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About Stiamh

  • Birthday 07/01/1953

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  1. I have just stumbled on this very sad news. I last saw Ralph 30 years ago but remember him well (who wouldn't?) from when we hung around with the same crowd in London for a few years either side of 1980. A musician of rare gifts, and very good company. RIP Ralph and condolences to his partner. Steve Jones
  2. Very nicely put, thank you. Something that ought to be obvious to everybody but clearly isn't.
  3. Bonne année à toi, mon pote! Tell me, would you object if I said your pipes sounded cheerful in a particular performance? Or melancholy? There's more than enough dull literalness in today's speech and writing. I salute any compiler of govt style manuals game to show the odd flash of unbureaucratic colour. Cheers Steve
  4. It is also quite possible that (being a total novice, as you say) he was messing up the music and annoying others by trying to join in without a clue. Getting him to shut the book may have appeared the best way to get him to shut his tina.
  5. I found this today while browsing, for no good reason, through the Style Manual for authors, editors and printers of Australian government publications, Third edition, 1981, which I have had on my shelf since my spell working in publishing in Oz in the early 1980s. The book is a very fine reference, incidentally. The above passage illustrates one of the situations in which the use of semicolons is recommended. Goodness knows whether this intriguing sentence comes from a novel, or is the fruit of an inspired flight of fancy by one of the compilers of the manual. Google won't tell. But I thought you might enjoy it as much as I did.
  6. Will pass on your comments to the organizers. Gearoid is a very busy man these days and I think getting him for even a couple of classes was a bit of a coup, but you never know. To add enticement for Dec 3 - Irish ceili on same night. Always good fun, with a band that when good is very very good and when... well, never mind. Meet the local fauna and practise your French... Experience Québec road maintenance standards at first hand... sample excellent local beers in Montréal's brew pubs... what else can I say.
  7. Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin will be giving workshops in Montréal on Saturday 3 December 2011. Full details here.
  8. Yeah I know what clip you were referring to, she's pretty impressive! Tell me, are those wrong notes at 1:08 - or a very clever ornament nobody has explained to me? She looks a bit surprised, but then does it again at 1:18, so it must be intentional... Triple phantom button? Have you got it down yet Az? Lovely clip, though, esp. when she goes into the second tune (The New Road, is it?)
  9. A friend of mine, who is learning fiddle with great dedication, has a very assertive personality (in the best sense of the word). At a summer school few years ago she was in the same situation as Alan's struggling concertinist, practising a tune somewhere, when a stranger passing by stopped and offered a couple of suggestions. She politely but firmly let him know that she had a teacher and that his advice was neither necessary nor welcome. Next time she saw the man he was on stage at an evening concert. It was James Kelly... She later apologised to him, but it appears James had been more amused than offended, and they had a good chuckle over the incident.
  10. I bet I know where they got it, because I came across it in a French instruction book for "le diato" (as they call button boxes) while visiting friends of my wife's in France this year. IIRC it was called "Tony Hall's jig", the authors evidently having got it from an early LP by Tony Hall, the brilliant English melodeon player. I have that record, and Tony plays it OK (with Andy Irvine in there somewhere I seem to remember), but I'd bet that most of your locals learnt it from the tablature in the book I saw, or from others who had done so. (A high proportion of French diato players seem to find it very difficult to learn a tune without tablature to tell them what buttons to press )
  11. Yes he called it Caher Rua / Red-haired Charles, and it appears with that name in one of the Bulmer & Sharpley books (which predate that PG album). The Kellys call it "Ceathru Cavan" - the first word looks like a contraction of "Caher Rua".
  12. Listening to album in question as I write this (having digitized the LP, which I bought in about 1980), I can only repeat Geoff's recommendation of it as a very educational record to listen to for anyone who wants to hear the rhythm and pulse of Irish dance tunes stated particularly clearly and very enjoyably. What makes it especially enjoyable to me is that although the rhythm is so clear, the playing is gutsy and dirty - nothing precious about the way the brothers smack you round the head with that beautiful, inescapable swing and pulse. Great playing. So thanks Chris for letting us know that this great record can be had online. PS Here's a clip of the lads with their da playing one of the selections that is on the LP, recorded at about the same time it was released, too.
  13. I just watched the clip, expecting to see Mr. Welk or someone else playing a Crane Duet or an English concertina. Instead I see a bunch of short-sighted clarinetists, apparently cloned, various gurning musicians including a PA player, and at the end a couple of guys prancing around displaying the family jewellery in tights. A case in point? What were you smoking David? I'd say you're not so much flogging a dead horse as milking a bull. However I enjoyed watching the clip, so thanks. I especially liked the iron tonic commercial (I want some) and the bit where the presenter says, "Welcome to the Holid... er, the Diplomat Hotel".
  14. Knowing Geoff, I doubt it was a typo. I don't say that because he never makes a typo, but almost three decades ago he got me listening more carefully to what pipers do in jigs and I seem to remember that 5-2-3 proportion from that time. I'm just chiming in here - and not wishing to preempt any pointers Geoff might add on the subject - to say that, because of my own experience of learning and later teaching, I advise you to beware of "studying" these relative note lengths too intently. I don't think you need to determine their exact proportion in order to learn to play jigs well. Indeed, getting hung up on such nerdy details could very well hinder you from learning to play jigs well. And there is no reason why as a "foreigner", these subtleties will be forever barred to you. I speak as one myself. Anyone can learn to speak a new language with a native accent, or something very close to one, if they listen attentively enough, for long enough, and practice accordingly - listening to themselves in the process. And the same goes for learning Irish music. Listening is the key. I always remember being astounded, in the early 1980s, when I called on an ethnomusicologist I knew. He was writing a PhD thesis on regional styles in Irish fiddling and I found him determining the relative note lengths employed by different players by marking the starts and ends of notes on reel-to-reel tape with a crayon and then measuring their duration with a ruler. I came away struck by the incongruity of somebody knowing so much about these micro-details and yet being next to useless as a fiddler. OK it wasn't his main instrument, but still... In my teaching of Irish music, I've often found that those who like to talk most tend to progress least. To your thanks to Geoff I'd like to add my own, for all that I learned from him all those years ago, and for steering this thread into a profitable direction. Cheers Geoff, and where's the pint icon?
  15. The Excalibur is a 20-button while the Rochelle is a 30-button model. The ad for the Excalibur doesn't say what keys it is available in, either, which would suggest the dealer hasn't much of a clue - even without the nonsense pointed out by Theo.
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