Wake the Bard celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Green Valley Lake. (Photo: Sandi Huckaby)
Bringing in the green in style
Wake the Bard – the Celtic band based in Green Valley Lake – celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the Black Dog Social Club in Green Valley Lake. Band member Sandi Huckaby shared these thoughts on the event.
The gig at the Black Dog was great – just like old times when we used to play at the Lake Inn. There’s nothing like a hometown crowd.
The room was filled to capacity, about 30 people. There were a few adorable little girls who hopped and danced and had a grand time. Everyone got into the spirit and it felt electric. The band played with great energy – jigs and hornpipes flying off the fiddle strings. We’ve never sounded better now that we have two fiddle players, a flute and have added a banjo as well. It was definitely the best gig we’ve ever done.
The Irish music tradition is rich and we try to pick songs that tell the history of the island and of the immigrants who came here to America. Pat’s (Huckaby) favorite ballad is “Star of the County Down”; he claims it’s the only happy love song an Irishman ever wrote, but he hasn’t actually asked her out yet, so it might not end happily after all. My favorite song is “Back Home in Derry” because the lyrics are so haunting, written by Bobby Sands who died in the hunger strike during the Troubles. And there’s many raucous ones, too, such as “Hills of Connemara,” “Rocky Road to Dublin” and “Finnegan’s Wake.”
In Celtic culture the bard was held in high esteem because he was the storyteller and oral historian. He composed verses and accompanied himself on the harp. To this day, the symbol of Ireland is the harp. When Elizabeth I decided to conquer Ireland, she ordered all the bards killed and the harps destroyed. In remembrance of this tragedy, we named our band Wake the Bard because we mourn all that was lost, as in an Irish wake or funeral. But the word wake also has a double meaning, as in wake up, keep the tradition alive.
It is a thrill it is when people get up on their feet and begin to dance. Sometimes it’s professional Irish dancers on stage, sometimes it’s relatives who have flown in from Ireland to attend their granddaughter’s wedding, sometimes it’s a herd of little kids running around and “jigging” to the beat on a field of grass in a city park. That’s when the jigs and reels come alive.