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Posts posted by tombilly



    For a long time there has been a split between traditional and popular in Irish music, and everywhere else. The concertina in its heyday, before WWI, was definitely on the 'popular' side of the equation, and only joined the 'traditional' side after WWI.



    Yes, that's what I'm reflecting on - the difference between what is regarded as traditional and popular music. Except that this popular music is not what you'd call 'popular' music now - commercial rock & pop etc. It's an older popular music but one that pulls in many strands of previous musical fashions that moved across Ireland. I write above of the south east of the country but as far I've observed in my travels, it's common enough across most of rural Ireland, a type of rural entertainment that just survives, like a stubborn 'weed' - not regarded as fashionable or culturally sexy or anything like that.


    It's a bit like the language, there are parts of Ireland where there are Gaeltachts and where Irish is spoken fairly freely as part of normal day to day life - outside of these areas, you'd have to seek out other Irish speakers if you want to practice your Gaeilge as everyone speaks English or Polish! Likewise with 'real Irish traditional music', outside of certain regions, you'd have to seek out other musicians - it's a minority interest. But the other type of 'popular Irish music' with it's varied repertoire is more widely understood - in many ways it is I think the real local cultural music of rural Ireland. How long it will survive, I don't know - maybe the current generation of iPod ers will sweep it all away, even in rural areas.


    Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what comes out of your project and I look forward to hearing the music recorded on it in due course.

  2. Ah yes, Peter but you're quoting established musicians there and they might well have more 'refined' views on what they want to play and hear etc. But take your rural Irish neighbours down around Miltown generally, how many of them would actively seek out a session of reels and jigs? I'd be guessing there are some but that the majority might have an eye for a night where things are a bit more mixed.

  3. Hi Dan, I certainly wouldn't wish to labour the point about pre famine repertoire as it's not that relevant to your project. I do think though that early collections by Bunting, Petrie, Joyce and even O'Neill etc, do show a large variety of different types of tunes and song airs. Of all these collections, surely O'Neill's 'Dance Music of Ireland' was the most influential and reels, jigs and hornpipes predominate in this. I also think it's fair to say that CCE have had a substantial impact on repertoire in the same way that their competitions have had an impact on style. Francis O'Neill himself was born immediately after the famine, as far as I know, and I'd guess most of his contributors also but it's fair to say that the repertoire they played must have been in use in the pre famine decades. His books were published some 50 years after the famine in Ireland.


    I was interested in the comments from Mary MacNamara & Chris Droney etc., re the older types of tunes that their fathers etc. played - more polkas, waltzes, barndances as well as reels and jigs. I'd guess they'd be talking of the 1920s, 30s and 40s - that sort of time period. Supposedly a period of stagnation in Irish trad music, before the 'great revival' but I think it was just there and largely ignored, unobserved.


    But this older tradition is not entirely dead as I mentioned above. I live in the SE of Ireland and would go along to two distinct types of 'sessions' - the more regular pub session where reels, jigs and hornpipes are the norm and then the 'rambling house' type session where you'll hear great variety, these latter sometimes called 'Irish nights'. These rambling house type sessions in Wexford and south Wicklow are in themselves a revival of a tradition where people met in neighbours kitchens and would take turns to play a tune, sing a song, tell a story etc. Nowadays tend to be more formalised and held in community halls and lounge bars etc - run by a fear an tí, who'll call out people to play or sing. You'd be as likely to hear someone singing or playing Brendan Shine type 'Do you want your lobby washed down' songs as much as local traditional ballads and songs and then sets of polkas, marches, waltzes as well as a few reels and so on. There'd be the odd bit of dancing, a few waltzes, a bit of a set - taking into account that people are often elderly. The thing is that in many ways, these gatherings are far truer to the real local cultural tradition of the area, local people would be attending these who wouldn't take much interest at all in the 'reel, jig, hornpipe' type pub session. Some people associated with Irish trad music might well look down on these sort of gatherings as too loose and 'not very traditional' but I don't think that would occur to the participants - they just regard it as an 'Irish night'.


    As regards concertinas, not that many to be seen around here and mainly young people playing them in the 'modern style', so part of the anglo concertina revival. Boxes are different though, I know a few that play B/C accordions and would mostly play in C, along the row. Saw a fine one row melodeon player recently, great rhythm and style. Piano accordions also evident, something you'd rarely see in a 'standard session'.





    I hope this small work is seen not as against modern ways of playing the instrument, but as a reminder that the concertina in Ireland has quite a different history and historical repertoire than the pipes and the fiddle. The CCE and other organizations quite rightly gave pride of place in Irish traditional music to the fiddle and pipes with their largely pre-Famine era repertoire... What has been a bit lost in all this are the repertoire of the late nineteenth century German concertina players in Ireland ('simpler' and more relaxed polkas, waltzes, schottisches and barndances), and the simpler, dance-oriented octave-rich playing styles.

