Dublin to Damascus
I've been playing Irish music for a little over two decades, the last four years with the band Sine' Ri Ra at the Nine Fine Irishmen pub at the New York New York casino in Las Vegas. Before this, I lived in New York City (the real New York New York), where, along with Irish music, I played Rock, R&B, Jazz and any other type of music where I could get a paying gig to chip away at the enormous rent that hangs over all New Yorkers' heads. At any given time while I was there, I was in eight different acts, pulling equipment from gig to gig through the five boroughs. As anyone who's been to New York can tell you, the "Big City" is actually a small, crowded place. In Manhattan, the borders between Chelsea, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Lower East Side and Little India overlap. The northeastern borough of Queens, traditionally the stronghold of Irish immigrants, also has strong Jamaican, Korean, Dominican, Indian and Puerto Rican communities. And yes, the Arab, Moroccan and other Muslim communities reside throughout. I've walked through these streets the last twenty years, listening to the nuances and processing the din through the prism of my identity as a musician. If one were to draw a line of my travels from the top of a map of the five boroughs of New York City, that line would pierce through neighborhoods reflecting nearly all the world's cultures... ...in short, from Dublin to Damascus.