Peter Grassby in the Mangonui Hall

More Mischief and Mayhem in Mangonui

Mangonui Céilí co-founder Fiona McGrory describes him as a ‘one-stop shop for entertainment.’ U.K. based Pete Grassby—consummate singer, songwriter, recording artist, accordion repairer, Morris dancer and dance caller—is back in New Zealand for his annual tour. He’ll be joined by one of his U.K. bands, Grasshoppers, for the Auckland folk festival later this month. Several years ago he toured Aotearoa with another of his bands, Aardvarks. One wonders what he would call a New Zealand band should he dare to establish one. Sand Flies?

This entertainer extraordinaire will be hosting the next Céilí (‘Kay-lee’) at the Mangonui Hall on the waterfront on Saturday, January 21st. The Céilí begins at 7.30pm. But be sure to get there early. It is always standing room only when Pete Grassby hosts a céilí. Not only will Mr. Grassby call an oft-humorous variety of dances and play melodeon, he’ll sing a song or three. Grassby’s wit and charm ensure that everyone, including those who just come along to watch, have a great time. Pete Grassby will be backed up for this céilí by the regular talented Mangonui Céilí band, Spootiskerry Spraoi, affectionately called ‘Spoots.’ Admission is, as always, $3 per adult plus a plate for supper. Accompanied children are free.

Pete Grassby is available for gigs and house parties, as well as repairs of squeeze boxes during his limited time in the Far North and can be contacted at pdgrassby@fsmail.net

To purchase Pete’s CDs contact him by email as well.

Here’s the complete interview:

And here are three of the six tracks we played in the interview:

Trowie Byrn (John Stickle)  Track 12 on Cilan:

Nan’s Waltz (Pat Shuldham Shaw) Track 3 on Malvern Hills:

Scarborough Fair (Traditional arranged by Pete Grassby) Track 5 on Cilan

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

 

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“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 

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Dancing at Mangonui Ceili

Ceili (pronounced ‘Kay-lee’ with the emphasis on the first syllable) means to gather in friendship and fun. It derives from the Gaelic word meaning ‘visit.’ In Ireland today a couple going out to share a cup of tea and conversation with friends is going ‘ceili-ing’. Ceilis as we know them today involve live music and spirited dance. They are held regularly all over the U.K. and are especially popular in Ireland’s west and southwest. Ceilis also take place around the world wherever people of Celtic extraction now live. It’s currently estimated.that 46% of New Zealanders have Celtic blood. You may have noticed that there is more than one way to spell Ceili. The one used here is the Irish way. In Scotland, England and Wales you’re more likely to see it spelled ‘Ceilidh.’

In centuries past, the British suppressed traditional Gaelic culture and language. Villagers would still gather surreptitiously for ceilis in private homes and were even known to throw a wooden entry door down onto the dirt floor of a family’s cottage and dance on the door. Some say this is when Irish dancing developed into its well-known form with the arms held rigid and close to the body. They had to!

One of the unique features of a ceili is that anyone can get up in the course of the evening and share an item: a story, a poem, a skit, a song or a dance. Visitors to a ceili are under no obligation to dance. Some come simply to enjoy the spirit of the night. In simple terms, ceili dances tend to be either partner or group dances, each called by a caller who shouts out the moves and figures of the dance, making a ceili ideally suited for novices as well as experienced dancers. No one gets upset if someone makes a wrong step. In fact this can often be the source of much good hearted laughter. Everyone is welcome at a ceili. The events are socially inclusive and break down barriers and build bridges between participants.

Pete Grassby

The Mangonui Ceili takes place in the Mangonui Hall on the third Saturday of each month. Doors open at 7.00 pm, as does the wonderful live music of local band Spootiskerry Spraoi. Dancing starts at 7.30 pm. Mark the following dates on your calendar for upcoming ceilis in Mangonui: November 20, December 18 and January 15 (hosted by talented U.K. entertainer Pete Grassby) Admission is $2 per adult plus a plate to share for supper. Accompanied children are free.

One of the originators of our Mangonui Ceili, Fiona McGrory recently joined me on the radio in conjunction with Lilia Carpinelli. They main topic of the interview was Orrf musical education but Fiona spoke lovingly about her early connection with music and ceilis in Ireland. Listen to the complete interview here:

More on Carl Orff and musical education here.

 

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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

My special guest on Voices from the North last night was musician, singer/songwriter, dance-caller and showman extraordinaire, Pete Grassby. Pete is based in the UK but New Zealand is almost a home away from home for him. Aside from last year (when, as he explains, he and his band had too many lucrative gigs in England and Scotland during the Christmas holiday period) Pete has been performing around the North and South Islands each summer for many years.

Pete is a talented hammered dulcimer and melodeon player, although even Pete doesn’t claim to play both at once. We feature selections of tracks from two of his CDs—Cilan and Malvern Hills—during the hour and he sings one ballad a cappella in the studio as well as a set of three songs on one of his melodeons.

Pete will be hosting the Mangonui Ceilidh on Saturday night, January 16th and if it’s anything like the last time he was here two years ago it’ll be standing room only. And, amazingly, considering Pete’s considerable prowess as an entertainer, admission is still only $2 per adult plus a plate to share for supper. Accompanied children are free.

The selections played during the show were:

  • The Metalled Road (or The Forty Pound Wedding) (from Cilan)
  • Orange in Bloom (from Malvern Hills)
  • The Cottager’s Reply (live a cappella)
  • The title track from Malvern Hills
  • A melodeon trio of Jack Robinson’s, The Pleasures of the Town and an untitled Swedish reel
  • We finished with a bit of the last track from Cilan called Trowie Burn

The complete interview can be heard here:

For more on Pete and his Ceilidh band, The Aardvark Ceilidh Band visit:

http://www.theaardvarks.co.uk/

Mp3 downloads of their music is available here:

http://indiestore.7digital.com/theaardvarks/

Click Below to:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews