I went to hear the Barra MacNeils last night. They’re a Celtic musical family from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. And I got to see them from the middle of the front row.
Often the folks featured in a song stood at the front of the stage, and their faces loomed above me, maybe eight feet away from mine. It was intense.
When Lucy sang “Caledonia”, I fell deeply into me. Her eyes were open, and the little white dots at the centre shone. All was liquid, and her soul reached the words:
Let me tell hou that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia, you’re calling me, now I’m going home
But if I should become a stranger
Know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything I’ve ever had
All was well
Later Kyle strode to a spot right above me with his fiddle. He played a soulful Scottish air, with his fingers gliding so sweetly on the strings. The violin purred into the love song and Kyle would often close his eyes in response. I would have such beauty linger forever.
Then it was a rousing drinking song, soloed by Stewart. On the chorus, four brothers were only a breath away from me, blasting out the melody and harmonies. The whole was greater than the sum of the parts, with the tones vibrating inside my heart.
Towards the end, Lucy did some fancy Irish dancing and I watched her feet fly. The taps on her soles beat out a brilliant rhythm and her feet twisted this way and that at supersonic speed.
All happened in my very near presence and the immediacy was a huge gift. Human beings blissing a fellow traveller in the front row.