A history of irish music cover

Festive doubleheader of performance and readings


By Karen Daly

The Irish American Writers & Artists salon followed last week’s launch party for IAW&A President Larry Kirwan’s new book, “A History of Irish Music” at the Cell Theatre. After Malachy McCourt’s introduction, Larry enchanted the standing-room-only audience with a passage about the iconic blues guitarist Rory Gallagher.

Salon producer John Kearns hosted topnotch presentations that included music, memoir, poetry, fiction and humor.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

In the fiction department, actress Mary Tierney read from an untitled novel-in-progress by Joseph Davidson. In this chapter set in 1966, a young woman hitchhikes from Kansas to San Francisco's Haight Ashbury in search of love and peace. In Christy Kelly’s novel-in-progress called “Nobody Said,” two cops cruise the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx in the 1970s, when, Christy says, “The sky was pink with arson.” Stephanie Silber’s powerful first novel, “Other People’s Houses,” is a coming of age story set in the early 1970's.

Poet Bernadette Cullen read “Ruminations While Standing on the Edge of the Precipice,” which she describes as a longish poem on uncomfortable “truths.”

Also for poetry lovers, Brendan Costello Jr. read the opening of T.S. Eliot's “The Waste Land.” He reworked that section as a Buzzfeed lifestyle article, proving that April may still be the “cruellest month,” but at least it’s user friendly:

"What I've found in this handful of dust might just haunt you for years to come!"

Among the true stories, Sean Carlson read a travel piece “Notes from Cambodia,” scheduled for publication this summer in Nowhere Magazine. Maura Mulligan, accompanied by the fiddler Marie Reilly, presented an excerpt from her memoir, “Call of the Lark.”

In the music department, Karl Scully, one of the Irish Tenors, graced us with a song, “My Lagan Love,” while singer/songwriter John Munnelly sang some of his original compositions. His new song about love, from a distance, was inspired by the title of Theresa Lennon Blunt’s memoir, "I Sailed the Sky in A Silver Ship."

Malachy McCourt brought the night to a rollicking close delivering,
verse after verse of the Noël Coward (a salon first?) song about British officers in India, “I Wonder What Happened to Him?”

The next salon is on Tuesday, May 5, at Bar Thalia (Broadway at West 95th Street) beginning at 6 p.m. On Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m. at the Cell Theatre, IAW&A presents “The Amazing Library Variety Show” to benefit Urban Librarians Unite ($25 contribution); reservations should be made by emailing amazinglibraryshow@hotmail.com