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Author Topic: Playing fast  (Read 13307 times)

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malcolmbebb

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2013, 07:48:20 PM »

As in all these things, a little research before hitting the "reply" button is in order. And I am 90% sure this specific point has been covered here before.

This is not a reaction to genuine Irish music, nor is it racist. But, in England, there are large numbers of so-called "Irish" music sessions. There is a session near me, a beginners' session, just what I could do with. But I don't go. Why? Because it's an "Irish" session. So there will be a narrow - exclusive - range of music played (still an awful lot of tunes to choose from) in somebody's interpretation of an Irish style. Real or not, I don't know. The English tunes that I like won't normally get a look in.

In many areas the "Irish" sessions are, ironically perhaps, the very exclusive narrow thing that you're complaining about. Oddly enough you are - in my experience - more likely to hear an Irish - or French - or mongrel, like so many tunes nobody really knows where it comes from - tune at an "English" session than at the Irish sessions I've been to.

So "Irish" - keeping the quotes - or maybe quasi-Irish, perhaps more accurately - gets done to death in England. Often very fast. Often diddly-diddly. Often selfish. I have been to a relatively small number of sessions, I have heard the opinions of many others, and there is a huge number of sessions out there. So I can't fully generalise. But - when I saw the line you quoted - I knew straight away what was meant.

You can go to "Irish" sessions anywhere in England. But getting away from them to allow a wider range of music, to a more "inclusive" session if you like - the sort you probably _would_ get at what you'd apparently call a "proper" Irish session - is a damned sight harder than you'd think.

And I think you'd find that a real Irish musician, playing real Irish music - would be made welcome in most places.

It ain't what you're thinking.
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Dino BPII.
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Will Allen

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2013, 07:57:56 PM »

My only advice is to play lightly, heavy fingers never go fast
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george garside

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #42 on: June 14, 2013, 08:22:03 PM »

hoping not to upset some or all English players of ''Irish session tunes''  etc.  But there do seem to be  more than a few so called ''Irish'' sessions  manned totally by non Irish persons who think the main feature of Irish session music has to be playing  at shit off a shovel speed  and also playing now't else!

not only does this  give a wrong impression of the genre but also excludes those  who like some veriety.  The Irish session I occasionaly pop into is manned to a large degree by genuine natives of that land  and not only  am I made welcome but am invited  to play  some of my type of tunes,   

 George ( quickly putting on tin hat and ducking to avoid imminent fast flying shite)  ;)


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deltasalmon

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #43 on: June 14, 2013, 08:29:01 PM »

I'm surprised by all this talk. As a beginner, most sessions I go to people are playing "too fast" and usually I'll go and I'll have instrument in hand. If they play a tune I know well enough I'll try to play. If not I'll just sit. But at every "Irish" (most probably have at least one native of Ireland but certainly there are Americans and others as well) session that I go to, if I just sit there I am always asked to start a set. Sometimes the rest will join in at my pace. Sometimes they'll just listen. But I've never been to one where I start and someone else takes the set from me and runs away with it.
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sine labore

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #44 on: June 14, 2013, 08:35:25 PM »

Goes to show that quality counts.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #45 on: June 14, 2013, 09:31:06 PM »

When we visited Whitby a few years ago, we enjoyed a great night of music and we were made to
feel very welcome there.
If you ever make it to Dorset, maybe we can find somewhere for a beer. Even if there isn't a session nearby.
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Dino BPII.
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Lester

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #46 on: June 14, 2013, 10:08:42 PM »

I know. Shock horror, an Irishman who plays the box and doesn't drink! :o

I'm an even rarer animal - a morris man who is teetotal  :o

george garside

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #47 on: June 14, 2013, 10:18:28 PM »

which must make for more accurate playing!

george ;)
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #48 on: June 14, 2013, 10:30:18 PM »

Just to pick up on aradru's reaction, he'd really have to enquire of the the pub concerned as to exactly what they mean by it, but the fact that they also run "Irish" session on (AFAIR) the other Tuesdays suggests to me that there is no malice. If fact I suspect no one else here would read it as malicious or even discriminatory? Surely just a guide to style for the night? 

The "Irish" sessions in that pub (mind, I'm going back 25 years here)are actually very good indeed. In contrast some of the stuff played over here more resembles a musical version of the Sweep's Derby! Nothing like the lovely steady stuff one hears on West Coast. But that's just my view.

I'm off East tomorrow. First to an "mix of styles" session in the Aire valley, then to a "French" dance by the R.Don. I read both as indicative, and won't feel excluded as a mere anglais

[edit] to reinforce that I was talking about session style rather than anything even remotely ::) racist .. Here's the context of what I said.
… Be advised to label it "steady pace" session (eg via an entry in your loca folk directory) at an early stage. That way should anyone else  ::) happen to turn up and try to force things .. someone can have an assertive conversation with him …
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 10:49:53 PM by Chris Ryall »
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Theo

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2013, 12:21:15 AM »

If I can give some background to the 'Anything but Irish' session.  It was started by some of the first students on the Newcastle Folk degree course who found that almost all the sessions they could find in Newcastle were either exclusively or mainly Irish music.  So they started the  'Anything but Irish' so they could play English, Scottish, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, American and just about anything else you can think of.  Just to give you a hint of the attitude to Irish music: the punishment for anyone who does play an Irish tune is to put an imaginary £1 into the imaginary fines box.
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Pat.

