Edison’s Last Words
I have a torn piece of newspaper that has been bluetacked beside my bedroom lightswitch for several years in different flats. It must have been published on an anniversary of Thomas Edison’s death (Jan 23rd 1981) and contains a few nuggets from this supremely inspiring mind which did alot more than just light up the world (as if that wasn’t enough!). I post it there to remind me of its last line, which quotes one of the last things the scientist said to his wife as he drifted in and out of consciousness in his final days - “It is very beautiful over there.”
It feels so good to make music right from the centre of your body – especially with other people when the sum of the parts is something none of us could achieve alone. I’ve sung in choirs all my life since I was 11 and am a proud member of the Cork Chamber Choir. We were founded in 2005 by my great friend Anne-Marie Curtin (who I met through singing), starting very informally in the sitting room of my flat on Grattan Street. Last year the choir entered the Choral Festival for the first time and romped home first in the church music competition (can you romp in a cathedral?! My granny would’ve said not I suspect). I was gutted to be in the audience instead of singing as I’d taken a year out for studies – it brought out a very bad side to me that I wasn’t very proud of! It feels good to be back now and I’m really looking forward to performing with them again, we have a concert of really gorgeous music coming up in November. Singing the words of Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson is much more fun than Latin stuff!
Sweet Honey in The Rock
Sweet Honey and the Rock are such a powerful group of women – flawless and heartled singers, pioneers and activists too. They were founded by the amazing Bernice Johnson Reagon in the seventies. I’m really excited that their arrangements are now being published and I am hugely excited to have just received 6 transcripts that have made their way out from the US to me. I’m all fired up after a weekend of singing workshops with Guillermo Rozenthuler at the jazz festival and met a couple of great singers so I am hoping to get him over to workshop some of Sweet Honey’s music with us early next year. Sweet Honey in Cork? Maybe!
I’m not sure when I started frequenting this beloved pub but it is the place for me. It’s the first pub I have felt like a real regular. What keeps drawing me back is the combination of great live music (especially trad nights Friday and Sunday), good heads and short memory! I can be myself there and am rarely pulled up on it – love that!
The feeling that everything is somehow working quietly underneath all the chaos, a self – organising choreography. That feeling of being part of some wonderful vast process that is furthered by positivity and creativity. I catch glimpses of the cogs in the rewards of chanciness and in the achievements of people who are motivated by a vision that aligns their personal goals with their ideal of a better world beyond themselves. I’m sure there are those who would be scornful of my kind of optimism in a world that seems to be rapidly worsening as much or more than it’s improving. I have been like that in the past myself. I would like to suggest though, in a very earnest and supportive way, that they go fuck themselves. I think getting in touch with your own body and the world within is probably the best place to start to find the most fulfilling path in this crazy dance if it hasn’t revealed itself already. I’m no expert at this, in fact I think I’m pretty behind – so I’ve just started a bit of yoga.
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