Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Band!! Conor Malone from Ireland!!!

So, last week, before my raging flu and bronchitis set in, we met with our lovely band. We're even MORE excited than ever before about the music at our event--and are especially honored to have Conor Malone singing and playing guitar.

Conor Malone hails from Ireland, and has a voice that will break you (in a good way). He had a cameo appearance in the movie "The Comittments" (awesome flick!), and was given a $100 tip--during his street playing guitar days--by Jerry Garcia from the "Grateful Dead." Currenly, Conor tours the DC metro area, and has quite a line-up of performances all through Maryland, Virginia, and the district. You can check some of these out on his website.

Other members of our band will include 1 fiddler, 1 mandolin player, and 1 Irish drum player, to accompany Conor's vocals and guitar.

For the ceremony, we are feauturing two processional songs: one for Jen and Patrick, and one for me and dad. For Jen and Patrick, we are going with Shebeg Sheemore (which you can hear a sample of on the Celtic Music page, even though this particular sample has flute and harp, which we will not have). For me and dad, we'll be walking down the aisle to O'Carollan's Draught--a song that's fresh and sweet and puts me at ease! Conor's version isn't available online--only via his CD, but there are some basic versons online, such as the one linked here, and another one on YouTube. For the recessional, we've selected Haste to the Wedding, a kick ass fun Irish reel that Chris and I have always loved. The actual version they'll play isn't available online, but here's one version of it that's a lot of fun.

During the cocktail hour, the band will play a variety of traditional Irish reels and jigs.

For our first dance, we've selected Planxty Irwin--translated from the Gailec, it means "in the honor of the family of Irwin," which were songs written in the 16th century. It's a lovely song, and will go beautifully with our waltz dance training! There are so many versions of Planxty Irwin, but Conor will be leading the song to a waltz beat. Loads of versions are online, but none of them exactly what we'll be dancing to--with the beat of a fiddle, mandolin, drums, and Conor's guitar--but here are two samples: the first on the Celtic Wedding website, and the second on free MP3 snippets. We decided not to go with the Sweetheart Tree, as Planxty fit the overall feel of the event, and works better with our musicians. Our plan, instead, is to use "The Sweetheart Tree" for our rehearsal dinner slideshow!!

After the first dance, the band will play a few more waltzes, beginning with one for me and dad, then one for Chris and his mom. After that, we will open the floor to waltz to ease the crowd into the feel of the evening.

After waltz, we will have our dance caller start the Ceilidh (pronounced Cay-lee) for a few rounds! It's loads of fun, and is a traditional Irish dance. Amateurs can learn easily--it's only three steps! You can see lots of amatuers having a blast doing the ceilidh dance on UTube, such as this one, or you can see them more polished, slow and graceful, such as the dance in Pride and Prejudice.

As the Ceilidh is incredibly taxing (!), we will only ave three rounds or so, and then open the floor to reels and jugs (fun for dancing the polka to!, which is easy enough to fake if you know a one-two step and like to move fast!) and pub tunes from Conor's playlist!

We hope for an evening of joy and fun and music you've never heard anywhere else. With Conor's voice, our awesome dance caller, and amazing musicians, we're SO excited to get our party started.


Shimko said...

I have a whole new list of scores I want to pick up for my violin. Awesome!

Ally Armistead said...

Yay!!! : ) Can't wait to see you.