The Point of Music

Do you ever wonder what the point of music is? You cannot see, taste, smell, or touch music. It cannot provide nourishment, strength, shelter, light, warmth, protection, or any other fundamental necessity. So why is this intangible arrangement of sounds to a rhythm so loved by people on this earth?

In all continents, countries, and cultures music is there. Throughout the past music had its place: the ballads of medieval minstrels, sea shanties of pirates, fight songs of warriors, psalms of biblical times even! About every event in a person’s life has music: birthdays, funerals, sleepovers, prom nights, ballet recitals, road trips, all these things would have far less meaning without music. In most all religions and religious services music has its place there as well.

Clearly in human society music is important, but why is that? What is the point of this arrangement of sound?

I did some research to find out scientifically why music is so enjoyed. To summarize, I came to this: Music, when enjoyed, causes dopamine (the “happy hormone”) to be released into a part of our brain that deals with stimulation called the striatum. So basically music makes us happy because it stimulates part of our brain. Why does it stimulate? There must be more of an answer to the point of music than stimulation. I’ve never heard a musician say there main goal as an artist is to stimulate their fans brains, (honestly that sounds a really creepy). So what is the point of music? What is music’s purpose?

Music is

The point of music is connection. It is emotion. It is relationship. Music is a tool used by all peoples to simply communicate their feelings. Music is a universal language. If you played a minor and a major chord to a complete foreigner I can guarantee they could tell the difference in mood. Though every Gaelic lament I hear I know none of the words, but I still know it’s sad.

Music can express the deepest feelings and the most complicated emotions. Music can show the fiercest rage, the most blissful love, the harshest sorrow. Music is a thing of relating. If one cannot find the right words, odds are there’s a song that can help you express your meaning.

Music connects our mind with thoughts, our body with rhythm, and our souls with emotion. Music can join multiple souls together. Perhaps music is the sound our soul makes, but to know that I’d have to be God…(I’m not, in case you were wondering 😛 )

So that is the point of music, in my eyes. Do you see music differently? What are some songs that connect to you most?

I hope you all enjoyed this post. Have a happy and musical Thursday! -Gems of Genres

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(Part 2) A Night at Poor David’s Pub with Emmet Cahill

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Recently while visiting a friend in Texas I had the pleasure of seeing Emmet Cahill, String Theory and Ireland Harber perform live at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas.

For those of you who don’t know Emmet Cahill is a fantastic, classically trained, Irish tenor and former member of world renown singing group Celtic Thunder. He began music at the age of four with lessons from his father and then went on in life to receive his formal training and a Degree of Musical Performance from the Royal Irish Academy of Music, (not many can put that on their resume!). After three years of world touring with Celtic Thunder, Cahill resigned to pursue his solo career, which lead me to this wonderful evening.

After an amazing opening act led by Nathan Kenedy and Jesse Ramirez, it was time for Cahill to begin. Now, to start I was more excited about visiting my friend than I was about seeing Emmet perform, this lead me to sorely underestimate his talent.

With Seamus Brett on piano, Cahill began his set with “Go the Distance”, immediately I was swept away into the song. On top of his extreme grace and control one of Cahill’s best qualities is how he acts with his song, he felt it, and in return every audience member felt the song as well. This especially showed during “Some Enchanted Evening”, as the whole room became an old black and white film with Cahill as the star.

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One thing I loved was how genuine Cahill was as he interacted with the audience. We were asked to all join in on “Spanish Lady” where you could see he was truly enjoying the moment; And after someone suggested he sing “My Irish Molly” he replied to them with a charming grin, “Ohhhh. Molly?” his Irish getting thicker, “…Well, only if you all clap with.”

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By the sixth song of the night in my notes it literally says, “Song 6: ‘The Book of Love’, At this point I am enjoying it too much to write. Go see him!” His concert was so good I just wanted to enjoy it, and I most certainly did!

It was during Cahill’s moving rendition of “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” that I myself was moved to tears, and I want you readers to understand I have never cried because of a song. But as lovely and sad as “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” was the one song that most moved me, and I feel was Cahill’s best, was his beautiful performance of the Les Miserables song “Bring Him Home”. In that moment Cahill really was Jean Valjean pleading to God for Marius. For the audience members he wasn’t just acting, he was. Here I had chills and I cried even more.

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He broke the mournful beauty with “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” only to bring us back to tears with a final performance of “Danny Boy” (If you were at this show and are wondering, yes the person blubbering behind you was I).

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Perhaps Cahill has missed his calling as an actor…but than again if he were I couldn’t have seen this amazing show. His talent is not only in his gorgeous voice but also in his moving and truly Irish way of telling the story. If Cahill is ever in town near you buy tickets to his show. You will completely enjoy your evening!

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Thank you Emmet for the wonderful show and well done.

Click here for part one of A Night at Poor David’s with String Theory and Ireland Harber.

You can find Emmet Cahill on Facebook, Twitter and at his website www.emmetcahill.com/ (where you should buy some tickets :D)

A very special thank you to the lovely Amanda Grace for letting me use your pictures! All pictures in this post are hers. If you readers are in the Salisbury, Maryland area and need a photographer get this woman to do your pictures! You can find Amanda Grace and her photography business Gilded Isle on Facebook, Instgram @glidedisle, and at gildedisle.com

Dé Luain sásta-Gems of Genres

(Part 1) A Night at Poor David’s with String Theory and Ireland Harber

Recently while visiting a friend in Texas I had the pleasure of seeing Emmet Cahill, String Theory and Ireland Harber perform live at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas. This is a two-part blog series because there was so much talent it was just too big for one post.

