Chilean musicians promote Irish culture in the capital city

Hosted by Flannery’s Irish Geo Pub in Las Condes, ‘the sessions’ features music and dancing from the Emerald Isle twice each month.

A warmly-dressed passerby, head down against the cold, glances through a large, wooden-framed window. A dozen musicians seated inside Flannery’s Irish Geo Pub have just opened up with “The Star of the County Down.” Referred to simply as “the sessions”, this group of kindred spirits gathers twice a month, and their music makes the soul smile.

“We are a very warm community. Here, we are friends…We have a drink, we talk,” Lucas Pereyra told This is Chile. “[These are] very healthy people.”

Pereyra plays in a talented local group called Madera Verde.

Candlelight plays off the green-papered walls and wooden trusses above. The front room of Flannery’s feels something like an enclosed patio, but the space is warm and inviting. Muted European soccer matches play on a television next to stained glass interior windows.

Interestingly, most of the band’s musicians are from Latin America. Some, like Pereyra, played for years before discovering Irish music, and consequently, “the sessions” at Flannery’s.

“When I heard Irish music…I said ‘That’s very happy, that’s me. That’s a part of me,’” Pereyra said. “I came here the first time with a blues harmonica. I saw all kinds of people take their instruments and start to play. I said ‘Oh my God, I can do this!’”

The music-makers are situated around several tables on the right side of the room playing fiddles, a whistle, uilleann pipes and a bhodrán. Half-consumed pints of beer lie in front of several musicians. A lively crowd of roughly twenty occupies the left side of the room. The patrons follow the two-hour set energetically as they clap, stomp and sing along to classics such as “The Wild Rover”, “The Fields of Athenry”, and “Molly Malone.”

Irish stepdances, upbeat reels and wistful ballads alike conjure images of a storied place for those with an inclination towards the green. But whether you come for a taste of Ireland, a taste of chicken tikka masala (one of several unexpected menu items), or the novelty of hearing English lyrics sung in an Irish accent by native Spanish-speakers, you will likely find something endearing about the Sunday “sessions” at Flannery’s.

The sessions at Flannery’s take place on the first and third Sunday of each month from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Flannery’s Irish Geo Pub is located near Metro Tobalaba at Encomenderos 83.

By Michael Sun