As the dust settles on a really busy period of work for the band, it is time to sort out the mess, evaluate and move on, into the 2nd half of the year.
Last Thursday was the Summer Solstice, or the longest day of the year, and it really felt like it for us – we were on the road from early morning, with Ruth and Jenni heading to Monaghan to deliver workshops and lead performances as part of our project there for Castlebleyney Community Enterprise. This project saw us working across 5 schools (or 6, if we count the fact that one of them also contained a special needs unit), and about 250 children over a four week period, and was very gratifying, if hard, work.
Also that day, we supported two performances for the love:Live:Music event, and even though one of them was rained off, we still had to plan for it, and make staff available.
The other, one, a performance by Drum Kitchen at Connolly Station was a great success, and was featured on the evening news on RTE1 – 3 hours in the country, and already on national television – that must be a record!
On top of all this, we had our show with Drum Kitchen that evening to think about. All day, instruments were being moved, last minute bits of publicity sent out, and this all culminated in the two band getting to the Grand Social at about 6pm for sound checks, etc.
Despite the hectic nature of the day, everything moved smoothly, AND stayed on schedule, which must have been the effect of having 26 Germans amongst us!
The show was great, but understandably none of the musicians were up for a party afterwards – it had been a long day.
Friday saw further performances in Monaghan, this time with Simeon and Ruth taking the reins – this time with roughly 15 children between the local Gaelscoil Lorgan and the Central School. Again, all went well, and the children could perform together, despite never having the chance to have a proper rehearsal. Then, back to Dublin with a car load of drums – Ruth’s poor little Sirion has been up and down the N2 so often in the last month, it’s starting to say ‘Hey’!
Friday evening, the band was on the bus down to Portlaoise to play for the Féile Peil na n-Og, which is a parade of 117 GAA youth clubs and about ten marching bands (and us). It was quite a long parade, at a fast pace, but the audiences in the town were really great, and clapped and cheered us all the away! Likewise, the teams themselves were very appreciative, after the parade was over.
Saturday, found us loading up the bus again for our show in the Purple Room, Drogheda. As part of the Drogheda Samba Festival, this is an important show for us, and we always try to bring some new music to the event. However, this also adds a level of stress to the event, but the hours of rehearsal paid off, and the show went well – it is a pleasure to play a show in front of an audience who can really get what we’re doing, and provide honest feedback. Many thanks to our friend Niall Gregory for organizing the event, at no financial benefit to himself!
Sunday morning, after a great night’s sleep and an excellent breakfast in the D Hotel, we re-grouped and waited for the remainder of the band, and our fabulous dancers to join us for the Drogheda Samba Festival parade, which has become somewhat of an annual tradition for the band. The weather held out, and the parade was a big success, though it would have been nice to play at the end for a bit longer.
Monday – back to Monaghan for the last performance – this time with Scoil na gCailíní. This performance was part of a larger Intercultural Day, and our group prepared a short presentation on the history of samba music, as well as playing two pieces of music for the assembled audience. Their show was amazing, and showed the enthusiasm which they brought to the whole project – it was a fitting end to a great project.
Then, it was time to pack the drums, and get them back to base.
Simeon popped over to meet Drum Kitchen in Dublin City Centre, where they presented him with a beautiful book about Berlin and a piece of the Berlin Wall, as a thank-you for helping them with their trip to Ireland – given the great hospitality we have received in Berlin on several occasions, it was the least we could do!