Monday 27 May 2013

We met in De Barras...

...I didn't know his name then, but I first met Sean back in the Spring of 2012. I also didn't know then how Sean was to play an important role in my family happenings. Sean had separately captured the attention of both myself and my youngest when we met him. He had a character, a warmth and was unforgettable. We discovered that Sean and Anja were inseparable and still, we wanted him.

So what was this desire all about?

It was actually all to do with a harp.

Yes, Sean is a harp. A harp which has travelled thousands of miles but that is another amazing story, and it is the fingers of Anja Bakker which draw out the character and warmth from Sean's strings which both me and my youngest had heard and remembered.

When our daughter had announced back last year, that she wanted a harp to be played at her wedding, it was surely fate that led us to recall hearing the same harp being played in De Barras in Clonakilty. Having done a shoot at the trad night early last year, I remembered taking a picture of a musician with a harp. Our daughter had visited De Barras later in the year and also remembered a harp being played. When I showed her the picture, a huge smile came across her face, and I knew what had to be done.

So, I set to and contacted 'your man in the corner' Denis to ask if the harpist might be up for playing at a wedding in England. Needless to say, we were delighted to find out that Anja would be happy to oblige and there began the planning.

The first major obstacle would be to find out if the regular 'low fares airline' would transport a harp. (Sean is an old hand at travelling so I had no worries about his transportability) Simply by purchasing a second ticket in the name of
'Ms Extra Item Seat', Sean would be able to have a holdless journey, and that is exactly what he did.

And so, as some of you might already know, the wedding took place back in April with Anja and Sean both playing a special part in the special day. All I can say is that they were amazing and captured the attention of a whole new crowd of admirers.

Thank you so much Anja and Sean.

Now, back last Monday night, me and himself were once again squeezed into the gloomy, snug bar of De Barras for an evening with the trad night regulars, Denis, Tommy, Gerry, Cathal and of course Anja.

As I have mentioned before, lighting for photography in De Barras is exceedingly tricky (flash-free), even with a fast lens but I love the soft grainy quality of the high ISO images.

I thought I would spend the evening listening to the regulars, enjoying some of the old favourites. Monday night was the request night for the 'Mermaid Song' ...if you want to know what it is about, you will have to go and hear Cornelius perform it for yourself!

Meanwhile, I thought I would just take a few photographs and listen to the guest musicians perform their own special little numbers. Let's just say, some of the verses brought a smile and a chuckle. However, Monday was also a bit different as I had the 'fan club' with me in the form of himself who insisted on a repeat performance of the only suitable song I currently have in my repertoire. (He had not been there on the night I performed the premiere!) Yes, I had to put my camera down and 'do my turn' with Spancil Hill. Gulp! Apart from that premiere, I hadn't sung in public for over twenty years, and I was pleased that I didn't appear to clear the bar!! So, with two performances under my belt, I now have to learn a new song... and himself has been told he has to learn one too. This could be interesting for he who can't sing.

Still, it is all in the spirit of the evening, and it can be the participation and little touches that can make the impression.

So, there you are. Perhaps you feel you have met the Monday night face of De Barras now, one of several in which this snug yet happening West Cork venue excels.

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