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Theme Of The Month, Feb 2015: Local Favorites


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#1 Jim Besser

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 03:29 PM

Concertina.net is truly worldwide, thanks to the great efforts of Paul and Ken.  While a majority of participants are probably in the UK and the USA, I know we have regulars across Europe, in Australia and heaven knows where else.

 

This month’s challenge: record and post something from your little corner of the world.  You can define this broadly if you wish - ie tunes from your country - or get regionally specific.

 

So if you're in Ireland, what are people playing in your part of the country?

 

In the US, we have participants in New England, where contra dance music, both traditional and modern, is popular; here in the middle Atlantic states we have a strong connection to Appalachian Mountain fiddle traditions.  I'll probably cook up a nice Southern breakdown or two. 

 

Some of our Canadian friends might offer up some Québécois or Cape Bretton music from those rich bodies of music. French regional traditions are very distinctive and very cool, and I'm hoping we'll hear some of those.  Ditto the Scandinavian countries.  What are folks playing in Australia these days?  I love modern Basque music; maybe we'll hear some of that. German music? Polish? Music from the West Indies?  I'm eager to hear it all and maybe learn some new tunes.

 

You don't have to be an expert in any of these genres, you just have to love the music and want to share it!
 


Edited by Jim Besser, 01 February 2015 - 10:06 AM.


#2 Bob Michel

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:21 PM

My first thought was to dip into the rich repertoire of local dance music (Ed Reavy lived most of his long life a few miles from here, and it doesn't get any better than that), and I may do that later on. But I have to share this story first.

Several years ago I was invited, as part of a state-funded humanities program, to perform original material at something called the Pennsylvania Canal Festival. The organizer who contacted me, a young businessman, was very enthusiastic. "We're hoping you'll perform songs that evoke the history of our community!"

"Well, I'd love to," I replied. "But you do realize that my program consists of songs I've written?"

"Oh, yes! I read all about you in the catalogue."

"So you're all right with that? The program as described, I mean?"

"Of course! We'd just like you to keep it local."

"OK, but the sad fact is...I've never been within fifty miles of your town, and I know virtually nothing about it."

"That's only natural."

"Then I'm not sure how..."

"Oh, it's no problem; no problem at all! Just, you know, concentrate on local themes..."

After twenty minutes of this Monty Python routine I gave up and told him I'd see what I could do. And in the end (aided by the relevant passages in Dickens's "American Notes" and a lot of online research), I did manage to write them two Local Songs. Truth is, there are few things I enjoy more than taking up that kind of gonzo commission; I was once asked to write an upbeat song about cholera, but that's a story for another time.

So I can't hear the phrase "local music" without conjuring that festival (which was lovely, by the way). Here's one of the songs, which happens to sit pretty well on concertina. It's as local as they come, and authenticity be damned.

http://youtu.be/DYvmVIZPsK0

Bob Michel
Near Philly

#3 Jim Besser

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:49 PM

So I can't hear the phrase "local music" without conjuring that festival (which was lovely, by the way). Here's one of the songs, which happens to sit pretty well on concertina. It's as local as they come, and authenticity be damned.

http://youtu.be/DYvmVIZPsK0

Bob Michel
Near Philly

 

Nice song and nice accompaniment on the concertina. And yes, that's about as local as it gets.


Edited by Jim Besser, 02 February 2015 - 05:50 PM.


#4 Tootler

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 06:39 PM

Bob Michel's song reminded me that I had a song that would fit the theme from some time ago - 3 years ago to be exact.

 

Songwriter Graeme Miles is well known among UK Folk Singers. His songs celebrate the area where I live both the industries round the lower reaches of the river Tees and the beauty of the country side round about. This is one of his early songs. There were (are?) considerable salt deposits under the Tees Estuary and it was worked both for culinary use and as a feedstock for the local chemical industry until the middle of the 20th century.

