Musik 2


Supporting music and the arts in the Middle East is one sure way to fight extremist ideologies.

Thank God Qatar is hugely different from some of its neighbours. There are many clubs or bars where one can go to listen to music, and to enjoy a beer or whatever else might take your fancy. The Doha jazz festival finished last night and a new Salsa Music & Dance club recently opened in a prominent hotel, providing two example of the more relaxed scene in Qatar than exists elsewhere in the region.

The Qatar Philarmonic Orchestra is playing since 2008 and is made up of over 100 professional musicians who were originally recruited mostly in Europe and the Arab World. They play regular concerts at a number of venues, the most recent being the Johann Strauss’ Vienna on Friday night last.

From the website of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra:
The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performs and promotes western and Arabic music in order to inspire the children and adults of Qatar and the Arab world to create and enjoy music. The Philharmonic is a member of the Qatar Foundation, which is supporting Qatar on its journey from carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential.

The orchestra was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned in 2007. The orchestra of 101 musicians was chosen by a jury of international music professionals through auditions held in European and Arab countries. Selection criteria were driven by musician quality. The Philharmonic held its Inaugural Concert on October 30th, 2008, conducted by Lorin Maazel.

MB was surprised not to see the below piece listed on the programme for the evening. But the sneaky German conductor had pulled a fast one on MB and others by keeping it for his encore!

So with the usual apologies for MB’s terrible hand-held camera video, voila:

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A night out listening to a philharmonic orchestra is not one that many back home would think possible in the Arabian Gulf region of the Middle East. But that’s the night out that MB and others had last night in Doha, Qatar.

The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra was playing a concert entitled Johann Strauss’s Vienna conducted by young award-winning German conductor Elias Grandy. The Strauss concert was played at the Qatar National Convention Centre, a spectacular venue, in one of its small auditoriums.

If you wish to read a little more on the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, click here.

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It’s the weekend


Sport.

Seems like every weekend in Ireland has some sporting activity of one sort or another. If your kids happen to be sporty, then as a parent you will be on the road a lot. In winter, the field sports of rugby and soccer (as the Irish refer to football) are played, while the uniquely Irish sports of Hurling and Gaelic Football are played in Summer. That’s not to mention the numerous other indoor our outdoor sports available to Irish kids all year round.

When MB was home at September, he witnessed his daughter MB2 win a big Gaelic Football regional final with her local club.

MB caught these two at that game having their own sport while the big game was going on!

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Blending In/Standing Out


MB’s efforts for this week’s Photo Challenge from Blogger Ann Christine – Blending In/Standing Out.

MB is not sure if the four dhow boats on Doha Cornice last week were blending in or standing out. Maybe a bit of both.

But Mr. Crow, standing on top of a Celtic Cross outside a church in Adare, County Limerick in late September as MB passed by, was definitely standing out!

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Paris’ most famous cemetery


Great post from blogger friend Heide on the Père Lachaise graveyard in Paris, which is the resting place of Oscar Wilde, amongst many other notables.

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Friends think I’m macabre (or maybe just weird) when I urge them to visit Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. But this is no common graveyard: It’s a living museum, filled with the stories of more than one million souls.

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The luminaries’ names span the centuries — from the 12th-century lovers Héloïse and Abélard to the 20th-century Lizard King (Jim Morrison). Frédéric Chopin and Gertrude Stein are here. So are the writers Honoré de Balzac and Marcel Proust, the dancer Isadora Duncan … painter Eugène Delacroix … the list goes on and on.

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Chopin’s tomb is always adorned with flowers and little Polish flags.
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And it’s all set in 110 acres of contemplative, tree-lined cobblestone streets.

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Père Lachaise is so vast that if you wander along the walls — or pause atop the hills — you may even forget you’re in a cemetery.

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How it all started

Père Lachaise was…

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It’s the weekend


Dhow boats fly the Qatar flag on Doha Corniche, with view of the Westbay skyline in the distance. As shot by MB on an evening walk earlier this week.

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It’s the weekend


Weather – Qatar.

Irish people love to talk weather-talk. ‘Fine day’ or ‘soft day’ are often conversation openers, and are very acceptable replacements for ‘hello’ or ‘howrya’.

The Irish in Qatar sure had a lot to talk about last Saturday.

