Four Shillings Short

Celtic, Folk and World Music Concert

When & Where February 11, 2023 | Unity of The White Mountains, Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ

Reviewer Patricia Cassidy

Four Shilling Short (named from a comment in a James Joyce short story) are a husband-and-wife duo of modern day Troubadours who tour all year round in the US and Ireland.

Aodh Og O’Tuama (pronounced ayog) is from Cork, Ireland and Cristy Martin from California. Collectively, they play twenty different instruments and Cristy sings in English Irish and Sanskrit and Aodh Og sings in English, Irish, French, and Latin. The concert included the dulcimer, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, tin whistles, flutes, sitar, charango, banjo, krumhorn, psaltery, bodhran, guitar and ukulele.

The most wonderful thing about the concert was that they do not just play and sing beautifully but they educated the audience on the instruments they were about to use. I now know that the Spanish forbade anyone from playing the Charango, a small Andean stringed instrument, and it was purposely made small so people could hide them under their clothes and I was also introduced to the Krumhorn, an interesting looking Renaissance woodwind with a curved end and a capped double reed. For non-instrument playing me, this was sheer delight.

To say they are wonderfully diverse musicians is a huge understatement. The evening was a mix of folk songs where we could sing along “It’s a drop in the bucket” lovely Sitar pieces from Cristy who studied North Indian Sitar at age 15 with a student of Ravi Shankar’s. There were quotes from Shakespeare, Joe Hill’s last Will (before they sang Joe Hillwith banjo and tin whistle) and excerpts from William Butler Yates “The Stollen Child” poem. Aodh Og did a nice job of talking about Yeats, his Nobel Prize for Literature win in 1923.and introducing us to Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the Irish Easter Rising. Cristy sang in Irish in a piece celebrating Grace O’Malley, a famous Irish pirate and I thought these historical snippets of Irish history and storytelling made for a much richer enjoyment of the music.

The highlight of the evening for me for me was the playing of the sitar by Cristy with Aodh Og on an Irish drum that sounds just like a tabla. I look forward to seeing Four Shillings Short in the future as they are unique and quite magical.

© 2023 Patricia Cassidy