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Mike Franch

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    English concertina, English country dance music, folk music
  • Location
    Baltimore Md. USA

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  1. Well done, indeed. I was thinking as they were singing, that song could also be "We are many, we are one, we are American." Thank you for sharing Australia Day with us. Could you tell us something about the performers?
  2. That describes me! The learning part, not the teaching part! Thanks for this, Randy. I'll give it a try! And thanks, others, for the tune suggestions.
  3. I think it depends on what kind of 'tina you're playing. Changing direction on an English or (on most) duets will the button down will give you the same note. If you're playing an Anglo, it will give you a different note.
  4. When I click on https://mudchutney.com/collections/world-concertina-day-2023-merchandise it takes me right back to the original post. Am I doing something wrong? I see that if I click on the UK link, it offers an easy redirect to the US.
  5. Thank you, John. So, I take it that "bowing valve" is essentially just an air valve. That makes sense. You've got me thinking of the virtuosi doing all sorts of dramatic things. Maybe that's why the New Model I tried had an air lever on each side, which for simply closing the bellows from an open position would be unnecessary.
  6. Well since bowing valves have been introduced: I've always been curious how they were used and what they sounded like. I know that some were replaced with air valves, but what's the difference? I once played a Lachenal New Model that had levers on both sides (something rarely seen) but I couldn't make them perform any different from air valves. Maybe that's all they were by then. Are there any recordings of a playeer using the bowing valves to their intended effect?
  7. Well, the upside is that you're the best Anglo player most of your listeners will have ever heard. Even in relatively concertina rich Maryland (emphasis on "relatively"), I seem to amaze people with my (at best) intermediate level playing.
  8. Sam Zygmuntowicz, who plays in a band with Jody Kruskal, is a highly regarded violin maker (you can look him up). I'm told that he is sometimes asked to distress his instruments before clients take delivery. They don't want shinny new-looking instruments!
  9. Sadly, I don't know any duet players in the area. I can recommend an superb English player and teacher (she taught me) in Baltimore who might be useful for advice on bellows use, phrasing, attack, etc. PM me if you'd like her contact information.
  10. A lot of good advice has already been given. The most important comment is that the type of concertina that works for the player is very player-dependent. But under your current situation, it seems unlikely that you are going to be able to hold and try one and find out what works best for you. Therefore, the two things about your quest that seem germane are: 1. Since you can't find other concertina players in your area, you are going to have to teach yourself. With your musical background, this should not be a big barrier. There are some excellent instruction manuals and also various instructional videos on the Internet. 2. You want to play and/or accompany singing Irish music. While some of the best musicians/singers in this genre have played the English concertina, the Anglo seems a better fit culturally (i.e., that's what people expect). (Note that this advice comes from an English player who couldn't imagine himself playing an Anglo.) Since it looks like you're going to have to take the plunge and buy an instrument without trying, I'd suggest buying a good quality 20-button (as the least expensive but adequate) concertina from a reputable source. (I bought my current main squeeze from Greg Jowaisas, who is a member of this forum.) If the Anglo doesn't work for you, it should be sellable. If it does work, you might want to upgrade to more buttons, but that's another issue. Finding a recommended seller applies to whatever system you decide to buy.
  11. The rapport between instrument and player. I love that concept!
  12. I started learning the concertina after I retired, at almost 69. I realize that is quite younger than you are, but I think my thinking holds. I didn't know if I'd be any good at it, but I thought that even if I were bad at it, it would be better than not being able to play at all. I'm not a great player, but neither am I a bad player, and I've gotten tremendous enjoyment out of it. And, to my surprise, some people even seem to enjoy my playing! So go for it!
  13. A friend, traveling with her Edeophone, just posted this on Facebook: Living THE DREAM Young TSA agent studied my concertina carefully and called over supervisor Supervisor asked if I could open the box and show the young agent so he would understand what it is. I asked if I could play a tune. Surprised by a nice round of security line applause. P.S. She played reel de Montreal!
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