 

Salt People

 

The photos in the video are of Saltholme, a bird sanctuary situated on the marshes on the north bank of the Tees where the salt was formerly worked.



#5 Bob Michel

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 08:41 PM

Songwriter Graeme Miles is well known among UK Folk Singers. His songs celebrate the area where I live both the industries round the lower reaches of the river Tees and the beauty of the country side round about. This is one of his early songs.
 
The photos in the video are of Saltholme, a bird sanctuary situated on the marshes on the north bank of the Tees where the salt was formerly worked.

This is beautifully done: lovely song, fine delivery, powerful video. And the concertina accompaniment would be hard to improve on. Thanks for sharing it.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel, 09 February 2015 - 08:45 PM.


#6 Bob Michel

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 09:03 PM

Here's something local. This pair of reels used to be one of the most commonly played sets at sessions I attended around Philly. It still gets aired from time to time, though much less than formerly. "The Bird in the Bush" is of course heard everywhere, but "The Maid I Ne'er Forgot," for whatever reason, is a tune I don't often run into when traveling.

I associate this set with two local players: Roy Rogers [sic], a very fine piper who sadly quit the music scene some years ago (I believe he chiefly messes about in boats now), and Kevin McGillian, a superb B/C accordion player originally from County Tyrone, now in his late eighties and still playing rings around the rest of us.

I threw in a few other instruments to approximate the way the tunes might sound at one of these local sessions, with only the pipes (which are completely beyond me) missing. And the fiddle, of course. You don't want to hear me fiddle.

http://youtu.be/SEL164HrapU

Bob Michel
Near Philly

#7 Rod

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 02:53 AM

Great stuff Bob. This style of music appears to be ideally suited to the limited air capacity of 6 fold Anglo bellows.

#8 Bob Michel

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 03:51 AM

This style of music appears to be ideally suited to the limited air capacity of 6 fold Anglo bellows.


Thanks, Rod. Good point about the bellows, though in my (limited) experience Anglo bellows usually have six folds regardless of the style of music they're used for, which suggests that the air capacity has generally been thought adequate. The notable exception are the postwar Wheatstones made for the South African market, along with the instruments of local manufacture they inspired: these very often have mammoth eight-fold bellows, which suit the heavily chorded style of playing in Boeremuziek.

My other concertina is one of these Wheatstones (retrofitted with a better action by the Button Box), and while I enjoy the luxury of its deeper bellows I sometimes wonder whether playing it hasn't been bad for my technique. When I switch to the Lachenal after playing the Wheatstone for a while I'm often struck by the lift the music gets from the necessity of changing direction more often. And for better or worse I do tend to play fewer and quicker chords on the Lachenal.

On the other hand, I'm also perversely attached to the original hook-and-lever action on the latter concertina, and have so far resisted the idea of changing it to a riveted one. They say style comes from limitations.

Bob Michel
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#9 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 04:19 AM

They say style comes from limitations.

 

This is very true as for me!

 

P.S.: Video didn't work this morning, so I'll give your take a listen in the evening...



#10 Jim Besser

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:01 AM

Too busy to do much recording (or commenting), but here's a quick take on a local favorite - at least in the contra dance world.

 

Bob McQuillen, who died last year, was one of the primary architects of the contra dance revival in New England in the 60s and 70s, and he wrote countless tunes that have become part of the contra dance repertoire.

 

Probably his most famous is the lovely waltz, Amelia.  We play it pretty regularly at local contra dances.  It was a big thrill for me when I attended my first Northeast Squeeze In and played it in the pickup contra band - with Bob leading from the piano.

 

Here's today's quick take. Played in D on a G/D Jeffries ANglo.

 

And here it is by our local contra open band, played a year ago in tribute to Bob after news of his death.  I'm somewhere in the middle of the big wall of sound.


Edited by Jim Besser, 10 February 2015 - 10:03 AM.


