Seamaisín

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Araby  Seamaisin scored most of the music for this film adaptation of James Joyce's short story of the same name. This award-winning film by film-makers Dennis Courtney and Joseph Bierman has been featured in over 35 film festivals and competitions!   Araby will be available on video through this web site next year.  Stay tuned for video clips from the Seamaisin reunion concert at the Univeristy of Notre Dame where the film was screened on St Paddy's Day, 2000.

 Joseph Harvey's Fiddle Was Left in The Rain A CD featuring the orginal lineup: Michael McGettrick, John Collins, joHn Kennedy, Steve Horst, Tim Fischer, Eileen McLane, and Rosie McCormick.

Live at The Tin Shop   Available on tape, this recording features joHn, Tim, and Eileen with Teresa Ramsby and Mary Branick.

Some Comments about Seamaisin and Joseph Harvey's Fiddle was Left in The Rain

The music on this CD was and is played for the fun of it.  We have gathered every Thursday in South Bend, Indiana since Mike McGettrick of county Carlow Ireland called us together with the few handwritten signs that he posted around the campus of Notre Dame: ìInterested in Playing Irish Music, Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes, and Slow Airs ...etc.î  Though it was almost a year before the Americans could join in and we could put together a full hour of Irish music, we would look forward to Thursday evenings and each new tune.   These are our favorite tunes from that first year, 1990.

Each of us has our own reasons for playing this music, and we canít all tell our stories here.   Here is mine ...joHn Kennedy.

In 1948, Joseph Harveyís fiddle was left in the rain.  Not on purpose, you know.  It was forgotten, left hanging on the wall of the cottage where Joseph died, a cottage on Lough Este about six Irish miles north of Donegal town, an Irish mile or so off of road that runs from Donegal up throughg Barnesmore gap.  The shards of that fiddle were found years later by my great-aunt Minnie Carr, years during which time the cottage had been used for storage , and then for animals, and then finally, like so many old things, abandoned.

A peasant, foreman, family man, and fiddler, Joseph Harvey was my great grandfather, and I have only recently come to know him through stories  told by his daughter, my grandmother, Bridget.  She is now ninety-nine years old, Donegal born.  Her father, Joseph Harvey, played a fiddle that according Bridget came into the family as a gift from the captain of a ship upon which a young Harvey, my great grandfather's uncle Jim, had died. Jim had been a fiddle player, so the story goes, and was loved for it by the men that he sailed with.  He did not own a fiddle, so he used the one owned by the captain of the ship.  My grandmother told me that when Jim Harvey died as sea the captain came to the family gave them the fiddle, saying that no one had played it like Jimmy had.  It was a fine instrument, ornate, with a rich sweet tone that matched matched the man.

My grandmother left Ireland after the Irish civil war which followed the establishment of the Irish free state.  She says that she wanted to go to a dance with her friends, and that they were all in Philedelphia.  She arrived in  America in time for the Great Depression.   Somewhere in the struggle to establish a life here during hard times the tradition of playing music was lost to the family.  The music that by grandmother grew up dancing to, the music that her father Joseph Harvey played night after night up one year upon year by the fire in that cottage on the shore of Lough Este in County Donegal was lost to the children of his children.   I grew up singing, but no one in the extended family here in the States played the instruments.  And I the child of a child of one of his children, two generation removed from the hearth and the man that, "played whenever he could." am rediscovering this music in the middle of my life.  My story is not unique, nor is the unspeakable joy of rediscovery.   The children of the Irish Diaspora are, all over the world, rediscovering the music and in the music they, we, rediscover something of ourselves.

This music represents some of the music in my own personal discovery.  That makes it sound important and it is, but mostly the music represents an ancient wisdom that knows that an evening spent learning a new song lasts forever, through the musician and everyone that is touched by that song as it grows and is played through the years.

In 1998 I came across an old fiddle that was being shoveled out with the trash at a Christmas in April house.  It is a turn-of the-previous-century  instrument that had been played so hard in its' day that the finger board had deep grooves in it.  The face was separating from the body of the instrument.  I'd never played a fiddle and until that moment had not considered it.  I still cannot explain what possessed me to spend $500 repairing an instrument that could not be worth half that money to anyone else.  Nor can I explain why I started learning how to play an instrument that I had no interest in playing.  In 1999 I found another abandoned fiddle, this time in a junk shop in Niles, Michigan.  It had been there for five years, unwanted and in poor repair.  It is also well over 100 years old.  I was told that it was not worth fixing.  I had it repaired anyway.  It fits the description that my grandmother gives for Joseph Harvey's fiddle: ornate, a mild brown, large.  And to me, it's voice suits the music.  Both instruments were worked on first by Jim Bradberry and then by Indiana's only master luthier, Richard Biggs.  It seems that these old fiddles know their way home.

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