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    Dartmoor, Devon, UK

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. Thanks for putting these up Daniel/Alan. Recordings a bit dated now, although I'm pleased enough with them. I'll try and post some of the more advanced stuff I'm doing in my new duo now with banjo virtuoso Rob Murch. We've managed three festivals since emerging from lockdown.On Weds, Sep 22 we are at Llantrissant Folk Club near Cardiff for anyone in South Wales who is interested.
  2. Why so many bellow folds? ( 11) You could use this one for skipping.
  3. PUSH BUTTONS - I play jazz .I find a 55 -button model - whatever the make - is needed to give the spread of notes you need on both sides.I have two Lachenal 55 Cranes...my better, 58 button Wheatstone , is my main performance instrument.Other instruments include a 48-button Wheatstone which has beautiful reeds v- but I sometimes pick it up, play something and realise halfway through the song/tune that I have run out of notes.I also have a metal-ended 55-button.... which has a different tone.You would think the metal ends would suit jazz and have more "edge." But it is a quietter instrument, so I will grab the Wheatstone and Lachenal wooden-ended models first.I love playing the 48 - which was recently overhauled by the "Concertina Doctor" , Nigel Sture. But I limit my playing on it and stick to the larger models so my wrist muscles etc are " up to speed."(Bit of arthritis etc) Another factor- not always considered by inexperienced players - is the number of bellows, which affects the dynamics of the way you play a tune. My main instrument has eight-fold, the two Lachenals are 7.
  4. David - oops, of course Cranes don't have thumb straps. Got carried away there.I meant the point at which the thumb is at the top "outside" the strap.Must be fiendish for people coming to all this for the first time..I have Jeffries-playing duet mates...now, they are brain-scrambling.
  5. Rob - For example, the Crane system (which I play and would commend) has five buttons in each row - from top (thumbstrap) to bottom (little finger.) Don't be confused by the " spare" right-hand air button, operated bu your thumb ,used to reverse direction of bellows travel.( Not used that often, because it is an unisonoric instrument i.e.: same note when bellows are pushed or drawn.Also, my " best" instrument has seven-fold bellows which allows for very long, drawn-=out chords or note progressions
  6. Geoff/Alan... I too met Tommy Williams at an ICA meeting in London...might have been the same one as you two.Early seventies... he was an old man then, and as you say a tiny chap. Not just short, but spindly... but massive hands which covered his huge " machine."Harry and Neville Crabb were there too.. Funny enough I was clearing out some stuff yesterday and found some letters/notes/valuations spares etc from both Harry and Neville ( after his dad had died.).I remember Tommy playing his " hit ", 'Springtime in Battersea" at that gathering.
  7. Cheers Kurt , hope you well. Yes....already properly explained better than I can already, but on the left hand it is better to play what I call " implied chords." That is to say, two of the three notes.... it fits with the "less is more" approach, especially with song accompaniment where you don't want to drown out what you are singing.I agree with everything Kurt says - When I learn a new song I usually sort out the chord progression on both sides simultaneously.. and sing along until I can do it effortlessly. Then - almost unconsciously - I add the "fills" and any decorative " fiddly" bits on. the right hand...or extend the left hand to a " walking" bass if appropriate ( and do-able !). If you want some ideas...just Google Youtube Geoff Lakeman... there are plenty of videos of myself on there. I think you might even be able to slow them down ( you can certainly do this on Facebook)
  8. Thanks for putting this up Alan.I recorded/filmed this in week four of Covid 19 lock-down at my Dartmoor cottage.I thought it an appropriate song- Jimmy Rodgers' "Nobody Knows", about being locked up between four walls, " ' specially if you 'aint been there before...." Written , I think, in 1926, the same year this very Wheatstone Crane duet concertina was made.It has 55 buttons, eight-fold bellows, steel reeds...and I bought it for £35 in about 1971.I now have others, but this is the trusty favourite I use on live gigs and recordings.
  9. Theo - I'm intrigued by this.My email is geoffreylakeman@btinternet.com GEOFF
  10. Re: Duet recordings. I recorded and submitted several songs/ tunes to Alan a few years ago.If I was to do it again I would probably choose different pieces, because my repertoire/ability etc has moved on. As many of you will know, I recorded my first solo CD, "After All These Years" a couple of years ago and I have been amazed at its success.To be fair, it was designed to demonstrate my general, all-round repertoire and "entertainment " in the folk idiom, rather than displaying what a Crane duet can do to concertina enthusiasts. There are tunes ( and songs) that I play mainly in session or in private that probably demonstrate this better. But I am not inclined to go to the trouble of recording again specifically for a duet CD. I do, however, applaud the idea, of bringing on board the new /young players- some of whom I know- like Matt Quinn and Jack Rutter,- who have made astonishing progress on the instrument in such a short span of years.(They both play McCanns, but , hey, it doesn't; make them bad people !) I still play self-written West Country songs, English and Irish folk, Americana and 1920/30's jazz.I am appearing regularly at folk clubs and arts centres/ theatre all over the UK and beyond. This year I am at eight different folk festivals ( Bude in Cornwall this weekend). One of the most exciting developments for me recently has been being part of Mick Ryan's folk opera "Here at the Fair - which we are performing at Bude, Shrewsbury, Warwick and Cornwall Folk festivals. In the show's " band" I sit alongside young Cohen Braithwaite-KIlcoyne ... probably the most talented young concertina player ( anglo) and melodeons since John Kirkpatrick still had spots.I have learned so much from him- and I am old enough to be his grandad.These are exciting times for folk music - and I have never known concertinas be so popular. keep squeezing folks.....
  11. I remember Nick so well as a young man. Joy and I took over from him as residents at the Herga Folk Club in Harrow, North London, in the early seventies when he loved to the USA.He was in incredible Jeffries duet player. I have since long-befriended another exceptional, jazz-playing Jeffries duetter, Greg Powlesland, who lives in west Cornwall. But Nick's playing made a powerful impression on me and probably comes out in my performance, although I play a Crane and don't visit the Morris-influenced tunes he belted out.I sure would have loved to hear him join me in some of the jazzier stuff that I belt out.
  12. Good to see you again Wes - incredible gig. Fantastic sound in that David Hall, good crowd and the backstage catering was yummy.Hope to bump into you again
  13. Yes Wes, that's when we lived in Wedmore for two or three years . We still visit that area alot 'cos Sam and Cara live in Frome. Be good to see you on Saturday.
  14. Thanks Jody - My version of "Taters" is among the tracks getting radio play over here........and it's still a favourite in the set. Gives me a chace to plug you !
  15. Agreed Robin - which underlines my point that you ARE " oop north." Be good if you could get to one of my gigs.
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