I'm just back from an amazing trip to Thailand and Vietnam organized by the great legend Mick Moloney! The full line-up of musicians, singers and dancers was Mick Moloney, Dylan Foley, Dan Gurney, Brenda Castles, Donie Carroll, Niall O'Leary and myself. We had a blast playing at a brand new Irish bar in Bangkok called Scruffy Murphy's! We felt right at home there- they do an amazing Sunday roast if you're in Bangkok and craving some Irish pub grub.
While we were in Bangkok, we visited the Mercy Center, a great charity that helps the children in the slums of the city. We played music for the children there, and also watched their beautiful performances of traditional Thai music and dance.
One of our main performances of the trip was at an event organized by the Irish and Portuguese Embassies to honor the work of Sister Louise Horgan, the amazing woman who is the powerhouse behind the Fatima Center in Bangkok. Sister Horgan has been working in Thailand with the Good Shepherd Sisters since 1965, helping poor, vulnerable women and children of all backgrounds to learn skills that will enable them to be self-sufficient. We visited the Fatima Center, and got to see first-hand all the great work being done there.
Our trip to Vietnam was short but sweet! We visited the Vietnamese Institute for Musicology in Hanoi, where the students performed some traditional Vietnamese music for us (you can watch some of the highlights here). After the formal performance, we swapped instruments with the Vietnamese musicians.
We took a little break in the afternoon to wander around, try some vietnamese coffee, and check out a water puppet show. That evening, we played a concert at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi. You can watch the whole concert online here, posted on Ireland Vietnam's Facebook page!
Dan and I finished off our trip with a few days of chilling out on Koh Chang island, where we bumped into none other than Caroline Keane and Tom Delaney- two Irish musicians living in Dingle, Ireland! What are the chances? We explored the island with them on scooters, soaked up the sun, and enjoyed the beautiful beaches. Now, we're back in upstate New York where a new layer of snow has just fallen. What a trip!