A coffee concert at Christ Church Cathedral with Jimmy O’Brien Moran, piper, is and was a wonderful event. He makes wild and rapturous music with slow airs to give you Goosebumps. Nowadays, he seems a touch academic in his introductions – he was clearer without the microphone. No doubt, his PhD has created a more measured attributable delivery than his days as a Scullion member or a rock piper.
Once again there was no printed programme at the venue but Jimmy started with a hornpipe – The Sean Bean Bocht and launched into a jig-time The Waves of Tramroe. He paid his dues to piper Tommy Kearney with a fine Butcher’s of Bristol and the lovely Waterford Hornpipe.
Some people say that the uilleann pipes have a wild majestic beauty, others have described them as a concatenation of sweet and squealing swans or cats or a droning of bothersome bees, but when Jimmy took a chanter from a red sock it was beautiful music indeed. The Old Coolin gave way to A Wild Day at the Fair where the sounds seemed faraway and dreamy.
In quick time we went from Galway on the Southwest Wind on the back of The Pooka to a glorious and experimental March of the King of Laois.
I loved the tune Oro The Dog is Dead and the highpoint of the concert – a Canon Goodman inspired Skibbereen battle and lament. A most descriptive piece with jigs, battles and three laments – what mastery of the pipes. A slow air Bean Dubh A Ghleanna and a Carolan tune took us into a closing trio of Seamus Ennis favourites The Master’s Return.
As another old master said – “it was good that morning to be alive” and Jimmy O’Brien Moran told us with his piping just how good it can be. More power to his elbow.