St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon. So, what are you planning to eat? If you’re like most Americans corned beef and cabbage is the obvious answer. But if you’ve visited Ireland, you know there are lots of other delicious options when it comes to Irish cuisine.
Take Bangers & Mash for instance. It’s a favorite at pubs in Ireland and goes down very well with a nice pint of cider
In fact when I returned from Ireland in 2014, I came up with this version of Bangers & Mash using some of Central New York’s native cider from Beak & Skiff’s in LaFayette.
Before we get cooking, let’s just clear up what that odd recipe name signifies for those who aren’t familiar with it. The "bangers" are sausages and the "mash" is mashed potatoes. All slathered in a delicious onion gravy, this pub grub favorite is very likely to make you feel all warm and cozy. Be aware, this is not a quick recipe and it generates quite a few dishes to wash, but the result is well worth it.
CNY Bangers and Mash
We’ve recently started a Pinterest board where we’re collecting all kinds of Irish recipes. You may want to check it out for more Irish dishes to try for St. Patrick's Day and throughout the year.
Did you ever hear an Irish tune at a session and wonder what it was called? Well, not surprisingly the internet offers a solution to that quandary.
I recently discovered a website called Midomi.com, and it’s a search engine just for melodies.
You click a button on the screen and sing the tune so that your computer’s microphone can pick it up. You’ll see a yellow sound wave while you’re singing. It works best if you keep the tune going for the full ten seconds until it says it’s analyzing. Then it will search for matches.
It works really well for pop songs, but I tried it out for several Irish tunes just to see what would happen.
Amazingly these songs popped right up in the results when I sang them:
Some others I tried didn’t come up:
That’s because a lot of the database comes from people contributing songs. There’s a “studio” on the site where people can add tunes. It requires you to download Flash Player, which can be a virus hazard if you don’t do it right. I didn’t want to deal with the computer complications at the moment. So I can’t report directly on that.
But I did try some other methods to test tunes. Humming or whistling a tune both work equally well. And playing a tune on my tin whistle also worked.
Now you have an online way to identify many Irish tunes. But if you ever run into one you can’t find anywhere, you can always come out to one of our sessions and ask us. We’re at Nail Creek Pub in Utica on the first Tuesday of each month and at Stockdale’s in Oriskany on the third Tuesdays. Both sessions start at 7:30pm and generally run until about 10:00pm.
You can see our full calendar of events here.
Post by Sue Romero
Sue plays bodhrán and tin whistle with Craobh Dugan and serves as the group's Public Relations Officer.
by Chris Hoke
Sorry this is a few days late -- I lost track of time. I heard it is November already...WOW!! is all I can say. Craobh Dugan had a great October!
On the 13th, we hosted our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Seton Center in Utica. Of course we had a great pot luck supper followed by our meeting and then music and dancing.
On Sunday the 15th, we welcomed Caitlin and Ciaran from Ireland who performed a lovely "house" concert for about 37 people. What a great show! These are the kinds of things we love to offer to show off the Irish Culture!!
The following weekend, over 85 people enjoyed our presentation of The Irish and the Erie at the Oneida County Historical Society.
Thanks to all who participated and/or attended these events. We TRULY have a great Comhaltas Branch!!!!
Officers Elected for 2017-2018
At the AGM, we elected officers for the '17-'18 year. Those who were voted into office include: Chair, Chris Hoke; Vice-Chair, Skip Mansur; Secretary, Colleen Martin; Treasurer, Mike Hhoke; Public Relations Officer, Sue Romero; Language Officer, Tom Malley; Auditor, Mike Carroll; Youth Officer, Margaret Carroll; Convention Delegates, Gracie Schell and Tom Malley. Thank you to each for volunteering to aid our branch in carrying out our mission. And MANY THANKS to Ryan Troy who stepped down as Vice-Chair and to Bill Fahy who stepped down as PRO. We appreciate your service to our club!!
NOTE: As you will see in the calendar below, this month only, the Stockdale's Session will be the 4th Tuesday, which will be the 28th of November. Mark this on your calendar!!
