Happy New Year 2014 - and a Look-Back at 2013.


As the final sun of 2013 sets, it's time for my annual review of our year through this blog-diary of mine.

               
                            New Year's Eve sunset over the Sugar Loaf Mountain, Co Wicklow.

It's amazing the things you forget as the year and it's seasons pass; the things you've done and the emotions that course through you at various stages.

It's been a good year for us here at chez Jazzy, all things considered. We are very lucky.

We've enjoyed some wonderful journey's like Teen Boy's first ever trip away from home sans parents, a short family holiday and an amazing 2 day trip to the Giant's Causeway.





We also managed to fit in a quick getaway to our favourite, energising holiday haven too!




We've followed our boy's progress through school, scouts and life itself. At 14 he is without doubt the typical loving, amusing and willfully reluctant teenager that you would expect! A teenage butterfly, with sometimes visible barbs, flitting here and there finding his way through the world.... all as it should be.

Our much loved patient continues her incredible fight to defeat the medics. Visiting her is very difficult emotionally, but we are so very grateful that she is still with us to visit.

Personally speaking I've had a fruitful year. I enjoyed our teen musical experience, our Newspaper appearance and how well received a special blog post of mine was. I'm also very much enjoying additional social media involvement.


                                                 
                                                  Photo from the Irish Independent
                                             
I've had some fun writing blog posts this year; In particular I've enjoyed sharing my new found hooker skills with you (crochet, people, crochet!), my Supermarket Flash(mob)Dance thoughts and discussing what constitutes Work - Dahling!

However it's to my Brain Freeze post that I turn to now, as my brain continues it's blog freeze. Have I finally run out of things to write about, I wonder?

I fear that I have but we'll head forward to 2014 with renewed vigour and positivity. With no New Year's Resolutions as such, just a decision to make some personal, healthy changes. To do exactly as I did last year in fact. That can't be too difficult now, can it?

I thank you all for visiting and reading my rambling ruminations this year, your support is always appreciated; and I very much look forward to visiting you on your blogs, or on twitter and facebook, in the New Year.

I wish you all peace and happiness in your lives, as 2013 makes it's departure and the New Year of 2014 prepares to dawn on us all.

Let's hope it's a good one...... with another really good Irish Summer!

Here's hoping!

Stay safe and be happy.


xx




When Jazzy Got Stuck Up Santa's Chimney....


She didn't go 'Achoo, Achoo, Achoo'. No, not even once.

There was no need you see.

Although it may be perceived to be a tad perturbing, being stuck up in a chimney (or any enclosed space) it actually wasn't too bad at all.

It mustn't have been because it didn't just happen once. Oh no, it happened twice - on  two Saturdays in a row, one right after the other, just like that. I didn't learn from the first three hour experience it seems, so like a lamb to the slaughter I went back for more! 

Santa's Chimney was simply too tempting to resist you see....


I had no choice, I just had to go in. 

It's okay though, I wasn't alone. I was soon joined by lots and lots of little people, of various ages with an accompanying variety of familial adults, who just had to enter Santa's chimney for the experience. I mean, it's not every day you get to climb up Santa's chimney in his secret lift, is it?

And besides, I did encourage them all to enter. Dressed appropriately as I was, of course....

Jazzy Elevator Elf

Sure how could they resist? They were either charmed or frightened aboard by the silly Jazzy Elevator Elf!

When 'Jazzy got stuck up Santa's Chimney' there were more utterances of 'Ho Ho Ho' than 'Achoo, Achoo, Achoo' Or the odd rendition of 'Jingle Bells' when the lift Santa's Secret Chimney-Lift decided not to co-operate!

It was wonderful to meet all the lovely children, most of whom were enchanted by the magic of it all. To see their wonderment when the climb through Santa's Chimney led directly to his magical grotto, with the lovely Santa and his Magic Postbox waiting for them, made being stuck up the chimney SO worth it. Some of the adults were wowed too, it must be said!

Of course, some children were a bit over-whelmed and afraid, but we Elves and Santa himself soon brought them around.

