Posted June 2007
The sound of a Celtic harp seems foreign in a lab full of humming fans, whirling DNA sequencers and buzzing lights until you meet the man behind the music. Then the seamless blending of the sounds of science and music make perfect sense.
As described by his former advisor Dr. Lawrence Smart, Irony Sade is "a Renaissance man" with varied interests and passions - ranging from music to medicine.
A biotechnology major who completed his BS degree this spring, Sade will attend SUNY Upstate Medical University this August to earn his medical degree. Because a previous bachelor's degree in ethics didn't meet premed requirements Sade chose ESF to complete his premed requirements.
"Through ESF's biotechnology program I could study all across the different sciences. It's is the most flexible for someone who wants to take a lot of science," said Sade.
Sade decided to pursue medicine while in Tonga with the Peace Corps. In Tonga his knowledge of basic medicine earned him the unofficial role of village doctor. "This is where I conceived the notion to be a doctor," he said.
When he returned to the States, he decided to spend one year working as a nurse to "see if I could stand being a doctor." He entered nursing school in 2002 and subsequently became a nurse at Community General Hospital. Sade entered ESF in 2004.
Sade went to Tonga to serve as a business advisor and teach carpentry. The later skill he's used to build his own Celtic harps.
He built his first wire-string harp in 2002 after learning the history of the centuries-old instrument that was all but extinct. Once an instrument common among the bards of Ireland, it died out in the 1500s when Queen Elizabeth outlawed Gaelic. The instrument has enjoyed a renaissance of its own as musicians like Sade have built their own harps and tracked down the folk music of Ireland.
He and his brother, Omen, released a CD of harp and flute music "Rising Sea," in 2004. The entirely acoustic recording features music from Ireland, Scotland, England, Iceland and two pieces written by Sade during his time in the South Pacific.
When building his harps, he drew on his years spent working as a carpenter and contractor to choose the appropriate wood, one that was strong yet had some give. His first harp's soundboard was made of spruce but after two years in the tropics with the Peace Corps he needed to build a new one and used laminated craft birch which is a stronger wood.
While in Tonga he also collected songs and tales of the South Pacific which he has performed and told as a professional storyteller. Sade has also written stories based on life in the South Pacific and his own experiences.
Sade connects his scientific studies to music when he talks about the environment, drawing a parallel between ecosystems and an orchestra. Different species are similar to different parts of an orchestra, he said, and as a species comes and goes so do different instruments playing in an orchestra. "There is no rigid statis in ecology, just as there is none in music. Something comes in then something else comes in. You never have a static point."
"He's very interested in the health of society as a whole, in particular those who are less able to fend for themselves," said Smart. Sade has served as a patient advocate at Community General.
"He's extremely bright," said Smart, who marveled at how much Sade packed into his schedule between wife and teenage daughter, his studies, his work at Community General, and his music.
Sade explains it simply, "You may have noticed I can't ever do just one thing."
ESF Students Make their Mark
- Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni RanksDegrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
- Chemistry Student Wins AwardGraduating senior Curtis Wilhelmsen recognized by environmental division of the American Chemical Society
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
- ERE Major Builds Lengthy Resume at ESFTight-knit community, real-world experience made college stand out
- ESF Students Win StoryFest CompetitionTop prize is trip to Brazilian Rainforest for storytelling expedition
- Student from Nepal Finds Her Niche at ESFJyotika ‘Nicci’ Shah plans career in water quality
- ESF Education a Family Affair for Schiavone BrothersThree siblings share a major and a graduation date
- ESF Nordic Skier Competes in World University GamesConducts study on perfluorocarbons between races
- Academics, Athletics, Affordability Lure Soccer Captain to ESFHeather Carl makes her mark on campus
- Daily Adventures Mark Trip to South AmericaRosen Fellowship funds experience of a lifetime
- Student from Italy Finds Motivation at ESF"Here I am constantly pushed to do more"
- Walk on the Wild SideFellowship Funds Trip to South Africa
- USA President Focuses on Building RelationshipsBen Taylor leads 'growth year' for student government
- ESF Junior Honored as 'Unsung Hero'Shewa Shwani to receive award at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
- ‘Jet’ Lewis Builds Busy Life as ESF SophomoreCalifornia resident says diverse ideologies made ESF stand out
- Dedication to Environment Brings Student to ESF from Mexico'There is no other place like ESF,' freshman says
- Beer Eases Final Moments for Euthanized InvertebratesGraduate student seeks humane method for ending lives of research subjects
- ERE Major Tackles Wastewater Plan in IcelandFink Fellowship Supports Summer Abroad
- 44 ESF Students Spend Summer as DEC Interns‘Phenomenal’ range of work can help launch careers
- Paper Engineering Boosts Student through Semester AbroadGraduate-level classes and travel highlight trip to Germany
- ESF Alumnus Begins Peace Corps Service Caleb Rudge to spend two years in Paraguay
- Dream Becomes Reality for ESF SeniorRosen Fellowship supports summer internship in Stockholm
- Summer on the FarmFink Fellowship sends ESF junior to work on Thousand Islands farm
- SRC Fellowship Supports Student in Battle against Mosquitoes Chemical compound could help stop spread of disease
- ESF Landscape Architecture Students Receive ASLA HonorsHonor and merit certificates presented
- ESF Student Finalist for Olmsted Scholar AwardKathryn Chesebrough recognized for academic excellence
- ESF Graduate Joins Teach for America Peter LeDuc finds passion for teaching at ESF
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Two ESF Students Earn SUNY Chancellor’s AwardFoley, Zubair honored for excellence
- Closed-Loop Art: Woodburner Uses Material at HandSenior donates artwork to Student Showcase Symposium
- Honors Student Works with 'Best Thing Ever': ElephantsTravel takes Yvonne Lim to Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
- ESF Ph.D. Student Selected as Junior Fellow in Korea
- The Cheer Fun of ItESF student leads SU cheer team
- Ph.D. Student Appointed to Federal Advisory PanelYang joins National Coal Council
- ‘Great Experience’ Takes Grad Student to BulgariaMLA student spends summer monitoring primitive horse population
- ESF Senior Wins Fulbright Research AwardGabriel Smith heads to Sweden to study fungi
- ESF Grad Student Awarded Rare Book School ScholarshipProgram delves into history of hand papermaking
- ESF Senior Honored at National STEM ConferenceCSTEP student Danielle Berry wins second place for poster
- Meghan JohnstoneTraveler in Australia, Nature Conservancy Intern
- Michael AmadoriAquaponics Research
- Ryan HenrySU's biggest sports fan.
- Lauren AlteioHarvard Forest Program
- Brookhaven National Laboratory InternsCourtney Buckley, Daniel Larkin, Michael Norman and Beverly Agtuca
- Brendan-Michael Galloway Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship
- Lynne BeattyMarine resources workshop participant
- Kristen AnthonyLandscape Architecture student, and SU competitive skier
- Craig LazzarEssay Contest nets ESF Senior $10,000
- Zachary KingBiotechnology Researcher
- Daniele BakerSUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Recipient
- Greg BoydESF Senior, biodiesel expert
- Khristopher DodsonPublisher of Envi magazine
- Cara StaffordInvasive Plant Technician, Catalina Island
- Irony SadeBiotechnology Major
- April Karen BaptistePh.D. Candidate, Fulbright scholar, ESF
- Leah Dudziak & Lisa RuggeroTwo ESF Students on SU Dance Team