I didn't have a lot of hope when it started. Three guys calmly walked onto the stage and took their sets without any sort of attempt to capture the audience's attention. Without fanfare, they announced their first set and began to play it. It was fine but no better than what I've heard elsewhere. But it kept better and better. By the end of it, my jaw was mighty sore from having hit the floor so often.
The three musicians were Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, a concertina player from Ireland; Pierre Schryer, a Canadian fiddler; and, local guitarist, Ian Clark. These guys are not a group but three Celtic musicians who got together for a few gigs, this Celtfest warmup concert being one of them (the main even takes place in July). Their concert was more or less a jam session, but with three musicians of this calibre, it was extremely high quality. They improvised, emoted, and played off one another to our great delight. After three hours with only one break, we went home thrilled and amazed.
They were all excellent, but Pierre, the fiddler, really blew me away. For example: they had a local musician come up on stage and play the harmonica (don't laugh, he was fabulous). He played very fast and Pierre just sat and listened for a while. Then he picked up the music and began to play and was soon throwing in trills and keeping up with no problem. Amazing. Then Pierre's brother came on stage. For a moment they hummed and hawed about what to play, and then one of them started, and the other just started playing along, and the two of them just about ended up tearing the roof down. Wow!
This will go down as a very memorable concert for me. I keep seeing various popular musicians on tv, those who sell gazillions of albums and who earn trillions of dollars, and I generally end up shaking my head in bewilderment over what I deem to be very ordinary stuff. Then, there are the true musicians, like these three guys like this who probably just scrape by despite possessing such amazing talent and ability. Of course, it's old-fashioned, traditional, non mainstream music, but who wants to be run-of-the-mill mainstream anyway?
Well, although I wish I could have taken you there with me, I can't, but I can link to this YouTube clip of some fine fiddling.