Monday, July 27, 2009

Big Bang was... bangin'

See all pictures from the weekend here!:

The Big Bang Festival was a fantastically fun, exciting and kickass event. Friday night started off with the man himself, Mamady Keita, the legendary Djembefola and the reason that everyone packed themselves into the sweaty Button Factory. In the build up to Mamady, we saw Happy City (at least 20 deep and amazing energy), Wassa Wassa (beautiful and talented singers, drummers and dancers paying tribute to the African beats), and Sergio Krakowski (who makes love to the Pandeiro with his hands).
Happy City started off the night by marching right through the crowd, getting in formation and causing everyone to start moving nearly immediately. (I will warn you, the pictures of the weekend hold several occurences of beautiful topless black men dancing, flipping and spinning like artistic creations in motion.) After that was Wassa Wassa. About 12 people in African wear, drumming, singing and dancing, paying tribute to the man that inspired them, Mamady Keita. It was a beautiful thing watching and listening to them, because it reminded me how impactful music can be... and that it reaches across all borders that humans have seemed to establish. Wassa Wassa is composed of all white people, and are beautifully recreating the music that originated in a land not their own. It was a beautiful reminder that we are all one, and that art and music is one of God's perfect ways of keeping us all connected and in tune with the reality that we are connected to everything and everyone. And here comes my celebrity moment: As I was standing up in the balcony taking pictures with the actual photographer and Camille, Brian comes up to check on things. And then he turns and says, "This is Mamady." Sweet Jesus, the man is standing right next to me, watching the band that is paying tribute to him and his heritage. "Wonderful to meet you, I am so grateful to be here" Smiles and handshakes and cheek kisses. I want to take his picture so bad! With me! But I don't, because I'm not that freaky chick. We silently continue watching, more smiles and handshakes, and he is off to change and go onstage. Epic moment of the evening, yes :)
Then came Sergio. I had no idea that a pandeiro could make those sounds, let alone did I know a human's hand was capable of making them. Madness.
And then the moment everyone was waiting for. Mamady hasn't been in Ireland since I believe the 70s, and apparently the drumming community has been holding out with joy. His wife, a beautiful French woman, is with him to do most of his translation. Not only that, but she can drum like a badass. This I was not aware of. What a beautiful and joyous couple to watch! Brian and Robbie then got to play onstage with him, mixing a traditional African piece with a traditional Irish piece. The crowd was going nuts. What a fantastic way to kick off the weekend. Off to catch our bus.
On Sunday, we had a group scheduled day-trip down to Glendalough (pronounced Glen-da-lock) and Kilkenny. Please see the picture of our sweet ass ride, the Paddywagon. First place we stopped was the famous Glendalough hotel and cemetery. We hiked past the cemetery and up to the Upper Lake, which was beautiful and definitely worth the hike. (see pictures!) Then back down and back on the bus and off to Kilkenny. We drove by where they filmed the battle scenes for Braveheart, and much of the location for P.S. I Love You. It's more stunning on film, but cool to know :) Got to Kilkenny, and ate a shoddy lunch (paid for by our exorbitant program fee of course, and arranged by EUSA, the company that I no longer have much use for) and then headed over to Kilkenny Castle for a tour. Only it wasn't much of a tour but more of a 'here's your descriptive paper with a listing of all the rooms, enjoy!' So we made up our own tour and it was way more entertaining. Did you know that Jesus hosted a very large supper in there? And that Michael Jackson ate his milk and cookies by such a beautiful marble fireplace? Is that too fresh? My apologies.
After we got through the castle, of course it started raining so we headed back to the bus. As we were all bitching about the worthless class that we are forced to take from a new instructor every week, the bus driver said we could ask him anything we wanted about Ireland and he would talk us to tears on the way home. The questions started firing, and I learned more about Ireland on that bus ride home than I have since we started seminar in April. Social services, global warming perspectives, health insurance, government spending a.k.a. waste, alcoholism, you name it. Love you Martin tour bus driver man.
We got back into Dublin just in time for the finale of the Big Bang in Temple Bar. Meeting House Square was absolutely packed, and for good reason. Happy City was back, and down in front of the stage was a huge troupe of dancers (back to the beautiful topless black men) flipping and flying through the air. Fantastical. Everyone was moving, and for the finale Brian and Robbie brought out all 100 or so drummers that they had been training for the past month. Mothers, fathers, children, men, women of all locations and places. The energy was just amazing. I had also recruited about 8 of my fellow American interns to join in the fun, and they loved it as well. Colleen, who knows my camera so much better than I, proceeded to take amazing pictures of the event (thank you wonderful woman!). Afterwards, we went and ate tasty Indian food, drank some tasty beer and whiskey, and headed to the bus stop to head home.

BUT WAIT. The final event.... is waiting at the bus stop in the form of the drunkest crackhead I've seen since we got here. After running out into the street screaming obscenities as an ambulance went sirening by, she proceeded to attempt to jack one of our girl's cigarettes. Right out of her effing mouth. I still laugh my ass off just writing about it. The verbal throwdown ensued, and the crackhead came back for more. This time she got called the c-word and received two elbows to the ribs. I was wondering how Dublin City jail smelled this time of night. She rammed her head right into our area and yelled "I don't give a FART! People are dying around the corner!" What. The. Fuck. People are dying everywhere lady, that doesn't mean you get to accost and molest someone for their cigarette and scream the word FART in our faces. DAMN. God was watching, and laughing I assume, and sent our bus to us at that moment. What does the crackhead do? TRY TO FOLLOW US ON THE BUS. Yup. More screaming ensues, and I'm sure the Garda are coming by now. We win, and take our seats upstairs. Never in my life, man. Seriously.
Here is the link to the pics again:

I'm sorry I didn't get one of the crackhead. I'll think quicker next time.