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Author Topic: Sessions in/around Boston  (Read 999 times)

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WestOz

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Sessions in/around Boston
« on: June 22, 2019, 08:41:53 AM »

Is anyone aware of any "English" sessions in the Boston area - I will be there first 2 weeks of August.
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WestOz

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2019, 08:43:12 AM »

I should have specified Boston Massachusetts.
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Mark Leue

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 02:06:26 PM »

English Melodeon sessions are, as far as I know, not a thing anywhere in the US.  The closest we have is the annual "squeeze in"  In Becket, MA, this held on the 20th and 21st of September,   There are various generally Irish oriented jam sessions all around the Northeast, and no doubt many other parts of the country where a player who knows some of the tunes could certainly play.
If I'm ignorant of any regular (even partly)  English tune sessions outside of Morris ales here in the US, I'd love to hear about them. Outside of The English country dance world(tiny!) the Morris world (not so tiny, but America is a big place so still fairly small) and some random Steleye Span fans who got sucked down the English trad rabbit hole, English traditional music is not even regognized as a genre here. Irish and Scottish, are huge.  Two bad they might not be part of Britain much longer.
We do have Wonderfull dance music of our own, both southern (square clog, etc) and northern (contra, polka etc.)  and our neighbors just to the north's music can be found in quecquois sessions.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 09:36:55 PM by Mark Leue »
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Eshed

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2019, 08:43:23 PM »

There's at least one Morris side over there. http://www.pinewoodsmorris.org/
Might not be a full fledged session, but contact them and you might get to a practice or find some play buddies.
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Mark Leue

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2019, 09:27:14 PM »

There are actually about 200 Morris sides.  And lots of rapper, sword, a little Molly and some clog sides on top of that.  I belong to two myself.  Boston has at last count, close to 20 sides!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 09:28:54 PM by Mark Leue »
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WestOz

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2019, 05:52:07 AM »

I have made contact with Pinewood Morris- interestingly one of their dancers emigrated to Australia in the 70's, danced with us (Perth Morris Men) for a year, then went on to murder his wife. I hesitate to speculate as to whether Morris Dancing was in any way causative, but it arouses strong emotions in some people.
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smiley

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2019, 10:37:10 PM »

When I danced with Blackwattle Morris in Sydney (early 1980s) they said one of their former dancers had gone on to murder someone in Tasmania.
I just murder the music.
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Eshed

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2019, 11:26:50 PM »

I toyed with the idea of starting the first local side.
I'm now having second thoughts...
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boxcall

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2019, 01:10:43 AM »

All that stick whacking more than the music , I suspect ;)
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Jesse Smith

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2019, 04:18:03 PM »

If I'm ignorant of any regular (even partly)  English tune sessions outside of Morris ales here in the US, I'd love to hear about them. Outside of The English country dance world(tiny!) the Morris world (not so tiny, but America is a big place so still fairly small) and some random Steleye Span fans who got sucked down the English trad rabbit hole, English traditional music is not even regognized as a genre here. Irish and Scottish, are huge.  Two bad they might not be part of Britain much longer.

I guess the question is, why is this the case? It's not like English tunes are entirely foreign to Americans like they might be to someone in, say, Mongolia. English songs and tunes form large parts of the foundation of our own traditional music, most of our nursery rhymes come from England, and Americans have embraced British pop music since the British Invasion and never really stopping.

But it's true, there are a thousand Irish sessions for every English or "general traditional" session. I live in a mid-sized American city with about 250,000 people within the city limits and a bit over a million in the entire metropolitan area. I can easily attend any number of Irish sessions, a Scottish pipe and drum group, various electric blues jams, bluegrass jams, jazz jam sessions, singer/songwriter open mic nights. There's a "Concertina Club of Western New York" which actually means playing Polish-American polkas on the Chemnitzer concertina. I can even play in an Indonesian gamelon group if I want! But nowhere have I found people playing traditional English tunes. There's an old time American fiddle jam that might be my closest bet, maybe I should check them out.

So how to change this? I know there are other musicians around who know some of these tunes or would be happy to learn. There's actually a large crossover with the contra dance repertoire. Maybe someone just needs to start a session and get things rolling in a visible way. Seems like a lot of work though.  ::)
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Theo

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2019, 04:45:15 PM »


I guess the question is, why is this the case? It's not like English tunes are entirely foreign to Americans ...

