Traditional Irish Music Sessions at Staten Island Brewery – Tompkinsville – New York

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Staten Island Irish Session
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TOMPKINSVILLE — An open session of traditional Irish music, food and plenty of beer will return to Staten Island next month.

Staten Island Arts will host a monthly “Staten Island Seisiún”, a traditional Irish practice and musical performance in bars and pubs, at the Flagship Brewery beginning September 7.

The event will be led by Douglas Barr, Linda Hickman and Bob Wright, who specialize in Gaelic tunes from East Galway and Claire, who aim to show Staten Islanders that there’s more to Irish music than ‘Danny Boy’.

“It kind of teaches the people of Staten Island that traditional Irish music is more than bands performing and music to sing along to,” Hickman said.

Besides the music, seisiún – Gaelic for session – will feature an Irish brunch and a chance to sample the new brewery’s three beers, including their “Dark Mild” stout.

While people can just come and enjoy the free music, Seisiúns are largely for musicians to share and practice Irish music, said Naomi Sturm, director of folk life for Staten Island Arts.

A seisiún is not a concert, the real crux of seisiún is that people who play at different levels will come and say ‘I would like to do this song or that song’ and everyone will play it”, he said. she stated, “It really is a time for music practice as well as performance.”

With the large population of immigrants and Irish descendants in the borough, the group attempted to bring the seisiúns at the borough in 2011 at the Wild Goose Pub. But they said they had to suspend the practice due to the musicians’ lack of awareness.

“We had a lot of musicians but very few who had any idea what traditional music was,” Hickman said. “It fell apart a bit because we didn’t really have a strong core.”

When Sturm started at Staten Island Arts this year, she got in touch with Hickman and Barr and they decided to try again and revamp the event. Hickman and Barr will give a history of Irish music and the tunes they play during the first hour of the seisiúns and give participants a song of the month to learn for the next one.

Staten Island Arts also plans to create a website and Facebook page where musicians can get more information about the genre and learn the song of the month.

“The idea now is to make music and a cultural event out of it,” Sturm said. “[Barr and Hickman] can download tracks. People can feel connected through it, making it a little hub of Irish culture.”

Staten Island Seisiún kicks off September 7, 2-5 p.m., at Flagship Brewery, 40 Minthorne St. Admission is free and brunch will cost $19.99 per person.

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