There were also those 'too-cool-for-school' pre or early teens who were entirely under-whelmed by the whole experience, and who couldn't wait to pronounce the 'truth' about Santa's Chimney to one and all. We Elves dealt appropriately with them too ;-)

Then there was the bright kid - the 6 year old who not only made the same pronouncement as the teens but started to comment on my ..... um..... suitability  as an Elf : 'I know you're an Elf but you look like.....' For fear that he'd finish that sentence with 'Santa's Granny' I promptly shut him up distracted him!!

I had a lovely time being stuck up Santa's Chimney - how I looked did not concern me one little bit - helping to sprinkle some festive magic and instilling a belief in Santa for a whole new generation.

Besides, as Santa no longer comes to my house I had to go to his...

                                                        Such a cute Santa!
                                                  
Wherever you are in the world I send some festive joy and a sprinkling of Magical Christmas to you and yours.

May Christmas 2013 be a happy and peaceful one.



xx

#SilentSunday 22/12/2013






xx




The Gift of Healthy Living this Christmas: Salubria The Health Game - A Review


I was only popping into my local branch of Bank of Ireland for a quick minute, just dropping off a letter is all. And I just happened to walk straight into Frances, one of the owners and creator/developers of what looked like a very interesting product that she had on display that day.

I was intrigued and I wanted to know more. I mean this is a card game that looks similar to Trivial Pursuit but all the questions are health related. I could immediately see how a certain teenager who is interested in talking about - but not necessarily in practising - healthy lifestyle choices might like this! I could see other possibilities too.

I bought a copy of  Salubria The Health Game there and then and I learned lots about this game, both from Frances herself and from their website.

SALUBRIA - THE FACTS

'Salubria  is the unique question and answer card game that promotes the benefits of  healthy living - in an interactive and fun way.  Salubria is competitive,  it's very educational, and it could seriously improve your health!

Developed in Ireland with the help of leading health professionals, the game uses 200 researched and validated questions to communicate healthy living tips - covering 4 key areas of Fitness, Nutrition, Healthy Living and General Health Knowledge. This game has received many endorsements from high profile health professionals and some educational ones too.

Salubria is suitable for anyone between the ages of 10 years to 110 years! 

It is also a perfect product....

For Schools - as it is a unique educational tool.

For Families - as the perfect educational and gift. Firstly it's an old fashioned card game (no screens!) bringing all the family together. Secondly, unlike any other game, it provides healthy living tips in a simple, fun and educational manner.

For Business - as the healthy customer reward. Whether you're buying for customers, staff, Board members or business partners Salubria The Health Game is the healthy alternative, particularly at Christmas time.


PLAY YOUR WAY TO HEALTHY LIVING....

While challenging family and friends to build on good habits and dump the bad ones - with Salubria's helpful hints to show you how.

This game has 200 researched questions covering the 4 key areas mentioned above with hundreds of possible answers and countless healthy living tips. You can read more about it here.




                                              Sample of Question and Answer Cards.

You can also check out the rules of play here.

Now, as my copy of the game is a stocking-filler for aforementioned teenager I have yet to play it. However, I can see from perusing the game rules above that there are different dynamics to it. Although you can play this game in pairs, I am reliably informed that that it's more fun when there are at least 4 players - as more dynamics come into play. There can also be 4 teams, i.e 2 or more on each team, and that's really fun..... the more the merrier!


JAZZY'S THOUGHTS ON SALUBRIA

Like I say, I can see the possibilities for my screenager (I really like that moniker...thank you Frances!) but I also immediately saw prospects for the classroom scenario too. Then I saw the educational endorsements :




In this scenario I see it not only as a health and fitness exercise but as an important socially interactive one too. And apparently, according to teachers involved with Salubria: 'learning through play reinforces the learning'.

I love that the cards also include 'Info Points' on each question, so that you're not only finding out the health facts but you gain some background knowledge too.

I also see this game as something a bored teenager or pre-teen, who likes facts but doesn't like reading too much, can flick through as if reading a book. Kind of like a health encyclopedia, delivered in nice healthy bite-size portions. Well, we are constantly being told to watch our children's portion sizes aren't we?!

Of course the compact size of this game makes it very portable and therefore, in my opinion, ideal as a traveling game: in the car, the airport, airplane, holiday apartment etc.

It will also fit very snuggly into a reasonably sized Christmas Stocking!



If interested, you can buy your copy online here (worldwide delivery, reasonable P&P charges apply) for Christmas and get a head start on kick-starting those healthy New Year Resolutions!

