Friday, February 19, 2010
Thank goodness it's Friday...
First off, let me say that I started this entry on Monday. Various things have taken up my time this week, so I couldn't finish and post it until today.
My mom and I went to see "Celtic Woman" in concert this past weekend. She knows that I adore Celtic music and had gotten the tickets for my birthday. I've always loved the music, the songs, and I love to hear anything sung or spoken in Gaelic. I've had an obsession with the Celts forever. That being said, I had long known of my father's ancestral family, but no one had ever done any research on my mother's family. I took that upon myself a few years ago. I traced her family history back to Ireland, so this is the music of my ancestors. How else to explain my love of the music except that it's in my blood! My dream is to one day visit that beautiful country.
There is a type of Irish called "Black Irish." This group differs from the traditional Irish who typically have lighter and red hair colors. One theory suggests that the many Spaniards who came ashore following the wreck of their ships in a storm intermingled with the Irish, adding their genes, resulting in the Black Irish type. The genetics of the human race is fascinating to study. Very difficult to follow, but fascinating nonetheless. There is a study that used mitochondrial DNA to trace human origins back to what they call the Mitochondrial "Eve." From there, they tracked the spread of the human race. All of that to say that there are certain characteristics of each ethnic group based on genetics. I have very dark brown hair. When I was young, it had a lot of red in it, but as I grew older it got much darker. I have green eyes with just a bit of gold in the center and a blue outer ring. I have very fair skin, and I am short. Based on genetics of the Black Irish, I look typically Black Irish. The Irish were the first emigrants to the United States, and the largest group of Irish descendants still live here. I count myself as one!
Life has never been easy for the Irish people. They have long been subjected to discrimination and persecution, in early times as evil pagans who needed to be reformed and later as a lower class who were socially unacceptable and backwards. They have been economically and socially oppressed in their own country as well as in those countries to which they immigrated. The significant divisions of political and religious beliefs brought punishment and abuse, leaving the Irish struggling to cope. The two best known stereotypical Irish characters are the mean-tempered and the drunk, both of which can be attributed to the extreme oppression under which they lived. Studies have shown that the Irish generally have poor health which they lovingly pass on to future generations, and they also have more long-term illnesses. As physical health is an indicator of mental health, it isn't surprising that there is a high incidence of mental health disorders among the Irish. They also pass along the tendency toward mental health disorders. Ain't heredity grand?
Because of their suffering, I think that of all cultures, the Irish know best how to celebrate life. They are a practical people who work hard and then play harder. And music has always been part of that celebration.
The concert was fabulous, just as I knew it would be. The four women who sing have angelic voices. Although I adore the pixie fiddler, the percussionists are my favorite musicians. Of course, there were bagpipes, various stringed instruments, pipes, etc., so it was all very authentic. However, this "easy listening" music is not the only genre of Celtic music of which I am fond. Various groups that are either more "rocking" or "primitive" are in my CD collection as well. The more authentic, the better. So imagine my excitement this morning to discover a group called Eluveitie from my favorite blogger, the fabulous Buffy Leigh of "kaKofonie Of si(gh)lens"! The group is from Switzerland, and they are a folk metal band, their sound a blend of metal and Celtic folk music. Definitely not angelic! I'm already logged onto Amazon to make a few CD purchases. BL usually clues me in on amazing fashion finds, but I love her music preferences, too. Thanks, Buff!
Instead of our usual tea party, I think I'll invite my friends over for a wee pint or two of good ole Irish stout.