Craobh Dugan's New Special Program The Irish and the Erie
I am proud to say this production has been very well-received. The group has performed it 6 times, to rave reviews. There are 3 showings in November, including one this weekend at Utica College on November 4th at 4.00pm. They are having a day of events celebrating the Digging of the Erie Canal and asked us to present our show. If you are free on Saturday November 4th, why not check it out? The show is also being performed for the residents at Preswick Glen and Acacia Village this month.
Our branch continues to host two monthly traditional music sessions, on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. The 1st is at Nail Creek Pub on Varick St in Utica and the 3rd is at Stockdale's Pub in Oriskany. Both start at 7.30. Come for a listen if you have not done that in a while. It is always great music!! Also on Friday evenings, we teach Irish Ceili Dancing at the Seton Center at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica. Classes start at 7pm. There is no charge, and you do NOT need a partner or special shoes. All you do need is an interest in trying out Ceili Dancing and a willingness to have FUN!! Come on, give it a try!!
Finally, please continue to check our website often. All our events are on the Calendar, and we often post articles and photos about our activities in the News section. Also you can like our Facebook Page where we post about other traditional Irish happenings in the area and other fun Irish facts. You will really see what an active group this is!! We ALL make it what it is!!
Some of Craobh Dugan officers and our convention delegates will travel to Boston the first weekend of November for the Northeast Regional AGM. As always, Craobh Dugan will make an important impression there. We are not the largest branch in the region, but we are at least as busy and productive as the other branches . Kudos to us!!
Goals for the Near Future
Two goals I mentioned at our AGM include for our musicians to (finally) make another CD. Bill Fahy is taking the lead on this, and I am confident that it WILL happen!!
The other goal is for us to continue to host house (or small-venue) concerts. For a glimpse of what that kind of concert is like see our post about Caitlin and Ciaran. We held two house concerts this year and I believe we are gaining momentum. We will keep our ear to the tracks as to who is traveling through the region and we will try again to host a few each year. Watch our Facebook Page for information on these and other events!
I do believe that is all for this month. Please remember to check out the website and please do come to a session or ceili dance class. You will be very glad you came!!
NOVEMBER Events at a Glance
3----Ceili Dance Class @ Seton Center (Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2222 Genessee St. Utica) 7.00pm
4----Irish & Erie at Utica College 4.00pm
7----Open Session at Nail Creek Pub 7.30pm
10--Ceili Dance Class @ cSeton Center 7.00pm
14---Irish & Erie at Preswick Glen 7.00pm
16---Irish & Erie at Acacia Village 7.00pm
17---Ceili Dance Class @ Seton Center 7.00pm
21---Musicians Practice @ TBD 7.00pm
28---**Stockdale's Session 7.30pm
Craobh Dugan members, together with friends old and new, spent a delightful afternoon at our most recent house concert on Oct. 15 with Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh. This adorable married duo are not only abundantly talented in music and dance but charming and friendly too.
Caitlín's fingers dance over the concertina as nimbly as her feet tap over the floor. And Ciarán's brilliant fiddle playing completes their amazing traditional Irish sound.
Between tunes, they each took turns telling funny and touching stories. Some stories about Caitlín's great aunt Peg Pierce gave us an up close picture of the experience of an Irish immigrant to the United States.
Peg, who lived to be more than 100, left her little town in Ireland when she was only 16. It was high adventure and lots of dancing on the ocean crossing, followed by a train trip all the way to San Francisco.
She never changed her socks the whole time! When she arrived in California her relatives had to soak them off her feet. This one and lots of other tales gave us a glimpse of what our own ancestors' voyages may have been like.
Many of our members turned out for this show, but it was especially wonderful to see so many new faces. One young couple were passing through Utica on vacation, saw our listing on Eventbrite.com, and decided to check out the house concert. They said they were very glad they did.
During the intermission and after the show everyone nibbled Chris Hoke's legendary blonde brownies, sipped cider, and met new friends.
And that is what an Irish "house concert" is all about. Traveling musicians stop by and play for a small group of people in a cozy setting. This time Turning Point Church in Utica provided the perfect intimate space. But at other times it could be at someone's house.
