When Festival organizer  and guru, Ray Blackwell  said to me at the conclusion  of the 2010 Clonakilty  International Guitar Festival  in Ireland, “We’ll see you  next year. You’re like  family”, I was struck with a  new awareness. As these  kind and genuine words  were being spoken, I  realized just how many  musical families I have  around the world.

My family on the road is huge, made up of musicians and friends who never hesitate to loan a guitar, share a home, or cook up a meal. I am so very grateful that I have come along far enough in my career that I can accept these acts of kindness, not because I have to for survival, but because I want to be a part of a global family.

Socialization plays a big part in my well being, as opposed to isolation when touring, especially during extended trips. There is something satisfying to me about discovering and re-discovering the essence of the people and cultures of other countries. The convergence of musicians from around the world for annual events seems to make this planet a smaller and more pleasant place to live, offering up once again the international language of music.  The world family was very apparent at the 6th annual festival in Clonkilty, a charming town just southwest of Cork by a few turns in the road, a   passing of a pottery shop or two, and a small leap over a Leprechaun and around the Blarney Stone. Sponsored by Guinness, with  the legendary DeBarras as the festival cornerstone, this event embraces local and visiting musicians both young and old, especially during the yearly attempt to beat the World’s Record for the largest ensemble guitar performance.

The entire town literally opens her arms for this magical musical bubble with workshops practically ‘round the clock, concert performances, acoustic forums, music on every corner, a jam session attempt to fit in one room as many guitarists as safely possible, and a seemingly 25 hour a day session trail of traditional, rock, swing, folk, classical, jazz – every genre imaginable. A new sporting event, the Clonakilty Du-athlon, was added this year as this world family continues to grow larger every September in Clon.   


Originally posted 2010-10-25 20:13:09.