Posts posted by Rod Newman
I don't know of anyone who's kept such instruments for "quite a while" - unless there is absolutely no way they could afford anything better. In such case they have to put up with them despite their problems/limitations all while realizing more and more how much better the better ones are.It's probably something I'll keep for quite a while, so I'm inclined to think that the better materials of the Stagi would be more durable.
-- Rich --
I started out on a Hohner many years ago, then put it into "storage" when I acquired a Wheatstone Treble and a Wheatstone Baritone. Recently I pulled it out the Hohner and played it. I was surprised at the ease of fingering jigs and reels, and the reasonable tone in playing airs.
I had understood that Hohners and Stagis were made by the same producer. Is there a difference between a Hohner and a Stagi?
so it seems that there are several concertina players around puget sound. how many of us are there? i know there are at least two in olympia other than myself.
There are at least five in the Victoria, BC area, just across the Juan de Fuca Strait.
I play it as the middle tune in a set, Arran Boat song to start then Battle of the Somme (retreat march tempo) changing into a brisk Earl of Mansfield to finish.
Both my granfathers came back from WW1 but several of my great uncles did not, one served with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and was killed in one of the first major battles, no remains ever recovered, Gran always found it too painfull to talk about.
My grandfather was one of my music inspirations. After family dinners, at my grandparent's home, we would all gather round the piano and sing. Some of the songs were those he sang serving in a Canadian infantry regiment in WW1.
His battalion was in the Battle of the Somme. He was wounded twice (the battle lasted over four months, so he was sent back to the trenches after recovering from his first wound). As a curious young boy, I asked a lot of questions. The stories he told me of trench warfare were not pretty.
Long before I ever heard the song "Christmas in the Trenches", describing the 1914 Christmas in the British/German lines, he told me the story as he had heard it as a soldier. It's a powerful song, and a powerful message.
I've just sent an email to Andy's Front Hall asking that my name by added to the requests for a re-issue of Old Songs, Old Friends. If enough of us request, it may increase their interest.
RigAJig will be at the Blethering Place in Oak Bay, Victoria, a biweekly gig.
For St Patrick's Day, instead of our mixture of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Canadian, US, medieval French - even a medley of Ukrainian polkas - we'll be playing (and singing) mostly Irish.
We play many of the dance tunes as medleys, and since we're playing 3 hours rather than our usual 2, to make sure we have enough tunes, we may have to slip in some Irish sounding Canadian or English tunes.
Kathy, one of the servers, has an Irish dance school, and she'll bring in some of her students for some dancing. It's great fun.
Thank you, Mark. What a musical gift you have passed on. I play some of the reels on concertina. It's interesting to hear how they were played 60 or 90 years ago, and compare how Jean Carignan, and others, have recorded them recently. It's also a good site for finding more tunes to learn.
I will give the web site address to some friends in Victoria who are originally from Quebec. They will be very pleased.
The band (RigAJig) does a song from the 1860s that I found in PJ Thomas' "Songs of the Pacific Northwest". It's called "Teamin' Up the Cariboo Road".
The verses are about frolics of the freight wagonners who carried people and goods hundreds of miles through the canyons and forests to Barkerville during the Cariboo Gold Rush.
The tune is a parody of "Climbing Up the Golden Stairs" The last verse:
Well the Driver's on the deck, with a rag around his neck.
Teamin up the Cariboo Road
While the swamper in the stable makes sure the teams are able
Teamin up the Cariboo Road
When the roads are in a mire, then the freighters earn their hire
Teamin up the Cariboo Road
BUT THEY CAN BEAT THE WEATHER, WHEN THEY ALL WORK TOGETHER
Teamin up the Cariboo Road.
The last line is a basic principle for surviving a northern weather.
I also understand that another unfortunate thing is happening in the North-East of England. 25 years ago Northumbrian tunes were commonly played in most sessions in the NE alongside a mix of other tunes. I no longer live in the area but understand that Irish tunes have more or less taken over which is a great shame.
Whilst I do enjoy a bit of Irish music, I do prefer English. There are a number of us trying to keep the English tradition alive but this can be an uphill battle. There is no-way such superb music can be allowed to die. " [end quote]
Our band plays many tunes from NE England around Victoria and Up-island. Very up-beat and rhythmic. People smile, clap and dance if there is a dance floor. The little kids, if there are any in the audience, dance enthusiastically even if there isn't a dance floor.