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #50 on: June 15, 2013, 10:28:20 AM »

If the reverse was occurring in Ireland I am sure the sentiments would be the same if not stronger.
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sine labore

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #51 on: June 15, 2013, 10:52:46 AM »

I have just watched a film that where 2 boys (children) were fighting and the mother said " there is something worse to be Irish than not to be Irish!"
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 11:04:30 AM by sine labore »
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2013, 10:54:10 AM »

Actually (Pat)  .. not at all. Gallway was some time back for me but I didn't expect "non-Celtic" and was pleased to hear little that wasn't local. Sat with a nice pint and joined in where I felt I could (it's so much easier at "dance" pace incidentally! Otherwise chorded a bit, think I mentioned that they ventured into F. The Oakwood can go there  8) Tried to avoid Blue notes, until the session group started to swing a bit.

While there was no notice up, the session was manifestly Celtic and I respected that. They asked me to do something, AFAIR I did a song, maybe a mazurka later on as that exists there too?

Had there been a "foreign tunes" session of any kind I'd have felt honour bound to go as I could maybe offer in some new stuff? But there wasn't,  and it didn't bother me at all.

It's all in the mind you see. If you expect problems … you'll somehow find them :-X
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2013, 10:57:16 AM »

I suspect that the Newcastle idea goes back even further.
As a nation we have famously never given a toss for our cultural heritage as any Morris person knows having to put up with ridicule when performing. Our traditional music was also squashed ( long story involving class wars etc ) to the point of dying out save little pockets of old guys on Dartmoor, East Anglia etc. I'm told any 'folk music' meant Irish or similar because we didn't have any.
As a reaction to this Rod Straddling along with The Old Swan Band issued a seminal lp called 'No Reels' simply because the tunes were not diddly speedy stuff but stumpy rhythmic English tunes. About 1968/70? Along wih Flowers and Frolics they raided the old boy's tune repertoire and kick started English music revival.
It's taken us 40 years to re-learn our musical heritage and how we used to play it after nearly loosing it, so we're starting to jealously guard our musical heritage.
In many ways the Irish, Shetlanders and Scots are so lucky to have continuous unbroken cultural traditions that are respected by their nations. In England we're still struggling to re-instate these cultural identities so at times feel strongly that we should play our tunes not someone else's.
Comments about Irish sessions are more about establishing our tunes as opposed to playing another culture's ones.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #54 on: June 15, 2013, 11:05:02 AM »

..... And having the good fortune to dance around Dublin in the early '80's the traditional musicians we met were wonderful. Warm, generous and very open to any tune you played from anywhere in the world. They just loved people playing live music.
Sadly the sessions are not always as open over here as others have stated.
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Chris Ryall

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #55 on: June 15, 2013, 11:06:04 AM »

[3d Bit] We are a bit off "speed" but to be fair … the session in question doesn't demand an imaginary £1 for a French tune, think there were several Swedish ones last time I saw Mother. But your point about jealously guarding your own traditions is well made. Actually that's what it is about, no one else will do that.

Count myself as a cultural carpetbagger incidentally; though I've collected some European stuff over the years I can't regard myself as a Tradition bearer. Whereas Fred Paris is … for all they wrote most of the tunes themselves!
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #56 on: June 15, 2013, 11:11:09 AM »

I suspect that the Newcastle idea goes back even further.
As a nation we have famously never given a toss for our cultural heritage as any Morris person knows having to put up with ridicule when performing. Our traditional music was also squashed ( long story involving class wars etc ) to the point of dying out save little pockets of old guys on Dartmoor, East Anglia etc. I'm told any 'folk music' meant Irish or similar because we didn't have any.
As a reaction to this Rod Straddling along with The Old Swan Band issued a seminal lp called 'No Reels' simply because the tunes were not diddly speedy stuff but stumpy rhythmic English tunes. About 1968/70? Along wih Flowers and Frolics they raided the old boy's tune repertoire and kick started English music revival.
It's taken us 40 years to re-learn our musical heritage and how we used to play it after nearly loosing it, so we're starting to jealously guard our musical heritage.
In many ways the Irish, Shetlanders and Scots are so lucky to have continuous unbroken cultural traditions that are respected by their nations. In England we're still struggling to re-instate these cultural identities so at times feel strongly that we should play our tunes not someone else's.
Comments about Irish sessions are more about establishing our tunes as opposed to playing another culture's ones.
Q
Excellent post! I agree with everything you say and I think your final two sentence are spot-on. 
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #57 on: June 15, 2013, 11:22:43 AM »

When I began my journey in Folk music it was all American square dance. Good fun, but for me meeting Digby, Dan and co (Flowers and Frolics) was the revelation. Old Swan came a few years later, thanks for the info on Stradling btw, thought he lived other side of t'country!

Both of these mythical bands … played at steady pace too  ;)
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george garside

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #58 on: June 15, 2013, 12:31:52 PM »

we seem to have a consensus of opinion that over fast playing is not  particulary desirable  -- which begs the question why is it done so often in so many sessions????.   

That many prefer  a more moderate pacs   is certainly confirmed by the  numbers  who turn up every year for my '' well known tunes at a steady pace'' sessions that I have run for the past 12 years at Whitby folk Week.   Also when I did them at Sidmouth  I once had a headcount of 157  ( the stewards counted people in!)

And just for the record these sessions are not aimed at beginners ( although all are welcome) but  at those who prefer  stuff they can join in with!

george
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Playing fast
« Reply #59 on: June 15, 2013, 12:33:37 PM »

Thanks both Chris and Steve. Glad I didn't sound too pompous!
Rod and the Swans were from Cheltenham, and and I think used to get into the East Anglian repertoire but also started to mine their local Cotswold old boys and I know Paul Burgess has collected tunes and researched into their local traditional players.
I have lovely stories from Jo Fraser ( Freya ) of her when an early teenager being bounced on the knee of local travellers in a backroom of their local in between stepping and playing whilst the Folk Club was trying to emulate ernestly and re-create the Folk tradition up the road, when it was acutally happening under their noses!
Q
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 12:42:05 PM by Thrupenny Bit »
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!
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