Showing posts from November, 2006

Calling The Digital Tune

Marriage of music and movies The marriage of music to movies has always fascinated me. I feel that movies and videos can seem sterile and lifeless without music. Today, we seem to listen to more music with video imagery than without it. Even in my teens, well before the video boom, I would be in my room staring at an LP cover while listening to the music not realizing that I was doing this to apply imagery to music. With this in mind I was fascinated to read an article in The Irish Times Science Today supplement, on November 23rd, about research into this marriage by The Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick. Led by director Mikael Fernstrom, the department is developing a software program currently called "Abaltat Muse". In short, this program detects events on video and matches music that is harmonically compatible. The program, so far, has been researched and assembled by a several post-graduate students with a variety of programming, musicology, videogra

World Premiere of "Battle Of The Books"

World Premiere of Ceol na nÓg Sligeach in Co. Sligo Copyright battles have never been as thrilling as this one! “The Battle of the Books”, is a specially commissioned music and dance suite composed by Michael Rooney and centres on the epic consequence of the world’s first copyright judgement. It focuses on 563 AD; when the armies of the High King and the King of Connaught battle over the copying of a book by Columcille, Colmcille (as the Donegal people call him), St. Columba (as the Catholic church calls him). This was the first known battle over copyright. About the performance Phew! This was a far more incredible event that I ever imagined especially considering the speed the project was composed and assembled. This first performance was after only three months of rehearsals with young people only available for a few hours a week. Considering this was a creation from original material that none of the cast and musicians had ever heard, this was a miracle performance. A major producti

The Jedi Faith

Campaigning for the "Interstellar Day Of Tolerance" Last week I caught a news article on Sky News where an Irish journalist was interviewing a couple of followers of the "Jedi Faith". The cause of the interview was that 390,000 people in the UK claimed their religion was the "Jedi Faith" on the 2001 UK Census forms and, thus, making the faith the fourth largest religion in Britain. The interview was with Umada and Yunyun, aka John Wilkinson and Charlotte Law. They have recently lobbied the the United Nations to consider the UK Census result to recognize the "Jedi Faith" as a real world religion and that the the annual International Day for Tolerance on November 16th should be re-named as "Interstellar Day of Tolerance". During this interview I found myself jointly amused and in support of their cause. Their teachings, according to Umada and Yunyun, are simple and peaceful leading with "tolerance for all people and their beliefs&quo

Rowan: The Tree Of Life

Search for the Tree Of Life. Legends tell of the first people coming to Ireland approaching from the west searching for the "Tree of Life" said to be west of the lands. In Tuatha De Dannan times the Rowan is said to have been sacred to the goddess Morrigan and then onto her daughter Brighid during Celtic times. The Tuatha De Dannan are said to have burned Rowan during any threat of conflict to call upon the protection of Morrigan. There is an ancient story that was passed on from the Chaldeans that tells of the zodiac being of 10 signs. When the Tree of Life grew it split up the signs that are now Virgo and Scorpio and the Libra sign was the tree of life. In ancient times the tree of life was of the T shape cross with 5 apples, as shown on some of Ireland's high crosses and possibly on the many ancient tree cross gravestones in ancient Irish cemeteries. Not that there are 5 signs after Libra before the zodiac restarts at Aries. Was the Tree of Life really a Rowan Tree, t

The Torch Stone of Loughcrew

Lighting The Stone November the 6th, 2006, and I witnessed the most perfect sunrise phenomena that can be seen at any of Ireland's megalithic temples. That was the sunrise lighting of the Torch Stone of Loughcrew. About Loughcrew Loughcrew is the current name given for a range of 4 hills in County Meath, near Oldcastle and not far, north west, from Kells. It may seem strange for a bunch of hills to have Lough, meaning lake, as part of their name. This is because its name comes from nearby Lough Creeve and somehow the townlands around Lough Creeve became known as Loughcrew. Creeve is derived from the name given to a sacred tree by the lake where season rites were performed. The hills on the Loughcrew lands have been named in the past as "Tri Choiscéim na Caillighe" that translates as "three footsteps of the hag", Later they became known as the "Calliagh Steppes" and then the "Witches Hops". Three of the hills then became known as Carn Beg and

Michael Quirke: Woodcarver

Samhain with Michael and Eithne Quirke Michael Quirke is well known in Sligo Town and by people all around the world, and many come to Sligo just to visit and chat with Michael. We were honoured to share Samhain with not only Michael but his equally inspiring and encouraging wife Eithne. They arrived with Brighid cross walking sticks, one of rowan and one of hazel, passed along our driveway of candles, and as they parked their crosses into the soil each side of our cottage door the local church struck the bells at seven. It was a wonderful evening of chilli based dinner with mulled wine around a turf fire and shared stories between Michael, Eithne, Claire Roche, her friend Patricia and myself. History Michael arrived in Co. Sligo from Mallow in Co. Cork as a boy with his family. He became a butcher in his father's business in 1957 in the same premises that is now his wood carving workshop. It was In 1970 that Michael started to carve wooden figures in his butchers shop while still

The Iron Stone

New CD release by Robin Williamson These days there are many faces of Robin Williamson due to his versatility of talents and interests. During his late teens in the 60s his world was the avant garde world of beat poets, jazz and contemporary music. Robin's union with Mike Heron evolved in the very successful and world popular Incredible String Band that fused folk music of Britain and Ireland with folk music elements from around the world and presented it with a sense of fantasy, called psychedelia at the time. Eventually Incredible String Band leaned more and more towards rock music as their gigs elevated from small intimate venues to rock stadiums. This was not Robin's world. To escape his first solo album, Myrrh, was recorded and released to a very confused response. Today, Myrrh is a popular classic and even Robin was overheard this year to mention it was now his favourite work. Soon after Myrrh Robin left the Incredible String Band and emigrated to Las Angeles, a surprise