Happy birthday, Ralph Towner

It happens to me again and again: The heroes of my youth seem to remain as young as noticed at the first contact. Of course, that’s nonsense. Nevertheless, I noticed with some astonishment that Ralph Towner had his 80th birthday yesterday. So, happy birthday, Ralph Towner, and may you keep good health in the future. Perhaps you will enrich the musical world with other pieces of your great music.

Thanks for the solo concerts, your contribution to Oregon and your piece Anthem. No one should miss it. The recording above only gives a reduced idea of it. If triggered buy the cd or download the file.

Other releases worth listening to: Trios / Solos (ECM, 1973), Solstice (ECM, 1975), Anthem (ECM, 2001)

Fare thee well

It’s done: the Brexit will happen tomorrow night at 11 p.m. and the UK’s EU membership will end definitely. Yesterday the European parliament accepted the Brexit proposal with broad consent. Reactions were quite predictable: Nigel Farage rejoiced in the outcome of the whole procedure. Many, particularly young, members of the EU parliament expressed their sadness und hope that this may be not the last word.

Whether the treaties for the further relationship between the EU and the UK will be ready by June or July is rather unclear. Many experts expressed their doubts. The rest of the year would be needed for the long haul process of ratification in all the European national parliaments. Some even fear that this could be another attempt to force a hard Brexit.

How will the future long term relationship between the EU and the UK look like? If BoJo will undermine European product and labour standards they will be frostily. He still has to learn that he is in the weaker position: It’s the dog that wags the tail, not the other way round.

Thank God, the UK will still be part of Europe in general. But one must hope that e.g. Erasmus and the exchange of students and scientists will grant enough communication between both. Others are less happy: Many binational or continental families in the UK are anxious about their future citizenship.

Need some famous last words? Fare thee well, UK, and perhaps “au revoir“.

Irish-english folk treasure trove

Lankum – The Old Man From Over The Sea
Lankum – Cold Old Fire
Lankum – The Granite Gaze
Radie Peat – Cailín deas crúite na mbó /When I Was A Young Girl
Lankum – Rosie Reilly (Live at The Parlour)
Lankum – Sergeant William Bailey (Sidmouth FolkWeek 2015)
Ímar – l’Air Mignonne (Canadian Sunshine)
„Pipes Solo – Lark in the Morning“ – Cillian Vallely & Alan Murray
Luke Kelly – Peat Bog Soldiers


The end of the United Kingdom as we know it?

BoJo won the election as most people foresaw. Jeremy Corbyn was no plausible alternative: Very unclear about Brexit and the future relationship towards the EU, rigid and pigheaded in his political positions. BUT

…most of the Scottish constituencies voted for SNP and Nicola Sturgeon seems very determined to fight for a second referendum.

…Moreover even in Belfast North won a Sinn Fein politician. On the long run ?nationalist? North Irish inhabitants will outnumber the unionist oriented. In some years a referendum might be held to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic.

…The economic consequences of Brexit for the UK are very unclear to say the least.

So, should we call the future Prime Minister Pyrrhus-BoJo from now on?

Boris Johnson – a fox to keep the geese

The result was predictable: two thirds of the 193,000 members of the Conservative Party i.e. 92,193 people voted for Boris. Even if it’s the law, it’s more than ridiculous: A party that was reduced to the min during the elections for the EU parliament (8.8 %) and that was evidently unable to solve the major problem of Brexit can decide how the UK will be reigned in the next future. The ratio of the pro Boris votes compared to the whole population (60,800,00) is about 0.15 % – this can’t be the idea of democracy!

What have the 92,193 members of the Conservatives got by electing Boris? A vain, sometimes entertaining politician who often doesn’t know the nitty-gritty of an issue (see his remarks on article 24, paragraph 5 b of the GATT world trade deal). In his jobs as London mayor and as foreign minister he wasn’t that successful: He was responsible for the London Garden Bridge that was never built, but cost 46 Mio pounds. He proved to act very unprofessionally as foreign minister when he gave the English-Iranian journalist Zaghari-Ratcliffe no support, but reinforced the suspicions of the Iranian authoroties. She is still in prison. More examples could be added easily.

Resume: Boris Johnson can appeal to the John Bull-type of citizens when he flatters them (dudes). He may promiss a golden age for the UK, but chances are that his government will last no longer than that of Theresa May.

More songs in Gaelic from Scotland and Ireland


Irish Folk – revisited by rté

I must admit: I am addicted to Irish Folk. For weeks around the year I have to renounce on this kind of music, often appreciated live in Dingle. Nevertheless, I approve of musicians who try to play Folk Music slightly adopted to the 21th century.  Thanks to rté and TG4 there is a collection of music that meets these qualities – and to reduce my grief ;-). Enjoy.

Rocky Road to Dublin / Lankum

Foggy Dew / Daoirí Farrell

The Parting Glass / Freddie White

Green Fields of France / Niall Hanna and Niamh Farrell

The Town I Loved so Well / The Henry Girls

A Rainy Night in Soho / Steo Wall

Eleanór na Rún / Linda Nic Leóid & Niamh Farrell

A sanctuary for Irish literature – and a gorgeous place to eat

Glendalough is famous for the remains of its mediaval monastery from the 6th century – a time when people in the later Germany lived a very restrained and more or less primitive life. But other things in Glendalough are worth registering as well.

If you are hungry I recommend The Wicklow Heather Lodge. You get there really fine and tasty food, a gentle and attentive host* and – as a intellectual dessert – The writer’s room. There you find first editions of Beckett, Joyce and many others like Patrick Kavanagh the man who wrote Raglan Road and many poems and a lot of prose as well. For us it was a overwhelming atmosphere – a place where we want to be again.

If you want to eat there making reservations is a must. Enjoy the lovely food and the very special place.

*If you are lucky she will explain the treasures of her restaurant.

Brandon Peak

Last time we only made it near the very top of Brandon Peak. The strategy to avoid the edge of the mountain proved to be wrong and we came near a very steep and rocky slope at the south-western part of this mountain near Gearhane An Géaran. Quite scary.

This time I went alone from Connor pass via Beenanabrack and Ballysitteragh and passed the saddle in northern direction. From there I climbed up to Gearhane An Géaran over a meadow and reached a gate at the top. From there 200 meters of a scary path (at least for me) on the very edge had to be passed before I reached less dangerous parts of the mountain. A great view towards Castle Gregory and the eastern mountains of Dingle peninsula were the reward.