Probably for the same reason that English traditional music is largely unknown in England outside of the folkie community.  Its just not a part of mainstream culture the way it is in Ireland and Scotland.   The average punter in an English pub hearing music played on fiddles, boxes, etc will usually think it is Irish, until the musicians educate them!
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2019, 09:38:01 PM »


I guess the question is, why is this the case? It's not like English tunes are entirely foreign to Americans ...

Probably for the same reason that English traditional music is largely unknown in England outside of the folkie community.  Its just not a part of mainstream culture the way it is in Ireland and Scotland.   The average punter in an English pub hearing music played on fiddles, boxes, etc will usually think it is Irish, until the musicians educate them!

Yes - what Theo said! But it is gradually changing, I think. We have sessions in pubs in my local areas (Sheffield and Lincolnshire) where a lot of English music is played. Also down in Suffolk when I get the chance to visit. And definitely at the big Folk Festivals - Whitby and Sidmouth come to mind especially. It's partly a question of people/musicians becoming familiar with the English repertoire, which is large and with new stuff being discovered all the time - the current threads about the Roose and Buttrey manuscripts support this.

So how to change this? I know there are other musicians around who know some of these tunes or would be happy to learn. There's actually a large crossover with the contra dance repertoire. Maybe someone just needs to start a session and get things rolling in a visible way. Seems like a lot of work though.  ::)
Again - just start playing some of the standard English repertoire with your friends and gradually expand it as you go.
A really good resource to get hold of is (the late) Barry Callaghan's* tunebook 'Hardcore English' published by the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
ISBN-10: 0854182012

It's more than just a tune book, there are comprehensive notes about the origins of the tunes too. Covers all types of tunes: hornpipes, triple-time hornpipes, jigs, reels, etc. Highly recommended.

Get it here:
https://uk.patronbase.com/_EFDSS/Store/Item?id=76

*Barry was a very fine Sheffield-based musician, principally melodeon and anglo concertina, and made many archive recordings/videos of traditional musicians playing in pubs, etc, during the 1970s and 1980s. An early member of the Lizzie Dripping musicians, he taught me much about playing for dancing, and his sudden and definitely premature death was a sad loss to the folk world.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2019, 10:31:43 PM »

My session is predominantly English, and has been for years.
The morris connection brought us together with the Old Swan Band and Flowers and Frolics and we've been friends for over 40 years along with their influences. Plus local hero Bob Cann, playing English music is what we do, with a few other common French/Scandanavian tunes commonly played too.

Along side Hardcore English, Nick Barber's tune books with accompanying CD if required have a lot of tunes in current circulation.
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Rob Lands

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2019, 11:04:23 AM »

Although not the book I go to first 'One Thousand English Country Dance Tunes' Michael Raven has a lot in it.  Considering it dates to 1984 you must admire the effort of compiling quite so many tunes. 
Steve mentioned Buttery & Roose. Both have an English root but do not confine themselves to English music.  For example Roose has sections devoted to Minstrel Songs and many tunes for songs from the London Theatres from late C18 and early C19.
Lots of manuscripts to look at on the Village Music Project websitehttps://www.village-music-project.org.uk/
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2019, 11:49:58 AM »

I think it's why I like ( and frequently refer to ) Nick Barber's tune books.
They reflect tunes being played currently in sessions, whether that be from England, predominantly, or other corners of the world.
For me it's what I hear most often and is a useful 'go-to' guide to look for a tune once heard at a session.
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Rob Lands

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2019, 07:36:03 PM »

Trouble is - once books are mentioned you have to add to your collection.  Cheaper than a melodeon though.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2019, 08:14:18 PM »

Rob, I know what you mean, but with Nick's books and Hardcore English you have everything you need.
They give you a massive 'mainstream' repertoire, more than you'll ever play, and a great reservoir of tunes if someone gives you a name.
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Rob Lands

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2019, 11:10:15 AM »

Already have them and many more. Still ordered another two yesterday.  But when I go to stands at festivals I can usually say- got it, got it........
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2019, 01:23:11 PM »

Rob, I tend to be the same, but somehow walked out of Halsway Manor on monday with another one.
Dunno how that happened ..  ;)
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Thrupenny Bit

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

John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Sessions in/around Boston
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2019, 01:33:24 PM »

Not being able to read music, saves me a lot of money  >:E
My son lives just outside Boston but it's no good asking him, he seems to have no interest in music.

SJ
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