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Jody Kruskal

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    New York City

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  1. All three teams planed to meet on the Promenade, here in Brooklyn, New York City. this Monday evening. We’ve been dancing out at the Promenade for years, especially in the spring. There were The Ring O’ Bells Morris, The Bouwerie Boys and my side, Half Moon Sword. All the usual suspects. We meet at 7:00 and dance till dusk. The Promenade is famous for its spectacular views of New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, the sunset illuminating billowing clouds over New Jersey to the West. It is really a great place to dance. The audience is just passing through on their way to and from dinner. Kids, babies, bicycles, local old folks out for a stroll, tourists from anywhere you please. In between playing concertina for the 1/2 Moon dancers, I went busking with my hat in hand, There were a few dozen interested audience members though folks would come and go in this busy park. I would boldly approach small groups of onlookers, selling them “Good Luck” for only a penny. The luck of the Morris is bought cheaply. Any amount will do. That was my line, but then I had many interesting conversations and answered lots of questions. “What culture is this dancing from?” I would explain that what they were seeing were Americans doing traditional English dancing from a variety of Cotswold village traditions. At first, nobody had any money in their pockets. So I added my phone to my hat with my venmo QR code on display and started raking in the cash. Between Venmo, bills and coin, I collected $53.50 in two hours from our delighted and luck hungry patrons. After dancing, we retired to the Custom House for drinks and food. We tallied up the money and decided to “eat the bag”. Those of us who left early had to pay the “Party Pooper Penalty” and got none, but those of us who stayed for the after party got $3 each off their bar tab. So be it.
  2. More Old Time tunes... Jody Kruskal plays Walnut Gap on the C/G Anglo concertina. Source: Kentucky fiddler Snake Chapman.
  3. For some purposes, yes I agree. What you propose would be the way to go for recording or playing in an amplified show, But wouldn't it be nice to just take it to a session and play without all that gear? Sound module, amplifier, speakers, AC power and all those cables to schlep and plug in. It would be nice to be able to just play something concertina-ish right out of the box.
  4. In general, my number one criteria for how well a concertina plays (midi or not) is based on how wide its dynamic range is. Most can play loud, only the better ones can play cleanly at super quiet volumes as well. I like to play down there in the pianissimo range. The best concertinas, for me, will play down to a whisper... down to nothing, but evenly so, across the entire pitch range of the instrument. Contrary to popular belief, I actually do prefer playing concertina quietly like that. For a midi instrument to approximate the real thing in functionality, a real bellows would need to control the pressure and the entire 128 levels of midi volume should be available, smoothly and seamlessly shifting from loud to soft and back to loud in an instant. at the players whim, with unnoticeable lag. Just like the real thing. My additional wish list for a midi Anglo would include: * Internal speakers and amplifier * USB rechargeable battery * Dedicated buttons for transposing and voice selection. Perhaps user customization to let you select among a few favorite voices in performance. * Bluetooth audio out as well as standard audio mini out and midi out physical connection ports. I'm sure such an instrument could be built... by NASA... at taxpayer expense. With headphones on your space suit, you could play it solo on the moon, or join with your bluetooth tune buddies on jamkazam broadcasting from the nearby crater. Playing tunes together would certainly keep those future bored lunar pioneers entertained.
  5. I've tried three midi anglos and they all had the same defect... they didn't respond musically to my touch. On a traditional concertina, the harder you squeeze, the louder you get and a gentle squeeze plays quieter. For me, the dynamic responsiveness of the reed/bellows connection is what makes the concertina so much fun to play. Midi can represent volume from 0 to 127 but the midi Anglos I tried couldn't make full use of this capacity and changed volumes in unpredictable ways. They were ok when playing loud but anything less than that caused sudden dynamic changes and drop-outs. Useless.
  6. Wes Muir's Tune, Jody Kruskal on the Old Time C/G Anglo concertina.
  7. Swan or Penguin not withstanding, a lovely tune. So simple and deep. Great orchestration there. Thanks.
  8. Greasy Coat in A played on the C/G Anglo concertina by Jody Kruskal 2024. An Old Time classic known from the playing of the Hammons family, Pocahontas County, West Virginia
  9. Snake Chapman's Tune. D modal tunes work great on the C/G Anglo concertina. This crooked tune is popular at Old Time sessions and festivals. Originally known as "Home with the Girls in the Morning" this tune has undergone some modifications via the folk process.
  10. I've been happily using Myers Feather 2 pickups in live performance for almost a year now and I like them very much.
  11. Hey digver, glad to hear that you like my angle. I'm trying to frame it so that the concertina fills the screen. The camera is about 8 to 12 inches away from the action. Shooting so close amps up the detail and yes, sometimes you can see both sides at once.
  12. Simpson County, Old Time tune from Kentucky fiddler Charlie Kessinger played on C/G Anglo concertina by Jody Kruskal
  13. That was jolly. Thanks. Made me smile😀
  14. Railroading Through the Rockies from fiddler Jim Bowles played on the C/G Anglo concertina by Jody Kruskal 2024.
  15. OK David, does this help? Moments before posting this funny scene I had just successfully repaired my Jefferies 38 button C/G vintage Anglo. Button #6 on the left hand (pitches A-B) was sounding continuously, impeding my ongoing Old Time tune recording project, so it had to be fixed. The button seemed to return when pressed, so it was not a broken spring. Nothing to do but take the end off and have a look. I could see nothing wrong. I unhooked the spring, wiggled the lever, seems ok. The staple was snug. I opened the pad and could not see anything keeping it from closing. Gave it a good blow of air. Put everything back together… but the problem was still there. The button seemed to return when pressed, but maybe not fast enough and certainly not strong enough to close the pad. Often, just taking the problem bits apart and fiddling with them fixes the issue. I call that the fuss factor; but not this time. Button #6L was still sounding in both directions without me pressing the button. So I took the end off again to have another look. Should I bend the spring to increase the closing pressure? Attach a second spring? Before taking that drastic measure I tried lubrication. I sprayed a bit of graphite lock lubricant in a bottle cap and applied it to the lever fulcrum with a toothpick and worked it into the riveted joint. Then I found an old drill bit that just fit into the button bushing hole. Rotating the non-cutting end against the felt in one direction can polish and align the fibers to make for a slightly looser fit. I then applied graphite to the bushing felt for good measure. When I put the end back on,.. problem sorted; much to my relief. Moments later by chance, I watched the Chaplin video and thought… wow. I really dodged a bullet on that concertina repair. It could have been much much worse!
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