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Jim Besser

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About Jim Besser

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Contra and English ceilidh dance music, Morris music, traditional French dance music, playing for any and all dancers.
  • Location
    Washington DC metro area

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  1. Jim Besser

    What is folk music today? UK and USA

    An interesting question that's been on my mind a lot lately; last year I started a new band that is focusing entirely on the rich body of 'neo-trad' music emanating from England, France, Belgium and the Scandi countries. It seems to me that in the US, the folk scare of the 1960s - the Kingston Trio and its ilk - became fossilized and factionalized; across the pond, there was an early recognition that bringing in diverse influences enriched the music. So in England you had the influence of the folk rock surge, and the infiltration of French influences into the English trad scene, and more recently, Scandi and others. In the US, there is a robust oldtime scene, but it seems dominated by purists who are offended by the melding of other traditions into oldtime music; the same goes for the lively Irish scene. Maybe it's that in Europe and the UK, people tend to think of "trad" music as something that's always evolving; in the US, "folk" is seen by its practitioners more as a cultural relic, not to be tampered with, and by younger people as something that only old guys like me do. Maybe there's a fundamental cultural difference; in Europe, the melding of influences is part of life; in the US, we are all in our walled-off little niches. As Craig notes above, in my area - Washington DC - there is a lot of diverse music going on, but it seems to me that there is very, very little. cross fertilization. Which, to my way of thinking, is too bad.
  2. Jim Besser

    NEFFA 2019

    Haven't been to a NEFFA in at least 8 years - sadly, because it's the best. Here's a video that includes a little concertina.net meetup we did a long time ago. Concertinas at about 4.30. I'd recognize the sound of David's Hayden anywhere!
  3. Jim Besser

    forScore question

    Andrew - thanks, that's really helpful.
  4. Jim Besser

    forScore question

    Ha. I did RTFM and it didn 't answer my questions. FMs can be like that.
  5. Since we're discussing forScore....I've used it for years, but never bothered reading the documentation (big surprise). My question: I organize files by the different bands I'm in, different categories of tunes (current projects, things for later, etc.) I have used the 'tags' function to do this, and it works, but I'm wondering: what's the difference between 'tags' and 'labels?' For filtering, is one preferable over the other? The forScore support page doesn't really address this. Is there any way to do batch edits for tags/labels? I have 300 or 400 PDFs, and it's a chore to change metadata on groups of files. I'm getting ready to migrate to a new (and bigger) iPad, so this would be a fine time to actually figure out how things work!
  6. Jim Besser

    iPad music score apps

    I've been using ForScore for a long time. Uses PDFs, has annotation capability, organizing into sets, playlists or other categories is relatively easy. Not perfect, but pretty darned good, and works well with IOS devices. Works well with bluetooth foot pedals, if that's something you need. On thing you might want to consider: the scores on a mini are pretty small. I'm about to replace mine with a full size iPad. Your mileage may vary.
  7. Jim Besser

    Dog Days in Ithaca?

    Sadly, not me. I've been there with 3 different sides, but 2 of them are defunct, and my primary side has other priorities. Too bad - it's a fun event.
  8. Jim Besser

    Dog Days in Ithaca?

  9. Jim Besser

    Dog Days in Ithaca?

    Uh...my friend who worked with him on C and S says nobody has heard from him in years. Sorry.
  10. Jim Besser

    Dog Days in Ithaca?

    I don't know the answer, but know someone who probably does, and I'll ask him and report back. jb
  11. Jim Besser

    In praise of a good hard case

    Same here; while the instruments reside in waterproof Hardigg Pelican cases at home, they almost always travel in the Lowepro Flipside 300. It's padded enough to withstand the expected jostling in pubs; being a backpack, it's much easier to carry during all-day Morris walking tours. And living/playing in the big city, I worry much less about theft when the instruments are on my back. Different cases for different situations.
  12. Jim Besser

    Tips & Tricks for Contra

    Well, if it's just you on rhythm, my suggestion is keep it simple. Basic boom-chucks. Rhythmic pounding on the chords. Jody is a master of playing rhythm on concertina, but he's almost always playing with a very strong pianist, which leaves him free to do a lot of rhythmic punctuation, adding enormously to the drive of the music. Without a piano ( and without Jody's extraordinary skills) , it seems to me, you'd be better off keeping it simple and forceful. I once had to do a contra with just a fiddle and concertina. Mostly, I pretended I was playing guitar, doing a lot of bass-chord stuff, occasional bass runs, etc. When playing with bigger groups I sometimes like to pretend I'm a string bass and do strong bass lines, with occasional chords thrown in. That should work nicely on your D/A bari.
  13. Our second gig there. https://www.kennedy-center.org/video/index/M67489
  14. Speaking to the original topic: my late friend and bandmate (and early c.net contributor) Michael Reid was an outstanding English concertina player when I met him, and he played that in our band . Along the way, he began to refocus on Irish trad and decided to learn Anglo. When he moved to Colorado (and out of our band) he made the switch and become a highly competent Anglo player in the Irish style. It was the absence of the classic concertina sound in our band that spurred me to get serious about playing concertina.
  15. Jim Besser

    Tedrow Anglo baritone

    I don't know about the Tedrow, but I have a Morse ESB C/G baritone and is just about as fast as the standard Morse instruments. Which is to say, quite fast.