One of the highlights of my recent Ireland trip was doing a musical pub crawl, which we did in Dublin on our very first and highly jet lagged night.
Our hosts were two incredible (and incredibly hilarious) musicians, one on acoustic guitar (and sometimes an Irish frame drum, or bodhrán, held with one hand), the other on violin. At one point, they gently “roasted” we tourists hailing from various countries. Touching on English versus Irish relations and Brexit, the guitarist noted that an Englishman in attendance needed to relax as the countries are friends these days, and then finished on the punchline, “Welcome to Europe!”
In between truly wonderful songs and drinks and pub crawling to a selection of non-touristy Dublin pubs, we learned about the culture of song “sessions,” where musicians play to enjoy themselves and where everyone is welcome to join — sessions gets bigger and less professional as the night goes on. Foot stomping is encouraged, which allows you to drink at the same time versus the hassle of clapping. Vocal cues like “hup!” tell the other musicians what’s going on and where changes in the song are happening. They also displayed how any song can be “made Irish” — Pachelbel’s Canon was used as an example. Overall, a very impressive and enjoyable evening.
Finally, the violinist wore a t-shirt featuring a storm trooper from Star Wars. It read, “It’s Fierce SHTORMY!” That alone, right?
This post originally appeared in what had originally been called The Eric Berlin E-mail Newsletter. To get a weekly blast of pop culture, digital media, and politics that helps make sense of an increasingly frazzled world, sign on up for The Berlin Files here.