Traditional Celtic music in store

Cultural journey . . . Traditional celtic musical traditions underpin the performance of Rennie Pearson, who will play live this Saturday at The Playhouse. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Listeners who attend Rennie Pearson’s Celtic music show can expect some heart-lifting and toe-tapping jigs and tunes.

The show will feature at the West Otago Community Centre in Tapanui on November 13.

Pearson, who lives in Golden Bay, will bring tunes, songs and stories from Ireland, Scotland and maritime Canada to his audience.

“It is more of a show rather than a collection of tunes and songs for people to engage with.”

The performance will include a range of different instruments- wooden flute, Irish tin whistles, a guitar, bodhran and Pearson’s voice.

“Some of that ongoing traditional music has been lost here in New Zealand.

“I mean, we still have pipe bands but that sort of music is a little different to what I do.”

Some of the traditional musicians he has performed with during his career included John Carty, Catherine MacEvoy and James Kelly.

This year is the first time he has done a South Island tour on his own.

“It’s just been me sorting out gigs, setting up and performing.

“It’s been great because I get to do things that I wouldn’t necessarily do as a duo and I get to play whatever I want, which can be quite nice.”

During his performances he would also do some storytelling and talk a bit about history.

One of the songs he will perform at his concert is called Two Sisters, a story about a jealous sister.

“The song has been passed down for centuries and has various versions from America, Scandanvia and Ireland, but I will be performing a version from Scotland.”

He was amazed with how the music had travelled to so many different places.

“It’s the same song which has been passed back and forth. The tunes are different and the way the words are portrayed – but the story stays constant.”

As a child his parents would play him Irish and Scottish traditional music.

“I was listening to those as lullabyes and as I was going to sleep, both fast tunes and slow tunes is what I was listening to, and it must have stuck.”

At the age of 8, his interest in the music ignited and he learnt how to play the flute.

“I went and saw a concert of a flute player called Chris Norman, from Canada, and he played old Scottish music and I was transfixed.”

He learnt by ear in Irish sessions with the guidance of Galway-born flautist Pat Higgins.