How It’s New York:  The  Session at the 11th Street Bar goes on every Sunday night.  It starts late and gets the best players in town; I’ve never not had a great time there!

How It’s Irish:  The music of course, but this week there were a lot of visitors from Ireland who had been teaching at the Catskills.  And many of their fans and students too! 

I’m  late to post about the wonderful week in the Catskills for Catskills Irish Arts Week, I know!  I’ll be putting up photos and descriptions here and some on Facebook.   Meanwhile, here’s some footage and photos from a mighty session Sunday night at 11th Street.  This is the session run by fiddler Tony DeMarco; I did an interview with him about it so look for it in subsequent podcasts (we may add a “session” tab soon!).

Nobody wants to say goodbye this week, so many musicians and students are drifting around like  a staggered flash mob.  I didn’t make it to 11th Street until 12:30, thanks to their being just ONE lane open in the Holland Tunnel (when am I going to learn never, ever to take the Holland Tunnel in from New Jersey?  When?  I was so sleep-deprived up in East Durham that at one point I looked at NYIA-er Lucy Healy-Kelly, talking about dropping her off and said I’d take “that other” tunnel– and could not find the name.  Holland? says the Cork lass, here for less than a year. I’m a Jersey girl!  I was tired!  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)  The first person I see as I walk down the street?  Blackie O’Connell, who picked me up in the air!

This session is always fab; it’s the place where professionals play– as Tony said, it’s like what would be called a “listening room” during CIAW.  But when there’s an event, like APAP or the Catskills, it becomes THE place.  Hanging out, some playing, some listening, were Blackie, Padraig Rynne, Isaac Alderson, Don Meade, Charlie Harris, Anna Colliton, Paul Keating, Mirella Murray, Christy McNamara, Caitlin and Bernadette Nic Gabhainn, and I’m sure I’m forgetting folks.  I left at 4:30.  Early, for the Catskills!  (on Friday night, I left the Blackthorne at 8:30 am, but that was partly because I’d been locked out of the Shamrock.  Which is another story!)  This is shadowy video, cause the camera broke, but captures the buzz!

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.