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Posts posted by Halifax

  1. Peter, I've spent the last days trying to digest your massive missive. I so appreciate the thought you've put into your response. My takeaways from you, I'll get to, but first I'll tell you what I was trying to get from posting my question. As a rank beginner on the concertina who grew up in Boston listening to my parents' Clancy Bros. records, I didn't start to listen to tunes till my 30s and have spent the last 20 years trying to learn the language of them. For instance, I thought I was doing pretty well in that I can instantly tell an Irish tune from a Cape Breton tune or a Down East tune (and then the Quebec styles!). But there is so much more nuance to the music. To your point, some tunes have a life of their own and continue along being played because they are so damned good, while other nameless tunes have faded away.


    My kids, being brought up as they are in Nova Scotia, have learned to play Cape Breton fiddle. Their teacher, Wendy MacIsaac, taught them a reelGreenfields of Glentownthat she learned from her cousin, Ashley, who learned it from Tommy Peoples. To your point, does that make it a Donegal tune? A Cape Breton tune? I love that the tune itself has a lineage as if it came *through* Tommy Peoples as opposed to simply being composed by him (though Mr. Peoples may see that differently).


    I was hoping to get a list of tunes that are generally known in Clare, so that I could siphon through them to see which ones spoke to me so I could then ask my teacher (from Clare) to work with me on them. And I was hoping to sort of master the sound of Clare before trying to find my own sound.


    But maybe, thinking about the response to this thread, it really does make the most sense to keep it simple: learn the tunes that speak to me, the tunes my kids play, and the tunes my pals in the local session playin that order of importance. I will for sure check out the tunes mentioned in this thread, though, because if they are good enough to speak to you and Bob and Jody, and WesleyMann, and RAc, well then, they have achieved some kind of zeitgeist already.


    Thanks again, so much for your thoughts, musings, and tune ideas!

  2. I've been playing a raft of Irish jigs recently for my sword dance team, Half Moon Sword, but I've no idea if they are from Clare or not. Road to Donneybrook, Hag's Purse, Rambling Pitchfork, Walls of Liscarrol, The Frost is all Over, The Joy of My Life, Hardiman's Fancy, Atholl Highlander's, Jig of Slurs. All great fun!

    As I mentioned, I can always use some good jigs. Thanks, Jody!


  3. Distribution of tunes is often much more complex than a label like 'Clare music' would suggest. There are ofcourse bodies of tunes that are distinctly associated with a specific place, often because they survived in the memory of an influential player, but even then there are a lot of different factors involved.


    It's interesting stuff to think about though but perhaps it's better not to divert this thread by nitpicking through the nuts and bolts. So I better leave it at that.


    I'd suggest looking at the archive recordings at Clare library website and look up some of the music there. John Naughton had some lovely and rare tunes for example, I'd recommended giving him a look, but many others there as well.

    Peter, I've been dipping into the Clare library website, it's a treasure trove for sure.

    And yes, while I'm happy to nitpick (I'm an editor by profession), I am, I suppose, looking for some of the classics. For instance, a friend recommended the Hare's Paw reel and every time she mentions it, she calls it "a good Clare tune." I thought, as a beginner, that I might try to learn to play in the Clare style, even though, as you mention, each region and even player develops his or her own style.

    Thanks for the response. I'm happy to hear more about nuts and bolts, if you are inclined to muse...


  4. Kevin Crehan's wonderful fiddle CD "An Bhábóg sa Bhádóg" (now apparently back in print; it's listed at Custys) would be one great source: it's a compendium of tunes written by or associated with Kevin's grandfather Junior Crehan, including the "Four Stacks," "The Mist-Covered Mountain," "The Hills of Coore," "The Otter's Holt," etc. Mary McNamara's recordings have some lovely sets for concertina: try "John Naughton's" and "The Reel with the Birl," or "The Humours of Tullycrine" and "Mickey Callaghan's Fancy," both from "Traditional Music from East Clare." A lot of Mary's sets (and settings) are drawn from the classic 1959 LP by Paddy Canny, P.J. Hayes, Peadar O'Loughlin and Bridie Lafferty which Shanachie rereleased as "An Historic Recording Of Irish Traditional Music." That album would be a perfect starting point for learning sets of Clare tunes.


