On a beautiful, cloudless Monday morning, I hopped along to the Pav for a free breakfast all in the name of TAF. Although ‘hopped’ may be too strong a word, as I dragged my hungover self out of bed and into the blindingly bright sunshine and the warm clutches of the Pav, hoping that this delicious full Irish breakfast would make my headache go away while simultaneously getting me super excited for the beginning of the wonderful week ahead.
And that it did! I saw some lovely faces, had a nice laugh, got a sweet teesh (!), and filled my tum with some glorious beans, sausage, bacon, tomato, mushrooms and egg! Wowee! We even scavenged a plate that someone had left and he’d only eaten the sausage!! Ka-ching, as they say.
What a fabulous way to get you prepared for the rest of the week and all the fantastic events on offer! YUM YUM!
Spirit animal meditation
Trinity Art’s Festival kicked off this morning to the soothing tones of Clare Ní Cheallaigh who guided a group in a quest to find their spirit animals. Shoes off , inhibitions freed , participants were encouraged to lie on the floor in whatever way comfortable to begin the Pagan ritual. Sceptics (myself included) raised an eyebrow or two after being told that the animal may appear to them in various forms and may even shapeshift.
However it soon became clear that we were all set for a ridiculously relaxing morning. Clare focused in on removing stress and tension from all of the key parts of the body. We were then invited on a journey to a faraway island of volcanoes and waterfalls. And it was under a shady tropical tree that the Spirit Animal was said to reveal itself to the participants. From crabs to wolves and slimy frogs every single participant was greeted by a range of exotic animals.
It was fascinating to witness how everyone really got into the spirit of the workshop. A final highlight when the good folks at TAF stayed true to the arty stereotype coloured markers and pens to document the experience! Whether it was your first foray into meditation or a familiar exercise it proved an unexpected but enjoyable start to Monday.
Gospel Choir Workshop
Kicking off the many workshops on offer from TAF this week was an hour-long session in gospel singing in the Phil Conversation Room. The workshop was facilitated by Emma from the Dublin-based Discovery Gospel Choir, who in the course of merely an hour managed to coach the disparate attendees into a joyous, soulful and (as all present will attest) somewhat harmonious group!
The good vibes were flowing after ice-breaker exercises, and before long Emma was leading the new-formed choir in simple harmonies, bass lines and call-and-response choruses. For many at the workshop (this reporter included) the experience was a far cry from their straight-laced, secondary school choir experiences of imperious conductors and “Gathered as One, in Jesus Your Son”.
Emma explained how the aim of Discovery Gospel is to “find the light of gospel in everyone!”, regardless of faith or beliefs. The hour-long session, which began with much skepticism, awkwardness and reluctance from the participants, finished with the entire group singing gospel arm-in-arm, at the top of our voices.
A little bit of sunshine to start the week.
As part of the Trinity Arts Festival, a week long annual festival to help promote artistic expression in all its forms, some fearless students occupied the GMB’s first floor conversation room with only a ukulele in their hands and thoughts of being “quirky” in their heads, as part of the much anticipated ukulele workshop.
Things initially got off to a rough start as organiser Phoebe Edleston, volunteer Vlad Sirenko, and myself, a journalist cunningly disguised as a naive volunteer, sat awkwardly awaiting the arrival of participants several minutes after the event was meant to start.
However once the fashionably late element had been accounted for, ukulele enthusiasts began entering in droves, culminating in there being 7 of us. A small orchestra for a small instrument.
Things kicked off with a rendition of Kate Nash Foundations, swiftly followed by Vance Joy’s Riptide, Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours and Somewhere Over the Rainbow from the Wizard of Oz.
By the time the band played Over the Rainbow the group had essentially mastered their craft. Phoebe Edleston now offered her battalion the opportunity to do something truly boundary pushing, a chance to make the ukulele “a little more sexy.”
The group cracked into the climax of the whole workshop, their final cover, Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye. Edleston lead the way by providing vocals as the others progressed through the four chords they had just learned.
Admittedly, it was hard to tell how the couples, who had been seeking refuge in the conversation room before the ukulele gang arrived, felt about the several repetitions of the sexy soul classic.
Things wrapped up close to 3pm as the band decided to call it quits. Phoebe and I carried the several ukuleles, or as they’ve been nicknamed by the TAF staff – “ukes”, back to the TAF committee, who will take care of them until it’s their time to wreak havoc again next year.