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Jody Kruskal

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  1. I just got back from the Fiddlin’ Bear - Lake Genero Old-Time festival. http://www.sacrasoft.com/Genero/ What fun we all had... just like the before times. This music gathering in Pennsylvania has been going on for quite awhile, but I started going in 2010. That was back when I first started playing Old-Time music on the Anglo concertina as a serious avocation. Since the covid pandemic shut everything down, this was the first big players festival I’ve attended (proof of vaccination required). It was great to play again with my old friends and make some new ones. The setting is beautiful. 150 musicians camping by a small lake in the woods. No stage, no headliners, no workshops or concerts. We just informally play tunes together in small groups all day and late into the night. It’s a big party. What I like is to hop from session to session and play with a variety of amazing musicians. I never saw a piece of sheet music the whole three days. It’s all done by ear. Half of the tunes that I played this weekend I learned on the spot, having never heard them before. Picking up tunes on the fly is a knack that can be learned. For those that don’t know, Old-Time music (in this context) is mostly an American Southern fiddle tunes tradition with guitar and banjo backup. It’s not Bluegrass, though we do share some tunes in common. It’s not Country, though some of us do sing old Country songs. The core of the repertoire are great tunes that have been passed down from a few dozen great fiddlers, living and dead. Many of the tunes have been learned from old 78’s that were recorded in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Back then, folks called it Hillbilly music. So when I take out the Anglo concertina at Lake Genero, I run the risk of upsetting some purists. At this point though, most of them have gotten used to me and I have learned how to play concertina without making folks unhappy. I’ve learned the genre. This year, I was not the only concertina player there. English player Rachel Hall made a surprise appearance. What fun to play again with her and her Philly friends!
  2. The dog days of summer are here and I'm panting hard with my tongue lolling out and mop in hand.
  3. Extreme weather here in Brooklyn tonight. High winds and heavy rain all at once. The aftermath of hurricane Ida has left my basement flooded a few inches in the low spots. Lots of mopping to do. Still planning to attend Lake Genero Old-Time Festival this weekend and next weekend... The New England Squeeze-In. Yay!
  4. I've had the same problem, but I used a block of thick leather, thinking that it would be more gentle on the bellows. Works fine.
  5. Tumbling tubes in Brooklyn, a musical walking meditation. Best to listen using large speakers or headphones to hear the low tones. The Gravity Pipes is a parade of chance events that results in unpredictable melodic phrases, all in a low register. Large diameter PVC tubes as long as 11 feet, rise up to the sky and dramatically fall, bouncing to create deep and satisfying resonances. Play along on your box in G.
  6. I got quite a few responses in messages and thank you all for your help. After considering a new Wolverton or Morse, and several Jefferies 38 button instruments that I lust after... I have decided on a used Edgley 30 button hybrid from a friend. The Jefferies instruments would have been nice, but they just cost too much considering the limited use for this odd key. Now that I have had a chance to play my Ab/Eb Edgley I'm glad I got it. So much fun to play with my Pakistani friends who favor the flat keys for their raags.
  7. Silly arrangement, but splendid playing.
  8. I'm looking to buy an Ab/Eb Anglo. Got one? Know someone who does?
  9. I use the Flipside 300 by Lowepro for touring with two concertinas. It's a durable thick walled backpack with lots of foam pad internal blocking options that are adjustable using velcro, so you can configure the inside anyway you want without committing yourself. Very light and easy to carry, yet sturdy enough for delicate photographic equipment (for which it's made) or squeeze-boxes. Fits two concertinas with secure padding between and a bit of room for extras, small storage pocket and water bottle holder. It has a bunch of external hooks and loops, so that I can attach a folding chair which is very handy as a hands free ride for my boxes + seat at festivals and travel. I've tried a number of clumsy cases, but I always come back to this one because it works so well. 15 years of touring abuse later, it's getting a bit frayed around the edges but still works as good as new. https://www.amazon.com/Lowepro-Flipside-DSLR-Camera-Backpack/dp/B000YA33DC/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=Flipside+300+lowepro&qid=1620187324&sr=8-6
  10. Thanks Jim. Yes, I've come to enjoy exploring just how slow a tune can go.
  11. https://soundcloud.com/parallel_play2020/sweet-marie Sweet Marie is featured as the latest tune from Parallel Play, my ongoing duet project with autoharpist Cindy Harris. Even though we live 380 miles away from each other, we have been playing nightly using the miraculous JamKazam platform. JamKazam makes it possible for us to play live and also record high quality audio of our performance. We then mix those files the same way we would normally do, after a face to face studio recording session. I think that this delightfully crooked tune got its start as a popular song from 1893. Old-time fiddlers (as they do) adopted it as their own and there are several variations going around. Here is the sheet music transcribed from a session at Mt. Airy in 2012 played by Bruce Green and friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpsNW2OjFHU Sweet Marie dots.pdf Aside from “Sweet Marie” you can also hear our other recordings on SoundCloud: A Beauty Tom Kruskal’s Niely Cleere’s Polka Springfield Salmon Tails Up the River Grand Picnic
  12. I wrote this beautiful waltz back in 2009. Somehow, it got lost in the shuffle and was never performed... until now. “A Beauty” is featured as the latest tune from Parallel Play, my ongoing duet project with autoharpist Cindy Harris. Even though we live 380 miles away from each other, we have been playing nightly using the miraculous JamKazam platform. JamKazam makes it possible for us to play live and also record high quality audio of our performance. We then mix those files the same way we would normally do, after a face to face studio recording session. Here is the sheet music: A Beauty Waltz copy.pdf Aside from “A Beauty” you can also hear our other recordings on SoundCloud: Tom Kruskal’s Niely Cleere’s Polka Springfield Salmon Tails Up the River Grand Picnic
  13. Well, the concert was a grand success. You can still catch our set here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRkG4QQPDQM Just go to 3:32... or enjoy the whole thing!
  14. A few weeks ago, JamKazam announced that they were planning a live classical music festival and asked jammers to volunteer to perform. Cindy and I strategized on how we might present ourselves as a classical duo and volunteered. We're going to play English Country Dance tunes from the 17th and 18th centuries and a few modern tunes in the genre, all in the JamKazam Classical Music Festival on Saturday, Jan 2. The festival starts at 12pm CST (that's 1 pm EST, 9 am PST I think). Theoretically, if everyone keeps to their time slot, Parallel Play should be on around 3:45 pm EST. I think that might be something like 7:45 am on Sunday for our Aussie friends, but, hey, it's Sunday, right? No better way to start a nice summer day! More at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRkG4QQPDQM . You can queue up for a reminder there, and there's a listing of all the performers in order along with their expected run time. There's also an event on Facebook at https://fb.me/e/5Z9gMZaiB if you want to RSVP there.
  15. Thanks Isel. David, right you are. I learned this tune in a wild and noisy session in the Camp House at Pinewoods long ago from a very young Emily Troll, back when she was on crew. So, I'm playing it from ear and memory, not dots. Interestingly, I played it for Emily many years later and she claims to have never known the tune. Go figure!
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