For this series I was fortunate enough gain use of pictures from that night taken by the incredible Amanda Grace of Gilded Isle Photography! All images used in this series are hers.

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After a lovely Q&A/meet and greet with Emmet Cahill before the opening act, we sat down to watch the amazement that is String Theory! This band is made up of University of North Texas graduate Jesse Ramirez on guitar, and North Texas School of Irish Music student Nathan Kennedy on fiddle.

What first caught my eye was their perfect rhythm and synchronization, as both  played so naturally like that was the only thing their arms were made for. These lads are Celtic instrumental at its finest! As I sat there listening I wished this could be the soundtrack to me horseback ridding through Irish moorland (I have artsy dreams, okay?).

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I was most impressed by Kennedy’s fiddling. During each song he added so much emotion and narrative with his well-seasoned playing, then to my amazement I learned that Kennedy was only thirteen years old! This lad has talent beyond his years. I am completely proud to say that Kennedy was just recently in Ireland competing in the world championships of Irish music, the Fleadh Cheoil! Kennedy is the first Texas youth fiddler to qualify and compete in this championship!

For those of you lucky enough to live in the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex, stop by The Celt Irish Pub where String Theory frequent. These lads put on an incredible show!

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After Emmet Cahill did a few songs, Ireland Harber, another member of the North Texas School of Irish Music, came up on stage to sing. The whole room stilled as she told the beautifully mournful and truly Celtic ballad “The Last Rose of Summer” with a grace that many professional singers lack.

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At the end of her song, Cahill broke the room’s stillness with a proud “She’s ten” and proceeded to gush on her talent saying how it was, “The best performance of that song I’ve seen, and I’m not just saying that ’cause you’re here.” I have only seen this song performed that one time but I can most certainly say that it was breathtaking.

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For her last song Harber joined Cahill in “Go Lasse Go”. Her gorgeous harmonies alongside her sweet and truly Celtic voice, stole the hearts of all who listened. I was also extremely impressed by how relaxed Harber was onstage, even down to interacting with the audience. This lass will go places!

These people have been some of my favorite opening and guest artists, and I can’t wait until they have opening artists of their own.

Click here for part two of A Night at Poor David’s with Emmet Cahill

You can find:

String Theory on Facebook

Jesse Ramirez on Facebook and jesse-ramirez.com

Ireland Harber and Nathan Kennedy in their Irish Folk band Innisfall on Facebook.

North Texas School of Irish Music on Facebook and at schoolofirishmusic.org

Legit Photographer Amanda Grace on Facebook, Instagram @gildedisle and gildedisle.com

Dé Luain sásta– Gems of Genres

Grant Lee-Phillips: A Folksy Troubadour with many Stories

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Singer-songwriter, Grant Lee Phillips has a way of telling stories you want to hear. His genre is Folk, edging towards Country, along with many Ballads. His sound is comparable to Van Morrison, Neil Young, The Head and Heart, and even an early Bob Dylan.

Phillips’ music puts you in a whirlwind of amazement. His smooth and smoky croon suddenly changes to a harmonizing falsetto, as the fiddle howls in tune with the twelve-string guitar’s rhythmic canter; The banjo twangs a plucky melody, while his story unfolds.

Even though Phillips has so much talent in his songwriting, the fact that he is a multi-instrumentalist, (Capable of playing guitar, bass, mandolin, synthesizer, and harmonica, for a short list), only adds to his envious skill.

Take a listen:

Mona Lisa” “Buried Treasure

One thing I love about his most recent album “Walking in the Green Corn” (2012), is glphow well incorporated his Muscogee heritage is. Many of the songs are based off Native legends and history, and how those stories continue to influence, and be of use in today’s life.

Take his song “The Straighten Outer” for example,

“…Hammer of the straighten outer, working overtime. And all the world’s a rattle snake; Waiting to unwind. And all the world needs setting straight, In his crooked mind…” Is a perfect example of how this world has problems needing to be faced and dealt with.

Or “Buffalo Hearts“, and its evocative image of the Trail of Tears, “…Remember the ones. Traveled so far. All that was lost on that walk…”

  “After becoming a father, I wanted to be able to answer all those questions I know I’ll be asked one day, when my daughter takes an interest in where we come from,” says Phillips about his heritage.

GrantLeePhillipsPhillips’ is such an amazing musician, he should play in film…In fact he has. Grant has been on soundtracks for various TV shows, including “Bones”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How I Met Your Mother”. He even was given a role in the hit comedy “Gilmore Girls” as the town Troubadour, and much of his music was used for the soundtrack as well.

Phillips tells stories that have meaning, and depth. The message you gain from his music simply is, move on from the bad things of the past, not forgetting but always learning from, and make what you can of life. Make it good.

I’ll leave you guys with this song, “Walking in the Green Corn“.

You can find Grant Lee Phillips on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and at grantleephillips.com You can purchase his albums, including “Walking in the Green Corn”, here.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and have a musical week. 😀

Happy Monday!