Saturday last witnessed an entire year’s average rainfall of approx 75mm in a torrential 6 hours, replete with ear-shattering thunder and a most impressive display of forked lightning. And like all countries of the Arabian Gulf where such weather is a rarity, when heavy rains arrive, the roads and road drainage systems of Qatar are unable to cope. Minor roads in particular often have low-lying sections (many of them) with no drainage outlets, or sand-clogged drainage outlets, so deep flooding is the order of the day. Cars regularly get stuck or abandoned.

MB was stuck in almost-static heavy traffic in the midst of it all when his car lost all power for a minute or two, except for the merciful fact that the engine did not cut out and thankfully kept ticking over. Thankfully also, this happened when the traffic was actually static. The same thing happened another five or six times during the 1.5-hour journey, a journey that normally takes 10 minutes. But each time the car lost power, it regained power moments or minutes later, and moved on.

It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff on MB’s journey back to the office, assuming that the car would konk out at any moment and thousands of cars would start tooting their angry toots at MB, who had already decided that waving and smiling would be his response.

Today, five days later, some minor watery evidence of last Saturday’s biblical event is still evident, and MB’s car engine just doesn’t sound so healthy each morning when it starts. A visit to the car doctor is on the agenda in the coming days.

Have a nice weekend!

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Nepal, India or China? Know your tea!


For the tea lovers amongst you……

Buddha walks into a wine bar ...

So which tea do YOU prefer? Even if it’s “Yorkshire” or “Tetleys” it has to come from somewhere and it’s most likely from one of the big three.
We have experienced tutored tea tastings in Nepal and China which were just like wine tastings in France, but instead of different grapes, regions or vignerons……. it was tea.

Tea tasting, Shanghai

To a couple of tea lovers like ourselves the coffee-shop explosion in the U.K. is a mystery, everywhere you turn there’s a Costa, Starbucks, Nero, Coffee One, Wild Bean, Coffee Republic ……and also places where coffee is “free” such as with your Waitrose card in the supermarket. Every garage has a Coffee takeaway and people fill up with fuel then buy their obligatory coffee in a cardboard cup to go. Whatever happened to pots of tea in Lyons, Kardomah, Ceylon Tea Centre? These were the places where you weren’t just…

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IT’S THE WEEKEND


Doha Corniche

MB’s below shot is a close-up of part of the skyline of Doha’s Corniche (seafront). The view towards the sea at night throws up the outlines and lights of Arabic dhow boats taking tourists out for a short spin on the Arabian sea, which is somewhat flat and a tad boring. But if one turns one’s head, then one catches the below far more exciting – some would say – view.

The 5km corniche circumference is fully pedestrianised and is a haven for joggers and families out for a walk, at weekends in particular once the sun goes down. MB regularly walks and runs its length. FYI – The yellow building is known locally, colloquially, as ‘The Condom’!

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It’s The Weekend


The Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland

The Holy Trinity Church in Adare is some 800 years old and has a very interesting history. Read More

It’s The Weekend


Ballybunion Beach

Ballybunion village and its adjoining beach are called after the Bunyan family who lived in the castle (in pic) in the early part of the 14th century.

Read More

MB’s Online Degree


MB has mentioned in recent posts that he would get ’round to the reason he found himself in Lancaster in the north east of England a few weeks back, mere spitting distance from the Scottish border. If one is blessed with a powerful spit.

Read More

Scenes from the homeland – 2


There’s a relatively little-visited hill next to the lake in MB’s HX homeland called Carraig Aile. Read More

The Session


MB has just returned to the hot desert climate of Qatar from his heavenly Irish homeland replete with it’s temperate (highly eclectic) weather, and great social living conditions for its inhabitants, in many respects. The traditional Irish music session is one such contribution, which one can find in  various pubs in any given village or town if one cares to visit and explore.

Take for example, a session from a pub in MB’s local city:

And in relation to a very recent post from the city of Lancaster in England, MB will soon compose a post on the reason for his Lancaster visit.

But in the meantime, enjoy the music session from Dolan’s Pub in Limerick, South West Ireland.

Cheers, from a slightly nostalgic MB.

MB

Scenes from the homeland


MB arrived in his HX homeland a few days back. The following shots are taken mostly around his HX village locality. A few are taken in the Lough Derg area of south-east Galway, where youngest-sister-of-MB lives.

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