I’m not one of those people who is mad into Christmas; in fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’ve been falling out of love with it for quite a few years now. I know this will sound alien to many and may resonate with a few.

Thing is I want to re-kindle the love but not force it. Anyway, last night, I took myself off to the majestic Theatre Royal in Waterford for a night of  Viennese Christmas Music played by the hugely talented violinist, Vladimir Jablokov, and his family.

Vladimir Jablokov Photo:
Vladimir Jablokov

I’d heard Vladimir, his parents and siblings play before and was enthralled by their obvious love of music and their natural synchronicity. They remind me of great sporting siblings, like the Bryan Brothers who have dominated Men’s Doubles in tennis for so many years.

About fifteen minutes into the performance, I could feel myself leaning into the music, being swept away by Strauss’ Blue Danube …..

This morning, the world looks different. I seem to be seeing a lot of red and green ….. and I’m longing to find some berried holly with all the memories and anticipation it evokes.

Happy Holly
Happy Holly




My Viennese Christmas~Gatherings from Ireland # 341

I’m not long back from a show at the lovely Theatre Royal in Waterford called Vladimir’s Viennese Christmas which was bliss with lots of Strauss, polkas and, most of all a sense of family.


Vladimir is the third son in a family of musicians. He emigrated to Ireland from Slovakia about five years ago with a view to moving away from music but ended up busking on Grafton Street in Dublin and then becoming deeply involved in musical performance again.

What adds so much to this Christmas Performance  is the fact that it brings together his mother, father, sister and three brothers. Music seems to run in this family as thickly as blood and it is like listening to instinct as they play with a bondedness that one associates with identical twins.

Walking from the Theatre Royal back along the Quay with the River Suir shimmering beneath all the Christmas lights, I couldn’t but think of Waterford’s great poet, Sean Dunne (1956-1995) and this particular poem of his:

Matching the Note

A piano tinkles as a cradle rocks,

a lullaby tapped in tuned morse

when a blackbird stops at a window.

adding to the song its own sound.

It pecks at berries and then

as if to match the ivory note,

resumes its music on the sill

in a world where wishes seem granted.

(from Collected Sean Dunne, 2005, edited by Peter Fallon, Gallery Press).

The High Kings~ Gatherings from Ireland #2

The High Kings played at the Theatre Royal in Waterford last Sunday and it was a night that will live long in my memory. The last time I saw people dancing in the aisles in a similar way  was at the Buddy Holly Show in London in the early 1990’s when I took time out during a great week watching tennis at Wimbledon.

The High Kings bring a wealth of talent to music and music-making. The group includes the younger generation of great musical Irish names like Clancy, Furey and Dunphy as well as the incredibly talented Darren Holden.

Far from belting out Irish songs that are much loved, The High Kings bring their own unique take to these songs and their harmonies are the essence of delicousness.

I couldn’t but think of the talent of great sportsmen and women as I watched the High Kings perform. It just oozes from them in that apparently easy style that one equates with greats like Henry Shefflin, Rory McIllroy, Venus and Serena Williams, Katie Taylor, Ruby Walsh and so many more.

The High Kings are a  group to catch in 2013 and I was delighted to hear that they are planning to return soon to Waterford  ~which has such meaning for them all ~ in the not too distant future.