The view from the kitchen window here on Achill. A house with yellow windows. Well, frames at least…
I am really happy, that the song my brother Jacob Svendsen and the amazing silversmith Burton Jespersen wrote with yours truly one summer’s afternoon in Copenhagen a good few moons ago, seems to be slowly making the transition from an ‘almost hit’ to an ‘almost classic.’
The story is a true one:
I hadn’t been to Ireland for a couple of years, when I set out to travel to Inis Oirr in October of 2012. I didn’t know the motorway to Galway was finished, as I hopped on a bus in Dublin on a fine Sunday morning.
The trip was disappointing. From the motorway, that grey stretch of stone with the thin white lines, all countries look the same. It was an uneventful glide. It’s good if you want to get somewhere fast, but for me, it is as much about the journey, too.
My heart lifted when we left the dual carriageway and drove into Ballinasloe. The town was busy. The famous Ballinasloe Horse Fair was happening. I feasted my eyes on the hustle and bustle that was going on, the houses, the pubs, the typical, coloured storefronts…
As we were heading out of town, carrying on down the old road to Galway, there was the particular smell of turf-fire in the air. There it was again. That feeling that I had arrived home.”
The “House with yellow windows” is a house in Galway and the location of many a fine house-concert in the city. It’s the kind of house that opens its doors to the musicians all day, there’s food and drink, banter and music.
In the evening, the big living room fills up to the last seat with the most attentive and curious audience for a night of bliss.
The track features the incomparable chromatic harmonica playing of Dino M Soldo, who has been a member of Lionel Richie’s touring band for 20 odd years and who Leonard Cohen called his “Master of Breath” when he was touring with him between 2008 – 2010.
Fast forward to 2022, 10 years later. The situation was much the same. I hadn’t been to Ireland for more than two years. You all know what stopped me, us…
I took the long road this time, from the ‘Secret Location close to the Baltic Sea in the North of Germany’, through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, the overnight ferry across the English Channel & the Irish Sea, and then all the way from Dublin to one of the most westerly shores of Europe, on Achill Island in the West of Ireland. 2.768 km. I am a believer that you gotta feel the journey.
I am here 4 weeks now. I am slowly settling in. It feels like I have arrived, really arrived.
Sometimes, I hum this tune – subconciously – when I’m driving on the old roads. I have avoided motorways almost completely and I intend to keep it that way. I am excited to see where these roads will take me. Onwards!
I would like to dedicate this to Parisch Browne and his amazing wife Pam, who were organizing these wonderful house-concerts for many years in the ‘House with yellow windows.’ I hope they will be back some day.
Míle buíochas Fiachna Ó Braonáin on RTÉ Radio 1 and KDUB Radio for continously spinning this!