Happy new year, everybody! Time for some new tunes, yes?
Here's a selection of tunes for January. As usual, vote for the one you want to learn, record, post and discuss.
Mexican: Jesucita En Chihuahua
I won’t lie to you: this is a really challenging tune, with a brisk tempo, key changes and a run in the D part that will make Anglo players wince. On the other hand, it’s a wonderful exercise and a really fun tune to play, once you get the hang of it.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
"Jesusita en Chihuahua" is a Mexican polka which was written by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés while he was serving as a Lt. Colonel in the Mexican Revolution and directing the military band in Puebla. Its premiere was held on Christmas Day 1916 and it has since been covered by a multitude of artists, under a variety of names. The composition became a trademark of the Mexican Revolution and was Pancho Villa's favorite musical piece to have his bands play during combat. The piece centers on soldaderas; women who accompanied the revolutionaries, tending to their needs and on occasion even taking up arms to participate in combat.
I've heard various arrangements, but the usual format seems to be AA-B-A-CC-D-C, if you can believe that. It's the D part that will push you to new heights of playing concertina - or drive you to drink.
Cajun -ish: La Citrouille et le Chat
Written by my bandmate and Morris dance colleague Andrew Marcus, this is a wonderful and very accessible waltz with a distinctly Cajun feel to it. It's easy to learn and fun to play, and I have dots and Andrew's permission to distribute them.
It’s never been recorded except at our recent DC / Baltimore area squeeze in, with three accordions and maybe 10 concertinas honking away. Here’s
a recording of Andrew teaching it to the rest of us.
If it's chosen, you'll be among the first people on the planet to learn this great waltz!
Irish: The Orphan
I’ve played this cool Irish jig at contra dances - which is to say, at a brisk pace for hyper-caffeiniated dancers. But many groups, including the great dance band Wild Asparagus (featuring English concertina player George Marshall) play it slow and expressively. Which is how I prefer it.
a lovely slow version (takes a while to get into it)
Like so many other trad tunes, there are many different versions floating around on the Web. In the case of The Orphan, the biggest difference is in the B part (some versions go for the low note, others do not). There's no "right" way, only the way you like!
English: Halsway Carol Schottische
Another requested TOTM candidate, and a good one it is. Written by the talented hurdy gurdy player Nigel Eaton, this wonderful tune of the season has become the object of an international experiment to see how many different versions could be collected. You can be part of it!
Finally, a version
with a somewhat jazzy backup track.
There you have it: vote, and let's have a great year of new tunes!
Edited by Jim Besser, 22 December 2014 - 10:25 AM.