Bathing In The Fae's Breath Once More

Saturday, 23rd May 2015, and this was called the Irish Launch of my Bathing In The Fae's Breath book.

A different sort of launch, really, as it was not the regular pat on the back event with speeches and a celebrity saying how wonderful the book is.

The intent of the event was to have an intimate audience served with a performance of some of the Bathing In The Fae's Breath work plus a social supper buffet. To do this we had the nerve to ask people for €25 up front as we did not have a sponsor or fund to do this any other way. This was not an event that invited people along for a few drinks and leave their book buying as being optional.

Claire Roche, singer harpist and keeper of Woodford House in Co. Dublin was the host. She put her heart and love into making this event happen at Woodford House.

The interest was beyond what was expected. The anticipated limit was 25 people but 42 people wanted to come along. 38 people actually showed up. We learned that four people had decided that as it was a warm sunny day it was preferable to capture the day outside than spend an evening inside.

Here are some of the happy people who were there :-)

I am extremely grateful  of Claire who managed to gather 33 of this audience though texts and phone calls. I had gathered the interest of around 40 people through social media and mailing list outlets. As is often demonstrated to me, social media is not really where friends hang out. Social media is merely a poster board where real friends may say "hello" too.

Out of 40 plus people who had responded to social media postings, 5 of those people turned up. But, these were very special people who were a joy to have present there.

Also, the mystery of connection was abundant around the people who were here. There was a lot of connection to people who join us with Bards In The Woods in counties Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon and with people we met on tour in the USA this spring.

Before performing this Woodford House show It was hard to find rehearsal time ...

We needed this to repair the nose-dive from what I thought was a diabolical performance at the Uisneach Fire Festival, though a lot of people have said it was excellent and that I was just being picky. Indeed, some opf Claire's vocals at Uisneach was at its best.

I was comparing to our.forever improving performances together in the USA where I think got quite slick, Fortunately, within the peace of Woodford House we did get some quality time practice. What this did for me was restore my own enthusiasm and freshness for the work. I thought it was going stale and I was getting stale to it.. I was now passionately looking forward to the evening, and to doing the show.

First up, though, before the show, was to sort out the very important catering. Claire had gathered a fine set of ingredients so I set forth to create small fritatas, small veggie parties with a home made sweet and sour dip, and a pine nut salad in case any vegans and live food people came along.

Claire made a delicious lemon mouse dessert.

Catering help that Claire had found, Sarah, padded this out well with smoked salmon on brown bread, patty spreads on crackers, cheese and grape sticks and the tradition of sausages for events like this.

Of course there was wine too.

Anna arrived to receive the people and Claire arranged for someone to park the cars and provide security. Woodford House is licensed for events, but these are conditions for the licence.

After a meet and greet in Claire's beautiful Woodford House garden, accompanied by a couple of foxes who came to visit ....

It was time for the show to begin.

Claire kicked off with an introduction to Woodford House and a story of its origin as stables. After this she sang her song "Dedication" which is connected to Woodford House.

I then avoided the usual book launch speeches, but shared a short quote from the late Floyd Westerman that he spoke at the start of the X Files episode, The Blessing Way, as, to me, this explains my own writing approach. I followed this with a very brief introduction to the book, my story of how Ogma's Tale Of The Trees came about ... and off we went into performing 8 of these with voice and harps.

We started with Beith The Birch, and I think we did the best we have ever performed that. Then I introduced the 20 trees and shrubs of the Ogham alphabet one by one until the next one we were to play.

What I had not thought of was that people would be following along in their own copies of Bathing In The Fae's Breath. As this was the unusual format of selling the book it did mean that everyone had their own books before the start of the performance, and we're trying to follow it as I spoke. So it went something like this ...

"With Luis The Rowan, blah, blah, but we are not doing that this evening, so we come to Fearn The Alder, blah blah, which are also not doing this evening ... and I was hearing the rustling of pages.

