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Alys and Jess Tour Europe

Music, lost and found

USA | Tuesday, 20 May 2008 | Views [923] | Comments [2]

Jess and I love live music. In Seattle, we'd likely be found at The Comet Tavern, The Tractor, or even Easy Street on Queen Anne checking out a recommended band that we'd never heard of. Something we were both looking forward to on this trip was finding international underground music scenes. I pictured basement clubs (when I hear "underground" basements always come into play even though I know it's not literal) full of sweaty scenesters with facial tattoos and black clothing dancing to music I can't believe is undiscovered. I expected to hit the musical gold mine and come home with an Ipod full of music that even my most in-the-know friends haven't heard of. So, Jess and I asked our Dublin friends where we should go to find something along these lines. We got directed to Galway, which is on the Western coast of Ireland. Excited, and undistracted by the endless groups of American 19 year olds on holiday from study abroad, we went out our first night in Galway. We are getting good at asking questions so we were asking anyone who looked like a physical representation of the music we want to hear where to find something local. Tight pants on men are usually a sure tip-off of a music fan. However, everyone we asked would suggest places to hear Irish sessions or other traditional music. We asked the man at the cell phone store where to find live music and out of frustration with chasing around the headless chicken I added, "No! Not traditional!". We ended up going to a kind of drop-in Irish session where musicians stop by and jam together. I have to say that it was pretty incredible. Galway is also great for hearing buskers. Walking around Erye Square, we heard plenty of talented musicans playing harps, guitars, and other instruments. And to be fair, it turns out, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Iron and Wine had both been in Galway days before our arrival so they do have a good music scene.

Galway is pretty touristy, hence the swarms of Americans at the hostel. The biggest attractions are the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher. Jess and I can't and don't participate in expensive tourist activities so we spent time in Galway finding our own islands and cliffs. We found a cliff that dropped to the ocean about 50 feet, had a holy moment with Radiohead's "Reckoner", and then found the cliff to be an island because the tide had come in. In the process of crossing the river, Jess' Ipod got a little moist. One week, three Apple re-sellers, and one Apple Genius later we can now say that her Ipod is officially broken.

In preparation to leave Ireland, we headed south to Cork, from where we would fly to London Stansted just a couple days later. We stayed with Couch Surfers, Greg and Jake, for two nights. One of the nights, we ended up making music with their friend Anthony. Anthony brought over his guitar, Jess finally let me play the harmonica that I'm suppossed to become an expert in by the time we end this trip, and Jess sang. We wrote a lovely song together and expect to release a full length CD soon. The night before we left Cork we stayed with other Couch Surfers, Carlos and Fabien. We walked downtown Cork (laughing all the way) and found a Pink Floyd cover band.

We left Ireland on May 15th hopeful that we will find better live music elsewhere, happy that we had the musical moments we did have, and praying for a restful peace for Jess' Ipod.

Tags: carlos and fabien, cork, galway, greg and jake, ipod



God bless you on your adventure. Our prayers continue for you both. Love. Sue and Jim

  sue May 22, 2008 12:42 AM


Widen your horizons and take in traditional music.
I discovered thumb in ear sea songs were a great form of music on the English shore. Sing in a pub, nothing like it Hugs Flo

  flo May 31, 2008 6:44 AM

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