I have always enjoyed folk and ethnic music, probably my favorite musical genre although I like specific tunes, songs and arias in most musical genres. I grew up, at least into my teens, with my parents' preferences of classical, Italian opera, light opera and musical comedy or show tunes, and the 'swing' and big band dance music of their era. Dad had studied music for part of his college experience and could play several instruments and also sang. His mother hoped he'd be another John McCormick but that was not to be.He had a decent Irish tenor type voice but nothing exceptional enough to be a star. Mom had played the piano from childhood and had a music minor in college and did a few recitals. So I heard what they lived in 78 rpm records, radio programs and some music recorded on an early reel-to-reel tape recorder. Still their musical bent came down to their three children in various ways. I have sung, though not as even a serious avocation but in choral groups in my teens. My brother is a very talented musician with all kinds of guitars and a song writer as well.
Somewhere along the way, I decided I would prefer country and western to the early rock 'n roll and eschewed the likes of Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson et.al. for Buck Owens, Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. As a country diva n later sang, "I was country when country was not cool." There was a strong connection between the music of Scotland and Ireland in the 'hillbilly' music of the USA and in the cowboy and western ballads which were really our American folk music. Thus when I first discovered The Chieftains, Clannad, The Dubliners, The Clancey Brothers, Mary O'Hara and their ilk, I felt right at home and recognized some patterns of melody and rhythm that were not at all strange.
The sixties saw a fad of folk music, much really folk style but some authentic, working into the popular music scene with people like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, Peter, Paul and Mary and others. This opened the door to musicians from the Celtic regions of Europe. Alan Stivell, Capercaillie, and a great bunch of others began to sell records in the US. You might not have heard them on the radio much except for the NPR stations but LPs and then CDs could be found in any larger city and slowly filtering out to the rural areas. I grabbed all I could find!
New Age music emerged and began to incorporate ethnic elements along with the ambient and electronic sounds. Genres blended and mixed--Native American music, especially flute and drum, some singing or chanting and fusions of rock and folk with Native sounds came along. The same thing happened with the Celtic music. Clanned mixed true folk with jazz, rock and pop sounds. The Chieftains performed with Roger Daltry of the Who, Bono of U2 and musicians from Africa, Spain and elsewhere. Enya who is a sister/niece of the members of Clanned brought a newish fusion of Irish tradition and sounds inspired by Yanni and Kenny G and other New Age performers. Recording companies like Wyndham Hill offered these new mixes of genres and Canyon Records with brilliant artists like R Carlos and Robert Mirabal did the same for the emerging Native American sounds. 1970-1999 was an exciting time for those who did not really enjoy the 'typical' pop fare, be it rock, hip-hop, rap or even the modern country sounds.
My eclectic CD collection is now becoming out of date but I still enjoy the variety and play them at home and in my car on longer road trips. I pick and choose from the mainstream when an artist or song appeals but I always go back to the folk/ethnic. The fact it mainly covers the Celtic and the Native American reflects my spiritual beliefs which also bridge those cultures. Actually there are a number of common or parallel threads between those two seemingly totally disparate cultural groups. The clan/tribe social pattern, the hunter/gatherer and early stage agriculture and the habits born of living close to nature made it easier for some of the Scots, Irish and Welsh settlers and explorers to relate to the various Indians they encountered.
I now listen to the NPR station based at NMSU in Las Cruces a lot. The five weekday evenings they have a program of Latino and Hispanic music from all around the world from seven until nine. Sunday evenings there is Thistle and Shamrock, a syndicated program hosted by Fiona Richie who is based in Scotland. There are occasionally other ethnic programs or features. I'd like more Celtic but it's all interesting! Thank goodness for PBS/NPR. Being libertarian I have mixed feelings about how much the government should subsidize this but there probably are not enough people who enjoy the variety and will put their money where there ears are to sustain it. That is sad. At any rate, this month I will get in as much listening to my favorite Celtic artists as I can!
Welcome to my World
Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!