Local Musicians Talk Ireland Tour

Ivas John and Marie Meunier, 2016Local musicians Ivas John and Marie Meunier have returned to the U.S. after a tour of Ireland where they experienced an exchange of culture and music.


Initially Marie and Ivas traveled to Ireland to attend a wedding, and used the opportunity to share their music, “We did research ahead of time, finding places that would fit. We got some recommendations and got in touch with people in the music scene,” Ivas said. They both found the live music industry to be thriving. They both agree that it is more prominent than in America, and that there is more focus on the entertainers, “People were mindful and respectful of the music. This was a common theme wherever we went,” Ivas recalled.

“It’s a very musical culture, they really appreciate music,” Marie said, “the particular music we bring, this Americana, country, ballad style is well received because it’s part of the ballad tradition that both of our cultures share.”

After taking in some traditional Irish band and learning 'Star of the County Down,' they found that the culture was rubbing off on them in return.

Ivas and Marie performed together, both singing and playing instruments.

Most of their travels were in Southwest Ireland,  They traveled along the coast to small towns, performing at pubs. There was never a shortage of entertainment, as they recall finding live music even on a Tuesday night, in a town with a smaller population than Jackson.

The couple says they want to return next year, “The music made a pretty solid impression, and now we know people who can help us make a bigger trip out of it,” Ivas said.

During one of their performances, Marie and Ivas made the acquaintance of English actor Jeremy Irons, who is a big fan of roots music, and a musician himself. “He sat in the front row, and just loved it,” Ivas said, “He asked me to give him guitar lessons. I said if he would fly me to Ireland once a month I’d be happy to.”

For Ivas and Marie, music was the key to accessing Ireland’s inner culture, “Music made us more than tourists, it let us connect with people in a way we normally wouldn’t be able to.”

Both feel more confident in their music now that they’ve returned, having a sense of achievement from the experience, "It was my first time traveling internationally," Marie said, "It's such a beautiful, friendly culture."

Ivas John is back to work with a full lineup of events. July 14 he’ll be at Minglewood Brewery, The Lone Wolf on July 15, and next week will play at the Old Feed Store in Cobden, Illinois on July 22, and at The Library on July 29. Learn more on his website. 

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