Tag Archives: music

A fusion of cultures – St Patrick’s Day in South Korea

18 Mar

Listening to an American Military Brass band open an Irish Festival in South Korea by singing Ireland’s call on a day that many will remember for Ireland’s Six Nations victory, was not something I will easily forget.

Speaking on stage at the 14th Annual Seoul St. Patrick’s Day Festival, The United States Army 2nd Infantry Division band said they were delighted to be there and saw the festival as an excellent opportunity to strengthen the partnership between America, Korea and Ireland.

The US Army 2nd Infantry Division Brass Band. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

The US Army 2nd Infantry Division Brass Band. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

A sea of green and smiles and laughter. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

A sea of green and smiles and laughter. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

The event, which took place at D Cube City in Sindorim last Saturday, was an incredible fusion of Irish and Korean music and culture and while there are over 1,000 Irish living in Korea, many of whom were no doubt present on the day, it was the presence and participation of so many non-Irish residents that made the festival so unique.

To watch an Irishman on stage speak fluent English, Irish and Korean to an equally stunned and impressed audience, was a true example of what the festival is all about. It is not simply about showcasing and promoting Irish culture abroad, but it’s about being excellent representatives of how welcoming, friendly and adaptable the Irish people are and how open we are to other cultures.

It was great to see so many Korean kids enjoying the festival. Photo by Michelle Marie Jenkins

It was great to see so many Korean kids enjoying the festival. Photo by Michelle Marie Jenkins

Some of the finalists in the Costume Competition. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

Some of the finalists in the Costume Competition. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

While Ireland and Irish musicians were well represented on the day, there were also musicians and dancers from Korea, the United States and even China. Listening to Bard, a group of Koreans who play traditional Irish music, play some classic Irish tunes while young kids danced in circles in front of the stage and 1,000’s more soaked up the atmosphere and basked in the first of the spring sunshine really encapsulated the theme of the day.

Other highlights included; watching the crowd look on in awe as Tap Pung, a Korean Irish Dancing troupe, took to the stage and gave Riverdance a run for their money; watching hundreds of waygooks (foreigners) form a human train in front of the main stage while Sweet Murphys Fancy belted out some drinking songs; watching professional photographers click furiously with the knowledge they were getting incredible shots as the finalists of the costume competition lined up near the stage and danced around in a last-minute bid to impress judges and lastly seeing big groups of Korean school children sitting in the audience, delighted with the green balloons and the hilarious Jameson branded “leprechaun” hats which had been given to them for free, smiling and laughing despite not having a clue what was going on!

A beautiful Korean-Irish Fusion dance directed by Nannah McGlennon. Photo by Stephanie Anglmyer

A beautiful Korean-Irish Fusion dance directed by Nannah McGlennon. Photo by Stephanie Anglmyer

Tap Pung, Korean Irish Dancers on the main stage. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

Tap Pung, Korean Irish Dancers on the main stage. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

St Patrick’s Day has always been my favourite holiday of the year, even surpassing Christmas and Halloween in my personal popularity chart, and this year was no different. I have always been a very proud Irish citizen, and this pride seems to multiply whenever I’m actually outside of Ireland.

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Korea this year, however, felt extra special and yet I can’t exactly pinpoint why that is. It could be  that it was my first time being involved in the behind-the-scenes organization of the festival, which took 6 months of hard work and dedication by a team of volunteers who were delighted to see their hard work pay off on the day. It could have been the fact that I was volunteering on the day so had a different perspective from the rest of the crowd.

Finally, and this could be the real answer, it could be because it was my first time in celebrating St Patrick’s Day sober in over a decade. Whatever the reason, pride and joy was simply flowing through me like a fast-flowing river on Saturday and no amount of negativity or difficult situations was going to dampen my spirits on my favourite day of the year!

A snapsot of the colorful crowd. Photo by Stephanie Anglemyer

A snapsot of the colorful crowd.

paddys day seoul

Myself and Michelle taking a short break from our volunteering duties!

Myself and Michelle taking a short break from our volunteering duties!

Big shout out to the Irish Association of Korea for organizing such a  memorable festival and to all the incredible volunteers who helped out on the day. It was the perfect way to welcome the spring to South Korea and another excellent showcase of why everyone loves the Irish!

To see more photos from the day, check out Stephanie Anglemyer’s photography website at: http://www.anklebiterphotos.com/

Representing Ireland on a Korean Quiz Show

6 Sep

Last weekend, along with a group of about 10 other Irish people (including the Irish Ambassador to Korea and her family), I had the chance to represent Ireland in the audience of a Korean Quiz show. Random, I KNOW!!

The TV show was called ‘Quiz on Korea’ and involves 30 individuals from 30 different countries around the world who are all flown to Korea to participate in a week long cultural exchange which culminates in a quiz show where contestants are tested on their knowledge of all things Korean. KBS studios wanted at least 10 people from each different country to cheer on the various contestants and thus myself and 9 other Irish people were asked to come along for the filming of the show to support Irish contestant Alana O’ Brien.

