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Posts posted by jmyersgoucheredu

  1. "Socially nuanced" - "earning your place" - "coming up to the standards" - as if music were some kind of contest or pecking order! What ever happened to just having fun together? <_<


    Sometimes I think too many people take themselves too seriously. :(


    You think? :P


    Reminds me of the joke about Frankie Gavin:


    An Irish session player dies and is taken to a cloud in heaven with a few other session players. When he gets there, he hears this great fiddle music coming from a distant cloud. "I didn't know Frankie Gavin had died," he says.


    "Oh, that's not Frankie Gavin."


    "But it must be. No one else plays with such lift and virtuosity. It must be him."


    "I tell you it's not Frankie Gavin. It's God. He just thinks he's Frankie Gavin."


    So, perhaps after an eternity of practice, God and the rest of us will be able to join the cloud session.



  2. It is also important to note that a high proportion of tunes available on the Web in ABC are incorrectly notated. Or they load up OK in one ABC translator program but not another.


    I believe, historically abc2win was the worst offender and many will recommend avoiding this program.

    Jon, was abcwin the first abc program?



  3. This simile appeared in an op-ed piece about the study of Latin:


    "I think of translating concise, precise Latin into more expansive, discursive English as like opening up a concertina; you are allowed to inject all sorts of original thought and interpretation.


    As much as opening the concertina enlarges your imagination, squeezing it shut — translating English into Latin — sharpens your prose."


    Here's the link for the entire essay:



    Jeff Myers

  4. Perhaps I got the wrong impression and came to a hasty conclusion. I'm not sure Ancient Greece or Italian Renaissance Art are "less" than Irish music, but they are certainly less dependent on others than playing in a session. I will, however, reconsider and try to do the legwork before we leave to discover real sessions that might be welcoming to some good young players. My daughter, however, has suggested we go to London for Shakespeare and sessions. I've heard, however, that with the economic boom in Ireland in recent years, the sessions in London aren't what they used to be. Nothing ever is.


    Thanks for the responses.



  5. The upshot of this discussion seems to be that anyone not living in Ireland who plays Irish traditional music should just forget about visiting Ireland (you'll just be dismissed as a tourist) and, instead, just enjoy your own local sessions (since you'll only find tourist-trap pseudo-sessions in Ireland anyway).

    Jeff Myers


    Ooooh getting touchy are we? ...


    Just remember, a welcome is a courtesy extended to you, not a right you can claim. Also: especially in more wellknown places at this point you're one of dozens of people passing through especially during summer and not all experiences with them are very uplifting.


    You are no doubt correct, Peter, but I was trying to be serious about a major trip (and expense) my family is considering. Playing music with people is complicated, as this thread shows, and if there are insuperable obstacles to doing so on a 3-week trip to Ireland, perhaps we should save our money or spend it on a trip where making music wouldn't be a major component. That's all I'm saying, and I think it a legitimate consideration. E.g., one can visit Olympia in Greece or Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome for cultural experiences that require less courtesy from the locals. On those trips, less than uplifting experiences in hotels, restaurants or pubs would be more tolerable and even expected. And I fully understand why Irish players find the kind of tourist experiences described in this thread unsatisfactory and even try to avoid them. That I would also try to avoid them, for myself and especially for my daughters who love playing the music so much, seems only reasonable.



  6. It's all about expectation, I remember being in Doolin during the early 80s, not bothering to go into O Connor's long at night (it was the tourist trap then as it is now). A young american guy asked me why I hadn't joined the musicians playing, I replied they were doing a job and didn't really like people to join (been there tried that), he nearly hit me for breaking the illusion of what seemed to him' a pretty spontaneous music 'seisiun' '.


    It's fine, people still have quiet places to play for their own enjoyment, well away from the tourist trail or houses to meet for a few tunes and a few verses of a song.


    The upshot of this discussion seems to be that anyone not living in Ireland who plays Irish traditional music should just forget about visiting Ireland (you'll just be dismissed as a tourist) and, instead, just enjoy your own local sessions (since you'll only find tourist-trap pseudo-sessions in Ireland anyway). This is actually valuable advice since a trip to Ireland can be very expensive and time-consuming. It's made me rethink a planned trip to Ireland. Why should I travel across the ocean with my daughters, who are good enough to play in any session anywhere, when they can have a more authentic and valuable experience in sessions right here at home? If some Irish players visit, perhaps we'll go hear them, so long as the venue is good and the cost reasonable. Of course, they're always welcome to sit in on an actual session here when they visit.


    Jeff Myers

  7. Just lucky, I guess. My kids (15 and 17) have been playing fiddle since the age of 4. They love playing for sessions, performances, dances, etc. They also love dancing (mostly contra). They've been hearing mom and dad's sadly deficient (compared to their own) playing all their lives, and they've been active members for a number of years in a wonderful organization that fosters a real dance and music community, the Baltimore Folk Music society. They do play in several genres, although Irish is their favorite. I already mentioned contra, and my older daughter also plays for English Country dances and is a member of a Klezmer band called the Klezbians. To celebrate her recent birthday, she took a few of her friends to a contra dance.


    I'm sure many of you have similar stories. If you create an environment where music and dance are an expected part of life, the rest will follow. Not a lot one can do on a large social scale, but locally my kids have plenty of people of all ages to play and dance with. Of course, turning off the TV and banning video games didn't hurt either.



  8. Hi, Allison. So nice to meet you & squeeze at NESI. I listened to Sympathique (in my ipod) all the way home. Do you have that? It has a real nice rendition of Bolero and their classic Je ne peux pas travailler.

    I am leaving Oct 1 and returning Oct 25, and starting to get a little anxiety mixed in with the excitement. The purpose of the trip is to study Chinese herbs (that and acupuncture are what I do for a real job).



    Thanks, Jeff, that is just the kind of suggestions I'm looking for. Maybe I'll brush up on some slow airs for the morning T'ai Chi crowd! I was going to take my old Bastari which plays decent and keep it in the soft gig bag & leave the case home. We'll be there almost a month & I'm trying to travel as light as possible. Sounds like you went all over the place. I'll be in Nanjing a few weeks and then a few days in the Guilin section (Yangsuo). Do you speak any Chinese? (I do not.) Is there some familiarity with a concertina?


    Kate (aka Dr. Dart)

    I don't speak much Chinese, but my daughter speaks a bit. We were on a tour, which made things considerably easier.


    Didn't meet anyone who had any idea what I was playing (then again, that often happens here in the USA).


    You'll have a great time. Guilin is beautiful!



  9. Kate, I travelled to China the summer before this one (2006) and took my concertina with no problem anywhere. In fact, we took 6 flights in 3 weeks, and no one ever gave the case a second glance. So, take it along and enjoy. It's especially enjoyable to play outside in the morning when all of the retired people (55 and up) engage in activities (exercise, music, dance, games, etc.) in parks and other recreational spots.




    Jeff Myers


    Have no fears Bill. If you marry the 'right' woman, she will understand completely about your needing a $3K Morse with traditional reeds. If she doesn't ... she's definitely the wrong chick.


    Find a fellow geek. Or, if that term is not to your liking, another hobbyist. They are endlessly sympathetic.




    Owner of Morse #486


    Bill, even better advice is to marry a woman who can afford to buy the box for you!


    Jeff Myers (about to play #423) ;)

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