Accordionist Gaby McArdle (above, left) is at the heart of the Enniskillen traditional music scene, the paterfamilias, performing with the sage-like Professorial rocker Pat McManus back in Fermanagh after a lot of touring last year (above, centre) in traditional Irish mode on violin and the singer-guitarist Paddy Shannon (above, right) who guested the last time I reviewed in the well laid out East Bridge Street pub.
Enniskillen is a small town alive with an ever growing live music and poetry scene over the last few years, musical highlights of which include more Irish traditional music taking place on Tuesdays at the Crowe’s Nest and in Blakes of the Hollow on Fridays, rock and covers by two bands each night at Granny Annies on Townhall Street through each weekend and usually a choice country singer floating in on Saturdays at Charlie’s in Church Street among the best things on offer plus The Thing Itself monthly poetry happening in Belmore Street’s Cellar Bar. There is no jazz on anywhere at the moment on the central island part of the town itself alas but that may change I hope, the last few included a couple of gigs that marlbank put on in Jazzeys, now a just opened restaurant called 28 Darling Street run by a chef, formerly of the award winning MacNean House located in the Black, county Cavan, and his wife.
Discerning tourists at Magee Mondays join the locals via word of mouth, the set hardly derailed apart from a few eyerolls directed at a waywardly shoeless lad dancer who continued his staggery turn on a different pavement stage later. Dick Farrelly’s ‘The Isle of Innisfree’, with a great vocal by Shannon, was the song that I took home and listened to again online although none I managed to find matched Shannon’s excellently unsentimental treatment and ‘Dirty Old Town’ is always a pleasure, almost compulsory. The reels, jigs and polkas element of the set are when the music journeys deeper and you feel lost in the zen of it all as Pat clicks up into a higher gear and the heart races. Gaby keeps great time and has a haunting lilt when he solos while Shannon’s guitar accompaniment was faultless and his convincing low tenor voice, landing between the Christy Moore and Johnny McEvoy sound maybe, rose as if to greet and bow down to the great mother Erne running high and fast only yards away. Story and pic: Stephen Graham/marlbank