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.”

 

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

 

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Beautiful Mangonui Fishing Village

I consider it a real privilege to be able to interview some of our elders on Voices From the North. Neva Clarke McKenna is one such elder and she’s an amazing woman. Neva was born just after the First World War, and was 87 at the time of our talk in 2007. She is an accomplished writer and historian. She is also an actress, a mother and friend and humble helper of many. In preparation for the interview I got to know Neva a little and the following words represent my meagre efforts to capture a little of what Neva has to say:

‘I had my 87th birthday this year. I grew up in Gisborne. My father was a wonderful man. When he left Ireland he said he would never set foot in a church again because of the hypocrisy he had seen in Ireland; and he was true to his word. The only time I ever saw him in a church again was for his funeral and then I didn’t really see him, only his casket. My mother and we children used to go to church but not my father. Once a week, the Presbyterian minister came to our house, to talk to Dad. They had great talks. Dad had a bible; he just didn’t go to church.

When I was about eight, I was out in garden with my father. He was planting onions and there were many ants around where he was working. I asked him, “Are there Catholic and Protestant ants?”

He said to me, “I don’t think so, Nugget. But they can fight with each other just like Protestants and Catholics.”

He used to encourage me to keep asking questions. Even then I was curious about everything. He also used to tell me to keep my mouth closed and my ears open. Then I would learn a lot. I asked him how I was to keep my mouth closed and still ask questions. He said, “When you are older you will know the right time to listen and the right time to ask questions.”’

I trust that you enjoy this inspiring interview with Neva Clarke McKenna:

It offers a glimpse into the world of yesterday, of growing up during the depression, of wartime Europe (Neva served in Italy in WWII), and of Neva’s approach to historical research and writing. I’ve been inspired by this woman. Her humor rings through our conversation. For more on Neva and the creation of her book Mangonui: Gateway to the Far North click here.

I said at the beginning of the hour that it has been my privilege to get to know Neva these last few months. Here are a few words about friendship that were sent to me by email recently:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

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

Our most recent Céilí (pronounced ‘Kay-lee’) was celebrated on Saturday, January 17th in the old, wooden-floored Mangonui Hall here in New Zealand’s Far North. The hall is situated across from the wharf in the quaint fishing village of the same name.

Doubtless Bay

Doubtless Bay

By the way, Mangonui means ‘big shark’ and this is time of the year when the beautiful and harmless (to humans, at least) Bronze Whaler sharks come into Doubtless Bay to give birth.

I’ve mentioned our Céilís in previous posts and thought I’d take the time to tell you a little bit more about these great community events.

 

As always, participants had a great time. The local Céilí band, Spootiskerry Spraoi (meaning ‘oyster witch having fun’) did their usual outstanding job of entertaining and inspiring those who wished to get up and dance. At a Céilí there is no obligation to dance. Some go simply to enjoy the music and camaraderie. As everyone says, ‘It’s great fun to watch.’

 

The music and dance is mainly Celtic, meaning that much of the music has its roots in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, SW England and Brittany. The original Celts moved into southern Europe from the East several thousand years ago and eventually migrated to the British Isles. Their descendents can be found throughout Europe today.

 

This is folk dancing for the whole family with some dances having their origins in places as diverse as Greece and the Ukraine. Anyone, regardless of age or experience, can join in. Every dance is demonstrated and called. In other words, there is plenty of guidance provided throughout. And the emphasis is always on having fun!

 

Our Céilí happens on the third Saturday of every month. The doors open and the music starts at 7.00pm and the dancing begins at about 7.30pm. Entrance fees are $2 per adult plus a plate for supper (in other words, it’s a potluck). Entry is free for accompanied children. You have to admit this is a good deal for an evening out.

 

One of the traditions of Céilís is that anyone can contribute an item during the course of the night – for example a song, a dance, a joke or a story.

 

This is good old fashioned fun for all ages in an alcohol free setting in the enchanting ambience of historic Mangonui Hall on the waterfront of a placid and gorgeous harbor. We (our family) feel absolutely blessed to be part of the Céilí community. These monthly events are brought about through the combined voluntary efforts of many people including the band members. I encourage anyone out there to initiate dances like this. They are incredible community-building affairs. They say the Aquarian Age is about working together in groups. Our Céilí embodies this principle. By the way, the traditional Gaelic spelling of Céilí is Céilídh.

 

Here are the names of some of the dances that we often do:

 

Gay Gordons
Dashing White Sergeant
Strip the Willow
Virginia Reel

Two Step

Troika

 

The video is not from our Céilí but gives you a sense of the fun of it!