About 3-4 years ago, Dylan and I met an uillean piper named Keegan. Keegan began cyberschooling (homeschooling on the computer) in January. We love to exchange tunes, arrange tune sets, and we played a few gigs together in March. We decided to give a name to our group. It took a while to decide, but we finally settled on the name Méara Meara, which means “lively fingers” in Irish. We have been playing with Keegan a lot more during the past few months.
Our most recent gig was at The Burren in Boston. Dylan and I played at The Burren in November 2014, when we opened for Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely. Brian O’Donovan, the man who organizes and hosts The Burren Backroom Series, asked if Méara Meara would like to come and perform sometime. We gladly accepted, letting our moms work out the details.
A month ago, Méara Meara opened for The Máirtín O’Connor Trio. I had never met them before, so I was very excited to hear them play. It took about seven hours to drive to Boston, during some of which Dylan drove close to a Megabus to get Keegan enough Free Wifi to complete a Biology test.
We stayed with Lindsay and Brian O’Donovan, unpacked our bags, visited a bit, and drove to The Burren for soundcheck. It took about fifteen minutes for our soundcheck, then The Máirtín O’Connor Trio sound-checked while we ate dinner. Afterwards, we met the members of the trio, Máirtín O'Connor, Cathal Hayden, and Séamie O’Dowd. Séamie and Dylan had fun trying out each other's guitars. We took several pictures with them before we were called onstage.
Everything in the Backroom at The Burren Series is on live radio, so after we played our first set of tunes, Brian asked us a few questions about our group, then we played some of our favorite barn dances, McLaughlin's/Memories of Sligo/Dances at Kinvara, which you can listen to HERE.
After playing a few more sets and singing a song, The Hare's Lament, which you can watch and listen to HERE, we left the stage to The Máirtín O’Connor Trio. They played a lovely variety of music, from jigs and reels, to a piece by Handel called The Arrival of The Queen of Sheba, which you can listen to HERE, I had never heard an Irish group play classical music like Handel, before! These are musicians who think outside the box. With multiple All Ireland Championships under their belts, their experience produces stunning variations and dynamic harmonies.
Our trip to Boston wasn't just about music. We took in some of the sights, and took plenty of pictures while doing so.
Among Quincy's Market and historical landmarks, there was one place in the north end of Boston that was particularly memorable. La Famiglia Giorgio, an Italian restaurant, was by far my favorite stop of the trip. The menu options made it especially difficult to decide, but I ended up ordering a marinara meat sauce over tortellini, breaking out of my Irish pasta-shell for the evening. I thoroughly enjoyed every divine bite, and look forward to my next trip to The Burren.