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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Music from the Emerald Isle

What is it about the Emerald Isle that has us all so transfixed?  Is it that accent, which is to die for don’t you think?  Ireland is blessed with beautiful landscapes, an enchanted history, inspired people (authors, bands, humanitarians), and a richness of spirituality that touches the whole world.

Music plays are large part in Ireland’s culture and has done for time immemorial. It’s not just about Irish traditional music but it’s all genres of music.  Irish songs tell a story through song, making them even more appealing to listeners.

Enter one Dainial. Curiosity brought him to Second Life and even though he had a difficult time adjusting to it, especially at the beginning, he remembered being baffled by “rooms” full of silent people, and by all the things that newbies find daunting.  Luckily he was helped by people who became friends and after a year and a half here, Dainial says he has made some very close and good friends, and is thrilled that his creative side is finding full expression in SL.

Danial is a musician in Second Life, and I have to tell you his music is absolutely mesmerising.  He is by no means your everyday musician.  He is something quite special. In Real Life he mainly writes for Jazz Ensembles - Trios or Quartets, and he says these pieces can be written fairly quickly, basically in a matter of weeks. Dainial continues “The musicians will improvise themselves and make their own of what I give them - in the way that only Jazz music can do!”

His most recent composition is more formal, and although it is written within the Jazz idiom, he says it has very little room for improvisation. This piece took over a year to write, and almost 29 minutes straight.  Dainial premiered it on Music Island on the 13th January at Music Island.  People really enjoyed it and Music Island asked for a repeat performance, there were full houses at both performances.  He also designed a full inworld set, lighting, video and projection that helped people understand the music as it is a work inspired by a 6th Century Abbey in Ireland ,which is now in ruins, that is on an Island that itself was a sacred site going back to distant, pre-Christian times.

The Abbey stands in ruins, and Dainial got a sense from it, even as a child,  that it had "witnessed"  1400 years of Irish history, much of it full of suffering, foreign invasion, rebellion, and tragedy.
Here on Second Life, Music Island itself an amazing venue because the music is performed live and so concerts there have the feel and quality of a real life event, Dainial comments “that's very special for me as a musician/composer, and for people who enjoy live classical, contemporary, jazz and blues music.”
Dainial has been writing music for over 10 years, and has written over 100 pieces, he quips “though so far only 10 of these are suitable for Second Life in the sense that they translate well to the inworld environment and can be performed using electronic keyboards.”

 He writes plays and records all his own instrumental parts on electronic keyboards, piano, string quartet, percussion, electronics and then he plays saxophone live over these. 

His main influences are his jazz and classical music heroes and the countryside around where he lives in Ireland.  He loves the music of Ravel, Chopin, Arvo Part, Vaughan Williams and the American composers like Barber, Ives, and Philip Glass.  Dainial syas “I think Max Richter's Re-composition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons is truly brilliant and has brought that work back to Life.”

When it comes to Jazz he has always been inspired by saxophonists like Jan Gabarek and John Surman, and the passion and beauty of Keith Jarrett's.

Another big influence for him is the countryside around his home.  He lives in Ireland, in the South.  He says it is beautiful there and where he lives is full of history, landscape, and a people who still look after each other, and as community value things like poetry, music and especially the Irish language.  His favourite Irish Poet is Patrick Kavanagh as  there is so much priceless treasure in as he puts it  "the lines that speak the passionate heart/the spirit that lives alone". 

Picture by Uncommon Truth

Irish music can be truly sublime, so beautiful it can make you cry, but it is fragile.  The Irish language is dying too, despite the energy and brilliance of younger artists and champions of it in recent years, and so Dainial tries to speak it whenever he can, and he always speaks it a little at his concerts on Second Life, so that people can hear what it sounds like, and perhaps get a sense of his culture and background.  Girl’s I am sure I do not need to tell you that you will lose your heart to a man with an accent like this!

Laughingly Dainial comments “Some people find my Irishness good fun and I get a lot of jokes fired at me about drink - it's great fun though I'm not sure what they make of my accent! (The only thing that bugs Irish people is when Americans call St. Patrick "Patty"....over here patty is a kind of meat, or a woman's name! We hate it!)

Second Life has enabled him to become a musician, the person who plays on stage, rather than just the composer, who writes for musicians on stage.  In Real Life he compose only and does not play publicly. 
 To hear his amazing music for yourself you will need to go along to Music Island.  He performs about once every three months, which enables him to work "offline" on new pieces in between.

Currently he is writing music for film, and some contemporary classical music which he says is exciting because he is using new software to write it, and he is discovering new sounds to work with. 
Dainial is in discussion with a colleague and friend, Bahiyaa Jumanya about writing a score for an SL Television series that she's working on and he also going to try writing a suite for performance at SL Jazz Clubs. 

For a magical musical experience that brings Ireland to Second Life in all its glory, you should make a plan to catch Dainial’s next performance at Music Island.


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