Traditional music has been played in Cork since the dawn of time. County Cork is home to the legendary Chief Francis O’Neill and the iconic Sean O Riada – to name but two. It is home to two third level music schools - the School of Music at Cork Institute of Technology and the Department of Music in University College Cork. This undeniably guarantees the quality of musicianship that you will hear when you come to this city where even the speech of the locals is musical.
Each year the city hosts traditional Irish music sessions in traditional pubs throughout the city from May through to the end of September under the banner The Lee Sessions. A session is generally an informal gathering of traditional musicians who play acoustically without the aid of public address systems – unplugged if you will. The choice of tunes or songs is impromptu as generally the session will be made up of different players on each occasion.
The main perquisite of a successful session is that the players have a common repertoire of tunes and that it is based in a common key. D mostly or occasionally E flat. The tunes are usually in sets of two or three with changes sometimes indicated by a nod or a wink or, if the bodhran player is sitting next to you, – a kick in the shins!.
Fiddles, Bodhrans, banjos, flutes, accordians, uileann pipes, guitars and tin whistles are regularly featured at the sessions with the playing generously lubricated by Beamish or Murphys stouts and of course a sparkling water for the designated driver! If you play yourself you merely have to ask and you will be invited to join in. If you don’t just sit back and enjoy one of life’s unique pleasures – an Irish session in full swing in a heritage pub in Cork – Yahooo!