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Stephen Chambers

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About Stephen Chambers

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    STEPHEN CHAMBERS had the misfortune to be stricken with the highly contagious concertina bug around the time he left school in 1970. He believes he caught it as a result of attending folk clubs in Derby and his native Burton-on-Trent, though he cannot rule out the malevolent influence of the "Concertina Consciousness" movement that was active at the time, not forgetting his becoming a member of the International Concertina Association at an early stage (as the result of an accidental meeting with ICA Secretary Jim Harvey on London's Battersea Bridge). In the early stages of the illness he rapidly progressed from simply listening to concertinas being played to seeking to have one of his own; an ambition he rapidly achieved with the purchase of an 1890s Wheatstone for £25 through an advert in the local newspaper, and his life has never been the same since. The progression of the bug to fully blown Concertina Acquisition Disorder, coupled with an interest in history and training as a librarian, has caused him to carry out research on the instruments murky past and to publish articles about it, but really he is only trying to mask the symptoms of his condition.

    He is the author of "Louis Lachenal : Engineer and Concertina Manufacturer" Part 1, "An Annotated Catalogue of Historic European Free-Reed Instruments ... " (based on the instruments exhibited at the Symposium "Harmonium und Handharmonika", at Stiftung Kloster Michaelstein, in November 1999) and "Some Notes on Lachenal Concertina Production and Serial Numbers", which stands (in the interim) for "Louis Lachenal" Part 2.

    All the above may now be viewed online, courtesy of Robert Gaskins, by clicking on the Home Page url below.

    His latest paper "Joseph Astley, Oldham Concertina Band
    and the MHJ Shield" was published in PICA (Papers of the International Concertina Association) Volume 4, 2007: http://www.concertina.org/archive/pica/pica_2007_4/pica4_2007_p31_44.pdf

    Stephen is the present custodian of the first Wheatstone concertina (his avatar), which was formerly the pride of Wheatstone's own collection. It was shown, & described as such, in the 1961 Pathe Newsreel "Concertina Factory", or "Concert in a Factory"(which can be viewed online at: http://www.britishpathe.com/product_display.php?searchword=concertina+factory).

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  1. You would not be alone David - and he had such an extraordinary life, that included Josphine Baker, and Django Reinhardt, in Paris in the 1930s...
  2. Well played! It's a song that always makes me think of Oscar Alemán and his various recordings of it, going back to 1943 at least.
  3. A. Resident? More likely you meant E.I.N. Weiterer = A.N. Other...
  4. It has a striking effect when seen in something large, like a Brazilian rosewood guitar back, though...
  5. This is what Coromandel (a.k.a. Calamandel) wood looks like, it was much appreciated for boxes, and small tables, in the 19th century: https://www.google.com/search?q=coromandel+wood&rlz=1C1CHBF_enIE848IE848&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=x75giw0GaXHCQM%3A%2COKrN8Ods1fjGzM%2C%2Fm%2F027tsfp&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSsofqoHmecfyTZHQEWk3QeoSu4Zg&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwixqofHrsToAhVhAGMBHa55BS0Q_B0wC3oECAwQAw#imgrc=x75giw0GaXHCQM: And this is Zebrawood: https://www.google.com/search?q=Zebrawood&rlz=1C1CHBF_enIE848IE848&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiSqr_6sMToAhUKUcAKHXrgAVkQ_AUoAXoECBQQAw&biw=1366&bih=625
  6. I expect the German manufacturer, whoever they were, had access to a Nickolds instrument and copied elements of the design to come up with these. For that matter, you also get German-made copies of 2-row Lachenal Anglos turning up in England - whilst genuine Lachenal instruments were exported to Germany and available there.
  7. Here's a link to a previous thread about these: English Or German?
  8. I've got one the same, and initially thought of Nickolds too, but the pencilled letters are D (Diskant) in the treble and B (Bass) in the bass - which is the coventional labelling of the two sides in German.
  9. The bellows are 5-sided, whilst I think the shape is maybe more like that of a fancy German shield.
  10. You'd better count again, I make that SEVEN sides, and though extremely rare, such concertinas were made in Germany - and I've got a 20-key one in my collection. It's on exhibition, with more of my instruments, at the OaC in Miltown Malbay, and is at bottom right in this photo: At top left there's a rare 10-key hexagonal one, whilst on the lower shelf there are two 10-key rectangular ones (the original form of the German concertina).
  11. Yes, but here in Ireland there's a big differentiation made between "traditional music" (which is what you are describing) and "folk music"/"the folk revival"/"ballads" - they're not the same scenes at all, though they can overlap, whilst what The Bee's Proverbial Knees is describing is the latter. And the banjo type favoured by the likes of Tommy Makem, Luke Kelly, Lou Killen et al. was the long-neck, 25-fret, Pete Seeger-style 5-string, with open back and played in the old frailing manner - not the bluegrass 5-string banjo style you're describing. Meanwhile, the Anglo concertina has only risen to such dizzying heights in Irish music in my lifetime. It used to be played almost entirely by a small number of players in Co. Clare, where there have also been English concertinas played...
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