Tin whistle magic,
A Gaelic stomp in the hutongs;
Old tunes prick the heart.
A new Chinese Irish band has just popped up on the scene, the first one for many a long year. Calling themselves Streetrag (your guess is as good as mine! Aha - seems like that was just Time Out's extravagant mistranscription of Steerage, which is a much more sensible sort of name for an Irish band!), they made a low-key debut at Modernista last night - essentially playing for a small group of their friends. A gang of youngsters - music students, I would imagine - who've only recently discovered this music, they're a bit under-rehearsed, but they play with a lot of heart, and technically they're quite impressive; they're fronted by one of the best tin whistle men I've heard in years, and also boast a decent fiddler and a bodhran player (which is not something we've really seen here in Beijing before). Very promising. If they could find an accordionist somewhere, they'd be all set; at present, they're filling out the sound with an electric keyboard player, which doesn't quite work for me.
They don't have a St Patrick's Day gig confirmed yet, but I'm sure they'll soon be much in demand.