Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tommy Sands and Family Appearing at 8th Step Coffee House

There are a lot of performers in the world and I can't keep up.

When I started checking into this performer, I was surprised. Surprised I never heard of him. Surprised by who recommends him. Surprised at how he dedicates his life.

His name is Tommy Sands.

For the impatient: He will be appearing on:

  • Sunday, March 10, 2013 @ 7 PM
  • 8th Step Coffee House @ Proctors Theatre, 432 State Street, Schenectady, New York 12304
Who recommends him?

Since I live in the Hudson Valley and have tremendous respect for the man, I'll start with: Pete Seeger.

Pete Seeger has said,"Tommy Sands has achieved that difficult but wonderful balance between knowing and loving the traditions of his home and being concerned with the future of the whole world."

I write poetry myself, so I was intrigued to read Seamus Heany has said of Tommy Sands, "You feel you can trust the singer as well as the song. His voice is at ease, it is not drawing attention to itself and yet, for that very reason it demands attention naturally." For those who may not know, Seamus Heany is Ireland's Nobel winning poet.

Tommy Sands is much more than a singer-songwriter. 

In 1986 in Belfast, which was during the Troubles, Tommy Sands organized a "Citizen's Assembly" which included many of the North's top artists and literary figures. 

Then in 1998, politicians were starting to hammer out the language that would later culminate in the Belfast Agreement or Good Friday Peace Accords, a major road map of compromise and concession which would lead to relative peace.

Getting wind of the gist, the media ballyhooed snags in the negotiations.

Tommy Sands could see this could lead to the undoing of the agreement.

He gathered a group of schoolchildren, half from the Catholic Republican side and half from the Protestant Loyalist side. Sands, the children, and some loud Lambeg drummers walked to Parliament singing the peace song Carry On.

A group of politicians met them on the steps of Parliament and the politicians were teary eyed.

Seamus Mallon who became Deputy First Minister in the Assembly that same year said the event was a “defining moment in the peace process.”

On top of all this, the man's music is well known and so moving.

His song, "There Were Roses" is bone crushing sad.

The song has been covered by many artists and many would say has entered the Pantheon of Irish songs.

So, yes, I recommend you go to hear Tommy, Fionan, his son, and other family members on:

  • Sunday, March 10, 2013 @ 7 PM
  • 8th Step Coffee House @ Proctors Theatre, 432 State Street, Schenectady, New York 12304
There will also be a reception where you can hear Tommy speak his special stories before the concert. Ask when you are buying tickets how to attend that.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tips and Tales from an Irish Genealogist

   Finding records of ancestors in Ireland is difficult. Fire and other means is suspected of destroying the vital statistics records stored in Dublin. Read more about the destruction of Irish Census Records here. Also, many Irish were tenant farmers whose lives left little in the way of a paper trail.

   Donna Vaughn has over 40 years of experience in genealogy and will share her valuable tips including websites and other avenues to help people trace their Irish roots.

Date: March 2, 2013
Time: 2:00 to 3:30 PM
Place: St. Agnes Cemetery Newly Renovated Map Room
             48 Cemetery Avenue, Menands, New York

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED as seating is limited.

Contact:  Email: KellyAnn.Grimalid@rcda.org
                 Phone: 518-463-0134 ext. 110