Niamh's Musings

Join Niamh at home and on tour... the people she meets, the music she loves and the turns in the road.

Monday, March 20, 2006

San Jose

Well, here we are in lovely San Jose - where the rain is coming down in
torrents and it's unusually cold. Ah lovely Irish weather, and we've
noticed the green hills in California - nearly but not quite as green as
Ireland, especially for Paddy's Day. We picked up a wonderful car in San
Franciso - a metallic blue PT Cruiser, it's so cool and retro, even Graham
wants to own it.

We had a lovely time in the Don Quixote's in Felton last night, and were
delighted to catch up with friends Eddie and Andy who came over from Nevada
- Michelle and Janie also travelled down from San Francisco, and presented
me with a bottle of wine for my birthday - lovely!

A workshop and house concert in Cupertino tonight and then we have to leave
the loving arms of Gloria Rossen - with whom we don't have enough time -


Find Irish and international info fast with MSN Search!

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Day

Well - I does'nt feel like St. Paddy's Day - it's warm and sunny here in San
Diego - Solana Beach to be exact. Arrived yesterday from Washington DC
where it had just got cold again.

Last I wrote I was in Pittsburgh - and then we drove down to Sellersville,
just near Philly. The concert there was in a beautiful old building (about
1850s) which was originally the stables for the nearby buildings probably a
guest house. The building itself had been made into a movie theatre in the
1940s and only recently it was changed to present music and theatre. Lovely
place and lovely staff. There were quite a few volunteer staff who were
great fun and looked after us very well. A great night.

Next was the big drive up north to just outside Albany, NY State. To Old
Songs, which I had been wanting to do for a long time. I love what they do
up there and hope to get to the festival they have in June - maybe even next
year! It was a great night and Andy and Bill Spence treated us very well.
The concert was very well received and everybody was happy. They are great
fun people and I regret not being able to spend more time there - but -
another day another town!

So on to Lexington and our good friend Billy Hockett - her Music-For-Robin
series is a great thing - she puts so much work into her concerts. It was
lovely to be in that welcoming house again - where I've spent plenty of time
in the past - but again this time was barely 20 hours. The concert was good
with great support from loads of friends.

Next day was a shorter trip to Fairfield where we had a concert in the
Gaelic Club. Breda O'Sullivan was on hand to greet us and treat us right -
and Judith Joiner from Green Linnet travelled to see us (and help sell CDs)
- I had a great surprise when Kathleen Biggins surprised us by driving all
the way up from New York - great to see her and we had a great meal
afterwards - great laugh and great to catch up with friends. I tried very
hard to convince them both to come back to Ireland soon - when we parted,
they had agreed to try - hope they do!

On 13th we drove all the way up to Leeds, Mass, which is just outside
Northampton. After my last fiasco in Northampton, I was delighted to have a
big audience in a little house. Lisa went out of her way to host this
concert, even going as far as having a wall broken down to insert a double
doorway - it was just fab. It was a stormy night, and as we stood in the
alcove of what used to be a candy store, with our backs to the window, the
lightning outside lit up our shadows and the audience had a great light
show, but we didn't see it at all! We had a lovely time in the 'good sleep'
house - thanks Lisa.

And so to New York City. I had a little recording to do in the afternoon
which was over and done with within an hour. Then on to the venue, the
Cutting Room. We were lucky as we got parking out side the venue, as there
was a movie being made and the other side of the road was full of trailors,
but I managed to squeeze in and was able to leave the car there all day. It
transpired that it was a movie featuring our Dublin colleague, Colin
Farrell, who couldn't come to the concert as he supposedly had a 4.30 start
the next day - but his handler came in - Colin's loss - it was a great
night. Loads of surprises that night, and good friends turning up to
support us. My biggest surprise was my mother's brother, Bernard, who lives
in Co. Clare, just happened to fly in the day before and had been told
about the gig, the rest of the US relations being in Ireland for St. Paddy's
- but that was great support.

