I’m playing some new songs today at a songwriter’s circle song swap in a record store in New Jersey. Begins at 4:30, I will be performing at various points of the afternoon. Co-ordinates:
My friend Effy described himself recently as having been in a coccoon all his life, and he’s just recently emerged from it. He is in his mid eighties and a demon piano player.
But it’s hard, being in your mid eighties and emerging from a life-long coccoon. Of course, I accented the positive when he told me this. But you’ve spent all this time playing and thinking and becoming this incredible musician that you now have the freedom to be, I said. You did not sit around on your arse inside your coccoon! You did stuff! Lots of stuff! He said yeah but he kind of blew that off. I think it bums him out that he spent so much time in a coccoon and that is fair enough.
Effy doesn’t talk a lot and I am enormously fascinated by him so I like it when he does talk. He said he has to think of himself as being in his forties because he has so much to do. He puts covers on all the mirrors in the house and avoids looking at reflections of himself.
He is the sole carer for his wife, who he has been with for sixty years, divorced her at least once and married her twice, lived on different continents for a decade in between and now they live on different floors of the same building, which worked out well for him at least, until four years ago when she fell and hit her head and now he spends every waking moment looking after her, when he is not working or doing essential household things. She is very dependent on him, completely dependent really.
But his main passion in life is what happens to him when his fingers engage the piano. Music is the passion, and the piano is the perfect expression for his musical ideas. This is interesting because though he has been playing piano all his life as a second instrument, it was only a few years ago when he started to lose his chops on the trombone – an instrument he played professionally all his life – that he concentrated on the piano. He plays it furiously, with intense connection, and his ideas are sophisticated, beautiful, playful and often deeply surprising.
He plays a regular gig three times a week in a local old folks’ home, where he gets to play many different roles: sometimes he is accompanying a vocalist, others he is playing piano for a dance class, other times again he is playing solo. He likes the work very much.
Effy’s sole outing these days other than necessary household things and work is to go to Charly’s jam on Sunday afternoons. Charly is a 94 year old former society dance band leader and he hosts jams in his apartment on Fifth avenue on Sundays between noon and three. Everybody loves Charly, it is ridiculously easy to love Charly. He is, and always has been – according to everybody – a tremendously civilised, pleasant, intelligent, sophisticated, lovely, funny person with an incredible memory of his life and times. Effy plays the piano at our jam. I am the girl singer at the jam, I sing a few songs but Charly is the main singer and our bandleader.
I love to watch Effy play the piano. He is so intense about it, and wildly inventive. He is an extraordinary player. I told him two weeks ago that I think he is cresting a huge peak in his creativity and powers at the moment and it made him cry but he liked what I said. I think it’s true, and long may his peak last.
I’ve been posting some new stuff to Soundcloud lately. So far there are three songs up there: two original and one Irish traditional. The Irish one is called My Lagan Love, and I’ve been singing it since I rediscovered my voice in the Danish forests a few years ago. The other two are called French Kissed by a French Mosquito and No one Owns It. It’s all about love, really. Unusual love stories, hopefully with unusual and compelling shadings. Here you go.
So tonight (THURS Nov 15), Ross and I are performing with some others at a hurricane relief benefit concert at the beautiful St John’s Lutheran Church in Greenwich Village, also known as the Christopher Street Coffee House, as part of the once-monthly Songwriter’s Beat concert series, organised by Val Ghent.
ALL proceeds made on the door will be donated to local grassroots relief efforts. Some of it will go to help musicians who lost their instruments when their studios were flooded, and the rest will go to pop up grassroots organisations run by concerned New Yorkers who were first responders in the aftermath of the storm, bringing hot food and essential emergency supplies while official agencies were still scratching their arses. In the main these relief efforts have been peopled and supplied by locals with tremendous dedication and hard work. People heard the call, cooked, donated and delivered hot food, hot chocolate, blankets and emergency supplies to those left without electricity, water and heat, and their efforts continue.
So we’d love to see you later. Come on down.
DOORS: 7pm, music starts 7.30 pm
ADMISSION: $10, more if you have it, ALL proceeds go directly to people in need
DRINKS: $5 wine, $1 coffee / fizzy water
VENUE: St. John’s Lutheran Church, aka Christopher St Coffee House
LOCATION: 81 Christopher Street, between 7th Ave and Bleecker St, NYC 10014.
TRAINS: 1 to Christopher st, A/C/E/B/D/F/M to West 4th st, PATH to Christopher st or 6th Ave.
PARKING: Garage parking on Morton/7th ave.
I’ve been away in Ireland and London all summer and there were many adventures with thrilling and dastardly moments and now we’re back in New York and we’re getting ready for the second EVER performance of Songs For People I Will Never See Again, which will receive its Brooklyn premiere on September 28th at 7:45 pm at a favourite haunt of ours, Freddy’s bar at 627 Fifth avenue in Brooklyn.
I’ll be performing a slightly different selection of stories than the first performance at apexart, the likelihood is that they will be more heart wrenching than the first lot and the roar of ecstacy at the end might be a little more raucous than in an art gallery context. :
Performing with her four headed, multi-armed rock and roll dragon, Lucy Foley brings her rousing music, video and story-filled show Songs For People I Will Never See Again to Freddy’s for its Brooklyn premiere. Ecstatic, sad and true stories of highly unusual alliances and quiet revolutions in unlikely places.
If you feel this might suit you down to the ground, you’re very welcome to join us, we’d love to see you there. You are what makes it fun for me, you see.
I come to you today bearing videos and photos from a dream. A dream in which this happened. A packed room full of beautifully attentive people gathered together in a gallery in Soho a few weeks ago and together we shared the first performance of my new show, Songs For People I Will Never See Again. This show is the fruition of a lot of work, truth be told. It feels like an amazing journey I’m taking. Ross and I worked intensely the night before the performance, editing the video for No One Owns It, but these photos took a few years to accumulate. That song finished the show. My Lagan Love came at a quiet point, earlier.
And here are a variety of funny faces I made during the show.
We’re playing at Freddy’s tomorrow night, June 16th for the Freddy’s Bloomsday party. Bloomsday is the date on which Mister Joyce’s Ulysses takes place, it is usually celebrated in a variety of fun ways in Dublin. We’ll be doing a Brooklyn version, the whole evening is going to be a blast. I’ll be reading a few short extracts from Ulysses (and probably from Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman too) and singing to wake The Dead. Lots of other bands will be playing throughout the night, including the Highland Shatners at 9pm. We take the stage at 10. And it’s free, free, all free.
And then next Thursday June 21st we’ll be playing at the Make Music NY Festival! The festival happens on the summer solstice, filling the five boroughs of New York city with music in all sorts of unlikely locations. We are thrilled to be performing this year in Washington Square Park on a (hopefully) sunny afternoon in June. Come have lunch with us!
We are the guests of Songwriter’s Beat and Solar Punch and we be performing on completely solar-powered gear. Solar Punch play at noon, We’ll be on at 12.30 pm, and the music continues throughout the afternoon. Bring a packed lunch and we’ll try to go easy on your digestion.
Cheers m’dears from Lucy HQ.
June 16th, 10 pm
Freddy’s Bloomsday party at Freddy’s Bar
627 Fifth ave, between 17th and 18th st.
SUBWAY: R to Prospect Ave
BUS: to 17th st
June 21st, 12.30 pm in the afternoon
Make Music NY Festival 2012
Washington Square Park, New York NY 10003
My Lagan Love, performed at apexart, May 24th, 2012. With Ross Bonadonna on guitar.
Video courtesy of apexart.