Not look'in for a fight but it appears as though trad players in Ireland are less uptight about playing a variety of tunes from different genre then some in the U.S.  Since when is a banjo an Irish Trad instrument but you see them all the time in trad Irish music.  Some of the pubs around the U.S. seem to me to be gatekeepers of trad music.  In some cases it gets to the point if you offer something newer in the trad tradition you get asked stick with the program or leave by the owner.  We do have a pretty good trad session in W. Michigan.  If by chance somebody does a Beach Boys tune all the better.  It breaks up the seemingly endless bunch of reels and jigs.

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Right.  Traditions are always changing, and "preserving" a tradition can mean different things to different people.

 

I am not looking for a fight either, but I have noticed that some of the strictest guardians are perhaps less developed as musicians.  [Hides under desk]

Hi James, as far as the Banjo goes, yes it is a relative newcomer, but other instruments like the Bouzouki are even newer to the tradition in Ireland & when it comes right down to it, most of the instruments used to play Irish Music originated in other countries anyway e.g. Violin & Mandolin: Italy, Guitar: Spain, Flute, Concertina & Accordion: Germany, Hammered Dulcimer: Persia or Germany, etc etc.

Instruments like Hand Drums & Whistle are of course pretty universal, but just about the only instruments Ireland can really claim as its own, are the Uilleann Pipes.

However, in the context of its Traditional Music, Ireland has pretty much adopted all the above instruments & made them their own, with makers for most of them now working in Ireland. 

So the Banjo is no more unusual, in an Irish Traditional Music setting, than most of the other instruments we use.

That goes for the Music to, for most of the dance tune structures originate elsewhere too, Jig: France, Reel, Fling: Scotland, Hornpipe: England, Polkas, Slides & Mazurkas: Eastern Europe.

The important thing is, that like the instruments, the tune structures have been adopted & integrated into the tradition, with thousands of tunes having been written here now, as part of the tradition.

At our Trad sessions up here, nobody scoffs at a good traditional tune, no matter whether it is Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton, French, or Cape Breton for that matter, but most do draw the line at Pop or Country music.

Well, you have to have some standards, don't you. :-)

Cheers,

Dick

John, I've pretty much made that same observation... traditions (musical and otherwise) are part of a living, breathing entity called life :)!  I think it rocks when musicians shake things up a little.  After all, most artists will stay true to their "traditonal" genre most of the time.  Many times, traditional music is the style of music (or a close variant) to what a musician had heard as a very young child.  Shiking it up can make a musical connection; music is the international language!

 

John Mortensen said:

Right.  Traditions are always changing, and "preserving" a tradition can mean different things to different people.

 

I am not looking for a fight either, but I have noticed that some of the strictest guardians are perhaps less developed as musicians.  [Hides under desk]

Dick, as always, I am impressed with your forthright, astute observations. I have been saying the same thing over here for quite some time. I owe you a pint. 

Bruce


Dick Glasgow said:

Hi James, as far as the Banjo goes, yes it is a relative newcomer, but other instruments like the Bouzouki are even newer to the tradition in Ireland & when it comes right down to it, most of the instruments used to play Irish Music originated in other countries anyway e.g. ...

 

etc., etc....

At our Trad sessions up here, nobody scoffs at a good traditional tune, no matter whether it is Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton, French, or Cape Breton for that matter, but most do draw the line at Pop or Country music.

Well, you have to have some standards, don't you. :-)

Cheers,

Dick

In "In some cases it gets to the point if you offer something newer in the trad tradition you get asked stick with the program or leave by the owner.  We do have a pretty good trad session in W. Michigan," Jim is referring to two different sessions. I do not go to the first which he mentions anymore. The people who do go to it like the way it is run and that is fine. The second is the weekly session to which we go.

 

But I have never sung a Beach Boys song at the session. Frankie Ifield, yes, but not Beach Boys. Not yet, anyway.

 

Bruce

The Sloop John A maybe?

Oh, that might have been the Beach Bums instead of Beach Boys

If artists stray too far from their roots, or their primary genre, they run the risk of alienating their fanbase...

On the other hand, if they just cross over just a bit into another genre, or make a collaborative musical effort; they can sometimes capture the hearts of an entirely new audience!

I see this is occuring quite frequently between the Irish traditional music and Bluegrass genres, both have which adopted the Afro-American folk instrument - the banjo!

Found this great article on How to Start and Run a Slow Session.  Actually the article wasn't so much on slow sessions but touched on attitudes in sessions.  Pretty well written blog.

http://members.cox.net/eskin/sessiondynamics.html

 

The Chieftains, with Matt Molloy - The Mason's Apron

 

The controversy surrounding this tune clearly ties back to the posted discussion:

How traditional can you get?

"In the nearly two years that I've been studying Irish traditional music, I've been aware that there is a divide between traditional purists and those who will selectively experiment or even accept new musical elements into the genre.

I wonder whether Sean Maguire's playing had been influenced by any training or exposure to classical music (which would explain playing fiddle in third or fifth position, or playing in flat keys etc.)?

Of course, I am American of Irish descent. I can't pretend to be aware of the emotional or politcal ties that may be attached to these tunes. Like all traditional music in the world, these tunes have inextricably woven themselves into the fabric of the daily lives of the people who play them and pass them to the next generations."

As a new student of the genre, I'm very interested to hear more discussion on this topic.

 

"

Found this great article on How to Start and Run a Slow Session.  Actually the article wasn't so much on slow sessions but touched on attitudes in sessions.  Pretty well written blog.

http://members.cox.net/eskin/sessiondynamics.html"

 

Fantastic article James. It covers quite a range of scenarios, and it does offer some constructive methods and strategies toward a convivial session experience.

I think a lot depends on what the session players/owners want and the environment in which it exists. Here in my corner of Florida there are not too many players, and most of the session folks play other genre of music.

From time to time an Old Timey or Bluegrass tune will pop out, and that's fine. And when a new guest joins in we pleased to have the do whatever it is they would like to do.

But we pretty much manage it such that if it starts turning into a Bluegrass jam by folks following one bluegrass tune with another, and another, the person who feels the most need to bring things back on track just jumps in with an Irish tune before another bluegrass gets going and the message it pretty well understood. We do have regular listeners who come for the tunes, and we feel obligated to some degree to serve up a menu such as they have come to expect - mostly ITM with the odd non-ITM tune or song here and there. 

The degree of control exercised should be just enough to keep from losing the character of the session, whatever that has become. I guess it's like the tunes, there is no "right" way to play a tune, and there is no "right" way to run a session. If one doesn't enjoy the manner the session master is running things, pick another session. Or start one. I think of the session leader sorta like a conductor. They may not make (all) the music, but they influence what comes out. 

We're so un-strict we even let a guest sing Danny Boy last week.

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