People were rapidly turning pages as I spoke.

I was very tempted to say, "We are going to perform the next one, Nuin The Ash, if you turn to page 153 in your hymn books" ... but I never did.

Nuin The Ash was the second Ogma's Tale we performed, and have only performed that once before as it is the darkest in the whole set. I think we performed that very well and people came up to me afterwards telling me tales of how it related to them at this moment. Very humbling and unexpected.

Next up was something jolly, Huathe The Hawthorn, and from the after concert reactions this was an audience favourite this evening

Our ever popular Coll The Hazel followed that,

Claire then sang "He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven", her arrangement of the W.B. Yeats poem. There were people in the audience connected to Yeats celebrations this year and requested some Yeats within this show. These fitted in very well.

We followed that with Quirt The Apple, which is also about Dreams, and also some satire on Yeats.

After Quirt, it was the completion of part one, time for break, some time outside etc.

On return, Claire launched into The Stolen Child which she does not have much opportunity to perform. Good to hear Claire perform this again but something had got to her voice and something was getting to my voice too and drying it up, so it was not the best performance of this.

Gort The Ivy was next up and I thought we did that one verywell. Several people came up to me after the show who wanted to talk about that.

The quirky Ruis The Elder followed Gort, but we were not at our best with that one., We jumbled it a boit, but it got a few giggles from the audience. Entertainment is also what this is about.

Then it was finale time. We rarely get to perform this epic, Ioho The Yew, which sums up the whole work, especially the Ogma's Tale Of The Trees saga. This was not our best performance with this, due to some stops and starts, but Claire sang the Yeats "When We Are Old" section beautifully. That more than made up for the earlier voice lost. It was a grand finish though :-)

That was it! Time for supper, to ceili and party

... but then a lump came to my throat ...

After a delightful perfect audience and the thrill of being able to present Bathing In The Fae's Breath, it occurred to me that Claire and I may never perform this again!!! - well not in this format.

I wish we could go on tour with this until all of the remaining books are sold

I would love to tour again due to the joy of doing this, also to recover book costs plus have a bit left over to cover Bards In The Woods expenses, which is becoming a challenge.

During most of the rest of this year Claire is hosting more events for others at Woodford House. She has Yeats events to perform at, because 2015 is a big Yeats Year in Ireland to celebrate his 150th birthday. Claire is also looking for opportunities to promote and perform her own work more.

For me there are several events at Carrowcrory Cottage, an active Bards In The Woods schedule and the writing of a follow up for 2016. The follow up work will be performed differently.

There is an Ogma's Tale Of The Trees double CD coming out that may be re-titled Bathing In The Fae's Breath too, but this is taking a new direction that would be expensive to perform live.

There will be one or two of Ogma's Tale Of The Trees performed by both of us at Carrowcrory Cottage events, though.

and I will still take the poems into the woods to share.

I believe Bathing In The Fae's Breath is really a book for the woodlands more than for concert performance, but I have loved the duet with Claire's harps and would love tour more with that

Several of the audience, this evening, said that Bathing In The Fae's Breath has already inspired them back to the forest, and experience in a new way.

What interested me was that out of 38 people in the audience only 3 were men. Fortunately, they were not men dragged along by their wives, but had actually invited and encouraged their wives to come along as they wanted to be here.

At the end of the Book Launch performance, I did the evening was very precious byt maybe, though hopefully not, it's concert finale. Watch this space, as they say :-)

Thank you all of you who delightfully shared this special, now unique, event with us. Love xxx

For the set list collectors we did ...

Albert Holstein's opening to the X Files Blessing Way
Dedication (Claire's Song)
Beith The Birch
Nuin The Ash
Huathe The Hawthorn
Coll The Hazel
He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven
Quirt The Apple
The Stolen Child
Gort |The Ivy
Ruis The Elder
Ioho The Yew including When We Are Old

If you would like this show where you are let me know
... we may do it again :-) 


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