River Session

Loosely affiliated Irish jam brings song to the riverbed

For unsuspecting strollers out on the River Trail enjoying the lingering warmth of the Sunday afternoon sun, an extra dash of magic is in order. Under the bridge by Frenchy's Field, a gathering of musicians plucks out traditional Irish tunes mostly for themselves, but also for any passersby. The Santa Fe Irish Session—who have been playing reels and jigs for 15 years in an evolving -arrangement of flutes, mandolins, fiddles and washtub basses—found themselves cut apart when the state banned indoor gatherings over a year ago. Refusing to let the tradition go by the wayside, they opted to play outside and at a safe social distance instead.

When playing indoors, crowded around an intimate living room of the Commons Cohousing Community where the session gathered pre-pandemic, rich acoustics defined the sound. Outside, however, proved challenging at first.

"The sound travels pretty slowly and we could not really blend," tin whistle player, Jackie Shane, explains. Seeking shelter from the wind in the bed of the Santa Fe River provided enough protection and physical barriers to enable the players to hear each other.

"It's like a little Red Rocks," Shane adds. "It has really good acoustics."

While the sandy environs might not offer the same comforts of a cozy Irish pub, the jam's new location increases the group's attention from the community.

"We like that we're exposed to the public," Shane tells SFR. "The silver lining of COVID-19 is that the public actually gets to hear us."

With new players coming and going over the years, others have frequented the session for over a decade to gather, drink some whiskey, and play jigs reminiscent of olden days. Shane explains the premise of an Irish session: Anyone can show up and there's no real order to what they play. Though don't confuse this musical gathering with your dad's garage jam session—you'll need to learn the tunes to join along.

"New Mexico is a very friendly place to play," Shane assures, "because we really like to welcome new and upcoming musicians." (William Melhado)

Outdoor Irish Jam:
3-5 pm Sunday, April 11. Free.
Frenchy's Field (but, like, in the arroyo),
2001 Agua Fria St.,

Rufus Forever!

Tony Hauser

The term "singer-songwriter" surely conjures up varying images and sounds from person to person. If you ask us, it's about one person pouring their heart out and maybe getting a band at some point to fill in the musical gaps, but within the pantheon of that great and ethereal style you'll find certain names popping up over and over. Like Rufus Wainwright. Word on the street is that Wainwright has culled from two-plus decades of form and practice for Unfollow the Rules, the sort of album that signifies he's not done yet, but perhaps there's a little bit more to the story about to unfold in unexpected ways. Wainwright returns to the Lensic (albeit in virtual form) for the umpteenth time to show us what he's working on and how he's become one of the most enduring writers and composers of our time. This thing happens the same day this paper hits the streets—so hurry!
(Alex De Vore)

Rufus Wainwright—Ah! Luve Again:
7:30 pm Wednesday April 7. $20.

Broaden Your (Land Use) Horizons 

The Afton Watkins Gardner Photograph Collection, ca. 1920s

New Mexico is a land of many contradictory histories, much of them finding their way into all kinds of artistic mediums. Sometimes-SFR contributor Alicia Inez Guzmán wants to open this discussion with artists rather than hide it away. For creators with a goal of representing New Mexico's land and history, how do we relate to that complex—and often violent—past? Using various visual representations, Guzmán will walk us through the overlapping narratives in this virtual talk on land usage in the state and how we can, through art and dialogue, navigate our future art in a more honest manner. Presented in partnership with Albuquerque's 516 Arts and the Kolaj Institute. (Riley Gardner)

Where Do We Stand:
6 pm Thursday, April 8. Free.

Eyes on Eyes of the World

Courtesy Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian

A new exhibition opening at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and curated by Zachery Miller (Chickasaw) features the legendary work of Navajo neo-impressionist Shonto Begay. Begay's work features much of his own life, reflecting the beauty of his ancestral lands, the government-run boarding schools, life on and off the reservation and the environmental degradation Native land is experiencing. With pieces inspired from Navajo cosmology, Begay's body of work gives comes with a feeling justice–driven nostalgia. The show's up until October, but what's cooler than an opening weekend? (RG)

Shonto Begay: Eyes of the World:
All Day Thursday, April 8. By admission (free for members).
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian,
704 Camino Lejo, 982-4636