I'm recovering from a great weekend. On Saturday I flew to Chicago to perform with Mick Moloney in his concert 'If It Wasn't for the Irish & the Jews' at the Pick-Staigler Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston. On the flight I met with Dana Lyn, Brendan Dolan and Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, whom I last saw when I did this show with Mick at Symphony Space in 2009. When we arrived for rehearsal and sound check the dancer Niall O'Leary was already there and he and I slipped away to see what was on at the Block Museum across the way. There was an interesting show by Kiki Smith, but it was such a beautiful day we were inclined to stay outside and so followed the map of the sculpture park. They have a couple of lovely pieces by Joan Miro (the title of the first was 'Monument Erected in the Middle of the Ocean to the Glory of the Wind') and a Henry Moore which it was hard not to touch. Then we strolled over and just took in the vastness of the lake and the trees on the beautiful sunny afternoon.
The performance itself was great - Mick always puts together an interesting show - with those I mentioned above all onstage along with Jimmy Keane and Liz Hanley and special guests Arik Luck & Sari Greenberg, who did a wonderfully entertaining set of songs from Moishe Oysher.
Jimmy Keane told us the Midwest Fleadh was on at the Irish Heritage Center and so after the concert a buch of us piled into Jimmy;s car and headed to Chicago. I'd never been to the center and it's in a former public school. There's a bar on the ground floor and there were sessions everywhere, including one with two cellists. I was very glad to run into my old friends Theo Paige, Dave Cory and Brian O'Halloran, had a brief chat with Oisín MacDiarmada at the bar, and then the good fortune to finally meet Con Ó Drisceoil. We chatted in the warm Chicago night as we waited on our respective modes of transport back to our hotels and the tunes raged inside the Heritage Center.