Traditional Irish Music
As this is a site that deals with people having sufficient outlets/venues/opportunities etc to play and practice their music, what do the members think? Personally I think there should be more spontaneous opportunities to get together with others. To play at short notice. Get a few players together on a Saturday afternoon, head into town and pick a bar and have a few tunes ? Maybe on Sunday morning have a few tunes, a family session? Why be constrained by the weekly late night session?
What do our members think? What are the opportunities where you live? Are they limited? Let us know your thoughts and ideas?
Well Tony, as someone who is lucky enough to get out to four very different Pub Sessions every week, I feel that I get my fair share of regular music.
However, these things didn't happen by accident & the fact is, only one of those sessions was actually established before I came to North Antrim, the other three I had to start, myself.
What was it my Christian Mother used to say ..."The Lord helps those, who help themselves".
So basically, if anyone feels that there aren't enough opportunities in their area, then there is absolutely no point in just sitting around moaning about it, they have to get up off their fat ar$e & as Captain Kirk would say ... "Make it So!"
As someone who actually busked for a living in Dublin back in 1979/80, usually in the Merchant's Arch by the Ha'penny Bridge, I am quite happy to take my Fiddle out anywhere & play a tune, so I agree with Tony, there is absolutely no need to restrict yourself to the night time Pub environment.
The fact is, as everyone who has been to a Fleadh knows, tunes sound very different when played in the open air & if you have been to Fleadhs & never played out on the street, then Shame On You, I'd suggest, that's one of the main reasons for going to a Fleadh ... after all, you have all Winter to sit in cozy, stuffy Pubs!
Even playing music in your local Pub, but going in there on a Sat or Sun afternoon for a change, can make a whole World of difference. With the Sun streaming in through the windows & a nice quiet relaxed atmosphere in the place, you often find you play in a more relaxed manner, often coming out with a completely different selection of tunes. I find that instead of the dreaded & often very boring staple diet of just Reels + a few Jigs, you end up playing a whole variety of different, slower tunes, so Slip Jigs, Planxty, Mazurkas, Flings, Marches, Slides, Polkas & even Airs find themselves being played .... without everyone rushing off to the Bar or the Loo!
No need to restrict yourself to Pubs either cause, as we all know, the music sounds great in the Kitchen, so if you have a large kitchen, why not invite a few friends around, or start a monthly or fortnightly circle of friends kitchen sessions. Kitchen sessions especially suit old Tea Totallers like myself!
That said, Surprise! Surprise! of course you do NOT need alcohol to play music & anyway, with the price of drink what it is now, Tea, Coffee, Sanwiches & Biscuits can make for a pleasant change to the atmosphere of an afternoon session.
I lived for many years in the wilds of Aberdeenshire & the Cairngorm Highlands, both Gobi Deserts when it comes to Irish Music, so I had to get very inventive to create regular music session opportunities & although I didn't get enough, hence my move to Antrim, I was able to enjoy regular session by inviting musicians over to stay weekends & as anyone else who is or has found themselves geographically isolated from other musicians will know, if you get even one good session a month, that can help to keep you focused & motivated, but the emphasis should be on the word regular.
Anyway, my message is simple, if there are not enough musical opportunities around you .... it's up to you to make them happen!
I live in an extremely rural and non-musical area, so I have to travel at least 80 miles to get into a session. So, that's a bit of a downer...and I wish there were more opportunities. But, I make the most of things, and I bring my instruments when I travel. I will be heading down to Milwaukee, WI next weekend for Irish Fest...there are always sessions there. I don't think I will bring my fiddle (only 1 year in), but I'm bringing my tin whistle! (not as heavy either!) Also, this fall we will be going up to Marquette, MI, and I understand there are alot of sessions up there!
I envy people in larger cities where there is a community of musicians. If you got it...use it!! It's so much fun!
Tony, if there was that much opportunity, I would'nt need your website. I do note that we seem to have 2 members in my county now which represents 100% growth in recent weeks!!
We have a local "thing" that calls itself a session, but its not. Its mainly a singing circle with a few tunes thrown in. Being in England, it tends to be much more "folk" than Irish Trad oriented. Having said that, I'm not moaning. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king! - its better than nothing.
If there are any other players of Irish Trad in Chesterfield, they are keeping it quiet so far! I am prepared to travel and believe that there is more opportunity in Sheffield. I see we only have 1 member from South Yorkshire at the moment though.
Derbyshire badly needs your website Tony. Hopefully numbers will swell and we can kick something off. It's still a bit of a dream at the moment mind. Then again, I have time to practice so hopefully I will be ready for it when it does happen.
I like it. However it only take 3-4 to start a session and over time I am sure we will uncover people and get them interested again to the point where they may take out the instrument and start playing. We have done fantastically well after being live for only 4 months. Wait till we are three years old - that should give you enough time to practice ???
Hmmmm, 3 years may not be enough. But don't worry, I'm keeping the faith !
Tony Lawless said:I like it. However it only take 3-4 to start a session and over time I am sure we will uncover people and get them interested again to the point where they may take out the instrument and start playing. We have done fantastically well after being live for only 4 months. Wait till we are three years old - that should give you enough time to practice ???
There are great comments being said here,....but I think there may be musicians intimidated by the thought of joining in on a session,....or even creating one. "Am I good enough??? Will they allow or want me to play with them???" (Not even mentioning Session Etiquette!!!) Well, to respond to that, "Ya gotta start somewhere!!!!" I like the idea of the "kitchen/parlour session",....going back to the true tradition of early ITM. Having a relaxed atmosphere with 3-4 good friends can be a rewarding experience,....something to look forward to. Even as Mike Orme states, "more folk than Irish trad", can be enjoyable. At least you're playing. AND by bringing a variety of your own likes (ITM) you can expand the group's repertoire and experience with a different type of music. Even having them listen to what ITM should sound like could be helpful in having the "session mates" more in sync, instead of a "Jamming Session". As far as people like Barry and Nancy where travel or area interests levels makes it almost or totally impossible, there's always websites like LiveTrad.com where they can do a virtual thing and play along. Even YouTube might be a helpful outlet. I also live in a rural area which has cut the frequency of my session playing, but I don't let it stop me,....even if money, travel or time do. Cheers to all,
I know what you mean Laurence. I think the key is getting the members at the right kind of level, and if you can achieve this it can be a much more rewarding experience as you can see yourself getting better. This works better at the more advanced level of course where the musicians have good rythmn and feel and are able to play, but may not have the outlet. This approach is at the heart of Tradconnect and that is why I have so many profile question on joining, as it is the only opportunity to get the information out of people. It a crude measure of ability but we needed something. If anyone has any better category ideas let me know as we can alter them.