Here are just three of 13 beautiful lines from writer Kerry Dexter’s poem, which weaves together dance, music, stories, and journeys (full poem at end):
“Come dance of water, wood, and stone…
Come dance of stories told in firelight…
Come dance with me of Ireland.”

It took me nearly 33 minutes to explore the musical threads of dance for this month’s episode. But of course, nestled in all of the Irish Music Stories episodes are much bigger stories of human connection and exploration. This one is no exception:

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For “Miss McLeod’s at 113” my friend and dance master Kieran Jordan helped me understand some of the current and past directions in step dancing and social dancing. And she helps me unpack some of the casual, performative, and competitive ways that dancers express themselves. I can’t imagine a more thoughtful, musical guide than Kieran, who summed it up in just two sentences:

“We’re born to move, and movement with music puts it all together. It gives you that full sense of wholeness.” -Kieran Jordan

I also have the pleasure of talking with Jimmy Keane, Liam Ó Scanláin, and the Glencastle Irish dancers.

from Irish Music Stories Podcast Episode 08

Bridget and Josie are born to move!

The variety of conversations portrays just a bit of the wild diversity in Irish dancing today. There’s fine music here, too, from Sean McComiskey and Sean Clohessy, Jimmy Keane, Nic Gareiss with both Maeve Gilchrist and Liz Carroll, and thoughtful underscore from Matt Heaton.

Whether you already enjoy dancing a few steps—or you don’t know the difference between a jig and a reel—these conversations speak about the joy of community, and of movement with music.

Full poem, and also music credits below. Here’s Kevin Doyle dancing with an audience member at the Smithsonian Folk Festival, joined by musicians Billy McComiskey and sons, Mick Moloney, and other fine DC area players.

Here’s Kieran Jordan with accordion player Sean McComiskey and fiddle player Séan Clohessy, dancing to The Hunt, which is also the first tune in this month’s episode. This track also appears on Kieran, Sean and Séan’s fine CD “Cover the Buckle.”

And here’s Kerry Dexter’s poem Come Dance with Me

Come dance with me of Ireland
Come dance of water, wood, and stone
Dance to the pipes, the fiddle, the flute
Put your steps to the song
Share the beat with the bodhran

Rise up
Come dance of stories told in firelight
of sorrow and joy
of leaving and returning
of distant lands
of home

Come dance with me

Next month’s episode will air Tuesday October 10th. It’ll be a story about… WIT. Featuring conversations with John Doyle, Rory Makem, and Aidan Collins.

If this is your first IMS episode, I hope you’ll also check out:
Episode 01-Trip to Sligo
Episode 00-Introducing Irish Music Stories
Episode 02-Cuppa Tea with Karan Casey
Episode 03-Every Tuesday at Nine
– Episode 04 – Cuppa Tea with McKinneys and McCarthy
– Episode 05 – Handed Down
Episode 06 – The Backer
Episode 07 – The Piper

Music Heard on IMS Episode 08
all music traditional, unless otherwise indicated

Tunes: “Mount Phoebus Hunt and The Hunted,” from Cover the buckle
Artists: Seán Clohessy, Sean McComiskey, and Kieran Jordan

Tune: “Tracing the Lines,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “The Three Sea Captains,” from Cover the Buckle
Artists: Seán Clohessy, Sean McComiskey, and Kieran Jordan

Tune: “Pound the Floor,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tunes: “Reagan’s, Shepherd’s Daughter, Rolling In The Hay, Colonel Rodney,” from bohola
Artists: Jimmy Keane, Sean Cleland, Pat Broaders

Tune: “The Sand Hunter,” composed by Maeve Gilchrist from Celtic Colours Live, Vol. 2 (2013)
Artists: Nic Gareiss, Maeve Gilchrist

Tune: “Munster Buttermilk,” from Solo Fiddle
Artist: Sam Amidon

Tune: “Miltown Girls,” from Solo Fiddle
Artist: Sam Amidon

Tune: “Breath, Body, Movement,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “The Priest And His Boots,” from Cover the Buckle
Artists: Seán Clohessy, Sean McComiskey, and Kieran Jordan

Tunes: “Anlon McKinney, Mind the Dresser,” composed by Liz Carroll from Christmas Celtic Sojourn Live 2010
Artists: Nic Gareiss, Liz Carroll

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you for listening. Thank you to Liam, Jimmy, and the Glencastle kids for the conversation—and especially to Kieran for the great interview and the patient guidance as I assembled this episode. I learned a lot. Thanks to Matt Heaton for the beautiful underscore, and to Kerry Dexter for the lovely poem. And THANK you to Seán McGinnis, John Kerr, Brian Benscoter, Davy McDonald, and two ANONYMOUS DONORS who helped underwrite this month’s episode.

Please consider DONATING HERE!
And please help people find the show by rating IMS on iTunes!

Thank you for reading and listening! I hope you’ll come back for next month’s episode, available Tuesday October 10, 2017.