Live music, a social atmosphere with friendly company, and a chance to chat with the musicians all work together to create an experience much different from a large venue concert or recorded show.
Craobh Dugan tries to arrange house concerts whenever we hear of musicians passing through the area on Northeast tours. So, if you'd like to hear about our next one, like our Facebook page.
Many thanks to Deb Putnam for the photos!
Videos by Sue Romero.
Find out how our ancestors picked up the nickname "Wild Irish". Chuckle at the lyrics of a song about whiskey. Tap your toe to plenty of rollicking traditional tunes. And learn a little something about how Irish immigrants helped to build one of the most influential engineering projects in American history.
You'll come away with all this and more when you attend Craobh Dugan's original program The Irish and the Erie. It was researched and written by our own Mike Hoke, who also plays fiddle and sings with Bill Fahy, Ed Campbell, Mike Carroll, Skip Mansur, and Sue Romero in the one-hour show. Bill Fahy also sings a charming original song of his own about the misadventures of a hoggee who spent a summer walking from Albany to Buffalo.
You can find the dates and times of performances already scheduled on our Calendar page.
And if you'd like us to present the show at your meeting, museum or other venue, send us a message on our Contact page.
Notes for this month presented to you by Craobh Dugan Chair Chris Hoke
With the very warm (hot!!) September we have had, it is very hard to believe it is going to be October....but here we go. I think there is a lot of news this month, so read carefully and take notes if you have to!! 😀
September was busy!
Coming up in October
The group will be presenting The Irish and the Erie program on Saturday, October 21st at the Oneida County History Center at 1:00pm. The center is located at 1608 Genesee Street in Utica. This program is educational, musical, and entertaining. If you have not seen it, you should come to the History Center on the 21st. The program has received GREAT 'reviews'!!
The Craobh Dugan Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Friday October 13th. Note the change of date from last month's update. It will be held at 6.00pm at the Seton Center at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica. We will have a pot luck supper, our annual meeting, and then a session and dance.
Here are the particulars: The branch will supply the meat, soft drinks and paper products. Each person/couple/family is asked to bring a dish to share. We NEVER lack for a great variety of delicious foods!! Bring a family member or friend and come hungry!! Don't forget your adult beverages (if you wish), your instruments and dance shoes. Please RSVP to Chris by the end of the day, Tuesday October 10th.
Election of Officers: At our meeting, we need to elect our 2017-2018 officers. All offices are up for election. The offices and people who are interested in running (in parentheses): Chair (Chris Hoke); Vice Chair (no one running yet); Treasurer (Mike Hoke); Secretary (Colleen Martin); Public Relations Officer (Sue Romero); Language Officer (Tom Malley); Auditor (Mike Carroll); and Youth Officer (need to check with one of our under age-25 members!). Just because these people are running does not mean no one else can be nominated for an office. We also will elect 2 Convention Delegates. Gracie Schell and Tom Malley have indicated a willingness to run for branch delegates. Please consider running for an office, and let me know before October 13th. Nominations will also be open at the meeting.
And....Dues are Due: The Comhaltas branch operating year goes from November 1--October 31. Dues should be paid by the date of our AGM, which makes it much easier for Mike to do the books and paperwork. Thanks you in advance for paying your dues on time. It really helps!!
Samhain (say 'SOW in') is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year. Ryan Troy shared information on a Samhain event to be held in Syracuse on Saturday Oct 14. Check it out the Facebook event here. It looks like a great time!!
Caitlin & Ciaran in Concert!
Craobh Dugan is hosting another small-venue concert. This husband/wife duo from Ireland is on a tour of NY, VT, MA and on Sunday, October 15th, Caitlin & Ciaran will perform for us at the Turning Point Church (Skip's Church) on Columbia Street in Utica. The concert will begin at 2:30 and you will not want to miss it!!!!! Ciaran plays fiddle and Caitlin plays concertina and step dances. From what I have seen and heard they are AWESOME!! You can check out clips of them on You Tube or on Google and read more about them on our blog post here. Tickets cost only $10 each and can be purchased on Eventbrite.com. If you are a person who does not want to order on-line, you can contact Chris Hoke for tickets (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seating is limited to 40 so get yours early - maybe even today.
