Traditional Irish Music
Throughout my life I've been honored to be a part of many different types of "Sessions" (traditional music settings with "indigenous folk" people). One thread that seemed to be a constant was the inclusion of good times with "enhancements". Whether it was in the mountains of Jamaica with the Rastafarians playing Nyabinghi music and reggae ("Ya mon,....de Ganja helps for to feel de music"); a pig roast in the South Bronx, NYC, singing "Jibaro" music and drinking Puerto Rican rum ("Aiii! Soy borrrrracho!!!!!"), sitting in someones' home on the West Coast of Ireland near the mouth of the Shannon River just south of Galway Bay, playing tunes and telling stories with a little Potcheen to take away the chill and loosen the tongues, mellow the voices and make nimble the fingers ("Careful there, boy. That's the real thing!!! Sip it,...sip it,....or you may find yerself wakin' up at the bottom of the Cliffs of Mohr wonderin', 'How did I get here?' "); sitting in a social club on the lower East Side of Manhattan, NYC with a bunch of elderly Black Jazz Musicians, drinking Jack Daniels bourban and an occasional beer and playing some serious jazz ("Hey man,.....remember this one???"); or, my favorite memory of playing with a bunch of Aymara Indians from Bolivia where it seems the custom was to open a bottle (or can) of beer, take a deep swig on it, place it in someones' hand and walk away to get another bottle (or can), ("Daneeeee,.....Daneeeee,.......Daneeeee,......"). After so many beers, of course I had to find relief in the bathroom: closed the door, lifted the toilet seat and proceeded to "do my business". Suddenly, the door burst open. I commented in a panicky voice, "There's someone in here!!!!" In walks 4 Aymara Indians saying, "Daneee, Daneee, Daneee", and they all proceeded to gather aound the toilet bowl and joined me in relieving ourselves. Between the crowding and the swaying of all those bodies around the single bowl, the floor was wet, our shoes were wet, the bowl was wet, my pants were wet and I had to resign myself, "Oh well, can't stop now!!!". They then staggered out of the bathroom ("Daneee, Daneee, Daneee") leaving me in a culture shock and wondering, "OK, how do I clean myself up???"
Which all brings me to the reason of discussion: Would love to hear some Pub Tales or Session Tales and the reasons why we take that pint with such eagerness. And don't tell me, "Sha,....'tis thirsty work, it is".
Also, if you attend sessions that include family, how important is moderation. Ya can't tell your children "Just say no" between sips. Carry on.........
You have certainly had some interesting experiences playing music over the years, Dhomhnaill (or Danny, which name do you prefer?). Your musical experiences have most definitely been wilder and more varied than mine. Obviously, I enjoyed reading about them.
Before the local Irish Sessions started here in 1995, I used to participate regularly in a weekly Blues Jam which was held every Tuesday in the bar at a local restaurant which was a combination Tex-Mex/Southwestern/Mexican place. A lot of the regulars who came there every week to play were only a generation or two removed from the original Delta Bluesmen--especially the semi-retired professional musicians who came by and played when they didn't have a gig on a Tuesday. Sometimes, if these musicians did have a gig on a Tuesday, they would still show up at the Blues Jam and play after their gig was over. You can learn a lot by working with musicians like these. I think I must have absorbed a lot of their knowledge through osmosis. Some of these musicians were dark-skinned and their ancestors obviously came here from Africa while some of the musicians were just as off-white as myself. There were even a few Hispanic musicians who liked to participate also. The important thing was that they liked this particular color of music and they could play it.
I usually prefer to drink beer when I am at a music jam session no matter what type of music we are playing. I play only piano or bass because, over the years, I have learned that those are the two instruments I can play well no matter what condition I am in (sober, drunk, high, whatever).
One more thing, Lawrence, I have found over the years that I now stick to drinking tea; falling off a fiddle is a long way to the ground and unlike a bass or a piano, it offers now support whatsoever!
Thanks for your "personal experiences" comment. I, myself, was never much of a heavy drinker (can't take the morning after well,.....big boom-booms in my head, the "Ungodly Spins".......OUCH!!!). Because of that I often became the designated driver to make sure my mates got home safely. Sometimes things may have happened that my friends didn't believe when I told them. And, not to get depressing but being real, some of those friends are not around today. I'm not going to preach at ye, Tom, but I am a Dad, and have told my kids (2 boys and 1 girl) to be cool. I would say to each of them, "I'm not telling you not to drink,.....I'm just saying watch yourself and take it easy. Moderation is the key to having a good time but staying alive". I apologize to you if this comes across heavy, but your comment touched a part of me that brought up some not-so-pleasant memories with my own children (wrecked cars, lost money, stupid choices, night in jail, trouble with the police, rehab for one of them, etc.).