Or, you could win a copy by entering our fantastic Healthy Giveaway!

Yes, I have teamed up with the lovely Team Salubria and they have offered me a copy of their fun, educational, health game to give away to some lucky reader! 

To enter simply 'like' Salubria on Facebook, 'follow' Salubria on twitter and enter your name, and where you're from, in comments below. 

Entry to this Giveaway is open to all but unfortunately we can't guarantee delivery before Christmas to a winner from outside Ireland.

We will draw the name of the winner during next week and he/she will be contacted personally by the owners/developers of Salubria The Health Game.


Best of luck!


xx




Note: Although I am now assisting Salubria with their Social Media campaign I have neither been paid for nor been asked to write this review. I offered to write this and it reflects my honest opinions and thoughts.


Listography - Top 5 Christmas Songs


Every time I read a weekly Listography post I swear I'm going to join in, yet I never seem to get around to it. When reading my friend Looking for Blue Sky's recent post I knew that this was the week I just had to join in!

You see as this week's list is 'Top 5 Christmas Songs' I simply can't resist. I think my 'Elevator Elf' duty last weekend - whereby I brought many children up in 'Santa's Secret Lift', which they entered via his super cool 'chimney' - has got my Christmas spirit soaring!

I found it quite difficult to restrict my list to 5 I must say, but here goes anyway: My Top 5 Christmas Songs:

1) 'Santa Baby': For it's cheeky cuteness.






One day, when I've imbibed enough wine, I'm going to sing this song, at some party or gathering somewhere. I even have the lyrics! Consider yourselves warned! Mind you I can definitely relate to these alternative lyrics too, as I'm sure many of you can also!



2) 'Rocking Around the Christmas Tree': For it's making you rock around the kitchen every time it's played, you know, when you're drinking making that sherry trifle or Christmas pud!






3) 'Walking In a Winter Wonderland': For it's lovely traditional feel and sing-a-long factor. I also choose it for the childhood memories it evokes. I fondly remember the Christmas morning that Santa my parents gave me a record player. With four accompanying LPs: 'Black and White Minstrels' (what were they thinking?!), Andy Williams, Perry Como Christmas LP (containing this song) and the Nutcracker Suite which was the only album chosen with my tastes (I loved Ballet) in mind!!

I like this song so much that I chose it to accompany the 'Snow Days Movie' I made in November 2010 - when we had snow the like of which we'll never see again - and this is the video I'm sharing here:




                                                     Gosh, my Teen Boy is so young in this!


4) 'Blue Christmas' by Elvis Presley: Because no song list of mine would be complete without my teenage crush Elvis Presley! When I finally got to build up my own record collection Elvis was definitely my artist of choice, and I still have the LP that this song is on!

To this day Elvis still has the serious swoon factor that makes my heart go all a-flutter....









5) I had wanted to include 'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby here, because no list would be complete without this gorgeous, timeless, Christmas classic. However You Tube decided to be an ass and to frustrate me by not allowing me share any Bing Crosby version of this song!
So, instead I've chosen 'Silent Night' which is also a gorgeous, timeless Christmas classic. And I'm sharing Sinead O'Connor's haunting and very atmospheric version...





This week's Listography is being hosted over at Plus2point4 and I'm off over there to link up and read all those lovely bloggers who have joined in!


Let the Christmas festivities and preparations begin!


Lots of holly and baubles to you all ;-)


xx

#SilentSunday









xx

A Positively Good Week.....



It's been a pretty good week, starting with a trip to see West Side Story in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre last week with a friend. An enjoyable night with some memorable performances. And indeed some not so memorable too. Including my 'singing-along' sub-consciously to the truly iconic tunes. It simply couldn't be helped.

Okay, the positivity was somewhat mired by the little trip over my own two feet that I, again sub-consciously, took on the walk home from the Dart that night, resulting in a very sprained ankle! Trying to re-enact the fabulous dance steps was my friend's response..... and she's probably right! On some sub-conscious level.

So, what does one do when enforced captivity is thrusted upon one all of a sudden? One could be quite upset..... or one could choose to see the bright side. And one could be very kind and decide to share all her random and insignificant 'Positives of a Twisted Ankle' thoughts with the world.  Well, that's what facebook and twitter are there for after all. Right?  No, you don't agree? Oops..... too late. My bad. But I had fun and well, I was soooo bored that I had to do something to amuse myself. And just in case you missed them here they all are, all gathered together in a nice neat little bunch, or two!





