Brian Cunningham is in the middle of his Atlantic Steps tour. It is definitely gaining momentum as more venues are filled and more dances performed for the pleasure of the eager crowd. It is doing great that reaped a positive review from The Boston Globe. The Irish and the whole Celtic music scene are excited as something fresh is making its way into the mainstream consciousness. Yes fresh but actually taken from something ancient. This is the beauty of Sean Nos dancing. It is definitely Irish all the way. It is also a kind of dance that has become obscured but now found a new audience in both young and old. I first got acquainted with the term after reading Dark Dealings by Karen Victoria Smith. At first, I thought Sean Nos only referred to the type of singing which also translates to “Old Style.
An observer of Sean Nos dancing who is new to this art would notice similarity to American tap dance. But remember that American music and dance are both influenced by the Irish culture. Brian Cunningham answered these question between sessions. He was prompt friendly in getting back to my questions. The thing about real artists is that they are both eager to perform the art tell the world about it.
Here is a brief info about Sean Nos dance from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean-nos_dance: Sean-nós dance is an older style of traditional solo Irish dance. It is a casual dance form (as opposed to the more formal competition-oriented form) of Irish Stepdancing. “Sean Nós” in the Irish language means “old style” and refers to various activities, including sean-nós song and sean-nós dance. These less common forms of Irish dance and traditional Irish singing have been documented by folklorists and song collectors (AKA ethnomusicologists), but still often form part of the traditional dance scene in Ireland.
There is a huge resurgence of Sean Nos dancing not just from Ireland but also from the whole Irish diaspora. How to you feel being in the middle of it all?
It’s great to be in the middle of this huge revival of an ancient dance form sean nos dance. It’s a well minded and respected art form, so it’s important that it’s revived in a special way.
So tell us more about Atlantic Steps. You are in the midst of a tour I believe? How’s it going so far?
We just finished our USA tour with Atlantic Steps, and it’s flying high thank God! More info about the tour available here :www.atlanticsteps.com
How did you develop the love for traditional dancing?
I developed my love for sean nos dance at the age of five. I love the freeness and excitement it brings to me and the people I perform to.
Can you cite the dancers who influenced your desire to follow this path?
I learned how to dance from my father, and he learned from his grandfather. I was also influenced be the great Mairtin Beg O Griofa and Seamus Devan. It all comes from the heart and our culture in Connemara.
If someone who is new to Sean Nos dancing asks you ‘what is sean nos dancing,’ what’s your answer?
If someone asks me what sean nos dancing is, I would say it’s not just ‘steps of a dance.’ Sean nos is a story, and the oldest dance story we have in Ireland. It’s the feeling you get and the passion you feel. When you do sean nos dancing, the rhythm is coming from inside.
What will happen this year in terms of Atlantic Steps and side projects?
My plans for the next year is to keep working on atlantic steps and most of all to keep trying to take part in the revival of sean nos dance. My biggest goal is to tell the story and as it was not just dance.
Points to remember when someone as old as 38 gets into Irish dancing?
When someone is getting into Irish dancing, the thing to keep in mind is, there are no rules or regulations with sean nos. People of 60 years and up, werethe best dancers. They had the style mastered even back in the day when it was danced in country kitchens around the open fire.
Brian Cunningham is performing in Boston this weekend.
‘Atlantic Steps’ is the inspiring epic story of Ireland’s oldest dance form, portrayed through the music, song, dance and Atlantic-Ocean-inspired energy of the Connemara region. For booking information, contact JRA Fine Arts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.939.ARTS (2787).
Here we are again with our fabulous edition of the Huzzah! following the Brian Cunningham interview above. I am dizzy while writing this because it is past 11. Sometimes I think I am getting old due to my ‘punctual’ sleeping habits. So what’s up? Well I want to touch about amusing pictures on top of our usual musical recommendation.
I want to say that The Folkalists made amusing pictures via their fb page. Take a look at these:
If you want to know how they sound like, then just try to imagine, Simon and Garfunkel with a good dose of The beach Boys and Planxty for the good measure. The sound is characterized by tight harmonies and lush instrumentation. Can’t wait for an actual album from The Folkalists. Here is a link to their demo: http://soundcloud.com/stubbornassmusic/i-will-always-be-around
Check out this amazing link: Caitlín Nic Gabhann wins Traditional Album of the Year 2012
Sliotar is preparing for their march and April gigs. For those who are new to the band, this video gives you an idea about the music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=939HwEOslR8
Saw Doctors to hit Cleveland this March: http://www.examiner.com/article/saw-doctors-to-bring-irish-rock-back-to-cleveland-march-21st
Scottish piper Fraser Fifield is in Holland performing with The Nordanians. Here is a video of the music for those who are curious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5WiGLCIeKs
Martial Tricoche (Manau) continues to make waves in France with the release of his new album plus an interesting music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F89yQ0Ty8nk&feature=share
Our previous featured artist Nick Burbridge has a recording up via bandcamp:
Poetry reading of The Purge – Michael Hartnett- Read by Alan Cooke – aka Wild Irish Poet: http://youtu.be/tA3aJP0vZlQ
An interesting version of She Moved Through the Fair by the sister of Eve Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMU0fkNlcJY&feature=share&list=UUiM_gxyu6Ii3np7Z8ga-F1A
That’s it folks. Now don’t worry if you think I miss something. I will make it up on the next edition which will be on Friday!