Seoul Ceili: Irish Dance and Music Festival 2011


So, some harmless self promotion here on my behalf!

If you have any questions please leave a comment for me and I’ll reply asap.

For the second year in a row the Irish Association of Korea’s will host a céilí in Seoul. This September’s event will take place on September 25th in the new D Cube Center at Sindorim Station (Line 1 & 2). The event will be both a showcase for traditional Irish dance and music and for a chance for the general public to try out some Irish dancing.

A céilí is a large group dance that originated in Ireland. The name céilí originates from the Irish word le chéile, which means together. It is this togetherness which typifies every céilí dance. Dancers form into pairs or groups of four and dance together with other groups. The music itself is usually not fast and participants can enjoy a relaxed, friendly and sociable occasion awaiting them.

A fun family day out is promised. The dancing is suitable for all ages and all levels of enthusiasm. The steps are easy and don’t require any level of expertise to learn, and even if you are worried about missing a ‘2’ in your ‘1,2,3’ step, don’t worry as there will be plenty of volunteers on hand to help and guide you through.

There is no need to feel intimidated if you are expecting something similar to the famous Broadway extravaganza, Riverdance. While there will be some demonstrations of Irish dancing with more than its fair share of high kicks and athletic skipping, céilí dancing is a much simpler variant of Irish dance.

This September’s céilí promises to be a special event and will include two groups playing traditional Irish music. One group, Bard, is comprised of Korean musicians and have had considerable success playing in competitions in Ireland. The second group, Banú, is made up of musicians from Ireland, Korea, the United States, and Canada. As well as this, there will be displays by two Korean Irish dance troupes.

The music and dancing will start at 1pm and will continue until 5pm. To get to this event take the subway to Sindorim Station (line 1 & 2) and leave by exit 1 or 2. The event will be held in the large theatre space in front of the D Cube Center. Please follow the signs from exits of the subway station, and if in doubt listen out for the music.

 

This event is kindly supported by The Irish Embassy and Daesung Corporation.

The Irish Association of Korea is a registered not-for-profit organisation in Korea – www.iak.co.kr

Dublin Pride, June 25 2011


Hanging around in town (Dublin, not Seoul or Suwon) yesterday we stumbled on the Dublin Pride festival. I knew about it but hadn’t registered it until we were on Georges Street.

The biggest thing about the parade, as far as I could see, was the number of participants! It was quite spectacular, at least for me anyway. I have no idea about the number of gays or there rights/problems/social stigmas that are still attached to them. I know that they are definitely more out and about than back in the day, the day being when I was in secondary school or something like that. I found out later that there was around 30,000 people at it – that makes it second to Paddy’s Day in size and importance Continue reading

HBC Fest – Rock n’ Roll (and some folk) Photos


Here are some more pics from May’s HBC Fest, this time I’m keeping all things musical this time and focusing purely on the live acts. I have a few more pictures of the crowd’s antics to post but I’m going to give the people who make the Fest worth going to some credit – in fairness it wouldn’t be much of a music festival without much music, right?

These photos are going to start from the beginning, around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I didn’t get to see everyone, but everyone I did see did get a photo included. I decided to go with a slideshow this time.

Enjoy!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

By-the-by, let me know what you think of how this was presented – did the slideshow work? I have other options for displaying photos that I’m currently exploring. I want to avoid the big long post of photos I’ve been doing in the past.

If you’d like me to send you some photos, please contact me.

 

 

HBC Fest – A grainy and blurred photographic reflection on the musical event of the summer!


