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Phantom Button

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  1. Mairead Hurley is from the well-known musical family in Ballymote. She is an exceptional player and anyone in the SF Bay Area that loves Irish trad concertina shouldn't miss this opportunity to see her performing in a great setting. Mairead Hurley & Nathan Gourley met in Dublin, Ireland & bonded over cider, similar last names & a love for old-school traditional Irish music. They play unusual traditional tunes in a sweet yet lively style that will leave even the laziest toes tapping! Mairead, hailing from Sligo, Ireland is an All-Ireland champion on concertina. She has toured worldwide-her most recent musical adventures being on the vibrant folk scene in Australia. Nathan on fiddle is a household name in the Irish music scene in North America, having performed with Chulrua, Dáithí Sproule of Altan and California's own Joey Abarta. As a duo, these two will entrance, entertain and certainly impress! They will be joined on the night by cheeky New York/Mayo flute player Brian Holleran, whose infectious flute style is comparable to an Ebola outbreak-unexpected, powerful and fast! Expect tunes, cheesy jokes & an evening of fun! Contact Jack Gilder for more info and reservations. Address for the venue will be given upon reservation. $15 donation requested. This will be a fabulous event for anyone who loves Irish trad music and particularly the concertina. jgilder@tipsyhouse.com
  2. Ha... my pic inspired this thread. That wouldn't be the first time I have had to do emergency surgery on the thing; I have replaced springs, replaced or moved good buttons to where a button broke, and glued pads. I keep the screwdrivers, glue, spare springs and buttons, etc., all in my case... just in case. On one occasion as I was repairing something that had failed at a session, my session mates played a tune I composed along with several tunes that are known personal favorites of mine just to taunt me. Bashtards!
  3. Thanks, Michelle, it was a photo that a friend took at Lark Camp this year and he took many that deserve respect. It was last year at the same camp when my concertina seemed to gasp for its last breath. I have a photo from last year of me desperately trying to repair the unrepairable whilst tunes were being played in the same room late into the night... very frustrating. That was what prompted me to finally give up and find someone to restore it properly... which I did immediately following Camp.
  4. Last year at this time I had a complete restoration done of my Anglo C/G Wheatstone Linota. I had seen Wim Wakker's high-end concertina he builds and had a chance to examine it thoroughly, and based on that made my decision to go with him for the badly needed restoration. My phone conversations were extremely edifying and his overall knowledge and understanding of the minutia involved with concertina physics gave me further confidence that I had selected the right man for the job. It has been a year now and I play my concertina daily giving it a good workout between vigorous practicing and a fairly busy gig and session schedule and I haven't experienced any problems other than a reed becoming dislodged from the slot on one occasion... something that happened more frequently before the job was done. As a result of the work, the improved action has provided me with a platform to improve my playing and the tuning and tone has made my playing more bearable for onlookers and listeners. If anyone is considering to have restoration done on your coveted antique... I highly recommend Wim Wakker for his attention to detail, highly skilled and prompt work. For all that he did to my instrument I found the price very reasonable as well. My concertina showed up at his shop in dire condition going into triage and emerging a short time later playing like it did when it rolled off the assembly line at the Wheatstone factory in 1925. Jack Gilder San Francisco
  5. For Irish music your left hand pinkie finger's home button should be the D/F# button on the G row. The reason being that instead of the C scale, the D scale is the home scale.
  6. Gm isn't my best key, but here's a clip of me playing the tune so you can see where I was going and how I've solved the tune.
  7. I play this tune in Gm as well. I play the Bb on the top row with my index finger and then use my ring finger on the G row for the A/pull and G/push and back to the C row with my middle finger for the F/pull and ring finger on C row for the D/pull. I follow the same pattern going back up. It works nicely because the pushed notes fall on the back beat and continue to through the next bar. This makes it easier to play and remember as well as utilizing the push and pull nicely. After the pull D, what do you do? This is where I don't have any other choice than pulling many notes in a row if I don't want to be using the same finger to play two different buttons in a row... Are you using the G-row? I follow the same buttons with the same fingers right up again. D, C-row, ring finger pull... F, C-row, middle finger pull... G G-row, ring finger PUSH... Bb Top-row, index finger pull.
  8. I play this tune in Gm as well. I play the Bb on the top row with my index finger and then use my ring finger on the G row for the A/pull and G/push and back to the C row with my middle finger for the F/pull and ring finger on C row for the D/pull. I follow the same pattern going back up. It works nicely because the pushed notes fall on the back beat and continue to through the next bar. This makes it easier to play and remember as well as utilizing the push and pull nicely.
  9. I went on a tour of Japan once with Dale Russ and Junji Shirota. During the 10 days we met many of the musicians living there and played tunes with them. One time the session was in a temple and there were no chair and everyone was in their stockings. I also got a taste for how well sushi and sake go with tunes. Great enthusiasm for the music over there. I have some photos here from that tour that happened in 1996. This gallery will only be up for a month longer because I'm in the process of changing my ISP. You can see photos from the session in the temple there. http://pweb.jps.net/~jgilder/gallery.html
  10. Richard... I think concertina players hide from each other at that thing... they disguise their concertina cases to look like Uilleann pipes cases and stuff like that. Or maybe there's a local code that prohibits concertinas from being within 500 feet of each other.
