My new program is on its way and if you want to sip some Champagne (why waist it on a ship-side…) your invited to the winter weekend of Jacob’s Ladder Festival. I’m going to perform with Gal Shahar – an Israeli fiddler with an Irish soul and the best I could wish for. Colum Sands will be there too which is really nice – we got to perform on the same stage in Ireland and now in Israel.
The story of Granuaile has captured the imagination of many and it seems the number of works relating to her story is ever accumulating. Some of them follow the heroic-romantic facet of her character, some the grand historical events, some the pleasure of witnessing how one person can stand up to ‘the system’, some are just delighted to think about a woman that could wave a sword over her head while extricating wild cries from her throat.
After a 5 years voyage into the story and researching every possible bit of information I could reach I feel ready to tell her story. The research led me in strange directions which brought with them deeper understanding of the character and her times. There was nothing romantic about her – it is all about survival and taking care of your family and people in any possible way. Visiting Clare Island and the area of Clew Bay made me realize her outstanding ability as a mariner and her point of view – where most of us feel the way has come to an end she could see passageways to other places. Learning how to use a leaf-blade sword was a physical challenge but it made me realize what it feels like to wear a sharp weapon constantly, how it influences the way you walk around in the world. Understanding what a leaf-blade can do also revealed to me the most important turning point in the story the way I interpret it.
While visiting Clare Island and walking along the inner shore my partner suddenly said ‘strange, but this looks like the shore at home’ which was true. It was very different from the western cliffs that stand erect facing the amazing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. So the photo you see above was taken not in Ireland but at dawn on the shore of Maagan Michael in Israel which so strangely, feels the same.