The fiddles and tin whistles will play for the last time at Molly Malone’s, Thursday, after 12 years of weekly Irish music.
Southside fiddler Teresa Shine and her brother John have led the traditional Thursday night Irish jam session — or “sessiun” in Gaelic — no sheet music allowed, for more than a decade. Players of Irish music sit in a circle in front of a roaring fire in the winter, trading traditional reels, hornpipes and jigs. Songs have titles like “Red Haired Girl,” “Kesh Gig,” “The Lilting Banshee,” and “The Maid Behind the Bar.” The tunes are short and players repeat them three times, with more musical ornamentation as the song goes on.
The pub is in the process of transferring to new ownership and current owner Bobby Gomez said he didn’t know what the plans were for the two-story, Irish-themed pub. The pub will likely close at the end of the month, Gomez said. It was listed for sale for $1.2 million.
Irish music is popular around the world, and musicians can find jam sessions online at sites such as www.thesession.org.
Theresa Shine teaches Irish fiddle at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. She has performed at the University of Chicago Folk Festival and just played on a traditional Irish CD released by Galway Arms session-leader Paddy Homan.
She said she’s sad to see the sessions come to an end, “especially because it’s the only one in the western suburbs. So many regulars stumble in with an instrument here because they live nearby.”
Shine thinks sessions offer an alternative to sports games broadcast on a television set.
“It’s not a show; it’s a gathering,” she said. Patrons can still socialize with their friends.
“They can listen or they can talk and have their ear listening to the live music.”
Shine plays at another session at Clancy’s Pizza Pub in Oak Lawn on Friday nights and hits another one twice a month. She believes there’s a market for a session in the neighborhood, including Forest Park at one of the Irish-themed pubs.
“There are so many musicians who live nearby. Monday morning I’m going to be on the phone trying to find a new spot.”
“Molly’s has been great. They always keep it going, and never cancelled it for a sporting event or anything. They were very gracious to always keep it a weekly thing.”
Molly Malone’s last Irish session starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. at 7652 Madison St.
This article has been updated to clarify that Molly Malone’s will likely close at the end of the month.