tv [untitled] August 7, 2010 6:30am-7:00am PST
my siblings married the shenny's and i almost married a catherine finerin but it didn't work out. i have a nephew, sean patrick mcflynn. i always question myself because my writing about the irish is really my writing about myself coming to the united states and coming into contact with the united states so consequently my puerto rican friends, and some of my irish friends, although they were more circumspect, what are you doing writing about the irish? i'm writing about the united states. the irish are more interesting. they had to put up with
colonialism, just as puerto rico is a colony of the united states. i also respect the fact that they have a facility with language, which i also enjoy. consequently, i wondered why this attraction to the irish. in 2004, the university of puerto rico asked me to come there and lecture and read. i immediately called my favorite cousin, and she said, what are you doing here? i told her and i said, please come to the reading, i have a book for you. she came. she said my son is getting married tomorrow at the caribbean hilton, could you please come? and i went. i hadn't seen her in 30 years. we were kids together. and after the wedding, there was a reception and she introduced me to her daughters,
very beautiful girls, then i met the last one, very beautiful, green eyes, and she said, i want you it meet my son. all this is in spanish, you know? so i said, sure. so she called these 3 boys over, about my complexion, curly hair, and this is barry, brian, and brady. you expect jose jimenez, you know. what's your last name? murphy. murphy? si, si, murphy. very close to the way the irish pronounce murphy. i said, that's amazing. did you marry a serviceman from the -- military person who came to puerto rico. no, the family has been here
since the 18th century. and i said, really? so we began tracing -- we still haven't found the actual person, but evidently it was an irish conscript in the irish navy that came to puerto rico. puerto rico was owned by britain, as they liked to do with their colonies, and efficient evidently the sailor came there and said palm trees, warm weather, and look at the girls. and he remained. that's the end of the second part. the third part is in response to the op ed piece that margaret mcpeek wrote in the chronicle and the letters, i don't know if you've read them -- you should pick up -- the letters that a couple of, you
know, irish americans wrote in response accusing cousin mcpeek of not having a sense of humor. it has to do with these tee shirts that target has produced for the st. patrick's day parade in which mrs. mcpeek derided the fact that they were making fun of the irish in the united states, you know, things like i survived the kelly murphy family gathering, things like that. and they wrote letters poking fun at what i thought was a couragous op ed piece. so this is in response to the irish americans who don't feel the pride that they should. and please excuse if i manhandle the irish manner of speaking. this is a joke told to me by one of my friends. he said that an american, an
irish american, was golfing with his wife on a weekend. and he hit the ball into the rough. went looking for it. all of a sudden, a leprechaun jumped up. we're back to the leprechaun theme. he said, top of the morning to you, lad. he says, you're a leprechaun. he says, yes, i am, and you have 3 wishes. three wishes? he says, yes. you have 3 wishes. i want to be a par golfer.. he says, no problem. from now on, par and under. he says, i want a porsche. he says, when you go home tonight, there will be a porsche in your garage. and he says, i want a million dollars. he says, done. when you go to the bank on monday, there will be a million dollars in your account. thank you very much, i have to
find my ball. so he goes looking -- hold on a minute, lad. please hold on. i see you are golfing with your wife. do you mind if i go into the shrubbery with her for an hour or so? he says, let me ask her. it's a million dollars. so he goes up and asks the wife and she says, what? you don't mind if i go in the bushes with the leprechaun? he says, no, no, go ahead. it's a million dollars. she says, i don't care about the car but a million dollars that could help us a lot. so she goes into the bushes with the leprechaun. about an hour later, they are coming out, she's adjusting her skirt, fixing her hair, and the leprechaun says, thank you very much. how old is your husband? she says, he's 44. he's a little too old to be believing in leprechauns, isn't
he? so that's for those who don't respect their own heritage. in addition to that idea of the cross roads of identity and the politics of identity, the other thing i had wanted to speak about for a second was the cross roads of community building. my -- i've been fortunate enough with my experiences, which have all been in the san francisco bay area, to have the ability to go and to listen to a lot of different music and to perform, to go and listen, and i can't say enough what events like this do for young folks for myself who have to negotiate through the pressure of a dual identity. i can remember way back going to the irish arts festival that used to be at ft. mason and in
the same day being able to hear kila and angela mcnamera. it was a sonic history lesson in a day. the best thing was, you could talk to any of the people who were there and you could have that history lesson expanded for you. being able to interact with folks like photographer karen rich, who is sitting in the audience right now, being able to interact with kong on his album, bridge across the blue, these events i really don't think that can be taken lightly. for urban american indians we have powwow which are intertribal events that revolve around a shared repertoire of songs and dances like some of the singing you have heard me do here today. it's a time for people to be able to come together, not for the casinos, not for that part. talk about fighting stereotypes, that's a stereotype for us.