    Have fun,




    I'm not quite sure what the pre-famine era repertoire was - don't think anyone really is, apart from a few early collections which may or may not have been reflective of what the ordinary people played. I do perceive though the modern view of traditional music in Ireland is very much driven by reels, jigs and hornpipes - polkas are a thing they play down in Cork & Kerry and maybe a few barndances in Clare & Sligo/ Leitrim etc. That's kinda the 'received wisdom'.


    Probably all sorts of reasons for this but I also know from my own experiences of older local people and what they think of 'Irish music' in the south east of Ireland, that the above definition is very limited. Sure you'll have a few sets of reels and jigs but there's a surprising amount of other tune types played; waltzes, quicksteps, polkas, marches etc. never mind the song & recitation tradition - all sorts of odds and ends in fact. The difference between being in a session of 'modern players' and 'older people' is very noticeable in terms of variety. I wouldn't say that this is necessarily a reflection of a very old tradition, more a continuation of a process of acquiring repertoire that is always changing. For myself, I'm trying to play more with these older folk and acquire some of these tunes.

  5. I read through your pages on this project, well worth it and fair dues to you for making the effort. It would be so easy to just hold onto the instrument as a collector but you've done the right thing. Interesting to read about the nature of the old sets and the prevalence of the polka & barn dances etc. We tend to forget this when we think of the homogenising of style in recent decades. I think CCE may have done good for traditional music in some respects and a disservice in others, through the promotion of the fleadhs and competitions and the like.

  6. Reminds me of a story on the radio here a while back, it was true but typical of many 'urban legends', I'm sure. Irish chap had his new smart phone (not that common a few years ago) lifted whilst on holidays in London. He had installed an app or software that reported back the position via the GPS chip when requested. So, he acquires the position when he gets back to Ireland, enters it in Google Earth and zooms in on some house in Wales where his phone is now residing. Phones the local bobbies, gives them the phone number and address of the house. They pop along, phone the number and ring the bell. Yer man comes out to answer the door carrying his ill gotten goods etc.!!

  7. Well I've had a few run ins with our dog regarding shoes and headphones etc. - expensive creatures although they make up for it other ways. So tend to be very careful where I put musical instruments down, particularly where dogs and young children are involved! I've a friend who has a lovely crack in the barrel of his flute after his one year old got it and thought it was a drumstick..

  8. it seems they justify the tax on the grounds that you hurt the state and it's retailers by living here and going out of state to buy, but they don't have an exemption if you can't get the item in state. Why would these geniuses do a silly thing like that?


    Maybe justifying the tax in this manner is just to make it palatable to the public, even if that's not really what the law says in the first place - which is of course, dishonest. You'd have to read the fine print to be sure and then make up your mind.


    In relation to sales tax in Europe, I've paid Value Added Tax on new items imported from the States etc. But I've sucessfully argued against it, where the goods were secondhand, as the sales tax had already been collected in the States. In this case, I paid the tax in order to receive the goods, and then appealed sending photos showing wear & tear etc. and suggesting they might like to call & inspect at their lesiure etc. I got a refund.

  9. Purchase of the subject Dipper concertina can only be achieved through a direct purchase from the source.The purchase was not initiated – in this case – to avoid the payment of tax.... .Accordingly, the State is not suffering from a loss of tax revenue to which it is entitled.


    Reads like a sound argument - go on, take them on and argue your case on that basis. I reckon a lot of public officials make things up as they go along and they need to be challenged when there's a reasonable case that they're applying a law unfairly. Just paying them to avoid hassle encourages them.. So challenge it and see what happens

  10. I see, so it's like buying something from outside the European Union and paying import tax etc. Doesn't the sales tax part depend on whether the vendor normally charges sales tax in their country of taxation?

  11. I have for sale a Lachenal C/G Anglo concertina, 30 button, in close to original condition and in good working order. Numbered 165727, it's the 'fine fretwork rosewood' model, steel reeds etc. Soft padded case. Price is Euro 2300 + shipping etc. if applicable. Located in Wexford, Ireland.


    I purchased this about 4 years ago from Chris Algar and have used it regularly as a playing instrument since. I now have a Suttner so my Lachenal is available for sale.


    Numbered 165727, it was manufactured around the 1919-1920 period according to estimate. I think it's in near original condition complete with baffles and badges apart from new handstraps and a spring which I replaced earlier this year. The bellows are not as airtight as a new instrument but it's perfectly playable and has never caused me a problem. I've seen a good few of these Lachenals on my travels around Ireland and as often as not, they have been 'souped up' with new buttons, bushings, bellows, baffles removed etc. Anyone who buys this can do what they want with it but I think that it would be nice if it was kept in as close as possible to it's present condition as the stock of these instruments must be shrinking.



    Contact me here or by private message. Viewable and playable of course to anyone who wishes to visit.




