Monday, March 06, 2006

Celtic Music, Bockwurst and a Pint of Guinness®

Quite often travel can involve not leaving your own backyard. You can tour the world in your mind through the study of music. Music study doesn’t need to involve the Symphony or Opera, it can involve World Music too. World Music is one of the best ways I know to travel when travel isn’t an option....

Recently I had 2 tickets to see a popular musical group that has been around for 40 years and always sells out when they come to our town. The Chieftains have had 19 grammy nominations and have won six grammys and have collaborated with Jackson Brown, Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Sinead O’Connor, Emyylou Harris, Ricky Scaggs, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Earl Scruggs and others I am sure I have missed. Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains were nominated for the 2006 Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Folk Album- Live From Dublin - A Tribute to Derek BellThe thing about this group is that they always surprise you and you don’t need to travel far to see them, especially if they come to your town.

Though The Chieftains still invite you to enjoy the finest Celtic music around, they also invite your mind to venture into listening to sounds and songs from other places in the world. In concert with The Chieftains was The Cottars, a group from Nova Scotia also incredible musicians and capable of some pretty interesting music.

The sounds you hear when you listen World Music inspire you to recall imagery from your own travels. If you are unable to conjour up the imagery yourself, enjoy the poetry of the stories that come with the music. This particular form of World Music has drawn many cultures and age groups together. The Vice Mayor of our town, Jim Tarbell, was on hand to make that observation and to present the key to the town to Paddy Maloney of The Chieftains.

And speaking of our Vice Mayor, as luck of the Irish would have it, I was able to tie the whole evening together for "The Kid". Earlier for dinner we went to Arnold's Bar & Grill, Cincinnati's oldest tavern, was owned by Jim Tarbell from 1976 to 1999. (Owner Ronda Androski bought Arnold’s from Jim Tarbell in 1999 [history].) So that appearance by the Vice Mayor was really perfect for me as I was able to string that Cincinnati history together with the culture of the food we ate.

At Arnold’s we ordered 2 Bockwurst Plates, a pint of Guinness® and a soda. Even though we were going to listen to Celtic Music, but being in a German town and having dinner at Arnold’s the oldest Bar and Grill in town, we naturally ecountered the Springtime tradition of a Bock Festival. Bock is a style of lager beer which originated in Germany. It is traditionally brewed in the fall, at the end of the growing season, when barley and hops are at their peak. It is "lagered" all winter and enjoyed in the spring at the beginning of the new brewing season. Bocks can be pale (helles) or dark (dunkles) and there are double (doppel) bocks which are extra strong. Even though I do appreciate a good Bock, I definately prefer Guinness®, it’s a better dark beer and just the ticket for the evening! Typically eaten with bockbeer is Bockwurst is a german kind of sausages. Bockwurst is one of the most favourite sausages eaten in Germany, but tonight we ate it with Guinness® and Soda in honor of the Celtic culture we were about to absorb.

Our study of Music and the culture of the world continues! We’re thinking about Southern Europe next!