Ireland's second Feis Teamhra took place at the Hill of Tara yesterday. It is hoped that this event, a celebration of music and poetry will become an annual event.
If you werenít there you missed a spectacular day that, dare I say it, was even better than last year. Grammy Award winner Susan Mc Keown singing alongside Aidan Brennan on guitar were the opening act and the stage was set. Anyone following them in a performance had a very high standard to live up to but they did . Paul Muldoon Master of Ceremonies for the event treated us to poems about his boyhood pursuits among other things and just as he did last year brought humour and laughter to us with his honey toned voice. After more music from Susan and Aidan, Michael Longley shared poetry which he wrote at the birth of each of his grandchildren. He preluded this by lamenting what the future would hold for our children and grandchildren in a world where reverence has disappeared and respect for nature and culture as evidenced by the M3 Motorway disgrace falls under attack. It was obvious listening to his poetry with its deeply evocative imagery of the sea, land, animals, birds, that his soul connection with the sacred is a very special one.
Laoise Kelly followed with her Harp. It is my favourite instrument and there is no one I would rather hear it played by not just because of her brilliance and accomplished style but because of her heart for Tara. Listening to her play I imagined her back many lifetimes ago bringing her music to the people at Tara just as she did yesterday. I would like to think I was there too listening just as attentively . She shared how Tara had made her fall in love with it like as if falling in love with a man and then had her heart broken in two by the destruction and desecration of the Valley. As joyfully as the Harp expresses exuberance it can evoke the plaintive and the pitiful too.
Local man Kyrie Murray also known as Taraís Bard was up next and sure not to disappoint. Everyone wondered what he would say as he records all the happenings at Tara in verse just the way they are. He launched a passionate, scathing satirical attack on the OPW and the EU and drew whoops of appreciation and applause from the audience. He was a surprise addition to the line up, a last minute entry and I will write up his poem after I have done the photographs so ye can read it for yourselves.
Tara Warrior Brendan Duffin followed Kyrie with tales from Ancient Irish mythology. From these myths he gave us three songs he composed himself and delivered the performance of a lifetime. I am so glad someone was there with a video recorder! I believe he has a My Space page so if someone could provide a link it would be much appreciated. His message was clear, itís not too late, itís never too late. I had shivers going right through me as I listened to him. Paul Muldoon described Brendanís performance as brilliant and it certainly was. Paul then returned to give us some more of his fabulous poetry and itís easy to see how he was awarded the title Poet Laureate. He reads poetry the way it should be read and not everyone can do that! Itís a pleasure to be entertained by the best.
Susan and Aidan graced the stage again and performed a beautiful and rousing song about the healing rivers of Ireland inspired by the famous Chief Seattle speech which she translated into an Irish context. Here is where I fall down in my attempt to do justice to the main performers as I simply do not recall the names of all the songs and poems that were shared, but again it would be really very much appreciated if someone could provide links to these. I especially liked that one J Her voice and passion is simply breathtaking.
After some more poems from Michael Longley the musicians and Susan came together for the final act. Susanís little daughter Roisin joined them on the stage and eclipsed them all receiving warm appreciation from the crowd. Proud Mum and daughter make a fabulous duo and I hope Roisin follows in her motherís footsteps as she could have a glittering career ahead. Perhaps she will lead Feis Teamhra 20.