As a result of my enforced captivity and mindless facetweeting I came to some conclusions.

*I was not smothered in offerings of cups of tea, I was perfectly capable of hobbling into the kitchen to make them myself and therefore capable of attending to all family meals. Just wait until anyone else in this house suffers a sprained anything!

*Certain people can get the bus home from school without the world caving in. It is a very good independence and social activity too, you know ;-)

*I must schedule more regular 'ailment' or 'injury' days. It's amazing what jobs you can get done that would not otherwise happen. Plus you get some 'me-time' too. Well, if paid employees can get Personal or Sick Days, why not?

Twisted ankle or not, NOTHING was going to prevent my attendance at a much anticipated reunion of a group of show friends. All of whom had taken part in the legendary John Player Tops of the Town variety show competitions from years back. Just to give you an idea, the last Tops show I did was in 1992 and the last Tops show ever (in this national format) was in 1996. I met people that I hadn't seen in over 20 years...



It was said that: 'The lads have all gone grey but the girls have all kept their colours'.         






Which was subsequently updated with the astute observation that: 'The girls may have kept their hair colour but they are all swapping specs to see the photos!' Unfortunately that was oh, so true! Not only that but I also learned a new terminology that perfectly, and hilariously, describes the action of holding an item down low and away from you in order to view it! They should include that observation in a certain musical  :-) 

I've heard a lot of bemoaning facebook talk on the airwaves recently but do you know what? It was thanks to the creation of the  John Player Tops of the Town Facebook page that this reunion took place.

A wonderful night was had by all. Staying until the early hours just catching up with friends of old. Chatting with them as if you'd only talked to them yesterday and having such a laugh that you end up with a pain in your face. Another memorable occasion to store away in the mental memory box, along with all your Tops of the Town and indeed, all your Stage Show, recollections.

There was a lot of understated talent in that room last Saturday night. Some still involved in the show business world, in a professional  capacity and others still dabbling in it in their own way. Once bitten by the stage bug you just cannot escape.

Maybe we should all get back on stage for one final hurrah?

One more for the road, so to speak.

Stranger things have happened ;-)


xx









Diary of a Jazzy Mum, eternally aged 33 3/4: Growing Older Indignantly


And I was never more indignant then when recently reading a favourite thriller author of mine - Camilla Lackberg. You see she described one of her characters as a 'mid-fifties grey haired woman'!

Really?? Mid-fifties?? And totally grey haired?? Really??

Talk about stereo-typing, Ms Lackberg! I'll have you know that I may only have a mere 3 years to reach that life stage but so far I have only a tiny grey patch. Well, maybe a couple of grey speckles too but we'll ignore them. So, you're saying that I'll suddenly turn completely grey in 3 years time then Ms Lackberg? Well if that does occur then rest assured, neither you nor the rest of the world will know a thing about it ;-)

Mind you , although I won't be rushing off to throw bowls on a lawn any time soon, I'll not be beyond availing of any midweek hotel offers for the 'active 55 plus' group. But you'll not know a thing about that either!

See, in my head I'm eternally the optimum age of 33 3/4. Been around long enough to know enough and with tons of youth and energy left to enjoy the rest. It's a good age to be.

Now, I know I am getting older, I can read the signs you know. The need for reading glasses for one. The jiggly bits that creep up on you, the bone-clicking and the various bodily bibs and bobs attempting their southwards migration. I can read the signs alright, I just choose to ignore them.

Not so my Teen Boy, who is seemingly on a mission to ensure that I cannot. For example his favourite pastime seems to be making me 'point' out my *coughs* ever-so-slight bingo arms!

I did however manage to enact some revenge on our recent heavenly getaway, much to his disgust/amusement/bewilderment - take your pick - with a spot of Underwater Twerking.  Apparently I did it perfectly .....  'but..... Muummm'!! 

I continue to enjoy my gym time, where I can beat those bingo wings to a pulp and although I'm not the oldest there I do get a great a great kick out of being the oldest and only one on the circuit from time to time who can put my hands flat on the floor when 'touching my toes' - while wearing wedged skechers tone-ups! I'm happy for anyone to think I'm showing-off when I hold the stretch way longer than anyone else too. See, they don't need to know that what I'm really doing is easing out the kinks in my lower back!

