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“Lots of Drops of Brandy”

Posted by purplemary54 on February 19, 2013

Note: I haven’t updated on the parental situation in a while, but that’s because things are going fairly well.  Dad came home, and he’s doing much better–even if he is a tad obsessed with his new blood pressure monitor.  I’m actually sort of trying not to jinx it.  I’ll probably be metaphorically keeping my fingers crossed for the next few weeks.

I have long held that if there is a heaven in any traditional sense, it will be filled with Irish music.  Not because the Irish are so specially blessed or anything, although Ireland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.  And it’s got nothing to do with being part Irish myself.  Or maybe it does.  I don’t know anymore. I do know that I could spend eternity surround by this joyful noise.

I never thought much about traditional Irish music until I heard the Chieftains, but once I’d heard them I was hooked.  There’s something instinctive about, something familiar.  I can think of any number of songs–mostly traditional Irish or American music–that I feel deeply even the first time I hear them.  I’m not talking about identifying with them, the way I do with songs by the Replacements, or with believing in the meaning, like I feel with a lot of John Lennon’s music.  I mean that the first time I heard these songs, it sounded like the hundredth time.  This is music that is already in my bones, in my blood.  It’s music that is familiar to me as my own feet.

Carl Jung called it genetic memory, a memory of common experience so deeply encoded into a species that members of that species respond to certain stimuli automatically (paraphrased from Wikipedia).  It was part of his theory of the Collective Unconscious, which was how Jung explained the way people seemed to come up with the same systems of organizing the universe the same way, over and over.  Being from (mostly) Irish and French Canadian ancestry, and from Midwestern roots (both parents were born in the midwest, although Mom was raised in Cali), there are certain things I feel are encoded into me.  And a predisposition to certain kinds of music is one of those things.

Which is why I feel heaven will be filled with Irish music.  There’s a feeling of the eternal to what the Chieftains do, as though stardust had been sprinkled over their instruments.  Harps and flutes and drums floating across the universe, breaks in the music filled with laughter and beer.  Sounds like an okay way to spend eternity to me.


2 Responses to ““Lots of Drops of Brandy””

  1. dan4kent said

    My Irish eyes are smiling. With brandy as a personal favorite, here’s to genetic memories. Maybe the deepest ones are the most delicious. Dan

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