Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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Land of 10,000 Pipers
April 29, 2008 |
I've been listening to your show for years now and I've always appreciated the Irish and Scottish folk music, Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, the Battlefield Band, and Boys of the Lough. And now I've started playing the stuff myself (my flatmates can probably blame you for some of their woes). Anyway, I would love to know if you are planning another tour of the UK and/or Ireland any time in the near future? I've listened to your brilliant 2000 shows from Edinburgh and Dublin in the archives and it would be fantastic if you paid our fair city another visit. After all 2000 was a wee while ago.
It was a wee while ago, Emily, and I remember that spring very well. We were in Queen's Hall in Edinburgh and in the studios of Irish Radio in Dublin and we had the Boys in Edinburgh and in Dublin we had a number of musicians including a lovely man named Frank Harte, who has since flown from the earth. He was an architect by trade, employed by the city of Dublin, I believe, but his great love was Irish song, and he sang beautifully in that strong but delicately ornamented style that you only hear over there. It was absolutely rivetting to hear him. And now I hear the same style carried on by the astonishing Brendan Begley of the Boys of the Lough. We're delighted to be an American way station for Scottish and Irish musicians travelling in the States, but at the moment there are no plans to go to Edinburgh. I wanted to do the Book Festival this year but couldn't because the show will be touring in August. I still remember August, 1995, in Edinburgh during a heat wave, when 10,000 pipers marched through town to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. Men and women in heavy woollen plaids marching by on Queen Street, sweat pouring down them, and all of that glorious music, one band after another. The show used to be aired in the UK on BBC7 but isn't anymore, nor is it carried by Irish radio, and so we haven't a local sponsor, which makes it awkward and much too much work to organize a trip as complicated as that. But we'll be at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul at the end of August, if you want to fly over. Your chance to eat deep-fried cheese curds and corn on the cob and a Pronto-Pup. How can you not?