The joy of coming full circle

December 26, 2016

The London EyeEverything comes full circle and I’m reminded of that more often than not. Take for example, bell-bottoms and leg warmers. Who would have thought they’d be cool twice in my life-time? Or platform shoes, of which I’m still afraid to walk in.

Even when it comes to my writing. I come up with an idea, I start writing. I take my words in another direction (maybe a few) yet I always end up writing about my original concept. Coming full circle.

For the last 4-5 months, I’ve been learning various other genres of music on my fiddle other than Irish music. I’ve been practicing some jazz, blues, folk and everything under the sun except for Irish music. It was not intentional. I was taking a class and Irish music was just not on the syllabus. I’ve also been participating in drum workshops and dance workshops that are completely unrelated to Irish music. Read the rest of this entry »


Smile, it’s contagious

November 27, 2016
African Djembe Player

Seny Daffe from Guinea teaches African drumming at the Zenbarn Studio in Waterbury, VT.

When my mom was alive. She’d come to see some of my shows. She’d sit in the audience, clap loudly, tap her foot and let everyone around her know that her daughter was the one playing fiddle on stage. She’d watch me with a big-ass grin on her face. It didn’t matter what I played or whether I played well or not, I could tell she was proud of me.

There was however, one critique she always gave me. Every show she went to she’d say “Trina, you need to smile more.”

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One Voice – Make it heard

November 7, 2016

More than a few years back, I saw the Wailin Jennys perform this song live in Vermont. If you have ever seen them perform, you know you can feel their 3-part harmonies through your core. Their songs are passionate and emotional and the stories behind them are poignant.

Today, on one of the most important 24 hours of our lifetime, I heard this song on my Pandora station and it nearly brought me to tears (what can I say it’s been an emotional election cycle):

I remember them singing this song when they were here and telling the story of what it was about and why it was written. I think you can guess where I’m going with this. It’s a message about how we’re all coming from the same place, we’re all reaching for the same goal. We are all truly one.

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The red string

October 14, 2016

Chas ConquestIn some Chinese folklore, it is believed that the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. I love this concept. I envision a red string attached to me throughout my life and everyone I meet touches it in some way, changing the course of my life.

It implies to me, that the meeting of someone new has an impact on both parties and shapes our future in some way. I can think of countless times throughout my life where this has held true.

One time in particular was when I met a man and musician, named Charlie Conquest. Those who knew him, knew him as Chas. Chas recently passed on from this world to play music in the heavens with countless other musicians who were taken from us far too soon.

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How music is like mountain biking

June 29, 2016
Mountain Biker

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I have rediscovered my love for mountain biking. Recently, I went out on an all-women’s mountain bike ride. I have to admit I felt a bit out of shape, especially on the climbs where I held steady as the caboose of the group. (In my defense I still ride a hard tail and was most likely twice the age of the women I was riding with). While I was out there sucking wind, I realized that you don’t ever forget how to ride a bike. But, if you don’t keep it up, you do however, forget how to ride it well.

It’s the same with music. Unfortunately, you can’t just pick up your fiddle every once in a while and play like Liz Carroll. You actually have to practice it, and often. Otherwise, you get a bit rusty. Read the rest of this entry »


The key to being a good musician

April 5, 2016

Key of a TuneI’m always impressed with melody musicians who can just call out the key of the next tune they are going to play. I have a hard time just lifting my foot to say I’m switching tunes. Not to mention, most of the time I have no idea what keys I play in. Aren’t all fiddle tunes in D or G?

I was talking to one of my friends the other day who is a great fiddle teacher. She said that when she teaches a tune to someone, she first teaches them the key and to get familiar with what notes might be in the tune. Then she teaches them the tune.

Because most tunes in this tradition are taught by ear, you may not know what key a tune is in. Here are a few ways to quickly figure it out on your own:

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100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising

March 20, 2016

Easter risingI didn’t grow up in a very religious family. We were not required to go to church on Sundays but we did celebrate Christmas eve and Easter at church every year. Easter for us as kids was more about waking up to a basket filled with candy that some imaginary bunny delivered, a big dinner with family and the Easter Bonnet parade on TV. But this time of year represents so much more.

This Easter, is a special year as it marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. To help commemorate the event there will be a gathering on Sunday, March 27 at 1:00pm outside Burlington City Hall. All are invited to attend.

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