Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Celtic Blunder...

Every now and them something comes along too crap-tastic to be believed. Something so vile, so repugnant one can scarce muster words to fit the experience. I witnessed such an event last night at the Sprint Center in the form of Celtic Thunder. Thank God my ticket was free. Now before you lambaste me as a bitter ex-singer with a jealous axe to grind let me give the show the only props I can. All the musicians are extremely talented. Twenty year old Keith Harkin sang what may be the best Mountains of Mourne I have ever heard and the scant traditional music was lovely for the most part. But I digress. I'm not trying to write a review. I'm here to rant. I'm pressing the rant button People; listen very carefully. If you listen closely enough you'll hear the faint sound of Tommy Makem turning over in his grave. I'm not dense. I understand this is a pop show. I understand that it's the McDonald's, at best, of Irish music. I understand its demogrpahic is youngish women with disposable incomes and fuzzy conceptions of what Celtic music really is. I understand that Celtic rock, which I enjoy, bridges the gap between younger cultures and exposes them to traditional Irish music they might otherwise miss. I get it. And it's valid. What I can't understand is how anyone sitting in that crowd could be thinking, "You know...if I don't hear Knights in White Satin tonight I shall be sorely dissapointed. That's right. Knights in White Satin. Along with Desperado, Puppy Love, and I Want to Know What Love Is. Foreigner, for God's sake? Really? I think Sean O'Malley, with whom I was sitting, said it best. "This is an insult". Cotten candy stagecraft for a short attention span culture without the means or desire to discover what real Irish music is. Phil Coulter, what were you thinking putting this together? Is this really what you want the American populace to walk away with as the definition of Irish Music? I won't even push my own pub. I'll push all the pubs that allow traditional music to thrive. Find one close to you. Go see Eddie Delahunt. Go see Bob Reeder. Go see Tom Dahill. Go see The Quiet Men. Just don't let this show become your picture of Celtic Music. Then again, if you like a little Foreigner with your Jigs and Reels, this might be the show for you. Who am I to say? I could just be a bitter ex-singer with a jealous axe to grind.


J_Fox said...

You should start a band called Jealous Axe.

Andee Weinfurt said...

I'm sorry I wasn't there to hear the banter betwixt you and Corey. (Betwixt is one of his favorite words...had to put it in there.) Isn't there some kind of Australian Chippendales group called something Thunder? I think that would have been my tip that this may not be your cup of tea.

James Brown said...

Celtic Thunder, Gaelic Storm, what's with all the weather related pseudo-Irish band names? I'm thinking we should form one ourselves and perform at next year's Fest. Do you prefer the name Blarney Blizzard, or Shamrock Typhoon?

Mark said...

What you are saying is the you are more Irish than Phil Coulter and Sharon Browne and each of the 100% Celtic singers and musicians, and that YOU know the real Ireland better than they do.

I respectfully submit that your perspective is akin to that of the Irish Pub in Belfast or Dublin, selling good old American sasparilla root beer or whiskey while the patrons sit around the faux campfire listening to Roy Rogers and Trigger sing GENUINE American music, just like every GENUINE American Country and Western singer does.

While you are in Ireland, count the kilts and bagpipes and whistles on your left hand. You'll see more in Georgetown, Boston, and Kansas City.

I guess they think the streets of New York are filled with Long Horn Steers and Indians riding bareback mustangs shooting arrows at the stagecoach, too.

This is 2008. The Celtic Thunder performance is NOT the show you find in your average smoke filled Irish themed tavern. It is a combination of a glitzy Las Vegas show, the glamor of a Broadway musical, mixed with the professional singing of an Italian opera, combines with quality lyrics reminiscent of a Shakespearian theater in London.

Take the lyrics, for example: Love, marriage, children, divorce, death of a parent. Wholesome. You won't find that type song from your average rapper or headbanger.

The music: Requisite bagpipe, whistle, drums, guitars, plus the orchestral accompaniment to tie it all together into a thing of beauty.

You mention Phil Coulter. Are you more Celtic than him? Do you have more silver, gold, and platinum discs than him (over 100)? Have any of the groups you like had their first release shoot to the Billboard World 200 chart in the number ONE position upon release, and stay there for a half year until it was replaced in the number one slot by their SECOND release, and then their first dropped to the number two position. I doubt it, because that has happened only FOUR times in the history of the Billboard World 200 chart.

What you are saying is that you disagree with the rest of the world. You have that right. Keep selling Irish (and homebrew) beer in your "Irish" pub, and open a pub in Dublin and sell Bud Lite and get a couple of cowboys to sing around a campfire to showcase those good old American tunes they like so much over there.

Your friends can open a German deli with genuine Michelob beer, or a Czech restaurant with Pilsner beer. They can dance polkas for us Americans and maybe we will be deluded into thinking they are GENUINE representatives of the "old country."

Meanwhile, I'll continue as a Celtic Thunder fan, being just as proud of MY Irish heritage as you are of yours.

Here is a link to what I think of Celtic Thunder: Blog said...

AMEN Mike!!!

Maybe one of these days they'll learn something from The High Kings.