Traditional Irish Music
Well, today was the awaited harmonica festival at Lake Charlotte and I thought I would share some of my experiences at this event with you.The event was held at the "Memory lane village" wich consists of a general store built in 1894. Inside you see all labels from yesteryears on the shelves. On the counter, an old mechanical cash register that is still in use....A far cry from today's computers. Adjoining this is the souvenir shop. Very nice items for sales but...very expensive. Next. there is the one room schoolhouse built in 1950. Outside of this there is a replica of a two seater "outhouse". Then the United church built in 1897. Then you have the "Irvin Webber's homestead" It was built in 1900.Mr. Webber was a farmer as seen by his barn and also a "mechanic as seen by the garage built in1948...two years after I was born...Then you have the community hall built in 1935. Next to this, there is the Gold prospecting complex.A little distance from this, you have the "Norm Hutt boathouse". They used to built fishing boats there in 1950. This is next to the "Inshore Fisherman's store. All this has been preserved as if frozen in time. For example, there is an old car in the garage that looks as if undergoing a major overhaul. It's been repainted and looks almost new. All the buildings contain the furnitures used during that period. Now enough of this. This is where the harmonica gathering took place. At 1030am, registrations began for all festival passes, classes and admission fees. From 1100 am to 1245, this was the morning classes. Classes were:"Beginners "Old Time" class. This lecture was given in the church. People bought harmonicas from the general store (Suzuki 10 holes single reeds in C) to be used for the classes. There was also a children only Beginner class. The kids would learn one tune on the harmonica they bought at the store.From 1200 to 1245, There was an adult beginner class in "Blues" During the same time period, there was a "Celtic Stew Demonstration,Celtic and folks Techniques Demonstration and discussion....very interesting.This lecture was given by 4 different instructors. In the afternoon,the first lecture was a brief history of the harmonica and its Blues Players. From 245pm to330pm, this was the "Camp fire" tune for beginners.From 245pm to 330 pm this was the "Intermediate Melodic Blues (Back harp) Class. Now all these classes were $5. each. From 1100am to300pm .there was some jams in the homestead This is a drop in affair and perfect for sharing a few tunes in an intimate setting. Picture this.... A normal 1940 living room with a Harmonium against the wall and all the armchairs forming a semi circle around it. Very comfortable indeed. Fromm 330pm to 430 pm is the jamboree This was the chance to play a few tunes in an informal song circle set up. The schedule for the day was very busy. I had the chance to talk with two harmonica players in the parlour jam. The two of them were in their eighties and still going strong....A living proof that harmonica players don't die...This made me the junior, something I'm not used to. We played quite a few tunes together. This was refreshing. They, like us preferred to play "Folk and Irish music and they were very good at it.To finish off, there was the evening showcase where some of the finest players in Canada performed. This covers it all. Your truly.
Sound good Normand! I wish there were harmonica festivals like that in the Netherlands. Curious about the instructors from the "celtic stew" discussions.
The instructors for the Celtic stew were as follows: Alastair MacDonald, a gentleman from Cape Breton who is a songwriter with hundreds of compositions, many of which have been recorded by Maritime artists.Mike Currie was the next one. He has played harmonica for 65 years. My 51 years are very small compare to this gentleman It is interesting to know that he has played with Evans and Doherty, a very well known Celtic duo in Canada. He was also a member of the Port of entry band and is now managing the Kindred Spirits Band which plays Maritime, Celtic and Traditional music. The last one was James Thurgood who has played harmonica for 50 years. He has recorded two CDs : Handy Little Rig and One-Man Harmonica.He comes from the North shore of Nova Scotia.Their material was well researched and well delivered. In other words ,Boyen, I couldn't have done better myself. Best of the day to you