  12. To be honest, if you're casually thinking of upgrading to one of these instruments and you're not even roughly aware of their asking prices, maybe they're not for you!! As far as I know, you'll have to search a bit as they don't exactly grow on trees :) On the other hand, maybe you're lucky enough to know someone who is offering you a choice of same. In which case, count your lucky stars :rolleyes:

  13. this snuggly little hexagon is beloved by every man, woman, and child in ireland, and nestles in the entryway to each home, flat, and cottage with pride of place complementing inspirational visages of the pope, jfk, and elvis presley, along with being the number-one tattoo motif choice and overwhelmingly favored f above disco and country & western music in the island's many pubs....as any irishman will tell you, "if you're not a squeezer, you're a weezer."

    Crikey, that's a fairly twee, tongue in cheek, view of Ireland. I'd reckon if you walked through any town of any size in Ireland and asked a random sample of people what a concertina was, you'd be lucky to to get many correct answers. Of course, in counties like Clare it'd be well enough known but really Irish trad has a tiny minority following. Try asking in city centre Dublin and you'd probably get a few boxes for your effort!

  14. If Juergen was to close his waiting list and instead sell to the highest bidder as each instrument is completed, he would almost certainly achieve a significantly higher price. This could potentially push prices beyond the reach of budding young musicians and result in a situation where most of his great instruments go into storage, as collectors and well-heeled impulse buyers snap them up. Anyone placing an order is fully aware that the deposit is non-refundable, but also knows that, in all probability, the agreed price will be less than the market price when the concertina is delivered. If, as seems to be the case from other comments, it is allowed to transfer the deposit to another buyer if the original buyer is unable to proceed, then this seems to be a very good deal for the buyer.Pat


    That's not really what I suggested - I have no problem at all with waiting lists or even waiting in queues etc., as long as it proceeds orderly and people don't jump in ahead of others. But I suspect that with lengthy waiting lists of multiple years, that the circumstances that prevail when one joins a list and that which pertains when you reach the end can vary very considerably. I suspect that the lists must get 'clogged up' with people who really don't want to be there anymore and would like to drop out but who won't where non refundable deposits are concerned. This cannot be good for the maker either - as a craftsman you'd like to think that the person whom you are fashioning an instrument for, will play and appreciate it. As regards the loss of deposit, whatever about the maker falling ill and being unable to deliver, what about the punter? A lot of things can happen in a period of 4-10-20 years, I'd like to think that if anything happened to me, that my wife could receive a deposit back. Anyway, 'nuff said and I didn't really mean to 'hijack' Nevis's thread - it's just that the reason he appears to be selling the instrument is related to the observation re circumstances changing. Good luck with the sale.

  15. I understand what you say. And agree with you, except that I also understand the makers asking for non-refundable deposits.

    Four years ago, my situation was completely different than now, and I could expect to afford that concertina.


    That's precisely my point - I happen to be on Juergen's list for an instrument but not entirely the same as what you're selling - I've paid about €400 in deposit which is substantial enough for me not to want to lose it. I still have a year, maybe two to wait. Hopefully when that happens I will be in a position to pay the balance etc. Meantime there are clearly people on the list in front of me who for various reasons don't wish to complete their orders - they may have got fixed up with another good quality instrument in the interim or maybe due to economic woes they can no longer afford it. Logically, these people should be able to leave the list, get a refund and everyone moves up a place(s) so that the people who really want an instrument and who can afford it, get it as early as possible. I want to be clear that I'm not criticising Juegen here or the quality of his workmanship etc. but I do have reservations about the business practice of sizeable non refundable deposits. And yes, I saw the potential problem when I sent off my deposit and joined the list so I went in with eyes open - no complaints there. But in retrospect I was foolish - I would not advise anyone to join a list on these terms now. Simply wait till one comes up for sale and/or jump the queue when someone tries to sell their place etc. :angry: This is self defeating for the maker of course, as their order book contracts.

  16. As I've noted before, that's the problem with makers asking for non returnable deposits and the like. I might well be interested but I'm on a waiting list and I don't agree with the ethics of 'selling' that place, to allow someone to jump in years ahead of others who have just joined the queue. I strongly believe as a punter, that a queue is a queue - you join at the back and wait patiently. If someone drops out in front of you because they don't want or can't afford the instrument anymore, then you should move up one place. The problem with non returnable deposits is that dropping out is a loss and a disadvantage, so the system just gets clogged up with people taking instruments they don't wish for and trying to sell them on etc etc. - I'm not implying that's the case here but you see this cropping up quite often these days. And yes, there are people who will try to take advantage of your position - buy the instrument near cost price and then flog it on to someone who doesn't want to queue and who is prepared to pay a premium. But you really should have thought that out first :) Putting up the price yourself looks a bit odd. I do hope some of these 'dealers' get their fingers burnt though - like people who play the property game, pushing up the prices for everyone until the market collapses - they deserve to be ruined..

  17. Our daughter had one for a while and it played fine for what it was. They're common enough in Ireland as starter instruments and I've seen a good few students with them at the concertina classes in Miltown. That said, if the person takes to the instrument, they'd probably be wanting to upgrade after a year or so. The one on ebay looks to have a better finish and wider straps that the model we had.

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