The band agrees there is no-way such music can be allowed to die. It won't.
When you have a chance, come on over to Victoria, just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Lots happening, many pubs, great walks, and a session every Tuesday at the "Bent Mast".
I have taken the concertina throught the security X ray machines a few times without problems.
Once, going through Canada Customs, they were very curious. They asked me what it was, then asked me to play it. I played "On the Road to Boston", and there was a sudden silence (except for me) in the busy customs terminal. Everyone, customs agents and people in the line-ups, all stopped to listen, then applauded. It was a different Customs experience.
...the important thing is you speak our language...
Since you must realize that we don't spell it the same, I'm glad you have a sense of humor about it.
Shouldn't that be spelled: "humour"?
It's probably a matter of time. Years ago, my wife stopped playing in a popular jazz band because of the second hand smoke in bar venues.
In 1999, the Capital Regional District in Victoria enacted a bylaw that prohibits smoking in all public places, including restaurants, bars, bingo halls, and casinos, in workplaces, and educational institutions, including school-yards. The ban was supported by the Worker's Compensation Board because of the effect of second hand smoke on employees, and later extended to the rest of the Province.
There was a hell of a fuss. At first, many bars refused to conform. They claimed they would go out of business. It's all settled now, and to my knowledge, no bars or pubs went out of business for that reason. Some say business has actually increased. I understand that many other places in Canada and the States have similar bans, with similar results, and that even Ireland may implement no-smoking bars.
Molly is now into traditional music, not jazz. We play a lot of music together. For me, that was one lasting positive effect of the old bar-smoking days.
What side do you play for? What traditions do you do?
Molly and I play for a Border Morris side - the Not For Joes. We dance out and do Mummer's plays with a women's side - "Island Thyme Morris". Island Thyme does North West and Cotswold
Early on Mayday morning (5:30), we go down to Clover Point to welcome the May. We are joined by a third local side, Hollytree Morris (mostly Cotswold). We set up a Maypole with circular rings of green leaves, and dance, with a stunning background of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains.
Come and join us sometime!
Would some of you Morris Dance folks be kind enough to recommend some recordings, preferably with Anglo?
My original introduction to the concertina was through a Bertram Levy and Frank Ferrel concert at the Victoria Folk Music Society. Afterward, I bought a vinyl featuring Frank and Bertram, called "Sageflower Suite". Bertram Levy put out another LP with Peter Ostroushko: "First Generation, Music for Concertina and Mandolin".
Later, when I was invited to play for one of the local Morris sides, I bought "The Art of William Kimber". A quote from the LP: "His sense of rhythm, his wonderful natural abililty to find the right chord, and the proper use of the bellows will all be appreciated as you listen to this record." Recently, I found a CD collection of William Kimber: "The Art of William Kimber".
I also learned from my "Morris On" LP and "Son of Morris On" tape. Later, I learned additional Anglo techniques from John Kirkpatrick CDs, including: "Plain Capers", "Force of Habit", and "A Short History of John Kirkpatrick". He also plays some Anglo on his Brass Monkey CDs.
Another very interesting source I have recently discovered is Magpie Lane, with Andy Turner playing the anglo concertina. In my collection the CDs include: "Jack in the Green", "Wassail! A Country Christmas", "A Taste of Ale", "Six for Gold", and the "The Oxford Ramble". You can learn a lot about song accompaniment from Andy. Good for after Morris parties.
I've been a concertina.net member for years, read the forum every day, play concertina at least an hour a day at home and at gigs once a week or so. Do I qualify for a dot on the southern tip of Vancouver Island?
The same tune as "Boys of Bluehill" is on the CD Northumberland Forever. It's titled "The Lads of North Tyne"
Visit To Northern England - Pub Sessions?
in General Concertina Discussion
Molly and I are looking forward to our first visit to England. We will be flying to Manchester on May 25 and touring Northern England until June 16. We are planning to rent a car and visit the Liverpool, Carlisle, Newcastle, York areas and surrounding towns and villages. Right now, our schedule is flexible.
I will bring my English concertina, and perhaps the Anglo, which I play for both Morris and for our Rig-A-Jig band. Molly will bring her melodeon and Appalachian dulcimer. We would like to take part in music sessions. Could anyone tell us about pub session dates in the area, or related web links?
It would be great to meet C-Netters while we are there.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.