Our Regular 'Stuff':
Last, but not least, we have Raffle Tickets!!!! The Comhaltas Big Draw Raffle is in progress now and we have tickets to sell. The cost is $5 each and the prizes are 5000 euros; 500 euros; 250 euros; a luxury weekend at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann; 4 Dinner and Show tickets to Bru Boru; 150 euro gift card; a collection of 10 Irish music CDs and DVDs. These are great prizes, especially the cash prizes!! And, our branch keeps 80% of what we sell. That is $4 out of every ticket that we sell. So, PLEASE help us out with this. Buy some tickets or better yet, take a book of 10 to sell to you family, friends and co-workers. (You know you always buy their tickets, right???). This is a great opportunity for Craobh Dugan to raise some money for our next project (recording a CD) or to help us send members to workshops and the annual Convention. THANK YOU for buying and selling these tickets!! The drawing is December 9th. We will need to send the returns to Ireland November 1st. That gives us a month to sell these tickets. Let's get busy!!
Here is our October Calendar:
3---Nail Creek Pub Session, 7:30pm
6---Ceili Dance Class Seton Center, 7:00pm
10--Musicians Practice, 7:00pm, Place-TBD
13--ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, 6.00PM, Pot Luck Supper, Meeting, Session/Ceili ***RSVP by end of day Tues. Oct 10th.
14--Dancers at JusticeArtMusic (JAM) at DeSales Center in Utica. Starts at 11.00am. Contact Gracie for more info.
Samhain Celebration Kellish Hill Farm, 3:30, Manlius
15--CAITLIN & CIARAN CONCERT, 2:30pm, Turning Point Church, Columbia Street, Utica. Tickets on Eventbrite.com.
Only $10 each (limited to 40 seats)
17--Stockdale's Session, 7:30
20--Ceili Dance Class, Seton Center, 7:00pm
21--The Irish and the Erie, Oneida County History Center, Utica, 1:00pm
24--Musicians Practice, 7:00pm, Place-TBD
27--Ceili Dance Class, Seton Center, 7:00pm
I believe that is all for now. When I started writing this update, it was 90 degrees and humid. Right now it is 57 degrees and oh-so comfortable!! I do hope to see you at The Irish and the Erie program, the Caitlin and Ciaran concert or one of our sessions. Until then, take good care!
There's nothing that will put a lilt back in your step so much as an Irish traditional "house concert" and you won't want to miss this one! Craobh Dugan has secured Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh for a one-day engagement in Utica. These are top musicians, acclaimed by the international press! Read on to find out more about them - and get your tickets while you can!
Acclaimed Irish musicians each in their own right, Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh
have joined forces to create one of traditional music’s most impressive acts. The pair’s spirited
music and dance is rooted in the tradition; brimming with soul and life. Through fiddle, concertina
and dance, Caitlín and Ciarán breathe fire into musical pieces, combining their arts with chemistry
Caitlín and Ciarán have a connection as deep as the Irish folk traditions they come out of. Their
music is a joyful unleashing of talents learnt at the hearths of their parents, family and friends.
Ciarán’s fiddle is complimented by Caitlín’s concertina and dance, her footsteps expertly tapping
out the rhythms and elevating the duo’s musical excellence.
Their 2015 debut CD release 'Caitlín & Ciarán' received a 4-star review in The Irish Times.
Here's what people who really know Irish music have said:
We had such a great time at our last house concert and we're hoping you can all come out for this one too! That's why we're keeping the ticket price really low at only $10. The concert will be at Turning Point Church (438 Columbia St., Utica, NY 13502) on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2:30pm. Tickets are available online through Eventbrite. You can buy them very easily and securely via Pay Pal by clicking the orange button below. See you there!!
We had a rare chance to hear two All-Ireland Champion musicians play in a cozy setting at a house concert in April. John Whelan on accordion and Dylan Foley on fiddle brought their amazing energy and refined musical skills together to fill the room with enchanting tunes. Between songs they regaled us with stories and after the concert even played with Craobh Dugan musicians in a session. What a wonderful evening we had!
Here's a video showing some highlights from the concert: