2023-04-07 – la Renglereta on Good Friday and jam session al Celler del Rial

We made this a long Good Friday, by getting up earlier than we have risen since we got here. We wanted to experience la Renglereta at 8am, which is an outdoor procession marking the stations of the cross from the Santa Maria church to the Capuchin friary up the road a wee bit. Continue reading “2023-04-07 – la Renglereta on Good Friday and jam session al Celler del Rial”

2023-03-24 – La Tossa, Castell de Miralles and the Xauxa gig

We were very lucky on our Friday morning in Igualada as Pep had free time to take out in the car see some of the sights on the high ground beyond the town. He drove us first to La Tossa which had fantastic views in all directions. Towards Montserrat, the Pyrenees and down the Llobregat / Anoia river valley towards Barcelona. Continue reading “2023-03-24 – La Tossa, Castell de Miralles and the Xauxa gig”

2023-03-18 – Sleepy Saturday with rehearsal and rugby

Paddy’s night ended with a late meal in a restaurant across the road from the pub with Marta and a couple of her friends. It was a lovely feed and we were spoilt with a lift home to Arenys. Quite a late finish therefore heralded a lazy Saturday to gently recover. My friend Pep Massana from Igualada had arranged to travel all the way to Arenys for a face to face rehearsal for the next gig which was due to take place in Igualada on Fri 24 Mar 2023.<1–more–>

There was also the little matter of the conclusion of the six nations in which Ireland would face England knowing a victory would secure them the Grand Slam. That match was due to kickoff at around 6.30pm Catalan time. Pep arrived around 4pm and we got down to business of working through the songs planned for the set next Friday. It was to be a very different set compared to last night’s more mainstream Paddy’s day affair. About half of the dozen songs would be original compositions and it was exciting to learn that Pep had invited a drummer and bass player to join us. It was therefore important to tie down the order and chosen keys for the songs we would play.

Pep is a music teacher by profession and very efficient at this process naturally and we breezed through the rehearsal and said our goodbyes so that he could drive home in daylight. This left me comfortably in the zone for watching rugby and watching Ireland overcome their initial yips to secure the Grand Slam in devastating style in the end.

watching the rugby at home in Arenys
watching the rugby at home in Arenys

2023-03-17 – St Patrick’s Day

Our daytime activity on Ireland’s national day was heavily relaxation-based. I hung the Irish flag out on the terrace, not that there are many neighbours here to see it, but I guess it was the thought that counted. I fine-tuned my set list ahead of the evening gig and rehearsed the songs to be sung.<1–more–>

After lunch we headed down to the local beach for a wee lie down and enjoy the sound of the ocean and the last rays of the sun on what had been a warm day. There were more clouds now than blue sky so it wasn’t quite as warm as hoped. I had gone prepared for my first dip in the mediterrean, but I had to make do with a quick paddle up to my knees. All the same, it was our first real encounter with the sea water and, although cold, it wasn’t quite as freezing as we expected.

Come six o’clock it was time to make our way to Mataró. I had promised to be there at 7.30pm at the latest but wanted to be earlier so that Al and a few friends could get a good table. We arrived just after 7 o’clock and the bar was already quite busy. By eight o’clock it was heaving, standing room only and quite daunting for the lonely singer without a microphone.

Connecting the guitar was more challenging that the sound check a few days ago promised as there were people standing in every space by the bar and the bar staff needed to cross the cable to get back and forth to the kitchen, so it was far from ideal. My guitar also wasn’t playing nice to begin with as the jack socket needed some attention.

Soon all was ready and it was time to start singing. I introduced myself and appealed to the audience for their help in singing along as we would be without microphone and I’d need all the help I could get. The plan was roughly to sing two sets of 30 minutes echo, which amounts to about a dozen songs in total. My guitar strings had other ideas though and over the course of the performance I managed to break strings on two occasions, so the singing was punctuated by a couple of enforced breaks.

The audience was very supportive though and they really got into the spirit of singing along to the songs they need, which was a great help. The highlights for me were the Fields of Athenry, I’m A Believer and Losing My Religion.

A short clip giving the flavour of the evening

I was well and truly hoarse by the end, but a very positive experience. Both the bar owner and I were in agreement that the gig in hindsight did require a microphone. This was the set of songs performed:

  1. Molly Malone
  2. Friday I’m In Love
  3. Perfect Day
  4. I’m A Believer
  5. Brown Eyed Girl
  6. Fields of Athenry
  7. Hallelujah
  8. Imagine
  9. Hey Jude
  10. Only Our Rivers Run Free
  11. The Wild Rover
  12. Losing My Religion
  13. Can’t Help Falling In Love
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