The Calm and the Storm
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'The Calm and the Storm' is the first piece in a five part series of newly composed music by Áine. This series is supported by Arts Council Ireland and depicts different themes and moods surrounding covid 19.
'The Calm and the Storm' comprises of two tunes 'The Calm Before the Storm' and 'An Bóthar Buile'. The first of the two is a light hearted 5/4 tune that shines a light on life before Covid 19. The tune takes inspiration from a tour of American Áine and her band Goitse embarked on in late February and although Covid 19 had started to become a topic of conversation, they were blissfully unaware of the impact it would soon have on the entire world.
The Second tune is a slip polka with a more serious tone. This tune represents the sheer panic to get home to Ireland when the tour got cancelled a week before it was due to end. The sheer uncertainty of the situation can be heard in this fast paced tune. A change in momentum can be heard towards the end of the piece as the band arrive home safely, nestling into lockdown life, waiting eagerly for the next update, along with the rest of the country.
Ups and Downs and Merry-Go-Rounds
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Ups and Downs and Merry-Go-Rounds is the second piece in a five part series of newly composed music by Áine Mc Geeney. This series is supported by Arts Council Ireland and depicts different themes and moods surrounding Covid-19.
‘Ups and Downs and Merry-Go-Rounds’ is a piece of music inspired by life under quarantine and consists of two tunes: ‘Grounded’ and ‘Ups and Downs and Merry-Go-Rounds’. The first tune is a gentle slip jig with traces of disquiet in each part, portraying lockdown life's slower pace being interspersed with feelings of uncertainty and anxiety.
The second tune in the piece further expands on the spectrum of emotions evoked by life during the pandemic. A bright first part represents the simple joys that have amplified importance in the current climate, while the second part presents a much more complicated range of emotions. Sadness, loneliness and feelings of helplessness are all combined to illustrate how unpredictable a day in lockdown life can be.
The call and answer section between the fiddle and accordion at the end of the piece represents the power of conversation to remind us that we are not alone. It offers a sense of hope, for a time in the near future when we will be able to gather again and share music.
Ag Gol is ag Gáire
Ag Gol is ag Gáire (Irish for Bittersweet) is a three part tune in 7/8 depicting life after lockdown. At its core, the piece is a mixture of hope and frustration. The first part is full of optimism; lockdown is over, surely things can go back to normal now? The second part of the tune depicts the crushing realisation that no, things won’t be back to the way they were for a long time to come, while the third part expresses sheer frustration and anger at how the last 9 months have gone. We can see our families again, but we can’t hug or kiss them. The infection rate is still extremely high and the death rate is growing daily. Things couldn’t be further from ‘back to normal’.
On another level this piece represents my frustration with myself. Throughout this lockdown, many have struggled a lot harder than I have, and it makes me mad at myself for complaining about staying at home. Their strength has put life into perspective, and makes what at first seemed to be ‘big’ problems dissolve into little ones.
Although the tune finishes on the first part with a more positive tone, it ends with a final taste of angst. We are all hopeful that this pandemic will be behind us sooner rather than later, but as of yet, there is no end date in sight.
‘Counting Sheep’ is a piece of music consisting of two reels. The first of the two has an urgent feel, representative of countless nights lying in bed, unable to sleep because the mind won’t stop racing. Lately I find myself staying awake at night, thinking about what I’ve heard on the news that day regarding the pandemic. This first tune sees me desperately trying to nod off, yet finds me twisting and turning, anxiously thinking about what news tomorrow will bring. It seems there is too much on my mind to think about counting sheep.
‘Falling Down the Rabbit Hole’ is the second tune in this piece, and in the key of G Dorian pushes those feelings of anxiety to the forefront. Despite my best attempts, I have fallen down the rabbit hole of thinking about EVERYTHING. At night, these thoughts seem so overwhelmingly bleak that it is impossible to fall asleep. In a final desperate attempt, the tune briefly changes to Bb major to give it a brighter, more hopeful feel. These are my happy thoughts fighting to override the negative, but they never seem to last long enough as the original key reappears. The abrupt ending shows my exhaustion winning out in the end.
‘Brighter Days’ is the final piece in a five part series of new music depicting different themes and moods surrounding COVID 19. The first tune in this piece is a slow air named ‘Bóthar na Trá’ or ‘The Shore Road’ and reflects on the year gone by. The Shore Road is where I grew up and is one of the places I missed most during this pandemic, as restrictions meant I couldn’t travel back to Co.Louth for months at a time. Not being able to go home made me appreciate all the happy times I spent on The Shore Road with family and friends.
The second tune in this piece is an optimistic hop jig that looks ahead into the new year with hopeful eyes, wishing for brighter days. With the vaccine now in circulation, there is finally an end in sight. Although we know things won’t immediately go back to the way they were, we trust they’ll get there eventually. The past year has been extremely testing for us all, and I for one am looking to 2021 with high hopes.
The piece ends with the slow air again as a final farewell and reflection on the year gone by.
Female Musician Of The Year - 2020
- ASLR Celtic Music Awards