Goitse opened with an old march dating back a few hundred years. After rhythmic measures featuring the banjo and bodhrán, the fiddle jumped in at break-neck speed. The guitarist strummed so hard his fourth string snapped, dangling snake-like for the remainder of the song. Irish folk is clearly a genre for toe-tapping.
“(Irish folk music) is an old tradition, but very much a living tradition,” said Tadhg Ó Meachair, the band’s pianist and piano-accordionist.
Some Goitse Folklore
Goitse (pronounced “goi-cha”) first began their musical journey together in 2007 while students at the University of Limerick in the Southwest of Ireland. Each of them pursuing a degree in traditional Irish music, they were “on the same wavelength,” said Meachair.
Tadhg Ó Meachair, Colm Phelan, Áine McGeeney and Conal O’Kane were all in the same year in school when they were asked to put something together for a charity event.
“We all started playing together, and the band came together,” said Meachair.
According to Meachair, they were all thinking the same thing.
“There’s a bit of a click here. … Something is working.”
After that, they formalized their band practice, rather than just having an informal session. Meachair looks back on that day the “spark” that started it all.
Allen Reid, another college classmate, has since joined as their banjo player, and they have been touring the world together ever since. Currently, they are preparing to release their fifth album.
Across the Atlantic
“We’re very tied to America,” said Meachair. In fact, O’Kane is native to the United States but moved to Ireland when he was 18. Meachair also married a U.S. citizen. He guessed this was their 13th or 14th tour in the United States.
Not only is the band tied to America, but their music is also as well. According to Meachair, ever since the 1920s, many immigrant communities were being recorded by American record companies, including the Irish community. Meachair believes those exchanges “paved the way for this link between music coming back and forth across the Atlantic.”
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