I love working out to the upbeat music in the gym. I have quite an eclectic music taste of both older and current performers. Granted there may be exclamations of  'Call that music?..... that's just screaming' from time time, but you should note that they come from my son, aged 13 3/4 upon hearing 'Ride on Time' by Black Box from 1989!!

Much to his embarrassment any up-tempo music from any era playing in the background of any shop, anywhere, is most likely to make me bop a-long as I shop-a-long to the rhythm. And you all know what can happen when they play '80s music in supermarkets!

Admittedly I have noticed a tendency to fall over lately (twice this week) but I reckon I've turned it into a beautifully choreographed art form. It is not everyone who can walk confidently along in one direction then suddenly, for no apparent reason, do an ever-so elegant somersault and land on their bum facing the complete opposite direction, you know. It is, I might add, best to perform this amazing feat when no-one else is around. Unfortunately I didn't quite manage that last night, resulting in a  bruised ego and a slightly swollen ankle today. But hey, I met a very kind and helpful  'new' neighbour that I wouldn't have otherwise met! Thank you kind, non-judgmental neighbour!

So I shall remain cocooned in my energetic little bubble, following my 'Age is But a Number' philosophy while I continue to grow older indignantly. 


With as much dignity as I can muster.


Supermarket Flash Dancing, Underwater Twerking and Midnight Somersaults aside.


Obviously.



                                          The End

                  
xx


#SilentSunday












xx

Golden Times


There is a lovely little corner of Ireland, tucked away down the sunny South East, near Dungarvan, With it's golden beach and picturesque harbour and it's two 'traditional' style hotels: The Clonea Strand and The Gold Coast.

We've been taking mini-breaks down there for many years now, ever since Teen Boy was a baby and we love it. Our boy has really grown up through our Clonea/Gold Coast years....





At this stage I almost consider this stunning location to be 'our' corner of the world and the hotels to be 'our' hotels.

A corner of the world that restores peace and equilibrium to your very soul. Or so it often seems to me.

The trip is always much anticipated as departure date approaches, the mere thought of it is like a soothing salve to the mind on any days that don't go to plan. One can cope with anything knowing that your corner of the world is beckoning.....

The peace starts descending and the smile spreading as soon as we get into the car. And all stresses melt away as soon as one toe dips into the Jacuzzi, which is our traditional first port of call on arrival. 

There have been many changes over the years: the road from Dublin to Waterford is phenomenal nowadays, meaning a quicker getaway to our holiday haven and the roads leading to Clonea Strand have also greatly improved.

The hotels themselves remain mostly untouched, however and no doubt are considered quite dated now. I've often thought that if I ever won the Lotto that I'd invest and revamp, while trying to keep the traditional, family ethos and good value. Maybe even let the Brennan Brothers from RTE's  'At Your Service' loose to do their thing!

These are very traditional styled hotels with homely fare served by lovely staff and they are a popular choice for many families. As far as I'm concerned the locations more than make up for anything perceived to be lacking.

Our favourite is The Clonea, as it's car park  leads to the beach and although we took the short drive to the beach to take these photos 'our' usual room also affords these stunning views....





However, the Gold Coast has it's own lovely views too, especially from the roomy family room we had this time...




It saddens me that due to the economic downturn the Clonea Strand now closes for the Winter months and won't open until May 2014.

I miss that hotel but really enjoyed our stay in the Gold Coast this week. A relaxing week yet full of activities such as father/son golf with shopping/walking for me and the leisure centre every day. Activities that wouldn't have happened had we stayed home on this mid-term school holiday.

I don't think we'll ever tire of our holiday haven.

Already looking forward to our next trip....


xx











Brain Freeze


I'm quite aware of the fact that I haven't blogged in 2 weeks. It's not that I haven't wanted to. I did try. There are some ideas in my head and half a blog post sitting forlorn in my drafts, and no matter how sadly it looks at me it will never see the light of day.

