The fund-raiser to benefit the new ‘Tom Maguire / Dáithí Ó Conaill Irish Republican Flute Band’ was held last night (and this morning!) and, while it was a financial success , it was a ‘success’ in another way , too – in that it introduced most of us , for the first time , to Chris Carney , the ballad singer. Or should that be THE Ballad Singer ? And it should read like that because , like nearly all of those present , I have attended dozens of ballad sessions over the years – from the Wolfe Tones to the Barleycorn , to Eire Óg and all types in between – but I have never witnessed such a performance from any one person , ‘armed’ simply with a guitar and a microphone !
For almost three hours , Chris quietly introduced each song , sometimes giving a wee history of the words ….and then , honestly – proceeded to lift the roof and stun the audience into silence , with a rendition of whatever Irish Rebel song he was singing , the likes of which we had never seen or heard before , on any stage , in any city , at any time. This young man is talented beyond belief , beyond mere words can describe – a master at his craft , simply unbelievable. It was our good fortune that we happened to be in the right place , at the right time , and we look forward to the next time when our paths cross. If there is any ‘justice’ in the field of the Irish ballad scene , this young man – Chris Carney – will be its ‘King’ , the one that others struggle to impersonate.
(Chris can be heard here in action , but it doesn’t do him justice at all!)
Now for the formalities (!) : we could not have enjoyed such a fantastic night without the welcomed input from the staff , management and owners of ‘The Phibsboro House Pub (Davys)’ (36 Phibsboro Road , Dublin 7 ; ‘phone 01-8303372) , local organisers Kevin , Brendan , Shane , Frank and Morris and , of course , the ‘management’ and members of the ‘Tom Maguire / Dáithí Ó Conaill Irish Republican Flute Band’, and for all those who braved the ice and frost to make it to the venue. Much appreciated!