Team Ireland at the KBS studios in Seoul

I had NO idea what to expect on arrival, but my expectations were no were near what greeted me on entering the huge filming studio. There were hundreds of people sitting in rows with their fellow country men and women all waves their countries flags and all wearing their countries colors. It was pretty funny to walk into the room, all 10 of us wearing matching gree t-shirts, marching down step after step until we found the row of seats with the Irish flags.

In front of us were 2 rows of Belgian supporters brandishing red, black and yellow flags and football jerseys. In front of them were 2 rows of Egyptians and 2 rows of Cambodian supporters! The room was a rainbow of color with all the various supporters waving their flags and cheering on their home country. Behind us was a row of young Korean children who had been invited to support America, and everytime the American contestant did well they chanted “Meguk, Meguk, Meguk” whcih means America in Korean. They were truly adorable!

Cute flags on all our seats

After about 20 minutes of waiting 3 Korean presenters and all the contestants came out on stage, which is the point when Myself and all the other Irish supporters could not withold our laughter at the absurdity, and verging on racist, outfits which the contestants had been asked to wear. It was almost cartoon like.The Rwandan was in traditional African dress, with a Rwandan Soccer jersey underneath, and was even walking with a beautiflly carved traditional walking stick, the Canadian looked like an Ice Hockey player while the Kiwi contestant was in an all blacks jersey and holding a rugby ball. How original!

The poor Irish girl was wearing something that half resembled a traditional Irish dancing dress and half resembled a female leprechaun! It was pretty hilarious to say the least. The poor American was dressed like the cowboy from the movie Toy story while the Belgian was wearing his countries colors and wearing a black beret. I wouldn’t be surprised if was also carrying a baguette!

Leana and Trevor – who are in fact Americana and South African – supporting Ireland! (Photo by Leana)

Crazy costumes aside, the quiz was pretty straightforward, with pretty easy questions been asked on Korea to start with, getting progressively more difficult as the quiz went on. The New Zealand contestant was the overall winner, narowly beating a 15 year old bot from venuzuela who I was personally cheering on! He was only 15!!

The real highlight of the night, however, was not the quiz itself but the surprise K-Pop acts which bopped around the stage during the interval. Having never previously seen live K-POP I was both pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and in shock at how crazy the Korean supporters would act each time a new act appeared on stage. I didn’t know it was even possible to scream that loud…I think the kids behind me singing along to Crayon Pop and the grown men going weak at the knees shouting their support for KARA and B.A.P entertained me more than the K-POP acts themselves!

It was a really great night out, and will certainly be a Saturday nigth that I won’t be fogetting for quite some time!

Korean K-Pop bands Crayon Pop and KARA (Photo by Leana Jordan)


..and her name was Katie Taylor!

11 Aug

Katie Taylor 

Check out this amazing video of the ‘Thai Tims’, kids from a school in Thailand, singing loud and proud about the legend that is Irish Olympic Gold medallist Katie Taylor.

Absolutely love these kids, such an inspiration for all.


United States of Trad

16 Mar

A friend sent me this link today. As I think it’s pretty awesome, and am astonished it only has 182 youtube hits, I’m sharing it here for all my wonderful readers to check out! These guys are reproducing some of 2011’s top hits…except they are giving them the ‘trad treatment’. What do you guys think? Can you guess the song right away? I wonder what song they will do next…

My Wacky-Tacky Umbrella Camera

24 Feb

That’s right…I attached my super, awesome ,wide-angle, water proof GoPro camera to the top of a super wacky, tacky, green umbrella as an experiment and boy was I pleased with the results. Cause you know, I’m cool like that. Turned out to be a perfect way to get those high angle shots, especially as people kept looking up at the wacky-tacky green umbrella with a puzzled look, which made for awesome “up close and personal” shots of completely bewildered strangers!  

Mission accomplished.

I know it’s 7 minutes long (a lifetime, eh?) so feel free to skip about a bit…enjoy! 

Andrew Mann for Eurovision!!

16 Feb

A good friend of mine and an amazingly talented guitarist, singer and song writer is in the running to represent Ireland this year in The Eurovision Song Contest. I first heard Andrew Mann singing in The Purty Kitchen in Temple Bar about…4 years ago and returned every Tuesday for about a year to here listen again and again. All my friends fell a little in love and one fell a lot in love. (They’re still together to this day! )

Anyway as my regular readers know, this is normally a travel blog but today and today only I dedicate this post to Andrew Mann and urge you to go check out his new single “Here I am”. It’s a a really beautiful song and I seriously can’t stop listening to it. To have an actually decent singer (ahem NOT Jedward) representing Ireland in The Eurovision would be amazing, but for it to actually be a good friend too is pretty much spectacular

Temple Bar Trad Festival

30 Jan

I went out to meet a Spanish friend for lunch yesterday and ended up staying out til past midnight, thanks to all the free TradFest events in Temple Bar. I met up with a load of awesome couchsurfers and spent hours walking around from pub to pub listening to all the great traditional Irish music and even had a free Irish dancing lesson in The Arlington Hotel!

We drank, we danced on the street, we danced in the rain, we laughed, and I guess we all made some new friends!


Here is a little video I made of our Sunday Session! Yeehaaaaw!


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