A great way to spend a Sunday night

The first time we walked into the Irish Times Pub on a Sunday night, Chinua and I were pinching ourselves. We'd heard about an open Irish session, so Chinua packed up the banjo and we drove to downtown Victoria. I don't know what I'd expected, but as I sat and listened, the thought that stood out the most was: This is what music is supposed to be.

I was in heaven. Chinua was pretty near bliss as well. Last night we went again.

Surrounded by warm brass fixtures and supported by old scarred wood floors, the music lovers crowded into a corner space on the dark wood stools and chairs, leaning in to focus. All those usual pub sounds were there, the clinks of glasses, the pitching hum of voices, the lulls in noise that allow one loud voice to suddenly pierce through. But for those of us zoned into the stage and the circle around it, there was only the music.

What was right about it? It was inter-generational, for one. The young brilliant talents who lead the evening are Qristina and Quinn Bachand, breathtaking on fiddle and guitar/banjo. Truly, I mean, truly, I was astounded by the maturity, talent, and grace in these two. Quinn is only fourteen, a guitar prodigy who smiles and greets each musician who comes to join the circle, and Qristina is barely twenty, studying biology in university and unflagging in two hours of steady fiddling. Felix Prummel, a young whistle player, kept pace so quickly his fingers were almost invisible, and Marty Haykin and Larry Frisch were the long-time players who deepened and expanded the music with the mandolin and melodeon. Quinn called Graham Metcalfe to the stage to sing, and if we hadn't already been wide awake, the true old-timer Irish musician would have blasted away any sleepiness.

It's incredible to be in such a small space with such skilled musicians. The walls literally pulse with it, and we all are carried along.

This event happens every Sunday night from 9:00 until 11:00. If you are anywhere near, you should check it out.

You can find Quinn and Qristina's website here, and their videos here.

And here for you, just a little taste of the evening:

At the Irish Times from Rae Ford on Vimeo.