  11. Damn!!! I was just reading through to see if anyone had mentioned McTeague and you beat me to it Stephen. Someone came up to me one night when we were playing for a dance and handed me a copy suggesting I read the book since I live in McTeague's neighborhood and I'm a large bearded concertina player. I loved how McTeague was described as playing "lugubrious slow airs" on his concertina – something I love to do as well. I enjoyed reading it while sitting in neighborhood cafes close to where the story takes place down on Polk Street. The author lived in the neighborhood at the turn of the 20th Century and based the story roughly on the location and local characters at the time. I even found an old cherry tree referred to in the book right around the corner from my house up an alley I never walked down previously. One day when I was sitting in a cafe on the same block where McTeague's dentist shop was located, an old fella dressed smartly in a suite complete with a walking stick came by and when he saw me reading the book he startled me when he declared, "McTeague!" And he nodded and smiled as he walked by. I like to think he was a time traveler.
  12. It would be great to get some audio or even better, video clips of Alan playing those marches. It would no doubt be a great asset to the book to see his hands as he plays. I remember the first time I heard these was in 1986 at my house when I was hosting a concertina workshop with Noel Hill. Noel was very impressed with what Alan was doing, as were the rest of us there.
  13. I will also be giving workshops on astral projecting to other planets and past life regression.
  14. So it's a combination of the price of drink and random Breathalyzer testing that's keeping punters at home, and the potential cashing in of their pub license that's prompting publicans to sell their pubs? I read somewhere that the closing of the rural pubs is having a tragic effect on the older generation living in the area with an increase of suicides since there’s little to do and people are feeling more isolated and lonely. Is that true?
  15. Why do you suppose this is; could it be the drinking and driving laws and the Breathalyzer, or the smoking ban... or both? Or is the price of drink too much. I did notice the whole round thing seemed to have changed last time I was over.
  16. If you're talking about Jody's Heaven, that was pre-phantom button for me and I executed them differently. One of the advantages of the phantom button (slap-roll) is that I can now execute a tight 3-note triplet on any note on the left hand now... even with my wee finger or ring finger. Before I had to fabricate something less effective. Have we met?
  17. I'm listening to her play right now and I wouldn't say her ornamentation is all that "sparse" really. She's also using the slap-roll at every opportunity, or at least everywhere that I use it anyway. It's definitely a departure from Mary Mac's style as far as that goes. Nice playing! Did anyone happen to notice the hilarious Cowboy & Western advert where some cowgirl is moaning in a country twang about not going to the pub? It's hilarious to hear her making references to things like "craic" and on the last line she says "pain in the hole." The advert is promoting local pubs and encouraging people to frequent them. Are people in Clare not going out? Are the pubs desperate for business now?
  18. True... writing tunes is a total interruption of practice time. You don't get back to practicing again until you put the tune aside or finish it. The problem is that, at least for me, the tune shows up unannounced and on its own terms. I've never sat down to write a tune; it always finds me first.
  19. I've composed a good few tunes, but they aren't a result of improvisation necessarily. Usually I'll stumble on a sequence of notes accidentally that rings a bell in my head or just sounds cool, and then I'll follow it to what seems like a likely conclusion. Often I find out it's a tune I’ve heard that I haven't yet learned sitting dormant in my subconscious. When I play the new tune to friends they will tell me it reminds them of such and such tune, and when I hear the tune they’re referring to I realize it's the tune my mind was struggling to get out and I trash the tune I came up with and learn the right tune properly instead. Sometimes my effort to follow the tune to its likely conclusion ends up being interesting enough to keep on account of how unique it is, and occasionally I'll actually stumble onto a musical idea that stands entirely on its own and doesn't mimic any known tune. The latter is more rare, but I've kept a good few tunes regardless of their obvious similarity to other known tunes.
  20. That's very interesting... thanks cee. I've heard that it's very intimidating to be one of only a few adults among all the kids in those concertina classes. I imagine the same is true for other instruments as well.
  21. I've never been to Catskills or Willy Week and received my training either through private instruction or local workshops, but I hear that at Willy Week they determine your level based on an audition. Is this true? It seems like a good idea to me because the different levels should be designed as such so that players at different levels will receive instruction more efficiently.
  22. The local pipers club has loner instruments for beginners. It's a pity that there aren't concertina clubs that could function in the same way. As for the high price of quality concertinas -- it's supply and demand unfortunately. There are enough people interested to create a market for high-quality hand-made instruments, but not enough for anyone to start an operation that could produce and sell concertinas at a rate that would bring down the price to what it might have been relative to the value of currency back in the 20s and 30s when a lot of concertinas were produced. I'm curious if anyone has done a comparison of relative values comparing that period to today?
  23. This thread, as popular as seems to be, is a waste of time and pointless IMHO. Since it is an unwarranted attack on Irish concertina music I will put it bluntly. Some people realize they're never going to gain the mastery they might hear on a given instrument and either keep trying anyway for the fun and enjoyment (like me)... or they give up and change their objective to something more within their reach. Then there are others who when realizing they will never attain the extremely technical playing they're hearing from the masters will find it necessary to tear down the art so they can give up on their attempt without having to admit to their own shortcomings. Having said that I will add that there are many different Irish concertina styles to choose from; some more demanding than others, but none are boring to people who love ITM on concertina. If you find it boring -- play and or listen to something else.
  24. There's no conspiracy behind my motives for setting tempos; I enjoy finding a nice groove more than playing for speed's sake. But even a nice groove can go by fast enough so people trying to pick tunes up "on the fly" will end up muddling huge sections and lagging behind. Besides, I would think that instead of struggling to play a tune you don't know it would be much more satisfying to just relax and enjoy the music.
  25. I'm only familiar with Irish sessions, but the guitar usually plays backup. Since it's perfectly capable of playing melody it will do that now and then too. The accordion usually plays melody on the keyboard side and accompaniment on the other. As far as religion goes, I believe ITM is secular music for the most part. It might be played religiously if the session is held in Church, but not necessarily. Our session once had a musical priest playing flute, but he usually came long after mess had ended.
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