#11 derekc

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 05:00 PM

following on from my first somewhat flawed attempt at totm, here goes on my first, err flawed again then, attempt at thotm :-). I am going for local to mean a self-penned tune and an attempt at a very famous local Morris tune. The self-penned tune (The Lyonshall Dance) was written just after we moved into the village. Not my best, or indeed worst, it just simply arose as I was playing and looking out of the window at the village, So certainly locally inspired. The second tune is I believe from a village a few miles across the ridge called Dilwyn - the tune is known as "Not for Joe" or sometimes just Dilwyn - which would suggest it is from Dilwyn, or perhaps someone had a nice holiday there. Played on a Wheatsone Mayfair C/G. Now, I do apologise as I seem to be making random grunts as I play - it must be the microphone as I sure don't remember making any noise whilst playing :-) It sounds something like Timothy Spall in Mr Turner and can confidently say if I normally made those noises then Mrs C would definitely have something strong to say! In the end I was playing with a scarf wrapped around my mouth with concertina at full arms length (I am serious) and still I could hear it on play back. Well I could on the office playback system so it may be this system is at fault.  Alternatively it might be a ghost :-) The house was originally built in 1450 so who knows. I confess to making a really noticeable mistake (I mean really noticeable as opposed to all the minor ones) on the B section 2nd pass -please forgive me it was the best take of 10 (well the ones I bothered keeping) or so up to that point and have assumed most people would had given up listening by then - hmm, perhaps I have inadvertently made you listen all the way through now :-) If anyone has any tips on grunt avoidance please let me now - microphone is a Samson CO1U USB Condensing mic straight into Audacity. Thanks for listening.......
 


#12 Jim Besser

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 10:05 PM

 

following on from my first somewhat flawed attempt at totm, here goes on my first, err flawed again then, attempt at thotm :-). I am going for local to mean a self-penned tune and an attempt at a very famous local Morris tune. The self-penned tune (The Lyonshall Dance) was written just after we moved into the village. Not my best, or indeed worst, it just simply arose as I was playing and looking out of the window at the village, So certainly locally inspired. The second tune is I believe from a village a few miles across the ridge called Dilwyn - the tune is known as "Not for Joe" or sometimes just Dilwyn - which would suggest it is from Dilwyn, or perhaps someone had a nice holiday there. Played on a Wheatsone Mayfair C/G. Now, I do apologise as I seem to be making random grunts as I play - it must be the microphone as I sure don't remember making any noise whilst playing :-) It sounds something like Timothy Spall in Mr Turner and can confidently say if I normally made those noises then Mrs C would definitely have something strong to say! In the end I was playing with a scarf wrapped around my mouth with concertina at full arms length (I am serious) and still I could hear it on play back. Well I could on the office playback system so it may be this system is at fault.  Alternatively it might be a ghost :-) The house was originally built in 1450 so who knows. I confess to making a really noticeable mistake (I mean really noticeable as opposed to all the minor ones) on the B section 2nd pass -please forgive me it was the best take of 10 (well the ones I bothered keeping) or so up to that point and have assumed most people would had given up listening by then - hmm, perhaps I have inadvertently made you listen all the way through now :-) If anyone has any tips on grunt avoidance please let me now - microphone is a Samson CO1U USB Condensing mic straight into Audacity. Thanks for listening.......
 

 

Self-penned is about as local as you get! I always liked Not For Joe, and play it with my Morris group during Border season.

 

DOn't worry about mistakes, we all make plenty!



#13 Tootler

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Posted 12 February 2015 - 11:42 AM

Songwriter Graeme Miles is well known among UK Folk Singers. His songs celebrate the area where I live both the industries round the lower reaches of the river Tees and the beauty of the country side round about. This is one of his early songs.
 
The photos in the video are of Saltholme, a bird sanctuary situated on the marshes on the north bank of the Tees where the salt was formerly worked.

This is beautifully done: lovely song, fine delivery, powerful video. And the concertina accompaniment would be hard to improve on. Thanks for sharing it.
Bob Michel
Near Philly

Thanks Bob.

