And Gutenberg Lived Here: What’s Green And Sings?

What’s green and sings?

No, not girl scouts.

At least this time around.

Although they do do a few really nice ballads,

like “Green socks, they never get dirty”

No, this time it’s the old Irish ballads we’re after.

Sung by old green Irish.

Make that old green Irish-Americans.

The two thirds of the country outside the country.

Who spend St Patrick’s day chasing all things green.

And, if they work hard enough at it,

finally succeed in becoming green themselves.

Probably from all the green beer they down on the journey.

And since, over here in Gutenberg Land,

they are Irish mad-

Our side of the river  has multiple Irish  pubs.

On the other side of the river,

in the more elegant,

and don’t they know it,

neighboring state capital of Wiesbaden,

not only do they have more Irish pubs,

they also turn every non-Irish local pub green

and celebrate with the best of them.

Which means that  every year, I get an invitation-

from one of the bagpipe clubs,

or the English speaking women’s clubs,

to “sing a few Irish songs”

between the dinner courses,

meaning you start one,

and they sing along.

With a German accent, often,

and from a song sheet,

but hey…

And since each year there is a call for more authenticity,

and this year, especially,

being a commemorative year,

Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder

will have to be the end of the program.

Which is better anyway,

considering how big some of those bagpipe guys are.

And how much green beer they can hold.

But, in the name of helping a colleague I passed everything on to,

at least for this don’t sing broken ribs year,

I went into my files for the ultimate song set.

And suddenly realized:

Most of what I sing is popular,

in the sense of what the locals want to hear:

popular-modern, ballad,

Molly Malone,


the  Wild Colonial Boy,

Danny Boy,

Did Your Father Come From Ireland?

(sorry, it’s what they want to hear here)

although I usually try to slip in a few authentic historical ballads

with just enough explanation to not bore everyone,

or real romper-stompers:

Who Threw The Overalls In Mrs Murphy’s Chowder,

Finnegan Wakes,

Whiskey in the Jar

numbers by the White Feathers,

or the Irish Rovers.

Or the Wild Flowers

who tour here often.

In fact, all things Irish are so popular here,

there are stores that make a good living selling only Irish goods-

including REAL tea,

not that boiled in plastic triangles stuff.

And with the huge parades and assemblages-

(the one in Frankfurt had 15,000 visitors last year)-

you would expect a huge crowd.

But somehow,

so far,

this year’s parade went virtually unadvertised,

and almost clandestine-

except in Munich, where it was held on Sunday-

But, so far,  pubs throughout Germany are still all holding events-

like Irish pub quizzes,


as a friend told me in anguish today,

some people have apparently started hoarding the Guiness for private parties

and they may have to drink Scottish whiskey instead.

Oy vey.

copyright 2016


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