Sunday, March 4, 2012


What do you call music that gets your feet dancing and your fingers tapping while you’re still sitting in the chair? I heard this term “chair dancing” from audience members Sunday afternoon about the concert by Danu.
Danu is an Irish ensemble which consisted of five entertainers who together play traditional Irish music. The afternoon was filled with music, energy, laughing, cheering, clapping, and much foot tapping which was quickly turning into “chair dancing”.
Playing accordeon (Yes, this is spelled correctly.) was Benny McCarthy whose steady beat and strong leading harmonies was the foundation of this ensemble. He was also the one who started dancing in his chair with his feet while seating and playing his instrument. Eamoon Doorley was masterful with his bouzouki which is played similar to a guitar but has a tonal quality that makes this sound warm and rich in tonal quality. Oisin Macauley was both energetic and musical with his fiddle and vocals. Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh beautifully both sang and played both the flute and the tin whistle. All four of these performers are from various parts of Ireland. Martin O’Neill is a Scotsman who is half Scot and half Irish. He is truly a master of the bodhran, which is a type of drum. He demonstrated his rare talent to the audience with his solo. It is truly amazing the sounds that he can create with this instrument. (If you have not seen this instrument, watch him on You Tube.)
This was delightful for the final event in The Arts Center season.
Many of the songs had Irish names and the literal translations from “Peggy’s’ Nettles” which was about putting nettles in a bed to wake someone up, to a romantic song of a young girl who is married to an old man and is trying to get rid of him, to a song about running around the house and behind the dresser, to a song about cutting toenails, to being homesick, to a song about drinking, to when a man meets a young woman, marries her, and sees her for real the next morning, all these songs and more made for a “chair dancing” and memorable afternoon with Danu.

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