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Author Topic: National Folk Festival. Canberra. Australia.  (Read 2274 times)

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pushpullefty

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National Folk Festival. Canberra. Australia.
« on: March 18, 2008, 12:46:27 PM »

Hi Guys.

Just a little and probably too late reminder that the Nash is about to happen! If you happen to be a travelling Box player in Oz, or a Folk/Trad Music Affectionardo, Canberra is the place to be over Easter!

To us Aussies, no matter what tradition we are bound to, this is surely the Festival that allows us all to get together and celebrate, compare notes, swap tunes, insult one another, and play our squeeze boxes, even with those who play other instruments. It is the only healthy sessioning festival left in the country (can I elicit a response??) as far as I can tell. I don't go to South Australia any more though as they don't give you free beer for playing there!!!! Queensland, WA & NT are just too hot.

Um Yes. Maybe we could all get together and hold an extraordinary meeting about the dire situation that the 'Ye Olde Australian Melodeon Tradition' has somehow got itself jammed into. Could the likes of Peter Ellis and Jim Moir present themselves in a positive and accessable light perhaps??? Guys, us other Aussies would love to learn the real Australian ways of playing too. Soon we'll all be too old to be bothered. Or is that the general idea?
 
 I always try to enjoy myself (with varying degrees of success I might add). And I challenge you all to come and enjoy your selves too. With cheeses if you so desire. We used to play Cajun dances with a specially selected cheese platter on stage, but the truth was that we had to play too hard and never got near the cheese, or the wine for that matter! The dancers never understood us either!

So now we just session, play tunes and talk rubbish...... hope to see some of you there.... remember if you see a lefthanded player, there is a very high likelyhood that it'll be yours truely!

 
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Stiamh

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Re: National Folk Festival. Canberra. Australia.
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2008, 02:59:43 PM »

Would love to be there and smoke some cheese with you Geoff - maybe another year. Last (and only) time was in 1981. Ashamed to say I was taking very little notice of box players back then, but I remember enjoying a workshop given by Mark Tandy.
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IanH

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Re: National Folk Festival. Canberra. Australia.
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 05:20:45 AM »

It was nice to meet you at the National festival and I enjoyed several monster tune sessions there, with a good number of box players getting involved.

For those who've never experienced the session bar at the National festival in Canberra, try to imagine walking into a big room where massed accordions are playing old song tunes, next to another dozen people playing 'old time' American tunes (accompanied by double bass) and within a couple of metres there's a morris outfit blasting out songs at max volume on boxes & fiddles, a scottish fiddle group playing tunes with an electric piano & double bass, several irish tune sessions continuously pumping out reels and a big Breton tune session with hurdy gurdys,bagpipes, bombardes, etc. Not to mention the other smaller gatherings of players in corners, up staircases, in toilets, etc. And the kids outside have been thumping out cross-rhythms on their drums under the full moon for the last 5 hours while the belly dancers do their thing. Hundreds of curious onlookers move around watching & listening to the sessions in between getting beers from the bar. Is there any other session venue to match that? Why would anyone want to ???
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D_mentias

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Re: National Folk Festival. Canberra. Australia.
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 03:37:46 AM »

There was a session on Australian 2 row playing run by Dave De Huggard but held at 6pm in the long room so not many players attended. But it did demonstrate the differences say in Morries playing to Jim. Peter from SA was lined up but time run out. Then in the mornings at the settler sessions you had Ray from Canberra and Jim.

At the session of a night there were players from all over. Good players that we don't see or don't attend other fests. Even had a newbie or two this year.I reckon the bloke playing a B/C at this session deserved extra points as 90% of tunes were in G! one or two of the regulars had other commitments this year but hopefully be back next.

One of the best places for box players is Frances...there are great players from Warrnambool and Adelaide that just don;t make it to other fests.
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pushpullefty

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Re: National Folk Festival. Canberra. Australia.
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2008, 04:35:47 AM »

Having just got home from the National (travelled the long way via the Oyster coast), I'm still assimilating the situation, as well as trying to get over not winning the Instrument raffle. I realised that this would be my most reasonable chance of getting one of Peter Hydes Accordions. Ah but it wasn't to be!

Great Festival, if only the sessions were considered. Button boxes were very light on on stage though! I saw far too many Piano Accordions in performance to be funny, or tasteful for that matter.

And yet the sad truth remains. Not Enough Young Players in any of the Button Accordion Traditions!!!!!!

Like I mean, one 18 year old in the whole country??? All us old greyheads having a wonderful time but when we all go deaf, and our fingers go stiff etc, well it'll be mighty quiet in the old session bar won't it!

We do need to do something to entice young would be musicians to take up the box. Sadly it's not just in Old Time Australian Music, it appears to be in other traditions too. Mind you my experiences as a button Box player at a performance level make me wonder why any of us even bother. The Cajun dancers seem happy to use Piano Accordion based Rock and Roll bands for their music, thus perpetuating the lie, and continuing the insult to the Acadians of Louisianna. The National should be above that, and should know better too.

One wonders about integrity and truth occasionally. Huh!

Still we all had a great time in the session Bar though, and we all know that that is absolutely the only thing in life that matters!

C'est la vie.....Cheers.

 
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