When I listened to it again while posting it, I was a little unhappy with my singing, so your comment cheered me up no end.

Geoff

#14 Jim Besser

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 11:13 AM

Here's a fiddle tune from my neck of the woods - Quince Dillon's High D Tune.

 

According to Web sources, Quincy Dillon was a fifer in the (US) Civil War. The tune was collected by Virginia fiddler Henry Reed, who apparently gave it its unusual title. Reed's collection of Appalachian Mountain tunes provided much of the repertoire for the revival oldtime bands that appeared on the music scene in the 1960s and 70s.

 

I used to play it for dances on hammered dulcimer, and always enjoyed the way that high D gave a little jolt to dancers when played on fiddle. So I thought i'd try it on concertina.

 

Played in D (naturally) on a 30 button Jeffries G/D Anglo.


Edited by Jim Besser, 13 February 2015 - 11:15 AM.


#15 chas

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 02:48 PM

 

The self-penned tune (The Lyonshall Dance) was written just after we moved into the village. Not my best, or indeed worst, it just simply arose as I was playing and looking out of the window at the village, So certainly locally inspired. .......If anyone has any tips on grunt avoidance please let me now - microphone is a Samson CO1U USB Condensing mic straight into Audacity. Thanks for listening.......
 

 

I like that first tune.  Is there a dance to go with it?  And is the local morris side doing it?  As for the grunts... I've heard Martin Carthy do something very similar while playing a guitar instrumental break so you're in good company.



#16 Tootler

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 03:29 PM

 

following on from my first somewhat flawed attempt at totm, here goes on my first, err flawed again then, attempt at thotm :-). I am going for local to mean a self-penned tune and an attempt at a very famous local Morris tune. The self-penned tune (The Lyonshall Dance) was written just after we moved into the village. Not my best, or indeed worst, it just simply arose as I was playing and looking out of the window at the village, So certainly locally inspired. The second tune is I believe from a village a few miles across the ridge called Dilwyn - the tune is known as "Not for Joe" or sometimes just Dilwyn - which would suggest it is from Dilwyn, or perhaps someone had a nice holiday there. Played on a Wheatsone Mayfair C/G. Now, I do apologise as I seem to be making random grunts as I play - it must be the microphone as I sure don't remember making any noise whilst playing :-) It sounds something like Timothy Spall in Mr Turner and can confidently say if I normally made those noises then Mrs C would definitely have something strong to say! In the end I was playing with a scarf wrapped around my mouth with concertina at full arms length (I am serious) and still I could hear it on play back. Well I could on the office playback system so it may be this system is at fault.  Alternatively it might be a ghost :-) The house was originally built in 1450 so who knows. I confess to making a really noticeable mistake (I mean really noticeable as opposed to all the minor ones) on the B section 2nd pass -please forgive me it was the best take of 10 (well the ones I bothered keeping) or so up to that point and have assumed most people would had given up listening by then - hmm, perhaps I have inadvertently made you listen all the way through now :-) If anyone has any tips on grunt avoidance please let me now - microphone is a Samson CO1U USB Condensing mic straight into Audacity. Thanks for listening.......
 

 

Nice tunes. I didn't really notice the mistakes, but as Jim says don't worry and it's the overall feel that matters.

 

As to grunts - far better than the expletives I come out with when I mess a take up - which happens often. :rolleyes:


Edited by Tootler, 13 February 2015 - 03:29 PM.


#17 derekc

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 11:43 AM

LOL - thanks guys.       As for the local Morris side doing it  -  I am very much a closet musician - this is part due to my competence level and also due to a hearing impairment, where I find it difficult playing with other people - especially a lot of other people. 



#18 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 03:52 PM

For a start from my side a repost:

 

Dat Du Min Leevsten Büst

 

(You're My Sweetheart)

 

Well-known folk song from Northern Germany, in the Low German language... (am not really happy with my singing here).

 

Best wishes - Wolf






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