After that concert, we got on the road and drove half way towards
Washington. Only thing is we got lost - and ended up going west instead of
south - for about an hour - so out 2 hour journey took us 4 - boy were we
tired when we finally hit the pre-booked, pre-paid hotel! But a good sleep
and we were able to hit the road again the next day - for the 9th gig of 9 -
my poor voice was tired at this stage but with apple juice, arnica tablets
and lots of water, it managed to survive the night. We drove to the Wolf
Trap where we were doing a concert in the Barns. The night was opened by
Tinsmith who had a very impressive half hour set. And then we did our thing
which went down well and the voice held up. Again lovely friends supporting
us - there was Myron - and Brian and his family - and of course Lynn and
John Melton, our hosts for the night. As always - we spend far too little
time with the people we want to spend time with. But in the short time we
spent with Lynn and John we managed down the most delicious bottle of
Virginia wine imaginable.

Next day we flew to San Diego and here we are now - enjoying the sun shine
though it's not too hot - more like a good summer's day (in Ireland that
would be).

I've no green clothes for today - St. Paddy's Day - so I expect to be
pinched a bit - which is a thing they do here in the USA - when you're not
wearing green on St. Paddy's Day - Anyway - as soon as I get another
computer and a bit of time, I'll write about the end of the tour.


Find just what you're after on your PC with Windows Desktop Search - FREE!

March 16th

Boy we're tired - just arrived in San Diego on the first day off in 10 days
- but hopefully will get a chance to tell all the craic tomorrow - in the


Find just what you're after on your PC with Windows Desktop Search - FREE!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Squirrel Hill


At the highest point of Squirrel Hill,
Wind was whistling,
Whistling a tune my heart obeys
And at the highest point of Squirrel hill,
I am counting backwards
I suppose I�m counting back the days

Walking a changing line,
Like the one between the sea and shore
I use that memory now, for an easy smile
My heart goes rushing through an open door

From the highest point of Squirrel Hill,
I see everything,
Every little piece becomes complete
I look out the way I never did in childhood days
When all my hanging head saw was my feet

Walking a changing line,
Like the one between the sea and shore
I use that memory now, for an easy smile
My heart goes rushing through an open door

When I�m falling like a silent stone, resistance fails
Until I wish I�m on that hill again
And when I�m falling like a silent stone, resistance fails
�til I wish from out of God�s sky here I stand

Walking a changing line,
Like the one between the sea and shore
I use that memory now, for an easy smile
My heart goes rushing through an open door
My heart goes rushing through an open door

Find Irish and international info fast with MSN Search!


8th March 2006

It�s International Women�s Day � which started in 1917 in Russia! And
today myself and Graham are in Pittsburgh, PA. The weather is fine � at
least it�s not snowing and not too cold either. We started in Chicago and
had a concert in the World Folk Music Company and had a really lovely night.
We did a long drive then up to Scottville in Michigan, which is very close
to Lake Michigan. The place was full of snow and really cold but sunny,
lovely weather. We had a very enjoyable concert at the West Shore Community
College and spent the next morning having snowball fights on the shores of
the lake in Ludington. The view was stunning and it was great to see so
much snow. I know it was cold in Ireland at the time but snow is such a

We made the long trip over to the other side of the State and arrived in Ann
Arbor where we had a concert in The Ark, which is one of the most wonderful
venues in the whole of the USA. It had been 10 years since I had performed
there, I couldn�t believe it was that long. Our audience was wonderful and
sang along with some of the songs � it was just a great night.

And now, today, we�re in Pittsburgh � and I�m singing that wonderful song �
Squirrel Hill by Jules Shear. From the house here I can see Squirrel Hill �
I often sing this song to myself because it evokes a wonderful feeling of
comfort � so it�s great to actually sing it while looking at the hill.
Tonight we�re in the Pittsburgh Irish Centre. Last night, after a great
meal with our hosts Bruce and Maggie Foley, we went to the Harp and Fiddle
pub where Tuesday night is Set dancing night. I was given the best dancer
in the place and we danced a Clare Plain set, my favourite. I was very
winded afterwards because I�m so unfit for dancing but every time I dance I
say to myself, I must get back on track � hasn�t happened yet though!

So we�re having a nice day here in Pittsburgh before the madness of the next
9 days which will see us drive a fair few hundred miles, ending in
Washington where we head off to San Diego. I�ll try to write again when I�m
next near a computer.

Find just what you're after on your PC with Windows Desktop Search - FREE!