Yesterday was, of course, the HBC Fest. It was very colourful, especially if you consider the busfuls of cops that turned up to help us out with crowd control. It’s good to see that our taxes are eventually getting their money’s worth, especially when it comes to the 5-O. Anyway, I’m sure that the prominence of the cops has well advertised on the Korean blogosphere. This suits this post perfectly as I don’t intend on sharing any pictures of the cops – although I did see one great picture of some guy standing in and helping out the cops as crowd control which was hilarious… Anyway more about the cops later…

In my Groove article about the HBC Fest I advocated for people to go into the venues and enjoy the music, and for some reason everyone – or at least a lot of ones – did so. All the venues were packed and the music benefited and rose to the occasion! At the start of the day it pissed rain and I think this encouraged a lot of people inside where they found that it was a lot cooler than the previous May Fest and also that the standard of music, entertainment and good vibes was of a high standard. Kudos to everyone who took part in the festival; musicians, bar owners, bar staff, restaurant workers, Kobawoo supermarket, Lance, and of course all the wonderful people who turned up on the day to drink and be merry, and of course spend enough money to make all the hassle from the cops – if there was any – worth it in the end for the organisers.

Here are some of the photos that I took yesterday with my iPhone and shared on twitter throughout the day.

Phillies at the onset

My good friend - Mississippi Dave ... who's actually from Winnipeg but that's beside the point, he's a wonderful performer and I'll miss him when he returns to Canada after fifteen years in Korea this September.

Yes they are jello shots and yes they were all gone the next time I looked at the tray!

These guys were called Language of Shapes (I think), very cool sounding group.

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of this guy 😦 But it's nice photo, right???

Mikey from the VFW mopping the floor before the Fest started. Why did he bother???

Great festival weather - actually made me a little homesick. That crowd is gathered around the Frills and Thrills Burlesque Show which nearly caused more car accidents than the entire festival!

Magna Fall! Good band and worth checking out in the future!

The always spell-bindingly wonderful Mia Zepeda!

Mikey in the VFW still shouting for everyone to get fucked up - as if they needed any encouragment!

Two guys playing The Local - I think they were called Backus. Good stuff!

The Drunk Democracy - I'm not sure if this was before or after the 30 other Irish people had to be pulled down from the lights (myself included) when they started playing Horse Outside - if you haven't heard of this song just look for it on YouTube.

Johnny Red in Le Vert

LRD and a strange bald ex-editor or Groove trying to steal his guitar...I think

Angelic me

The Two Guitars in The Orange Tree well past my bedtime...

...and also this fella's!

Photos are, admittedly, a bit grainy. Oh well.

When I was coming back through Haebangchon the next morning in a taxi there was someone passed out in front of the Family Mart – unfortunately it was only hindsight that had the good idea to stop the cab and take a picture. Maybe next time!

I didn’t take many pictures of the police presence at the festival. For me, this was probably the most significant thing that you can interpret as you will. It was certainly unique. However, as far as I could work out everything went well. There didn’t seem to be any problems and all the interactions seemed to be good natured and respectful. Most people realised they weren’t there to break up the party and people just go on with having a good time. The guys forming the line along the street were all young military service aged kids who didn’t want to be there any more than any of us would have liked to be there, but I could see that they were taking it in their stride and enjoying the madness of the situation, while a few were even taking the opportunity to practice their English. I’m pretty sure no hagwon or text book in the world will have a lesson on ‘drunk at a music festival’, so they can be happy about that. While their may have been some bad things that happened, all in all, I think it passed off – for want of a better word – trouble free.

Thanks to everyone who came out, performed, drank, smiled, danced, ate, kissed, and/or held hands. This was certainly a HBC Fest worth remembering!

I should have more less grainy photos up somewhere soon!

Letter from Korea, March 2011


Suwon, South Korea
27/3/2011

 

Dear Ireland

 

Saint Patrick’s Day came and went. In Seoul there was probably one of the biggest and best Saint Patrick’s festivals in the Irish Association of Korea’s history, or so I was told. Thanks to these efforts there is a chance more people know more about Ireland here in Korea.

For me, Saint Patrick’s Day has always been symbolic. When I first arrived in Korea in 2005 it was the day before Paddy’s Day. I was so happy to be out of Ireland. The day itself had always been a wonderful day to reinforce any stereotypes which might exist about the Irish. Of course outside Ireland most of the people who celebrate the day aren’t Irish so you can expect stereotypes to abound, but in Ireland I was always disappointed by Ireland’s national day. I’m not the only one who could do without the majority of the population reinforcing the global stereotype, but you can’t have everything your way.

Continue reading