After a bit of a break Tony MacMahon and Steve Cooney are back playing together, but not in the kinds of venues we have come to expect in this age of state-funded and corporate-sponsored art. In what they term ‘kitchen concerts’ MacMahon and Cooney are happy to be invited to play in people’s homes for a specially invited local audience.
They first create the right environment and atmosphere in which to present the music, and then proceedings start with a ‘spoken invitation to de-clutter the mind’. As MacMahon puts it: ‘The musicians play with eyes closed, meditating on their music, often repeating sections of a tune which induce a kind of soporific communal dreaming on the idea of the music being played as distinct from the personae of the players.’
Another element in these gatherings is the brief contributions from local artists, poets, story-tellers, singers and musicians: ‘From the people gathered, a line of poetry, a fragment of a song, a memory, an idea – these flow naturally into the performance, binding musicians, listeners, the actual space, in a mood of kindly excitement.’
MacMahon-Cooney kitchen concerts to date have taken place in variety of homes – a new extension to an old house in Blackrock, a farmhouse in north County Dublin, a refurbished shed in Belmullet, the kitchen of an early Georgian house outside Kilkenny, a Martello Terrace.
The piper Paul Leech has written about these gatherings: ‘The ancient tradition of scoraíocht has been reanimated by Tony MacMahon, a shamanic musician, Des Geraghty and Rosheen Callender … the sound of music, scéalaíocht, conviviality … Táimíd beo fós.’
Published on 5 July 2012