yes, we have casinos, but that all of our culture? no. it's not all we are here to be defined by. for most people, especially in urban areas, powwows are places to go to reconnect. powwows are places you go to see people you haven't seen in a long time and to make new friends, new connections, nothing different than what's going on here, nothing difrplt than what was going on at the old festival at ft. mason. with that, i wanted to play also for you a little bit of cedar flute. if you've heard cedar flute you've heard youngblood and cedar flute has become emblematic of american indian in the singular, american indian culture. i wanted to play it for you to give you an example of what might be considered traditional style because after this i'd lake to bring up two guests and
first, rita lindall, rita and i are both in the same cohort as the music program at uc berkley and we've been saying for 4 years, we need to play music. so we finally made it happen. so, rita lindall, and then masuro koga. mas and i have been playing together for a very long time, so much so that we wore the same shirt without having to talk to each other about it. mas is in high demand both as a teacher and as a session side man, having played with everybody from anthony brown's asian american orchestra to wane wallace's newest cd. who haven't you played with lately?
yeah, he's played with everybody. you can find mas on a lot of different cd's from the local jazz community. this song we're going to do is an air called the brown-haired girl. when i was recording, when i was fortunate to be able to record bridge across the blue, i was telling them i got this air, i got it off the chieftan's album, i'm going to do it on the electric base. he looked at me and said, you're nuts. people are going to go crazy but if you can do it, i'll help you. he gave me this book of airs and went, figure it out, figure it out. it never quite jelled on the base but when hillary called today, i started to think more about the cedar flute. i said, i wonder if this particular air can fit?
>> thank you very much. i guess what i want to say about an arrangement like that is that it's not meant to use the cedar flute as a bit of exotica, but what the panelists have been speaking about. it's the use of all of it together is a way of trying to address, hopefully not in a way that homogenizing anything, hopefully not in a way that takes anything away from any of the traditions incorporated within it. we all come from jazz backgrounds, which is inherently about mixing in and of itself. but if you let that start to become homogenized, if you let that start to become blank,
then i think you begin to suffer from this idea of cultural invisibility. who is who and what is what? i don't want to lose that in the music, just as the way the authors who formerly so eloquently spoke. that's what i'm trying to do when i put these songs to the. with that, i would like to give you the second arrangement and last song. i was taught pala singing. we tune because we care. i was taught how to sing by a man named dr. barney horner, who is the great grandson of chief john grass from standing rock reservation in south dakota. one of the songs he gave me
before he passed on, on indigenous people's day in 1995, was a song that he called the blue horse special. the blue horse special is the song that i have been fortunate enough to be able to play in a lot of different performance contexts. it's a song that was made by a man named matthew too bold, a very well respected elder whose wife, ellie, just recently passed on. both of them were very well respected for their singing skills. when i thought about doing an arrangement for today, the blue horse special came to mind. i thought i wonder if i can bring a cedar flute into an air, i thought, i wonder if i can take a pala song and turn it into a reel. what i will do is sing you the