Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Concert Review: Celtic Soul Experience

Isidoro & I flashing our volunteer badges

I went to/volunteered at an awesome concert last night at St. Mary's Episcopal Church downtown. I'd never been there before and I was delighted at the medieval feel of the place (due to the evening darkness & mostly brick construction).

It's 125 years old and smells like OLD building. The altar was freaking gorgeous, and surprisingly had primarily female figures on it, which I haven't seen before.

The show was altered from the original format, because two of the artists weren't allowed to leave Ireland to perform! But some local artists stepped up to help at the last minute, and we all had 3 hours of listening enjoyment.

Noirin Ni Riain

The first performer was Noirin Ni Riain, an Irish Spiritual Singer, who sang in both Irish and English - sometimes within the same song. Her voice was incredible. She sang a mixture of spiritual and folk tunes from Ireland, often sharing the story of how she learned the song from another performer. I'm not really sure what the instruments she played are called, but they both bore a striking resemblance to accordions.

Margaret Waddell

Following Noirin was local singer Margaret Waddell, who performed songs by Hildegard von Bingen, who was a nun/visionary/authoress/artist/song-writer in the Middle Ages. I had recently listened to a few CDs of Hildegard's music and was entranced, so I was excited to hear some performed live. Margaret accompanied herself with bells and a variety of singing bowls.

Gerald Trimble, et al

The last set was another local performer, Gerald Trimble, who plays a very old instrument that's like a cross between a cello and a lute, and was backed up by 4 other musicians on a variety of common and unusual instruments (including a bass mandolin). They played traditional Irish & English songs in a jazz-like fashion.

All together now!

And, finally, everyone performed a couple songs together to end the evening.

Click here for embedded video
(The chorus was a sing-along, and unfortunately
the woman beside me was often off-key).

I enjoyed this beautiful musical evening full of obscure and familiar songs. If you're in Columbia* or St. Louis, you have the opportunity to see the show as well.

*Tonight only!

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