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Dan Worrall

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About Dan Worrall

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  1. Thanks for posting this, Peter. I just heard the sad news from his daughter Ann. There is not much you can say about this good man that hasn't been already said over the many years. I was blessed to have played a few tunes with him; he was a big influence on me in many ways from my earliest days attempting to play the concertina. May he rest in peace. I've taken the liberty of attaching a tune that I learned from his playing: Cruacha Glasa Na hEireann. Somehow it seems appropriate. Dan Cruacha.pdf
  2. This instrument makes perfect sense if you consider the purposes of its first owner, and the needs of the Sally Army in the 1870s and 1880s, when Anglos were their main instrument. I wrote a bit about those early SA days in my Anglo-German Concertina: A Social History, volume 1. If you don't have a copy, it is online on Google Books. Herbert is pretty much explained on p. 91, when he was arrested for playing a "noisy instrument" in a street procession, "to the annoyance of the inhabitants." As other passages show, these early Salvation Army street processions could be very rowdy and the participants themselves were not - shall we say - the most refined; arrests were common. What Herbert Booth needed was a simple instrument that persons completely untutored in music could play. Mainly, they needed to rhythmically hammer out the three chord trick -- the I, IV, and V chords - and little else. The Anglo seemed to fill the bill, but the problem was that they sometimes accompanied street brass bands, or singers who needed to sing in other keys. In theory, you can play chords on a three row Anglo chromatic concertina in any key. But it isn't easy, and there is lots of memory work. Herbert gave this a try in his 1888 tutor for the Anglo, which we posted some years ago on concertina.com. Here is the link: http://www.concertina.com/chambers/booth-salvation-army-concertina/booth-salvation-army-concertina-1888.pdf On the second page of his explanatory notes, you can see that he is laying out the three chord trick in all the keys that were of interest to them. Then he spends the rest of the book showing one how to make those many chords on the Anglo. Looks straightforward, but there is a LOT of memory work to mastering that. This is likely not something that most of his street musicians were going to master. Eventually, English Concertinas and Duet concertinas took over in the SA, probably mainly because they were more easily playable in various keys....both in terms of chords and also of melody. It helps to be able to read music for that, which was a problem for the early street procession type groups, but not so much for the organized bands that were to follow, by the 1890s or so. There is another potential solution, however, that would have occurred to any Anglo player - and Herbert was an Anglo player. Just make the instrument in several different keys. Here are the I, IV, and V chords for each of the keys on your instrument: Bb Eb F F Bb C Ab Db Eb C F G One could play the I and V chords very simply on the push and pull of each row....very easy (ok, the V chord isn't quite a full chord, but no matter). For the IV chords, you can see that, for the most part, they are in either a simple pull or push form on one of the other rows. So, bingo, hammering out chords in various keys is a piece of cake that any untutored musician could easily master. Much easier using a standard 30 button Anglo and his Anglo tutor of 1888. Obviously, it never took off. Cost may have been one factor. And of course, by the end of the 1880s the foot traffic was headed to the English and Duets. As I mentioned in my book, by that time the SA was trying to appeal to a larger and more refined crowd (including deep-pocketed donors), so they had to clean up their act a bit! By the way, just as an aside, Herbert Booth tells us in the introductory text of his tutor that their "main key" was Ab, of all things. As he says, that was because Ab concert pitch was the same as Bb pitch played by brass bands, which these players needed to be able to do. With that in mind, the four concert pitch rows on your instrument are actually C, G, Bb, and D in brass band terminology. Quite commonly used keys for bands and orchestras. Hope this is helpful. I vote with the others - don't change it! Just find a street corner and start singing! Dan
  3. Way to go, Gary! I've been waiting for this one. For those who may have been living under a rock (or accordion) and thus are not up to speed on what Gary has been doing at Rollston Press, here is a brief interview Again, congrats on the latest! Dan
  4. Wow, that's an old thread! No worries, recordings of Eric Holland have survived, and are part of my "House Dance" CD Rom project from 2015 or so. There are about 200 recordings there of classic players in the early years of the last century, from all over the world. Not sure why more people don't use it as a resource, or know about it. You can get it via Musical Traditions, or download it for - I think - just 10 bucks or so at the www.concertinajournal.org site (go to Current Chronicle". If you search on "House Dance" on this website I'm sure you can find many of the descriptive announcements from when it came out.
