I had an opportunity to share some of the bread&cup story with workers at Firespring a couple of weeks ago. During Q&A, a friend asked me what kind of music I was listening to. To preface the answer, I told the group that this was not a random question, as my friend knows how important music is in my creative thought process.
My short answer: Irish music.
About 12 years ago, during what I refer to as the Entrance into the Tunnel, I encountered a blue season that led me to drastically change the career direction of my life. It was during this time that I was introduced to a new form of music for me, one artist in particular named Moby. His sound was a blend of electronic grooves, sampled sounds and vocal lyrics that described something of what I was feeling inside. I was immediately drawn to his music and consequently to others like it. Call it electronica, downtempo, chill, ambient, or whatever, it was brand new to me.
Little did I know that it was simply a metaphor for what was going on inside me.
My personal life was struggling for something new, and the music to which I was listening became a reminder that new things do exist, and new things can be created. The important note is to listen to the song of the heart and work diligently to make that song audible. It was out of this struggle that bread&cup was born.
Scroll forward ten years and I find myself intrigued by a different genre of music. The music rooted in Irish tradition and heritage is resonating much in the same way. Be it the traditional reels and jigs of the fiddle and pipes or the modern interpretation of the band we heard last night, Gaelic Storm, I’m captivated, and I think I have figured out why.
Irish music can make you sad and make you smile. It can acknowledge your mourning or invite you to kick up your heels and dance. These two extremes have been a part of Irish national heritage for centuries. In spite of being subject to countless conflicts over the ages, the Irish spirit prevailed, even to the ridiculous point where we refer to them as lucky. Everyone wants to be Irish, if even if just for one day out of the year. And I believe it’s their music that has something to do with that sentiment.
The last five years of my life have had its shares of extremes. Among the ups and downs is the joy in the birth and growth of a new restaurant versus the dread of learning of Karen’s cancer. The highs have been very high and the lows equally so. Music serves to speak in ways that mere words cannot, and the Irish sound has made its way in with a message to assuage both emotional poles.
Life’s path will pass through both Green Pastures and Valleys of Shadows. We can’t camp in the former in hope that we will avoid the latter. The Irish seem to have a grasp on this tension. Without tension, we don’t make music. Strings on a guitar, banjo, and fiddle are all made on strings wound tight, bound between two points. And they must be struck , plucked or strummed in order for sound to transpire.
Don’t try to diminish the tension, else you’ll avoid the music waiting to be made.