Music, the Threads That Bind Us

flying in the winds of change

On this 4th of July I am reminded of the importance of how folk music has shaped my world view – a lens to help me understand my celtic roots. My father gave me a guitar when I was thirteen and the first songs I learned were American folk and protest songs that were inspired by the folk traditions in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. These tender threads are worth protecting.

Fiona Ritchie, host of NPR’s Thistle and Shamrock gives an insightful narrative about Scots-Irish North American folk music relationships in this show called Heading South.


Music Link Scottish Islands

And now for something a bit different.  Here is a link to NPR Radio about Celtic Music from the Islands. Tomorrow I travel to Glasgow to meet with a small group tour by Labyrinthos through the Hebrides, Orkneys and Lochs.  Here is a preview through music.

Edinburgh Delights

vg 4

Ah, at last…..Eldinburgh, or Leith to be more exact.  The docks area, Georgian architecture in flux.  But it feels so civilized in this little pub across the street from Wallace’s Arthouse where I am staying.  To top it off, a glass of whiskey from the Leith brewery called Balie Nicol Jarvie.

The Eurostar train from Paris to London was yes fast, but I have to admit that 20 minutes or so in the dark tunnel was a bit nerve wracking. I longed to see the White Cliffs of Dover from the channel.  The 5 hour train from London to Edinburgh was relaxing and I enjoyed the slowly changing countryside vistas from fields to low hills with occasional sea views.

Arrived in Edinburgh and there was a huge crowd – the marathon leftovers from the run the previous day. But as I strained to hear the bagpipes at Waverly station I had to laugh – the piper was playing the theme from Star Wars. Beam me up Scottie – whoops, I am mixing galactic metaphors.

My room is layers of white, high ceilings and airy and feels very large after the stay in Paris.  Well it is, twice as large in fact. Plus there is a sitting room.  All with quirky decor by Wallace – a former designer for Donna Karan in NYC and owner of this guest house.  He is delightful with a wonderful sense of humor and nice touches that make me feel at home, like white roses and cherries.

The next morning I ate breakfast with two other guests, a man and his son who had run in the marathon.  They are from Devon.  The son works for a company that set ups security operations in Eastern Africa and had tales about working with tribes, particularly the Masai.

Then off on the local bus to explore. I was dancing while filming buskers The Spinnong Blowfish and a woman from Taiwan demanded to dance with me – which became a crazy jumping, bowing, square dance kind of multicultural romp which is not part of the video because I was laughing so hard.

U-tube link

Ireland, family, hospitality

Ireland, family, hospitality   Listen

In 2002 I visited Ireland with a theater group.  Audio of recollections and more hints of Gillespie lineage and traits and customs that travel through the family one generation to the next even when you don’t know your full story.