a blend of tradition and togetherness
Louisiana Irish Music isn’t something you hear every day, especially when considering the popular Cajun, Bluegrass or country tunes often associated with the state. However, on the third Thursday of each month, the music of Ireland fills the Abita Brew Pub in Abita Springs, Louisiana.
all acoustic irish jam session
These unique gatherings, organized by the North Shore Traditional Music Society, are a testament to the universality of music. Christopher Talley, President of the Society, explains, “Anywhere there’s human culture and tradition, you’ll have a traditional music of some sort.” At these sessions, the vibrancy of Irish music is evident in the blend of fiddles, accordion, mandolin, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, Irish whistle, wood flute, and the steady rhythm of the bodhran – a traditional Irish hand drum.
louisiana musicians pick their favorite irish music
The session’s structure allows musicians to take turns picking songs and leading the group. Annie Young Bridges, a fiddler and string music teacher in Mandeville schools, says, “whoever can play it will play it. If you haven’t played it, you’re supposed to listen to it and maybe figure it out by the time we’re finished, so we repeat it several times”.
louisiana irish music session on tv
come prepared to play
Playing traditional Irish music is more about executing songs practiced at home, as Bridges explains: “Some of the older musicians know more of the tunes by ear, and some of the younger ones like myself are playing by reading so that we can get more comfortable with the tunes”. Her fondness for this genre is clear when she says, “It’s very soulful. It’s very light. it’s also happy and very sad. You know, I think it’s a very natural kind of music.”
musicians find common ground through music
These Irish music jams are more than just performances; they’re a gathering of friends bound by a mutual love for music. Talley explains, “It creates a space where people who are different, people who have different opinions, can come and still agree with each other to make music and experience being human to each other”.
taking it slow and fast
The Third Thursday monthly Irish session at the Abita Brew Pub is for musicians who have practiced and are prepared to play the selected tunes. The performers fill a back room at the restaurant, located at 72011 Holly Street in Abita Springs and play from 6:30-8:30pm.
For those musicians who are still trying to learn the songs, the Northshore Traditional Music Society features a Slow/Fast Session on the final Sunday of each month. During the first hour, songs are first played slowly to help newcomers learn the notes. Then the music is played at regular speed during the second hour. The Slow/Fast session is held from 12:00-2:00pm at St. John’s Coffeehouse at 535 E. Boston Street in downtown Covington.