The Blarney Pilgrims Podcast is a weekly journey to the heart of Irish music. We interview players of Irish music about how they first came to the music and the place it occupies in their lives now. We use the word ‘heart’ intentionally, because heart is what this music, and the people who play it, are all about. It’s a funny, warm and often unexpected journey – and the tunes are crackin' too.
Hey there - it's Darren and Dom here. So...we want to let you know that last week was the last episode (Ep 94) of the Blarney Pilgrims Podcast for now. We've come to a point where we've both decided to take a long pause and focus on a few other things. Knowing how much the podcast means to you all, it's a decision we've been really reluctant to take. What we DO know is how massively grateful we are for every text, every thumbs up, every raised eyebrow of support we've had over the past two years. You are all legends, and we're forever in your debt. Thanks especially to everyone who's become a Patron Saint and supported us through the toughest of economic times, and thanks most especially to the musicians. To those who have been so generous to share their tunes and stories with us, and to those who've welcomed us into pub sessions and festival gatherings and house sessions and campsite sessions. Wherever in the world we've chatted with players of the music, we've been made to feel like lifelong pals. It's a testament to the open heartedness of the communities who keep the music going wherever they are, and we can't thank you all enough. We hope this archive will remain of use to people even as we're taking a pause. So - please do stay in touch, don't be a stranger, and if you see us out and about, do say hello. And we'll see you when we see you. Dom and Darren.
August 10th, 2020 | 2 hrs 11 mins
banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar, theresa o'grady
Sunday morning sessions at The Coach and Horses, Finsbury Park; summer road trips to Ireland and back via relatives' houses, Fleadhs, sessions and the Holyhead ferry; learning to play in Anne Caulfield's house in Luton; competing and adjudicating; becoming a teacher of music and recording your first album. All that AND Barings Bank. Nick Leeson how are ye!
August 3rd, 2020 | 1 hr 36 mins
Teenage musicians, a Drogheda pub and the Wednesday of the Fleadh; passing on the music; Hull, Leeds and the Coventry music community; moving back to Ireland, and English accent in border country and the accordion as passport.
July 27th, 2020 | 1 hr 37 mins
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Last Night's Fun; Joe Cooley, a -kick-you-in-the-chest-kind-of-accordion-player'; looking for the ghosts of James Morrison and Michael Coleman on the streets of New York City. Translating the music of the fiddle into the language of the box; a grandmother's treasure trove of recordings for the aspiring musician; the chancey magic of a recording session with the right people at the right time.
July 21st, 2020 | 1 hr 28 mins
Discovering the uilleann pipes on a road trip to Donegal; oils on metal; generative art and music; not settling in Northern Ireland; MIDI pipes and the Cardiff scene; restoration and the mysterious conversations which only pipers understand.
July 14th, 2020 | 2 hrs 7 mins
flute, kevin crawford, lúnasa, michael grinter, teetotalers
Taking on the old tunes. Records on the wall. The art and laughter of Michael Grinter. The Teetotallers, that Gort Tape and the Irish music scene in 80s Birmingham. Living in America. The birth of Lúnasa. And the rise and rise of TV snooker and Irish music. Gold.
July 6th, 2020 | 1 hr 38 mins
aifric boylan, cellbridge, fiddle, kildare
Playing at your first Fleadh, hearing the ocean in the music and searching out the rarest old tunes. Learning from older players, driving to sessions with your dad and a road trip to a Belfast terraced house in search of a fiddle.
June 28th, 2020 | 1 hr 52 mins
andy irvine, luke plumb, mandolin, planxty, shooglenifty, tasmanian
'The artist is like a blind caterpillar at the end of a leaf reaching out into the darkness.' Staring The Reaper Down. Life in music, Shoogelnifty and Sandy Bell's in Edinburgh. All night sessions in Borneo, Pretty Peggy-O and teaching Andy Irvine bouzouki parts to an audience including...er...Andy Irvine.
June 24th, 2020 | 1 hr 1 min
luke plumb, luke plumb and the circuit
The real deal. Part one of two. Incredible playing and great chat: the painters of ancient Egypt and the joy of playing in an orchestra; De Danaan, Planxty and Schubert; Martin Carthy and Nic Jones and the thrum of existential rhythm.
June 17th, 2020 | 1 hr 10 mins
flute, máirtín staunton
The northern flute style; working the bar at Matt Molloy's pub; capturing songs for posterity; on sean-nós singing, music as a release; life in Boston, and the regional sound of Melbourne
June 10th, 2020 | 1 hr 44 mins
don meade, harmonica, the blarney star, the catskills irish arts week
Irish tunes on the harmonica - seriously awesome. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Eddie Clark, New York's Irish music scene in the '80s; Bill De Blasio's busted progressive cred and The Catskills Irish Arts Week.
June 2nd, 2020 | 1 hr 34 mins
accordion, banjo, guitar, ken fleming, singing, the north texas irish festival, the o'flaherty irish music retreat
Accordion tunes in the 90 degree heat. On the '80s Cowboys and Irish music in Dallas, Texas. On De Danaan kicking up a dust storm; the Charlie Piggott route to falling in love with the banjo and struggles in learning to play. The O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and the sweetness of playing music with your kids.
May 26th, 2020 | 1 hr 29 mins
austral, caity brennan, fiddle, lake school, woodford folk festival
On growing up with traditional Irish music, on taking ownership, on finding festivals, on 92.7 Fresh Fm, on Austral and creating a dance party, and losing yourself at Woodford Folk Festival
Episode 50: Ciaran Kelly Interview (Accordion and Melodeon) The Blarney Pilgrims Traditional Irish Music Podcast
May 21st, 2020 | 1 hr 23 mins
ballycastle, ciaran kelly, coleraine, harbour bar portrush, irish music, melodeon, push draw, ten key melodeon, the house of mcdonnell, traditional music ballycastle
On accordions, melodeons, the push draw and The Pure Drop; Portrush sessions at the Harbour Bar, Ballycastle sessions at The House of McDonnell. The snug. Athlone. The borderlands of Fermanagh, Coleraine and Ceili House.
May 12th, 2020 | 1 hr 44 mins
australia, bush music, canberra, classical, ewen baker, fiddle, irish music, irish music podcast, irish traditional music, kerry slides, lisnacrieve, melbourne, st anne’s reel, the bushwhackers
J. S. Bach and Kerry Slides; St Anne’s Reel and The Bushwhackers; collaboration and individualism; coming to terms with our own imperfections but still getting stuff done. And this: 'When you're playing with other people...and you get that feeling that is above and beyond life, in a sense. Where you just go, this is why I exist. This is as happy as this bunch of cells can be, right now, on this planet.'
May 6th, 2020 | 1 hr 21 mins
irish traditional music, merran moir, scottish cèilidhs, smallpipes, traditional irish music, warrnambool, western victoria, whistle
On ABC song books, on the south-western coast of Victoria, on Scottish cèilidhs, on the highland pipes, on learning and teaching and on the understanding of air.
April 29th, 2020 | 1 hr 5 mins
doherty, donegal, fiddle, irish, irish music podcast, irish traditional music, john doherty, johnny doherty, mick doherty, perth, rob zielinski, traditional irish music
There's a single story or a thousand stories in this week's episode. The story of Mick Doherty, Donegal fiddle player of the famed Doherty family of tinsmiths, travelers and musicians. The story of his father's music, and of his grandfather's music. And woven in and around it all the figure of Johnny Doherty - Mick's uncle - one of the iconic Irish fiddle players, a tinsmith himself, and traveling man.