Here are some thoughts I had written down from my time in the US. It has been amazing to tour with Kathleen, Ann (fellow Katherine Lynch fan), Fionnuala and the many musicians I had the opportunity to meet. A huge thank you to those behind the scenes, lovely Monica, Ann (Dublin lass), Joe Madonna who took away the fear of getting up on stage.
6 November 2010: I’m very afraid. It’s the last evening concert tonight. It has been such a great journey. I had lunch with Kathleen, a true sister of mine. Kind of made me feel like staying in ‘the states’, but Ireland is only a few days away.
I never thought that I would be able to stand on stage and sing ‘Gaoth Barra na dTonn’ or ‘Caoineadh na dTrí Mhuire’ without being overcome with fear. In America though, the language, history and culture is so much more appreciated than at home, especially if you’re singing the raw stuff – the heart-breakers and joy-makers. I wasn’t expecting that. Maybe if us Irish musicians made fellow-musicians more welcome into our lives, experiences and work, we’d have a much more encouraging performing community…?
At Iona, I walked up to the mic, took a deep breath and started.. ‘Tá gealach na…’, and oddly, it seemed to flow. I could really connect with the song in a way that I had only previously done when alone, without company. Verse two came and went, and come verse three I felt like I wasn’t in my own body. I felt confident, but meek. In large company, but in solitude.
Experiences like those rarely happen. Every time I go up on stage from now on, I will remember the appreciation that listeners voiced, and my appreciation of their eagerness and care. From the woman who mixed me honey and hot lemon juice for my sore throat while at The Benedictine Grange, to Sr. Kathleen Masterson bringing me across the road to print setlists for a concert, each and every person has made this tour so worthwhile, so inspiring and so hopeful.
I should probably leave this empty room in New York Open Center now and walk across the hall to the concert room. Wish me luck! Robbi xx