Thursday, May 29, 2008

Farewell, Michael

I'm two years late getting this news, a sure indication of how out of step I am with the Irish folk community at this point in my life. I wish to acknowledge my fond memories of Michael O'Domhnaill, brilliant guitarist and singer, who died at his home in Donegal in 2006.

He was a great inspiration to me in years gone by, as was his sister, Triona, although I drifted away when they delved deeply into the New Age movement.
While most famous for playing dances on the guitar with Kevin Burke or other friends on fiddles and flutes, Michael had an astonishing gift for choosing and unraveling the most intricate and unusual stories in song, especially historical ballads. His recordings of "Lord Franklin" and "Death of Queen Jane" stop my breath every time I hear them.

He's shown here in a photo from Irish Fest in Milwaukee in the 1980s, where I used to hear him play every summer with Kevin Burke. Slainte, Michael.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Yes, I Know It's Not True

This summer, Nelson Mandela is turning 90. One of the greatest leaders the world has ever known is a huge rock fan, and rumors are swirling about what this year's festivities will be. My favorite of those is one posted this week on Queenzone:

Robbie Williams, dressed as Freddie, will perform with Queen.

I know, I know, there's no chance. But it's fun to imagine.