evening was capped off unexpectedly when after the house concert had finished, a fellow Shamrogue, Patrick Mooney, joined Mary for a couple of additional tunes playing their tin whistles to the further delight of everyone. The night might’ve gone on into the wee hours easily. Mary Bergin is a true treasure to the world of Irish Traditional Music and her musicianship is spectacular.
Mary Bergin can be visited on her website: <a href="http://maryberginwhistle.com/index.html">http://maryberginwhistle.com/index.html</a>
Monday night in July… it was a very special night indeed!
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