Sunday, February 28, 2016

Duolingo

This morning, I completed the Duolingo Irish language course.  I am quite proud of myself.  The course has 64 concepts with 2 to 10 lessons per concept.  I am still not fluent by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a much broader vocabulary, and many grammatical concepts are set.


I definitely recommend the course for several reasons:

  • it is COMPLETELY FREE with no ads, no upgrades, no offers, just free,
  • it keeps you doing SOMETHING daily, 
  • the phone app is simple enough to not become to frustrating, though I did have my moments, 
  • the website version has a lesson style explanation of the concept
  • the website version has a forum for every single exercise.  You can ask questions or check to see if the concept has been explained with just one click, 
  • it marks old lessons for review - you don't have a chance to fully forget old lessons while you do the new.

The downside to this program, or argument against it:

  • there are some concepts that are English-centric.  The Irish don't actually say that, they just translated a common English phrase for you to say, 
  • the lesson style explanation is sometimes confusing if you've been out of a linguistics class for a while and have no actual human to ask,
  • there is not enough audio, and 
  • the audio that is there is arguably non-standard.
For all the negatives, I found the overall course to be motivating and helpful.  I will continue to do the "weak skills" that it highlights for me daily.  I am also returning to "Progress in Irish" and reading "Taibhsí an Locha."

Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Computer

I got a new computer, a MacBook Pro.  The last one was still very good but purchased in 2011.  The speed and storage of the newer computers will help with new recording software and my scanning business.  Now to write up lists of things I want to do and do them!  Several CDs are ready to be recorded.  It's time.  I feel a few more music books in the making.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ren Faires

This year is the first year in many years that I am doing ZERO Abby Green performances at any Renaissance festival.  I will be at Texas Ren Fest as a member of Istanpitta, but none as myself.  Sometimes, it is the right move to take a break.

Renaissance Festivals are all different.  Each one has its own flavor, personality and direction.  I have enjoyed performing and growing as a performer in these environments over the last ten years.  My music is Irish, very Irish.  I do not try to change my repertoire or performance for a ren-faire audience.  I am always Abby Green singing my very Irish songs.  I have been very proud of the fact that my stubborn attitude of bringing the music I love to the audience without dumbing it down or flashing it up has been successful and continues to grow in success.

The music I love is most suited for Celtic type festivals, house concerts and other formal or festive events.  I am very happy to be making the move in that direction.  I will happily perform at Renaissance festivals in the future, but I will treat that venue exactly the same as I do every other venue I play in price, in respect, and in organization that I expect.  I've volunteered; I've worked for less; I've helped build; I've been there; I've done my part.

I miss my fan-friends in Michigan.  It's been years, but know I still miss you!  I will miss my fan-friends in Maryland HUGELY.  You guys have been amazing (as has the directing management, btw).  I will miss my Texas based fan-friends in the fair environment, but you guys can see me (and I can see you) in plenty of other venues and festivals!  Louisiana, somehow, I manage to see most of you in TX, but I promise to make the trip to see you once in a while.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Irish or Gaelic

The Irish language is called "Irish" if you are speaking English.  If you are speaking Irish, "Gaeilge" is the word for Irish language and "Bearla" is the word for English language.

If you look up "Gaelic" and it does not otherwise say "Irish," you are looking at Scots Gaelic.  The Scottish call their language Gaelic.  If you go to a book store and pick up a learning book on "Gaelic," you are looking at Scots Gaelic.  Look a little further on the shelf and you may find "Irish."  Irish learning courses simply say "Irish."  Many books that are for leaning songs with basic pronunciation help may say "Irish Gaelic" because the audience for those instructions are not necessarily versed in the language well enough to know that the language is simply known as "Irish" and it gets confusing that many "Irish songs" are not necessarily in Irish.  It is acceptable to use "Irish Gaelic" but NOT just Gaelic, that's the Scottish version.

I know one song in Gaelic, but I know, love, and sing MANY songs in Irish.  I sing many Irish songs in the Irish language and I sing many Irish songs in English.

Visit the Conradh na Gaeilge website and see for yourself.  Unfortunately, American Conradh na Gaeilge branches translate the organization name as "The Gaelic League."  This is confusing and is only done rather than saying "The Irish Language League" rather than "The Irish League" because that sounds political rather than linguistic.  I guess "The Irish Gaelic League" is too long. Nowhere on the Irish Conradh na Gaeilge site do they call the language anything but Irish or Irish language.  We Americans might respectfully consider following their lead since it's THEIR language and I bet they know a thing or two about it.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Crúiscín Lán

This is just a short clip of the entire song. My favorite verse - a funny one. More Irish music sneaking into our Burn's Night performance on January 30th.  You may be able to hear Richard Kean tooting out "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again."  Musician jokes...  WE think we're funny!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Wild Mountain Thyme

Performed at the January 30, Burn's Night in Houston, TX with Joachim Zwick, Richard Kean, and Scott Jernigan.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Nead Na Lachan

At this weekend's Burn's Supper, I sang a few of my Irish songs.  I love doing this one with a band because we get to play it in a set with the entire tune which is four parts, not just the 2 parts I sing.

Here we have Paddy Be Easy followed by The Foxhunter's Jig.  The Foxhunter's Jig is a 4 part tune.  I sing the A and B sections of the Foxhunter's Jig as a song called Nead na Lachan or The Duck's Nest.

Richard Kean is playing windy things and Joachim Zwick is playing fiddle.