“The music of what happens,” said great Fionn, “that is the finest music in the world.”
He loved “what happened,” and would not evade it by the swerve of a hair.
This quote from James Stephens' Irish Fairy Tales, you could say, had something to do with the workshop I ran recently for the Mother Tongues Festival in Dublin. It was in French and it was LOUD. Young people (ages 3 to 8) and their grown-ups (no ages were mentioned) were invited to listen, to voice and to label the 'music of what happens'.
We guessed what could be making the noises recorded on my phone. We told each other what cows say and how ambulances go. We recognised things and actions from sound words ('bang!' 'ha ha ha!' 'miaou!'). And we looked at orphan sounds: noises that don't have a word to describe them (like snow or skiing or dreaming).
On the day, I was also lucky enough to meet Louise Williams, a radio reporter working for RTÉ Lyric FM's Culture Files (produced by Luke Clancy). We had a great chat about multilingualism, untranslatable words and the language of cows.
You can hear me and lots of other great contributions to the discussion on the show's podcast, right here.
All in all, we had a brilliant time and I'm delighted to be invited by South County Dublin Libraries to run this workshop again (on a multilingual basis this time, not just French) in Clondalkin Library on April 5th. Tickets are free but should be booked, I'm told, on this eventbrite page. This will celebrate nicely the 2018 edition of International Children's Books Day.
(Photo credits: Sarah Ryan and Zoë Holman.)