Tag Archives: journey

For Your Ears, Heart and Soul: Leaca Bán – Na Tonnta

Posting and sharing with you, my most recent music production project, the beautiful Leaca Bán by 5-piece, traditional Irish crossover group, Na Tonnta.

Na Tonnta
Na Tonnta

Introducing Na Tonnta (L-R as above): Daniel ‘Hearthrob’ Whelan, Ellie ‘Ellington’ J McGinley, Sinéad ‘Brings her own teabags’ O’Malley, Ciara ‘I♥ Beoga’ Moley and Fiachra ‘Figgy’ Meek. The group met while studying Music in DkIT together and bonded through their love of traditional Irish music, popular music, tea, biscuits and cakes!

My journey with Na Tonnta began in September 2014. I was searching for a musically-new band to introduce to the recording studio and collaborate with for my final music production project at DkIT, resulting in three songs- one being the core and most-polished production.

Approaching Na Tonnta was an easy task. It was actually perfect timing! I already knew Sinéad, their flute and whistle player from the Norway erasmus trip in 2013 and I worked with Ellie, their vocalist and fiddle player on my previous production project, “Crystal Hearts” feat. Fiona McErlane by Audio_Girl | Free Listening on SoundCloud.

I knew I wanted to carry forward my love for traditional Irish music while bringing it into a contemporary production and I also knew Na Tonnta were a hard-working, creative and driven group from my Facebook stalking since they formed in October 2013!

Na Tonnta warming up for the Spirit of Folk Festival, 2014
Na Tonnta warming up for the Spirit of Folk Festival, 2014

Leaca Bán began in the rehearsal room. Sinéad introduced the idea to the group with the beautiful, haunting traditional tune, 250 To Vigo, accompanied by accordion player, Ciara. I sat, mesmerised by the performance- the beautiful tone of the B flat whistle, the rhythm of the tune, the sombre accordion, gently accompanying the haunting tune. The hairs on my arms stood and I knew instantly that this was a tune I wanted to be a part of. I could already hear our studio recording in my mind’s ear!

What happened next lifted my spirits even further. There was a lyrical idea. In fact, there was more than just an idea- there was a theme, a mood, an atmosphere and a poem! A vintage book was produced- a little blue book with yellow pages, about to be tossed out from a local school library where Sinéad worked. For some reason unknown to me, Sinéad opened the book and there was a beautiful poem at the beginning. The Lights of Leaca Bán by Alice Cashel is an old book intended for secondary school children but the poem simply titled Leaca Bán, found at the begnning of the book, is a literary work of beauty.  It was suggested that Ellie fit the tune to the words- amazingly, it worked like a dream. Ellie suddenly started singing the poem and it was just right.

Ellie and Fiachra in the rehearsal room
Ellie and Fiachra in the rehearsal room

By Christmas a humble demo which consisted of a vocal, fiddle, tin whistle and accordion was recorded and then my audio fun began. What I already had was a beautiful tune which was deeply Irish and could hold up on its own with such a small ensemble- how about adding drums? Synthesisers? Guitars? More vocals? How big could we go?! How big did I dare?!

Well, here’s the final production.  Listen for yourself.

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Final Norway Blog: It’s Good to be Home!

I’ve been home a few days already, I’ve just been exhausted! It’s been mental, the 12 hour journey home from Norway on top of a crazy party the night before (4 hours drunken sleep!!), then straight back to work and college! 🙂

The last few days in Norway we spent preparing for the Final Performance which was a roaring success. We performed music, dancing, drama, painting and sound massages.

Our final day in Norway was an evaluation of the CREAL Erasmus Intensive Programme which was quite insightful. The trip was quite inspirational and it was great to hear the small changes students would make if they were to take part again (next year it’s Belgium’s turn to host students!). I suggested an ice-breaker session for each college group before they travel… personally I didn’t know anyone (bar one or two!) from my college and meeting the entire 65 group was very over-whelming for me anyway! Nonetheless it was an experience to say the least!

This was followed by a nature walk through the forest on the coast… this was gorgeous!

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We walked back to Leirvick from the beautiful Hystadmarkjo nature reserve.

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Straight back to the hotel, quick Facebook fix, I nipped to the amazing shop next door which sold gorgeous trinkets and pretty things and picked up a few things for my house 🙂 Showered and grabbed the next bus back to Rommetveit to the party in the college!

What a night it was! There was a glass of wine on arrival (me, drink white wine?! yeah it was sweet, therefore drinkable haha!), a delicious meal followed by dessert, a small photo-shoot, a slideshow of fun photos from the trip then speeches, live music, more drink, DJ music and lots of dancing!

Photo-shoot! some of team Ireland :)
Photo-shoot! some of team Ireland 🙂

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funny faces!
funny faces!
the Kantine
the Kantine

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Live music- Carrie McCarthy
Live music- Carrie McCarthy
Bohemian Rhapsody ;)
Bohemian Rhapsody 😉

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Me and Luk my Belgian friend :)
Me and Luk my Belgian friend 🙂
Yes I drank pear cider! (why was there no vodka?! haha)
Yes I drank pear cider! (why was there no vodka?! haha)
LMFAO
LMFAO

The party was organised by a committee of students from the IP and I have to say they did a great job! Taxis picked us up from 1am and by 2.30am I was back in my hotel room, out for the count!

