1. He’s a 21st Century Seanchai. A what, you ask? Pronounced “shan-a-key,” these ancient storytellers have been passing down the history of Celtic culture since the fifth century. Máirtín loves spinning yarns, and bringing new life to old stories and songs. And he is a two-time All-Ireland Storytelling Champion to boot.
2. He’s a Renaissance Man. Not only does he sing, dance, and play the bodhran (a traditional Celtic frame drum), but he also offers lessons while he is on the road. (You never know when knowing a Celtic ballad or folk dance might come in handy at a party.)
3. You may learn how to make a “proper” cup of tea. Máirtín’s birthplace, Cork, Ireland, is the home of Barry’s Tea, which he drinks religiously. “I’m educating as much of America as I can,” he says in a performance on his YouTube channel, “because as I travel around I love a good cup.” One trick, he claims, is boiling the water until the kettle sings a “high G.”
4. Did we mention he’s also an actor and playwright? He appeared in the 2006 war drama The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a Cannes Film Festival favorite. He also plays over 20 characters in less than an hour in his off Broadway play De Bogman, a story about a heavyweight boxer that packs a lyrical punch—and includes a mythical Irish cow.
Máirtín de Cógáin will perform at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, at Rochester Public Library.
There is no cost to attend this event. For more info, check out the event calendar at rochesterpubliclibrary.org or mairtinmusic.com.
— by Heather Ritenour-Sampson