  5. Three new topics have just been added to the online Concertina Journal: An interview by yours truly of Gary Coover, concertina tutor author extraordinaire A new Australian chronicle by Warren Fahey, including a brief word sketch of Aussie concertina maker David Hornett Three new CD reviews by Roger Digby (Queally sisters; Antoin MacGabhann and Caitlin NicGabhann; Dapper's Delight) As always, the Concertina Journal is online and freely accessible at www.concertinajournal.org. The new articles mentioned above are filed under the sections marked "Current Chronicle" and "Reviews." New articles are always welcomed; please bring them to the attention of the Editor via the online site. Happy reading! Dan
  6. Gary, Your proposed book of John Watcham's arrangements will be a superb addition to Anglodom. Can you get him to make a few recordings of the tunes, for putting up on Youtube to accompany the book? Cheers, Dan
  7. Kimber is perhaps the best known example of someone playing a 20 button in a harmonic style, but in his day there were many more. By the way, he played a 30 button later in life (it was a gift) but remained basically a player who used only the bottom two rows. Some years ago I prepared a detailed analysis of both his music and his fingering of it that is sold by the EFDSS. I think they sold out of it at present but we are in discussion about preparing an updated and revised version this year. Until 40 years ago most Irish players essentially used a two row style on what originally were German concertinas, with the exception of using a button or two on the top row when playing in D on a three row. Chris Droney is likely the greatest living proponent of that earlier way of along-the-row playing that is essentially two row. Most of the old players in Australia were somewhat similar to Chris Droney. My House Dance CDRom, available from Musical Traditions and also downloadable from the Concertina Journal site, features recordings of many of these earlier players. Many of them (and some in England, too) used an octave style played in C and G on two rows....a lovely early way of playing the instrument. I placed a little tutorial on that CDRom on playing in octaves. England's Scan Tester is perhaps the most famous of the octave players, though his playing is not only that. Chris Droney sometimes plays entire tunes in that octave style, though more frequently he plays octaves as simple ornaments. He seems to have gotten that way of playing from his father and grandfather; see the discussion on a CD called Tripping to the Well, which features a number of noted Irish women players of today playing an old German two row concertina. Finally, the old South African style of playing the two row Boerkonsertina is a richly harmonic style that has been in somewhat of a revival, and new instruments are being made there. There is a lengthy discussion of that style, along with many historical recordings of it, on the House Dance CDRom. In the right hands it is complex and exciting. Most of today's players there use a 3 1/2 row Wheatstone 40 buttons and their fingering is all over the keyboard!
  8. The photo of the Lachenal on board the Endurance has come up before on the Forum. The photo itself is on page 305 of my Anglo-German Concertina, A Social History, Volume 1, which can be read free on GoogleBooks. The concertina apparently never made it to Antarctica. Here from 2005, in a thread called "Concertinas and Sea Music," is what mikebmcnamara posted about it. It would seem that the original source material, with notes on the back of the photo, has disappeared, so we'll have to take mike at his word: ********************************************************** Posted January 15, 2005 Re: Shackleton's Endurance Expedition and Concertina Some time ago I came across a picture of four sailors on Endurance. It was in the Hulton Archive, now part of Getty. I did a quick search today, and the picture was not returned. Don't know where it went. I have the picture on my computer, but an unsure of my ability to share it (copyright?). I will work further to find it again, and share info if I do find it. One of the sailors had what looks to me like a 12 sided English concertina. When I originally found the picture, there was information about the subjects, and the man who was listed as holding the concertina was discharged from the ship (with three others) in Argentina (for cause). Thus, he (and likely his concertina) did not accompany the expedition to South Georgia, the Weddell Sea, crushing, sinking, living on the ice, Elephant Island, etc. There was a meteorologist named Hussey who played the banjo, and Shackleton allowed him to keep it throughout the ordeal. The banjo playing is often mentioned as a morale booster in the accounts of the expedition. The banjo has survived, and I have seen it as part of Polar Exploration exhibits. I have also read that Shackleton played the concertina (per The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music) , but have found no mention of it in any of my other readings about him. Posted January 15, 2005 Re: Concertina, Shackleton, Endurance I was able to find the picture. You need to go to http://gettyimages.com select editorial, then archival. You'll have to register, no cost. Search for Image #3252971 (If you search for endurance, then people, then uniform you'll get there) Good Luck, and enjoy the picture **************************************************
  9. One of the places where Clevoner played was the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin -- a music hall. in 1921 “Jack Clevenor, described as the ‘wizard of the concertina’ extracted some rare music from concertinas of various sizes, and was greatly appreciated.” Thanks for posting the photo of him, Peter! Freeman’s Journal (Dublin), November 1, 1921, p. 3.
  10. Yes, indeed that is the case. Small traditional music festivals like that are heavily attended by seniors, so the dangers are self-evident. Stay safe, everyone!
  11. What a difference a week makes. The concertina workshop at the Palestine Old Time Music Festival in late March is cancelled. Our headliners, the Vox Hunters, cancelled due to virus issues stemming from air travel from the NE, so with that Erica and I decided that we should keep our powder dry for next year. The festival itself is not cancelled, at least yet, but if you are interested in it please check with their website for updates. I understand that a number of other performers have also dropped out. No self-quarantining here, but it is shaping up to be a very strange year indeed. Dan
  12. All I can say is Wow! You're really going for the mass market now! It's a real labor of love. Congratulations to you and to the instrument itself - for finally having a tutor.
  13. Just weeks away from Old Pal now......March 26-29. Workshops are now slated for a variety of concertina topics, with the first workshop at 9am on Friday. Benedict Gagliardi and Armand Aromin from the Rhode Island group Vox Hunters will give several workshops on Anglo and English (in separate groups). Gary Coover will give a workshop on Anglo two-handed harmonic playing, then another on chording/accompaniments. He also is planning to give a workshop on the Jeffries Duet - someone out there has one besides himself! We'll have a Clare tunes session for concertinas. And of course, lots of larger sessions and concerts for all sorts of instrumentalists who enjoy a variety of styles of old time music! Let us know if you are coming (you can send me a PM via this site), and we'll add you to the list.Details are on the first post of this thread. Springtime, dogwoods, barbecue, and concertinas.....what's not to like? See you there. Dan
  14. By the way, if you are thinking of coming, be sure to message me or Erica Bravermann at this site and leave us your email address; there will be more details sent out, probably with sheet music, in coming weeks.
  15. Since I posted last month about the Old Pal old time music festival and our annual concertina workshop there, we've had an addition to the line up! Gary Coover, known to most of you as the publisher of a very fine series of books on playing the Anglo concertina in the harmonic style, will be with us in Palestine on March 27-28 for the festival, and will teach two workshops. So, there will be lots going on! Benedict Gagliardi and Armand Aromin from the Rhode Island group Vox Hunters will teach separate Anglo and English concertina workshops, Gary will teach Anglo workshops, and yours truly will host a Clare tunes workshop - following up on the three visits in recent years by Ann Droney Kirrane. Do come....it will be loads of fun. We are thrilled that Gary is returning. Gary was one of the organizer-founders of our very first worskhop in 2005, and was a regular until he scampered off to Mai Tai land, entranced by swaying coconut palms and ukuleles. It will be great to welcome him home. He has some new book projects that he has been working on...we'll no doubt see what they are all about. 'Attached below is a copy of the first announcement from a few weeks ago, for particulars on the festival and on the Vox Hunters, who we are also very excited to have some to the concertina weekend! Cheers, Dan The older post: Hardly even a decent frost here yet, but I'm drawn to images of spring leaves and flowers replacing all of our gray Texas winter landscape. It's time to start thinking about this year's concertina workshop in beautiful Palestine, east Texas: dogwoods, bluebonnets, and free reeds! This year is the 16th year of our annual workshop within the Palestine Old TIme Music and Dulcimer Festival, March 26-28 in the east Texas Pineywoods. This time, we are excited to have Benedict Gagliardi and Armand Aromin from the Rhode Island group Vox Hunters heading south to our workshops. This means we will have classes and sessions for both Anglo AND English concertina this year. Find out more about Benedict, Armand and the Vox Hunters here. Our workshops run from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon, and will include streams for both beginners and more experienced players, as needed. If interested, please send me a message via this site by February 15, saying 1) if you are coming, 2) what system you play, and 3) your experience level. With this information, hopefully by February 15, we can plan out the workshops in more detail, and will send you beforehand the workshop schedule, logistics, and any sheet music. If you have requests or suggestions for a specific type of concertina workshop, let us know and we’ll see what can be done. As in all previous years, we charge $35 for the concertina workshops, on top of the normal Old Pal admittance, which covers the concerts and other activities. Information on the larger Old Pal festival can be found here. It has concerts every day at lunchtime and in the evening, from Thursday evening until Saturday night, plus impromptu sessions at all hours inside and outside the main building. The Vox Hunters will play in the concerts along with a host of old time musicians hailing from the Appalachians westward to Texas. It is a small and very friendly festival, and very accommodating to us concertinists – come ready to play along! All the best, Dan
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