We were up at 6.45am to meet for breakfast, we were getting the speedboat up the fjords to bergen airport at 7.50am. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience!

Sleepyheads get the speedboat...
Sleepyheads get the speedboat…

We got the plane from Bergen to London, a 3 hour stop-over (where I experienced a typical British dish, yum!) and then back to Dublin for 5.40pm. I was home by 7.30pm and in bed asleep by 9.30pm! Most of the Irish had hangovers (not this cat- I remembered to drink 2 bottles of water before hitting the pillow in Norway!).

I am sharing my audio portfolio from the trip also here… Have a listen, I’ve included sound massages, lapping of fjord water on the shore, Irish traditional live music, haunting Norwegian female vocal harmonies, dances and improvised music to paint to! Enjoy!

Back to college life at DkIT! 🙂

Hej! Yoe! Well!!! Erasmus IP Trip to Norway Starts!

Hej! Yoe! Well!!!

Yesterday 18 excited students from Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland travelled to the beautiful island of Stord, Norway. The trip is a 2 week intensive programme (CREAL- Creative and Aesthetic Learning Processes) in which international relationships are formed through creative collaborations, workshops, group work, activities, cultural experiences and performances. Part 1 of the programme took place last year when the students from Stord Haugesund University College, Norway and Artesis, Belgium came to DkIT.

giddy in terminal 2, Dublin ;)
giddy in terminal 2, Dublin 😉

Our journey was 14 hours long, starting from the bus that brought us from the college to Dublin airport. We got the plane from Dublin to London and transferred there to catch the 5.00pm flight to Bergen (the 2nd biggest city in Norway). I actually slept through most of that flight after a reading a few chapters of Hitchhikers Guide…, though I had some strange, half awake dreams!!! 😀

travel!
travel!

We arrived in Bergen “The Gateway to the Fjords” (some snow still there and crazy huge icicles clinging to the sides of the rocky hill walls that lined the roads) and caught 2 buses (one of which was called a flybussen! I like that word!!!). The 2nd bus journey was 2 hours long but it didn’t feel so long because we got the ferry to the island of Stord in that journey. We were allowed to leave the bus and walk around the ferry as we pleased! I haven’t been on a ferry in YEARS and I loved it! I loved the fresh, cold air, the wind would take your breath away… I loved the sound of the waves crashing against us, I only wished it wasn’t 11pm at night! It was so dark, all I could see was the dark water around us and an even darker island in the near distance 🙂 Onboard it was warm and spacious! The ferry did sway a lot near the end of the journey and some students were looking rather green, I actually felt sleepy! I would have sat there for longer but we actually arrived at Stord after 35 minutes! (hopefully we’ll get the ferry again in daylight!).

Ferry! :)
Ferry! 🙂

We arrived in Leirvick just after midnight in the pouring rain and brought to the home were will we send the first week! I’m lucky to have my own room and share the house with Amy, my music production classmate! The couple we are staying with are soooooo lovely, they made us tea and light sandwiches and chatted with us until at least 1.30am! Their house is simply beautiful, I love Norwegian decor, so much timber and lovely angles and windows and little, soft lights! I want a house like this! 🙂

Bergen at night (not a great snap but you can see the city on the mountain... amazing in reality!)
Bergen at night (not a great snap but you can see the city on the mountain… amazing in reality!)

After a good nights sleep, we met the entire IP group (Belgian students and Norwegian students) in the auditorium. Following the welcome talks and introductions we had a tour around the beautiful campus in small groups. The music rooms look super! (Personally delighted that the studio runs Logic Pro!) It was great to see the arts rooms (woodwork, ceramics, textiles to mention a few) and the students brand new gym!

We had lunch in the Kantine and then we had ice breakers. These were lots of little games so everyone could meet each other, there were many laughs as we lost our inhibitions while acting as cowboys and geisha girls! It was a different way to meet people, something I had never done before! Any worries or awkwardness that there may have been were washed away after all the little games!

Hej! :)
Hej! 🙂

After that we had interesting presentations about our home countries and an energetic Zumba class!

My favourite moment was the icebreaker game when we made a little pretend film and performed it for the entire group! It was completely improvised! Everyone was laughing and smiling and there was a lovely, warm atmosphere. It was great to take part in a group and do something I wouldn’t normally do! (Let myself go!)

Having fun!
Having fun!
yep, thats me looking rather silly but it was good fun!!!
yep, thats me looking rather silly but it was good fun!!!

I also enjoyed learning the childrens nursery rhyme “Lille Petter Edderkopp”! Really cool to sing in Norwegian, hehe!

Tired now, can’t  wait for the workshops tomorrow! I’ve made lots of new friends already and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in!

Check this out: Bringar europeisk kreativitet saman – nyheter fra HSH.

Happy out! 😉