Who wants to hear me waxing lyrical about the real story behind this photo:




The beautiful light filtering through the trees as I walk with Teen Boy after his golf lesson, while dad plays his golf. The bittersweet light of freedom glowing straight ahead, whispering thoughts of boy golf outings, in the not to distant future, while Jazzy lingers. In a pool, or a jacuzzi. Or, wherever. Thoughts of  how we feed, wash and cuddle them. Wipe dirty bums and snotty noses and kiss our fair share of sore knees better. Then suddenly they're off playing golf or going on scout holidays, and no longer need (too much) mothering.

Bleh.

Boring.

Couldn't do it. Okay, I probably just did but be grateful, it's very condensed!

I could tell you that I've been busy- and I have been really busy - or that I've been tired. And that's true too. But the fact is I think I have a brain freeze. I fear that all my words are gone and that I will never have anything to bore you with write about again.

Maybe that's what happens when you've written 400 posts in 5 years of blogging?

I even tried reading your wonderful blogs to help me find my missing mojo but nope, it hadn't wandered over there either.

It did make me sit down and write something though.

And maybe that's what needs doing to find my missing words? Just set aside time every couple of days and see what words come forth? Or when you have an idea in your head don't put off putting it into words.... just.do.it.

Or perhaps I need to plan a few days away. Somewhere pretty where I can gaze over a beautiful harbour or a glistening sea and let the waves of inspiration wash over me.

And let it all flow out.

But then I fear my brain freeze would become a brain fart.

And that would never do!

xx

#SilentSunday






xx

Heartbeat of Home - A Dream Show



I felt like I was watching a piece of theatre history unfolding on the stage in front of me. Sitting there in the auditorium of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre at Wednesday night's Gala Opening of the World Premiere of 'Heartbeat of Home- a Dream Voyage'.



I was on the edge of my seat with head bopping, feet tapping and jaw dropping from the very moment the screen lifted. The show started with a swift heartbeat of a hard shoe rally, a click of the heels and ended with a sudden, final dramatic flourish; to a full standing ovation.

And everything in between was just phenomenal.

In my opinion.

There were many in attendance who agreed with me and others who didn't.

Where to begin to describe the technical brilliance of Wednesday night's performance?

I'll start with the music which was thrilling, moving and expertly interpreted by the choreographers. I love when the band are on stage and incorporated within a show, as was the case here with the band on two movable podiums on stage right and left. Yeah, the band were separated! And it worked too.  I was perplexed as to who was conducting? That job was surreptitiously done - no baton-waving or dramatic head nodding - by the Kit Drummer. The band were very much an integral part of this show and moments were allowed to bring the musicians to the audience, to truly display their wonderful talents. Watch out for the funky-haired, bare-footed, rock-chick bass player stage left!

The lead vocalist was Lucia Evans who has an amazing voice and gave a wonderful performance, singing some stunning songs and displaying a natural rapport with musicians and dancers alike.

One area in which a Daily Mail reviewer felt was lacking was the narrative. I could take her point on that. It wasn't always strong but, that said, I could follow it. This show is imaginative and interpretive with the story being told via the music, the set and the spectacular dancing. It's a story of emigration, arrival and immersion in a new community - in an 'unnamed country'. The costumes alone, which were simply wonderful, meant the story could refer to the original tale of Irish emigration or the more recent one. It could even be a tale of any country's emigrants. There is a contemporary feel to this show that will work as it travels the world. In my opinion.

The seemingly simple set design was used to stunning effect, with scenes being projected onto three curved backdrops. At times it was just a backdrop scene and at others it incorporated the sometimes moving set of stairs and became an integral part of a production number.

One particularly memorable moment was the stunning skyscape scene, which immediately brought New York to mind (and an audible group gasp from the audience) as it led into a fabulous rooftop dance sequence. A dance sequence which demonstrates the crossover between, Flamenco, Tap and Irish Hardshoe dancing. Loved it!

The 'Taking Flight' piece, for which the band took centre stage, is also worth a mention. Images portraying travelling vast lands, with the iconic sea-eagle sometimes in sight, floated across the backdrops as the band played on. This 'floating' seemed to gain momentum as the musicians played, and eventually the band themselves were almost totally encompassed by the travelling scene. It was a stunning, cinematic moment that was almost as show-stopping as some of the spectacular dance scenes. I loved it. The Daily Mail reviewer particularly disliked it!

And finally I come to the dancing. Oh wow, the spectacular dancing!