    Bob Michel

    Near Philly

    Thank you, Bob. This is a really good list. Seems like these tunes would give me an education in the sound of Clare, for sure. I appreciate your thoughtful response.


  5. The fair haired boy, scatter the mud and the legacy jig is a great set of Clare jigs.

    Thank you, WesleyMann! I will add them to my spreadsheet. I needed some more jigs to round out my list of reels.


  6. Hey all:


    What are your favourite tunes from Clare? Extra points for two or more that go together. I'm currently working on the Hare's Paw and the Dairy Maid reels---those are pretty fun.



  7. I have a proper case that has one proper latch. While walking down to a session, the latch caught on my coat and the case opened its maw. No damage---the wee beastie stayed put---(but oh, my nerves!). I'm going to install another latch just in case...


    Thanks for the reminder.



  8. According to the Facebook Posting:


    Sara Lent Flynn

    My concertina was stolen from Piazza SMN, Florence,Italy. It is a Jeffries 47Key (4 row) concertina. It was in a navy adidas bag along with my Nikon D90 camera. Could you please share this post and if anyone has any information could you please let me know. Thank you.

  9. We have similar conditions here in Canada.


    In winter, I use a small, plastic tube pill container stuffed with some foam or sponge and filled with water.



    It fits inside the case and does not spill if you are reasonably careful not to tip the case. I also keep a small hygrometer in the box and keep an eye of the humidity level.


    In summer, I put a couple of desiccants in the case along with the hygrometer.



    I try to keep the humidity at about 40 - 50%.


    I take the pill container out (or cap it) if I have to carry the case anywhere, but inside the house it is easy to keep it from spilling.

    Don, what's the best humidity level for a concertina?



  10. Indeed Halifax,


    you can see from videos that many people who play Irish Trad on the Anglo tend to keep the Bellows fairly closed, rarely using much extension of the folds. This allows faster direction changes , of air pressure, due to the less flexible nature of the Bellows when they are close to closed. A much more legato change of air direction will happen when the Bellows is extended. This is easy to test for yourself.


    Thanks, Geoff: As a beginner, I probably tend to extend the bellows too much, and have not yet noticed that ITM players keep it closed. I'm too busy trying to keep up with the session! There is so much to think about. Today in my practice, I'll work on keeping the bellows tight and taking more frequent sips of air. Thanks!


    "Might become more of a problem as I introduce more chords, but from what I'm hearing, if the technique isn't there, a 7-fold bellows ain't gonna help much."



    My Morse G/D has 6 fold bellows. The deeper pitched reeds use more air than those of my C/G, and I play a lot of left-hand accompaniments, and play loud for my Sword Dancers. When I was starting out I did often run out of air, but over time managing the bellows and air became second nature, and the 6 fold works just fine. You mentioned 2 tricks that work very well- taking "sips" of air on the fly is something that i do without even thinking now.





    Thanks, All:


    Snip..Snip ...


    I am running out of air with my 6-fold Anglo on some tunes, but perhaps it's manageable by working with alternate fingerings and practicing quick sips with the air button. Might become more of a problem as I introduce more chords, but from what I'm hearing, if the technique isn't there, a 7-fold bellows ain't gonna help much.


    Before you blame yourself for lack of skill & technique are you sure that you are not losing air due to holes in the bellows or faulty seals, gaskets, valves or pads??




    Bill N and Jake, I've got a new-ish Morse Anglo and the bellows are beautifully sound. I've only been playing for 6 months or so, so my comment about lack of skill and technique is not false modesty. All this info about 6 vs 7 bellow folds is super helpful. Thanks!

  12. Thanks, All:


    If you play a lot of two-handed stuff with lots of big chords, you might find you run out of air less quickly, but if you are already managing well with a 6 fold you might find it has a slight advantage in quickness.

    I am running out of air with my 6-fold Anglo on some tunes, but perhaps it's manageable by working with alternate fingerings and practicing quick sips with the air button. Might become more of a problem as I introduce more chords, but from what I'm hearing, if the technique isn't there, a 7-fold bellows ain't gonna help much.

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