“Humor is everything: humorous, serious, loving, melancholy. It’s the family of being with the family of musicians…  And you can be yourself among all of these people.” —Rory Makem

This month I explore the banter and rapport that underscores Irish music—and Irish culture. I had the pleasure and privilege to talk with some of my favorite funny friends: musicians like Rory Makem, who helped me explore the rhythm and cadence of Irish wit.

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Also featured in this episode: John Doyle, John Williams, Aidan Collins, Pauline Logue, Lisa Coyne, and Siobhan and Brendan McKinney. There’s fine music here, too, from Sean Doyle, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Siúcra, and thoughtful underscore from Matt Heaton. (Full music credits below.)

Assembling this episode about humor opened and broke my heart a few times. That particularly Irish form of self deprecation, of teasing one another, of tossing out quick quips—it’s fascinating and fun to try to unpack where it all comes from, and how and why it gets developed.

Whether you already have an arsenal of quick comebacks, or you’ve never heard Irish people slag each other, these conversations plunge into the depths of the Irish wit wellspring. In many ways, it’s the story behind all the Irish music stories.

Here’s Rory doing a promo for a cruise–sorry, that ship sailed back in 2014. But I still think it’s fun, funny, and beautiful. Not everybody can combine lightheartedness and skill, and make it look so easy and inviting:

And here’s John Doyle introducing and singing “Clear the Way,” at a chilly house concert:

Next month’s episode will air Tuesday November 14th. And if this is your first IMS episode, I hope you’ll also check out:

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
Episode 08 – Miss McCleod’s Reel at 113


Music Heard on IMS Episode 09
all music traditional, unless otherwise indicated

Tunes: “Tap Room, Mountain Road, Galway Rambler” (reels), from Rehearsal Recording, c. 2009
Artist: Dan Gurney (accordion), Shannon Heaton (flute), Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Ramblin’ Man” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “John’s Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “Sabai Sabai” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “Hometown Lullaby” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Song/Tune: “Dawn Song and The Killavil” from Rehearsal recording
Artists: Dan Gurney, Shannon Heaton, Matt Heaton

Tune: “Abbey Reel: from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “Travel Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton

Song: “The Hawk And The Crow,” from The Light And The Half-Light, 2004
Artists: Sean Doyle with John Doyle

Song/Tune: “Mountain Dew,” from Irish Drinking Songs
Artists: The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem

Song: “Parting Glass,” from Live Farewell Concert at EnVie, Boulder, CO, 2001
Artists: Siúcra featuring Beth Leachman Gadbaw

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you for listening. Thank you to John Williams, Aidan Collins, Pauline Logue, Lisa Coyne, John Doyle, Rory Makem, and Siobhan and Brendan McKinney for the funny and deep conversations. Thanks always to Matt Heaton for the beautiful underscore for the show—and my days. And THANK you to Matt Barlow, Brian Benscoter, and Mark Johnson who helped underwrite this month’s episode.

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Thank you for reading and listening! I hope you’ll come back for next month’s episode, available Tuesday November 14, 2017.