I'm happy you have an outlet with ITM. Sounds to me like you're an accomplished musician with some pretty intense session mates and some pretty intense sessions. (Now the corny stuff>>>>) You're a young man with a possible bright future. Please be sure to be around to give us more stories of your musical experiences.
Jesus, writing that out's a bit depressing. Cheers, Tom!!!!
My name's Danny, and I.....am going to sleep.
Thanks for the supportive words to my "un-asked for advice" to Tom.
Tom, Yesterday, as soon as I hit the "add reply" button after my comment, I wondered if I should go back to "edit comment" and delete the whole thing. All last night I kept waking up, thinking to myself, "I should learn to keep my mouth shut!!!" I know I hate when people don't mind their own business, and you certainly have every right to tell me to piss-off. And, after all, the content of this discussion is about "enhancements" associated with playing music (specifically sessions). I have to admit, alot of good times come from experiences shared with friends while under the influence. Alot of times, the retold stories that make us laugh hysterically contain disbelief, danger and extreme GOOD LUCK!!! And then there are those times when some stories bring on grief and sadness, containing disbelief, danger and BAD LUCK!!! I've lost good friends and family members over the years due to alcohol and/or drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, car accidents, etc.
Your comment reminded me of one of my sons,.....his boasting of drunken good times, his belief in "NOT ME!!!!",.....and then his totalling his car and being very lucky to walk away from it. Even after that, he shrugged it off and had his "funny story" to tell about his survival,.....until he lost a very dear friend of his under similiar circumstances.
I would be a hypocrite to say that my own experiences were pure and innocent. I've been VERY LUCKY with some of the dumb sh*t I've done. I've been drunk (can't walk, fall down drunk) twice in my life. Didn't like the feeling (the spins, vomiting, sleep of the dead only to wake up to a terrific, horrific hangover)......which caused me to "just get a little high instead". But losing too many people close to me caused me (scared me, really) to embrace moderation. So again, I apologize for the sermon. I guess my own "demon memories" got the best of me. I don't know you but that doesn't stop me from caring. Be cool, dude!!!! Cheers and good health to you,
God,....I feel sooooooo old!!!!! I can remember my own feelings and beliefs in my immortaliy when I was younger. Growing older sometimes has a sobering effect on ye. And yes, Laurence, ye can be clean & sober and still be dealt a fateful hand. But I don't want to dwell on your (Tom's) comment where you (he) feel(s) like your (he's) being ganged up on. You're (He's) a man and will have no choice but to assume responsibility for actions. Cheers Tom,....cheers Laurence!!! Now let's hear some more stories.
I remember one time playing at a pub (years and years and years ago,....not ITM), meeting a fine young lady and feeling really good about meself. The bartender was extremely happy with our performance (brought in alot of punters) and to show his appreciation bought a round for the players. Not a round of brew, but of the "hard stuff". He handed me an 8oz. glass filled to the rim with Vodka. Since I was a wee bit tipsy, and feeling SOOOO GOOD, (what with the pretty lady on me arm and all), I accepted the drink and downed it like a thirsty man on the desert. Big mistake!!!! (This was one of the two times I got drunk). Anyway, long story short, I somehow lost track of the lady and was taken home by a good friend. He brought me to my door, leaned me against the wall and left me there. After fumbling with my keys for a few minutes (seemed like hours), me mum opened the door, letting out a shriek of dismay ("OH DANNY!!!! WHAT"S WRONG WITH YOU???") and she started crying. I mumbled to her that, "I'm OK!!!" and hurriedly went down the hall to my room bouncing off the walls like a pinball game pinball (thank God those walls were there otherwise I never would have made it). I made it to my bedroom and as mothers would do, she followed me in and began wailing like a professional mourner ("SSSHHHHH!!! WHY ARE YE CRYING!!! SSSHHHHH!!! DON'T CRY!!!!"). The rest becomes hazy!!! The room started spinning (eyes opened or closed didn't matter), I pulled a waste basket to the side of the bed (great impromptu container for vomit) and passed out. Me MUM (God bless her) stayed with me all night to make sure I didn't die. Of course, in the morning I wasn't spared the "being yelled at" with a Head Banging Hangover to boot.
Years later, when I told this story to my kids, they gave me a look and said, "You see!!! You've got alot of nerve yelling at us!!! You made grandma cry!!!" My defensive reply was, "Yeah,....b-b-b-but I learned from that mistake. Now go to your room and read a book or something!!!"
Young???,...stupid???,....foolish??? Who,...ME??? Yeah,...b-b-b-but I learned from that mistake. Now go to your room and read a book or play some tunes or something!!! Cheers,