St. Paddy's Eve in Vancouver – What is a man in a kilt to do?
Beats Without Borders – “From Delhi to Dublin”
I think that St. Paddy's Day Eve should become a celebration with a
countdown to midnight. Then green confetti explodes, and the band
starts playing Auld Lang Syne (or maybe “When Irish Lips Are
Kissing/When Irish Eyes Are Smiling)…. as champagne toasts are made, and kisses are kissed.
I went to the Plaza nightclub in Vancouver, as part of the Celtic Fest program. My friend Joe McDonald was performing as part of the “From Delhi to Dublin” show for Beats Without BordersDJ
collective. We arrived to be greeted by Celtic Fest volunteers
dressed in Green and holding Celtic Fest brochures. There was
sonic beat music playing and a few people dancing or standing around
when we arrived at The Plaza at 9:30pm. Tibetan Prayer flags were
strung across the room from the front of the balconies. It was
very world music… very global… very cool. I think I was
the only man in a kilt in the room.
Just before 10pm, bagpipes were heard in the distance… and the dance
music gave way to the drones. Joe McDonald walked into the
nightclub from the lobby, to the front of the dance floor. Sonic
music provided ambient sounds. The dance crowd parted like the
Red Sea, as people stopped to watch the kilted bagpiper make his way
around the room. Joy then came up the South side stairs where we
were on the balcony. My buddy and I started clapping, as Joe
worked his way around to the North side balcony, and soon the entire
room was clapping a steady beat.
The DJ, worked in more matching rhythms to Joe's bagpiping, and soon
the DJ was leading double time hand-clapping, as Joe McDonald played a
foot stomping reel from the front of the stage. It was a surreal
experience, as smoke machines filled the atmosphere and coloured lights
puntuated the stage. Joe told me later, he had never before
played a nightclub. People errupted in applause as he finished
Joe stepped off the stage, and the DJ took over spinning discs and
rhythms while the crowd started dancing again. Images of Joe
playing bagpipes turned up on the large wide screen video
screens. We toasted our beers, to Joe.
The highlight of the evening came soon when violinists Kytami and Oliver Schroer took
to the stage. They started with simple sonic experiments, and
echo-laden feedback, leading up to fast played reels and hornpipes,
layered with sonic hip hop beats. Very cool. Kytami has a
wonderful stage presence, smiling for the audience. The petite
spritely woman wore a short black dress ensemble, while the much taller
male Schroer wore very funky patterned pants. They played with,
against, and for each other, delighting the audience with their
vituosity. Kytami jumped up and down with the beat while playing,
as the DJ layed down some happening grooves. A South Asian male
singer, came out to join them and sung in Punjabi. Wow! The
audience was jumping up and down and dancing. I knew then, that I
wanted to have Kytami involved with the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy
After the well-deserved encore, I had a short chat with Kytami. I
asked her if she had a white violin, as I tried to determine whether I had
met her in Whistler a few years ago. She told me that she used to
live in Whistler, and she used to have a white electric violin…
I remember playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on a white electric
violin that belonged to a very attractive violinist who was living next
to my friend's condo in Whistler, a few years ago.
If you hear of Kytami playing anywhere…. go check her out. And
hopefully she will be performing at Gung Haggis Fat Choy next January,
Happy St. Patrick's Day – enjoy Celtic Fest…..
Hope to see you at the parade on Sunday!
Watch for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat float!