Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Karaoke At De Barra

During a stop in Clonakilty on our December 2008 trip to Cork, we stumbled into De Barra, a bar that has long hosted live music and served as a hangout for musicians. This time, the entire gang of six hired a taxi van to take us there Tuesday night for the express purpose of attending karaoke night. Some vowed only to witness, but we figured with appropriate lubrication, a brave few might sing. As so often happens in Ireland, one of the most enjoyable parts of the night occurred entirely by serendipity. We happened to run into three American brothers and struck up a conversation: Chris, the oldest; middle brother Jon; and mountain of a man Ted, 21, who’s playing football and studying economics at a small college in Minnesota. They grew up in the Milwaukee area and are now scattered to California, New York and Minnesota, but rejoined for a tour of Ireland. We enjoyed comparing notes on America and Ireland, and, it turns out, both groups had planned a karaoke night out with some ringers in attendance. Emily, conservatory-trained at Syracuse University, wowed the crowd with her soaring soprano on “Jolene,” made famous by Dolly Parton. Ali, a bona fide rock star, outdid all comers in creativity with his hip-hop version of “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve. And Chris clearly had taken many turns behind the mike on karaoke nights, whipping up the crowd for singalongs on the chorus of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” The singing was organized as a lighthearted competition, complete with four “American Idol”-style judges, only they were all very complimentary. As the adage goes in American news writing, a good time was had by all.

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