Hearing the Trumpet

Andrew Hennessey

In my younger, lonelier days I always had a hankering to play my Scottish fiddle music in a successful Scottish dance band.
Various line-ups had come and gone and although I have played with many gifted musicians, they themselves always seemed to have lots of other and indeed more important musical irons in the fire than just playing Traditional dance music.

So it seemed somewhat of a miracle when the wonderful Scottish ceilidh band called Bon Accord with Hector on drums and calling and Paul and David on virtuoso accordion asked me to play with them at their prestigious residency spot at Dalhousie castle near Gorebridge.

It was really special to hear these guys play and for me to recognise the fact that I could play with them.
At that time of my life I was staying in Rosyth and had the misfortune to notice various UFO and paranormal phenomenon attendant on my life.
Indeed it did rather seem that at times I was beseiged in my own home by low flying Ufos, bright blue-white, gold and turquoise faerie lights following me down the road and to add to the feeling of unease, a flock of the local crows seemed to deploy in that area.
When I was awakened yet again early in the morning by the same caw cawing - I rather petulantly and quietly mimicked the crow in a cheeky but quiet way - the noise level of my cheek would not have been heard in an adjacent room in my house.
Imagine my shock to suddenly hear banging and flapping and enraged cawing against the middle of my window as the big black furious bird was trying to flap its way through the glass to get me for my insolence !! It was like a scene from Hitchcocks ‘the Birds’.
It appeared to have heard me mimic it under my breath from the rooftop of the house across the street and taken it personally !!
Alas though, crows were the most natural looking sight I have seen hopping across the roofs there.

In this context therefore to have real meaning and purpose to my musical life was very important to me as it added in a sense of normality and achievement.

One late summers evening I had headed into central Edinburgh early to play with Bon Accord and had made sure that I was near the venue in plenty of time with my fiddle and accessories. It was a warm, bright early summers evening as I crossed
the road heading for the pavement and seats beyond the rows of parked cars in St Andrews square.
My plan was to relax for about half an hour on one of the many wooden benches that were vacant at this time of day after the rush hour.
Fiddle in one hand accessory case in the other I headed through the parked cars to a couple of benches - one occupied by two older looking small ladies who seemed to be staring in a vacant way.

As I passed a big old Range Rover with some poster in its rear window about a military fair in aid of some Forces charity - suddenly the loudest, hardest most piercing horn it was possible for pained human eardrums to hear, blasted out my right ear drum. The foghorn blast-sound lasted several seconds but I noticed that neither old lady moved, flinched or reacted to the sound  and they were as close to it as I was.
Dropping what I was carrying too late I held my very painful right ear.

Having spent my free half hour feeling very sore I went over to the Balmoral Hotel and set up with the guys.
I was a bit worried about the possibility of hearing damage but I didn’t worry for long - the sound of my own violin and other instruments rent my right ear with sharp extremely painful stabs.
To my great distress I realised that not only could I not play this gig but that it was very unlikely I would be able to play other gigs.
Somehow the most bizarre weird dark event had robbed me of my musical journey and my opportunity to play with this great dance band.
Months went by and my right ear was so sore it could not handle even the sound and vibration from a gently played acoustic fiddle.
I lost a great client when I could not play as promised at his friends wedding.

I remember praying for healing, for assistance as a part of my life had been terminated under the most evil circumstances.
Very suddenly however my hearing returned, distinct as ever and there were absolutely no traces of hearing loss or tinnitus.

A true miracle seemed to have righted the wrong.

Some might say - it just healed up - but ask any musician about hearing damage - such loss is usually permanent and will often feature tinnitus

Scottish Andrew


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