Grafton St. Buskers

I forgot to ask the buskers the name of the band. I think they play very regularly in Grafton St., so I’ll watch out for them again. They were brilliant, and what a receptive street audience. It says all!

The crowd found it so funny seeing little Julie-Anne helping herself to the tapes and money from the guitar case. The mother looked absolutely mortified, as she carried her away from the scene. The little girl would have much rather stayed there to join in the dancing with another little girl who finally had all the ‘stage’ to herself. I really liked the way the girl with the hat went over to her daddy at one stage to seek assurance by giving him a big hug, and then went back into the crowd after being reassured to do more dancing. I saw that at the outset the father had given her his hand to guide her away from the centre, but she quite flatly refused to be drawn away from centre-stage. She was single-minded. There was such a relaxing atmosphere, as there always is in Grafton St.. This scene here would be typical in the very popular busy shopping area of Dublin.

It’s rather ironic that the buskers played right outside Brown Thomas. It’s a very posh shop. Irish people don’t go in for pomp and circumstance, so it looked out of place seeing a door-man with a top hat outside the shop. It just didn’t seem to fit in with the scene. Ah, well, everything goes.

What I really like about Ireland, is, that not only is it a very young vibrant country. But the young and not so young don’t have hang-ups about doing things together. Everybody simply blends in, there’s just no age discrepancy when it comes to having fun, or going to musical sessions or drama or such like. I did not find it the same in England where a lot of entertainment is peer driven.

A chap with dark hair and blue jumper, who bought a tape looks terribly like Finbar Wright, the ex-priest Corkonian tenor. I see a young woman nearby the band sporting a Kilkenny black & Amber Kilkenny jersey. She must have been up to Dublin for the hurling match final.

I took video footage of the aftermath, just to show how popular the band was with the public. Their CDs were selling like hot cakes. Blimey, I saw a garda having a wee talk with one of the musicians. He then went on and had a chat with the Brown Thomas doorman. All in the line of duty, I guess, sure isn’t that exactly how they work. Nothing goes amiss. I note that the man in the blue jersey turns up again at the end of the video. I think he might be too young to be Finbar Wright, but he is his double, well in my estimation anyway.

There was a Polish chap playing a violin before this band, and the lads are seen in the footage that I took of same. Even, still, as they sat there waiting their turn to play, people went up to them to buy CDs. Irish music is very popular. Doubtless the band is very well known in the vicinity. I saw tourists and people of various nationalities purchasing their CDs. So Irish music is alive and kicking. That’s not to say that the Eastern European violinist did not have a crowd, he did indeed, though the video here doesn’t do him much justice in comparison to that of the lads. He too was ambushed by people afterwards to buy his tapes, which he completely sold out. I loved his version of the song, which quite reminded me of the haunting rendition sung by a now deceased young singer – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole that John Creedon regularly played on RTE at night time Somewhere Over a Rainbow  < The video should not be missed.

I remember seeing him a couple of times down Henry St. some years ago when he was playing in a large group. He was drowned out by the drummer. I actually went up to him and said that I felt that he would do exceptionally well on his own, as the violin and the contemporary classic songs would carry him, that it was such a pity he had to be drowned out. As you can hear here the violin is amplified and powerful, so you can surmise what the drummer must have been like. That is not to say that the drummer was not talented, he was,  but it just came across to me, as if he was trying to be too competitive and not playing in unison with the violin, or the rest of the players. So, it was nice to see that he has gone solo.[Experimented with a simple annotation at the beginning of the video.]

Grafton Street (Irish: Sráid Grafton) is one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre, the other being Henry Street. It runs from St. Stephen’s Green in the south (at the highest point of the street) to College Green in the north (to the lowest point). In 2008, Grafton Street was the fifth most expensive main shopping street in the world, at €5,621/m²

Buskers, including musicians, poets and mime artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds. This scene was portrayed in the 2006 film Once, starring Glen Hansard of The Frames, a former Grafton Street busker.
In the song “Before the Worst” performed by The Script, Grafton Street is mentioned in the lyrics; “It was Grafton Street on a rainy night, I was down on one knee and you were mine for life”.
Bagatelle, an Irish rock band in the 1970s refer to Grafton Street in their song “Summer in Dublin”; “And young people walking down Grafton Street, everyone looking so well”. [I knew Liam Reilly’s sister, who worked in the bank in Ballyjamesduff Co. Cavan.]

Notable buskers
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Mexican guitar playing duo
Roadmage – comedy magic show
Glen Hansard – ex-Grafton Street busker, Academy Award winner, now in The Frames and in The Swell Season
Damien Rice – ex-Grafton Street busker, now famous musician
John Nee – imitated Charlie Chaplin
Diceman – Deceased game store owner and street performer
Dave McSavage – Stand up comedy and music
Paddy Casey – ex-Grafton Street busker, now successful musician.
Mic Christopher – Musician

An aside:

The ghastly looking paving is an absolute eyesore. So it was good to recently hear via RTÉ News that:

A €4m upgrade of Dublin’s Grafton Street is planned to start early next year. City councillors agreed this evening to begin the process for tenders to be ready for September. Councillors were told that the current paving for the pedestrianised street was laid in the 1980s and now has to be repaired daily. A report presented to councillors states that the new paving would be the same grey granite that is in Henry Street. There would also be a dark grey way finding path along one side with sections in pink to highlight intersections and points of interest. The work would take about a year to complete and be phased so disruption is minimised. A special information meeting for councillors will be held within two weeks.

There used to be an olde-world atmosphere in the area, but that has long since gone when the unappealing red brick was laid down. I remember coming back from England and thinking what was Dublin City council thinking when it destroyed an area and put in place such unappealing red bricks in an area that should have been the pride and joy of old Dublin.

Update: 29th Oct.

I discovered at Youtube that the band is called Mutefish. I also found a video that would have been taken by another person just prior to the first one in the post. It was interesting to see the dynamics played out beforehand by the children whom I mentioned up above, who had all been enjoying the dancing.

I thought the following video which was taken on a separate occasion was very good as well.

Published on Sep 30, 2012 by 

Upon our last night in the country, still not having heard “traditional Irish music”, we happen to come upon this young band playing on Grafton Street in Dublin. We loved their music and bought a CD, thinking they were merely buskers; they seem to be touring in Europe, but perhaps when they come to the US, we’ll be able to say “we knew them when”!

Blimey, there aren’t too many establishments down Temple Bar that doesn’t have Irish music blaring out of the rafters. The tourists obviously went to all the wrong places. Mind you, if they went to Co. Clare they’d be greeted with Irish music everywhere they went, it’s inbred into the natives there.

I found this information by searching Mutefish.

MUTEFISH are a new innovative 5 piece band from Dublin, Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine. With a wide variety of musical backgrounds between each member (from Trad, Reggae, Punk etc..) they play not only original pieces but also alternative interpretations of Trad.

I think the 2 Mutefish album covers are something else!

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