It matters not about the rain. Or the football. Or small town politics, the inevitable curmudgeon that peeps frowning from behind proverbial curtains in every village in Ireland. The simple fact is, there is always a group who dwell on the edges of village life. They do naughty things, like laugh too loudly, or don’t talk enough, or eat weeds instead of vegetables. They smoke roll ups, wear woolen jumpers and shoes that are so ordinary they cost fortunes. They don’t wear make up, or else wear too much, in the wrong places. They hunt with hawks, shoot hand whittled long bows, have mythical histories (some say they dabbled with modeling in London, or sailed round the Cape Of Good Hope on a tall ship that later sank.) Some ohm, others arrrgh, they wear beards, the men all long haired and some of the women not enough hair, or too much.. in the wrong places. They are too old and too young. This then, is the hidden, but incredibly strong, counter culture of the small town. This is the audience of The Medicine Sessions.
Nothing pleases them more than being performed to, by tall bohemians, plucking a guitar, sneaking loops into a song so gently, that not a beat is missed. Growling and exorcizing personal demons live on stage. “oh my father… oh my father… oh.. my father’s mean…” hypnotic soundscapes layered freely, making pictures of lonely Atlantean battered coast lines in sad sunshine. The audience fall for it, hook and line.
There are poets there too, who exchange bits of their souls with the room in return for respectful shared solitude. They rip at things that shouldn’t be said. “I am woman and I enjoy sex”, “All poets are arseholes”, “Third world children die, but ignorance is bliss.” “none of that round here!”. They stand and reveal us to ourselves.
Us, of the village, fall for other bohemians later, the man, handling chords roped in thick overdrive, stamping diamonte encrusted shoes on homemade stomp boxes, accompanied by the lady in the black gypsy dress, long gloves, feather boa and fiddle and the quiet, educated man with boogie woogie hands at the piano, together creating sounds and stories so gothic that a purple blue mist creeps in. The bow of the fiddler makes waves in it and it dances round the top hat of the singing man, before settling on the keys of the piano.
The audience shout for them, all the stories trailing amongst their own, sparking new ones. Late into the night, glasses chink, the embers burn low in the grate, candles ebb away, along with the too loud laughter, the not loud enough conversations, bean wind, cigarette smoke, warm human scent, scuffed shoes, weathered faces, smudged mascara, lonely raptor cries, the whistle of flight and stories of ridiculous dresses and oceanic adventure. Beards are stroked, hair tousled, old and young, the hale and hearty, the others of the village… medicined.
Many thanks to June 14th performers, music by VITA and Stuart Wilde (with Kathryn Doehner and Tiarnán O’Corráin), spoken words by Peadar O’Donoghue and Niamh Bagnell. All top class specimens of human creative endeavor.
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