Clare Byrne - Music & Dance

IN MY BODY a lifelong dancer, choreographer, and performance experimenter. A close partner with sound, silence, and word.  IN MY MIND a writer, a songwriter. All my effort and ear is bent, twanged toward overlapping arcs of listening and creating. The songs: others, mine, mine, others. I’m taught by them.  IN MY HANDS instruments, crafts to navigate, maps to decipher, landscapes and laboratories of unending allure and resonance. New loves, old loves. I’ve been dancing to them since day one. Now a brave, bewildered musician. I’m going deeper in.

  • Seed CD’s arrived

    Hot off the press – the CD’s for “Seed” are here!

    The CD Release party for  is coming up this week at the Light Club Lamp Shop – this Saturday May 27th at 8:00PM. So happy to share the show with Ink the Octopus –  indie folk duo otherwise known as Remy De Laroque and Dan Strauss.  As lead up this week I’ll be doing my second radio spot –  at the Rocket Shop on the Radiator 105.9FM on Wednesday May 24th at 8:00PM. Last week’s at UVM’s WRUV was a blast – so much fun to play with Ted Looby and Gus Ziesing, all the “Seed” songs plus six or seven new ones.

  • Pingala Cafe this Saturday

    Roads lead to the sea. If I can keep my moxy up all nice and go mall I’ll be rolling out a whole new batch of songs on Saturday in a solo music set at the riverside Pingala Cafe in Winooski Vermont – and slowly working my way into being a song and dance man. This batch is the stuff I’ve been developing this spring in Ireland and Italy residencies, and which I’ll be performing this summer – in Vermont and Ireland and elsewhere! Come to Pingala Cafe 6:00 – 8:00PM, the experiment in performance commences.

  • causeways of the mind

    Venice is approached by water.

    To get there, dive deep into that great lagoon late at night. Like you are an outrageous heron with long golden beak, insouciant toss of head, glossy oiled streaming feathers, wetly dark with glints of amber and jade. Nose under and past all the slumbering pilings, lapping murk. Emerge deep in the interior along the Grand Canal. Climb up the wet glistening launch into one of the great palaces, wiped and abandoned, saved of all memory but for apparitions wisping in stripped leggings and capes, off to duels and operas in nearby cerebrums.

    Make a nest of antique rags in a corner – a real safe place – with the sound of the night water lapping the marble moorings, light flickering in from street lamps on stone, marble, faded abstracted frescos, and the slow sinking of the house and the city becalming you. Later, slip back into the black water, and swim out past the last lobes and bridges. Move out onto the great lagoon. Find the edges of the lagoon. Go beyond.

  • high and low

    I’m hiking on Via Serra di Musanego, in the Apennines, looking west at sunset, through an olive tree, out at the North Mediterranean, and thinking of something Annie D. says:

    “I have always been sympathetic with the early notion of a divine power that exists in a particular place, or that travels about over the face of the earth as a man might wander – and when he is ‘there’ he is surely not here.” – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    A fine collection of literary and musical loves present or conjured up here in my last week in residence at the Bogliasco Foundation: Annie Dillard and her quintessential pilgrimage –  also C. S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia, also Joan Armatrading, Rush (listening to 2112 in particular), Pink Floyd, Dar Williams, and various incarnations of Bob Dylan and Nina Simone. Divine powers indeed. And the land itself and the sea itself here which I move up, down, and into so urgently in my creative wanderings – resonates in my work. I want to get high, high up in the mountains, and down low, low toward those wild dark waves. I want to get as high and as low as I can get.

    C. S. Lewis’ characters cry, in the last battle “Further in, further up!”

    There is, truly, urgency like that, in all of us, I believe, and most of the time we don’t know how to handle it, what to do with it. But the spirit wont to pour, and pour, and pour – like the waves crashing over the incredibly particular and individual formations of rock here on the Ligurian coastline. It lathers over us rocks like a good scrubbing, unchecked emotion over our textured bodies, Bailey’s over ice. Spring is here in Bogliasco already. I set off for a week of travel – Venice, Assisi, Florence – then home to Vermont.

  • Over the moon

    My trip with Stefan to the west side of Ireland was: too short, just right, scantily prepared, charmingly improvised, and luny. When we headed over toward the west from Cork –  Stefan handling the whole other-side driving situation, manual car to boot, with aplomb – we stopped in Macroom for a farmers’ market. A lovely young woman selling olives strongly suggested we not skip West Cork. We bought a mass of extraordinary olives from her, most of which were sadly left in the rental car when we returned it ad hoc and haste the last day. I hope someone ate them. So, we didn’t go right to Killarney National Park as loosely planned, but detoured south to the Beara Peninsula and ended that rainy weekday night in Kenmore where we found ourselves passing the night most hospitably at Crowley’s Pub. Peter Crowley found out I was working on some songs, went upstairs to get his guitar, handed it to me and said, play something if you want. We passed around the guitar for the rest of the evening. That was really fun.

    I knew the ocean coast would be beautiful. But I was stunned by the high lunar landscapes just inland. The size and depth and height and width of Ireland –  how does such a small island do it? Especially the depths – Ireland is deep, deep, deep. Plummeting mountains, ridges, cliffs sans trees –  a new experience for forest-clad Vermonters. Breathlessly low down in those deep valleys – houses perched like the sheep and goats. We even saw one unicorn eating an apple from a tree. Really.

    The next night, in Dingle, we stumbled on another cold rainy weekday night into John Benny’s Pub where we were rewarded with such luck to hear Eilis KennedyGerry O’Beirne, and John Benny play a couple hours of traditional, folk/pop music (they tore apart Joni Mitchell’s Carey like a blazing brushfire). I was amazed by all of them but particularly inspired to hear Gerry O’Berne on guitar, as it is the instrument I aspire on!  The brilliance and inventiveness and breadth of his artistry on that instrument.  I listened with ears and mouth open: pure musical nutrition.

    Now I’m into my first week in Italy, settling into a new rhythm of Mediterranean waves. More song-writing rolling in.

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