Session Surprise: A Visit from Angelina Carberry and Martin Quinn
Banjo whiz Angelina Carberry and her husband, the great box player Martin Quinn, were in town over the weekend for a concert at the Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series. I missed it, and I was feeling bad about that.
Of course, one way to make yourself feel better when you know you’ve missed out on some choice traditional Irish music is to find yourself a good traditional Irish music session. So I headed off to Shanachie Pub in Ambler on Tuesday night, bodhran in hand, planning to console myself with a couple of pints of Smithwick’s and the odd reel or jIg. (If you’ve ever heard me play bodhran, you know what I mean by odd.)
The place was already jammed with musicians when I got there, including—estimating conservatively—327.5 bodhran players. My partner Denise showed up, with her husband and son in tow. With so many drummers, I sat things out for a while with Denise, Ed and Pat.
Then I looked up to see Dennis Gormley and Kathy DeAngelo, who ride herd over the Three Beans session in Haddonfield, walk in the door. And right behind them … Carberry and Quinn. Kathy manages the two.
I headed back to my seat and waited for an opportunity to jump in on a tune or two. I got the opportunity at last … a blistering set of reels. My right hand fell off at the end. And it was good.
Carberry and Quinn, based in County Longford, play with laser-like precision, and yet they somehow—magic, I’m thinking—sound spontaneous and fresh.
The unexpected appearance caused no end of upset for Denise and me. We’re rarely sans camera. Shanachie co-owner Ed Egan went off in search of a disposable camera (thanks, Ed!), and Denise squeezed off a few shots. Not the quality we’re used to, but workable. Oh, thank heaven for 7-11.
Thanks, too, to Ed for risking life and limb by standing on a chair to capture an aerial view of the proceedings.
Aside from an accidental encounter—and what are the odds of that?—your last chance to see Carberry and Quinn in this neck of the woods is Saturday, August 2, at the Hunting Shanty in Tuckerton Seaport, 120 West Main Street. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.