By way of a record of one such ‘kitchen concert’ that took place at the home of Tony MacMahon in the Liberties, Dublin 8 on 27 November 2011.
The alienating amplification of large venues, the jostling in standing-room-only gigs, the ambient distractions of commerce and conversation in pubs: where do you go to give yourself fully to music, to let your self be over-taken by it and be led by it? The home, perhaps? But recorded music is too easy and tends to disappear into the background of modern life, so house concerts seem to hold out the most hope for music’s magic.
Tony MacMahon and Steve Cooney are reviving such a tradition. Their ‘kitchen concerts’, reminiscent of Station Masses, involve visiting large houses in local communities throughout the country to play for small audiences of enthusiastic individuals (who make voluntary donations at the end of the evening). That’s all you need: enough space for your local guests, the rooms lit with candles, everyone seated either on chairs or on cushions on the floor, no one very from Steve’s strings and fingers and Tony’s buttons and bellows so that when their sound waves come forth and meet your receptive ears an acoustic intimacy results that opens up all kinds of meditative possiblities: artistic, physical, mental, communal.
Convened around the music, concertina’ed by common outlook and purpose, consenting through silence to let the music in – a confirmation of your faith in creators, the ice breakers, the world-foresakers (some, at least) – you may begin to take your turn disconnecting from the worn-out realities of your nerves for the mind-wanderings prompted by the musical tiltings on your senses; you may connect through it with something else, and afterwards, reconnecting with your life, with others and with the world, you may find yourself reconfigured.