This show is a high octane fusion of powerful Irish dancing mixed with Flamenco, Afro-Cuban, Tango and street-dance preformed with such precision and to spectacular effect; which leaves your heart beating rapidly! The opening scene alone had me restraining myself from springing up into a solo standing ovation.


                     Most of the opening scene as performed on the Late Late Show recently.

Choreographers David Bolger and John Carey deserve special mention. There were some beautiful sequences with some funky, flexed footed lifts that I loved and the staging and seamless transitions were wonderful. Most noticeable when watching the Irish dancers hardshoe rallying and trebling with their feet, while their top half gave a Salsa twist or a Tango flick before they left the stage (or blended in) to the relevant dance tradition. The Flamenco, Salsa, Tango sequences etc., were fabulous but every time the Irish dancers appeared it was just dramatic. John's choreography was perfect. The 'Tempest' scene deserves special mention where the dancers themselves create the music through a fabulous hardshoe routine, performed to yet another amazing scenic backdrop, accompanied by stormy sounds.

I could go on and on in a positive vein but I won't.

Instead I'll let the video above speak for itself, even though it only gives half the effect of seeing it live on stage, and give you a review video that gives a flavour of some of the other tremendous dance scenes:


In my honest opinion 'Heartbeat of Home' rivals 'Riverdance.'

This show will soon be traveling to China, Toronto Canada and Chicago USA.

Wherever in the world you are, if this show comes to your corner of it go.see.it. And make up your own mind.

I would definitely go see it again. And again.

In a heartbeat.


xx




Irish Youth for Eurovision 2014 - As Gaeilge?


I've been a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest for a very long time and religiously watch it most years.

I believe that Ireland, although having won it seven times, will never, ever win it again; as I discussed in my Jedward Mania blog post two years ago.

I have become particularly disillusioned with this annual song contest over the past few years, especially with regard to the bloc voting method used. The inclusion of national panels of judges into text-voting has done nothing to improve things, nor will it ever. The whiff of this year's bribery scandal and the corrective measure of naming of the judges on panels neither surprises me on one hand, nor re-assures me on the other.

In fact I think this competition is doomed, for certain European countries, as it continues down it's farcical, musical route.

This year, for the first time ever, I stated that not only would I never watch it again but that Ireland should never enter it again..... ever. And I meant it too.

But then the last week or two  came along and brought with it some performances and comments that got me thinking.

First up was Coláiste Lurgan/Seo Linn  with their very  infectious Irish version of Aviici's 'Wake me Up' on the Late Late Show.  I challenge you to watch this and not be caught up in it ....



This appearance on the Late Late Show was presumably as a result of their YouTube video which has received over 2 million hits.





Notice how smoothly  it was adapted for a stage/TV performance - relatively speaking?

Now here's an earlier YouTube video they made of  'When I'm Gone', otherwise known as 'The Cup Song' - or 'Amhrán na gCupán as Gaeilge  - from the movie Pitch Perfect ....




This is amazing too.


They have very cleverly brought Irish culture and language to mainstream, popular music, injected it with a huge dollop of energetic youth and made it so very cool. I would imagine that they've also made enrolling in The Gaeltacht , as Irish college is colloquially known as, very appealing too!

And it also seems to be catching on with regular secondary schools getting in on the act! Watch how the Santa Sabina Girls adapt 'Amhrán na gCupán'/'Up The Dubs'  for last weekends Dublin vs Mayo national final ....



Very effective video, given that Dublin won!! Up The Dubs indeed!  Baile Cliath Abú ....

I'm loving this trend.

Imagine if one of our very many songwriters were to work with someone like Seo Linn & co and were to write an original, catchy song in the same vein as the above songs, as gaeilge of course.

Then imagine adding elements of the Late Late Show performance above (musical instruments, Irish dancing and an energetic but choreographed chorus) and transporting it all to Eurovision 2014.

Costly perhaps but I'm sure substitutions could be made and no need to over-costume.

Let the raw talent and natural energy of the young performers shine through.

I can see it, really, I can.

We will never win but what better stage to showcase the talented, energetic youth of Ireland and our Irish culture to the rest of Europe and beyond than the Eurovision?

Making being and speaking Irish cool, on the world stage.

Remember, Riverdance was only an interval act - and that will be 20 years ago exactly next year ;-)


'Dhá cheann déag de phointe' anyone?


xx



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