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Dan Worrall

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  1. Interesting conversation, and timely because I am just now working on this revision project. There is a lot to add that I have learned in the past two decades since the first book came out! Kimber had no formal music training, and hjcjones and David Barnert have hit the nail on the head. He did not go to music school, and thus no one had drilled into his head the classical usage of chord progressions and chord theory and the like. In fact, and in my observation for what it is worth, he really wasn't going for specific chords. The left hand served mainly to help the dancer mark time. Hence the staccato beats, often on the offbeat, which usually consisted of a lower octave note of the right hand melody note as well as a third above it (or sometimes he put in a 3rd and 5th pair instead of the octave note and third). These sound to us like partial chords, because that is what our more-or-less trained minds search for, but to him they were his drum section. He may not have had music 'education', but he was a canny musician. Not having had such classical music training, he was free of the mental confines of the three chord trick and chord progressions, which typify the concertina playing of nearly everyone since his time. He wasn't playing to the concert-going and CD-listening crowd, but to dancers with bells on in the open air, with lots of associated crowd noise. He needed his notes and rhythm heard across the ground of the Quarry floor, plain and simple. Another thing he did, in order to make his music heard, was to play as high in the treble range as he possibly could (Getting Upstairs is a good example, or his version of Princess Royal). He eschewed the ooms of oom-pahs, for example, and didn't do any bass note progressions to speak of. In some of his taped discussions, he noted that treble notes travelled well in the open air, and bass notes did not. Today, sides might have booming bass notes from accordions, which is unlike what was his situation. Playing solo outdoors, he was all about making sure his dancers heard his notes so that everyone kept time together. With that in mind, it may be easier to understand the reasons of his method. He was an amazing and thoughtful musician.
  2. Thanks for the kind words, Peter. Mea culpa on the Cuckoo; I was led astray on the internet! I’m sure it won’t be the last gremlin found…perfection is not for this life, at least for me. I’ll fix it, and also add a few more old photos of the Droneys during threshing….they didn’t surface until I put together the slide show for the event. Consairtin was a thoroughly wonderful event; lots of great music, and I met many old and new friends. My only regret is that I didn’t meet up with you there. I don’t know what you look like! So if you are at Kilfenora this weekend and our paths cross, please step forward! Here is a photo of myself and Jarrett Branch with Ann Kirrane and our book. cheers Dan ps thanks for posting the photo of the ‘three monkeys.’ I guess we have arrived, so to speak, since we’ve been photographed by Peter Laban!
  3. My goodness....all this prickliness about German folksongs reminds me of how an earnest discussion of blackface minstrelsy would go down here in the US! Clearly the 20th C was a disaster in Germany, when the Nazis of course politicized a lot of folk music for their propaganda uses - thereby poisoning the well - and this complete outsider would guess it will take generations there to get much of the music out from under that. There is a lot of really wonderful and innovative melodic material in the American minstrels, too, but don't expect us to wax rhapsodic about it here anytime soon; it is too painful to contemplate the awful totality of it. So it is only natural, one would think, for a simple collection of German folk songs to reach deep to a time before the 20th C. Reminds me a bit of the longstanding tradition in Texas, where I live, of German beer gardens with oompah bands (Germans fleeing the 1848 war were a big part of the early settlement of Texas). The oompah bands, many of them staffed by local descendants of German pioneers, don't venture at all into modern German politics or rebel songs or anything like that....they just find sweet and bouncy old German melodies and songs and drench them in sentiment and lager. Might make any 'real' German's toes curl, but their long lost cousins in Texas like it just fine. To each his/her own!
  4. Gut gemacht, Gary. Füllt eine schöne Lücke in den Konzertina-Lehrthemen! (I'm hoping that Google Translate didn't have me say something inappropriate!)
  5. Joe, Yes, there were some changes....the wait was good so that we could shake them out. Some blown key signatures, missing repeats....minor stuff. And a few cosmetics. Authors are always their own worst critics, and I am no exception....but perfection is of course something for the next world. At Consairtin they will be sold at a quite heavy discount - we want to get them in people's hands - so your might find it cheap enough to upgrade! Looking forward to meeting you there. All the best, Dan
  6. I think Rollston Press will make it available on Amazon on April 13, the day of the book launch; Amazon prints in both the UK and the US. I know that Gary is sending some copies to Red Cow Music about that same time, so they should be available there in the UK.
  7. Frank, Chris and Margaret had the same effect on my wife Mary and me. That, plus a nearly 50 year span of playing his tunes, drove me to produce this book. A wonderfully friendly person, he had a simple, direct and generous way of interacting with the world, and his music reflects it. Sorry all for the long delay in getting the book out, but the wait is worth it. My coauthor Jarrett Branch and I have gotten lots of last minute glitches out of it (errors in key signature and dropped octave notes are always embarrassing), and it will be great to have it launched in Ennis with members of the Droney family, at the Consairtin gathering in April. Here is a note from elsewhere on this site about that: And for those in North America, come to our workshop at the Palestine Old Time Music Festival in March, where copies will be available plus we'll workshop some of those tunes! Info in the attached note, as well as in a post by Gary Coover in the Announcements part of this website. Cheers, Dan
  8. Hi all, As promised, here is some information on the release of a new book about the life and music of Chris Droney. Some on this site managed to get a draft pre-release copy when the publisher – Gary Coover – left it on Amazon's sales site for a few minutes too long when we were making some check prints! Amazing the global speed of the internet. The book is Chris Droney of Bell Harbour and the Tradition of the Concertina in North Clare, by Dan Worrall and Jarrett Branch, with a Foreword by Ann Droney Kirrane. It includes a biography of Chris as well as of his father and grandfather, a tutorial with imbedded recordings of the Droney playing style, and careful transcriptions of over 130 of Chris’s recorded tunes as he played them. The project was a real labor of love, and was put together with the kind assistance of Ann Kirrane and her brother Francis Droney. The book will have two launches before it is released for online and brick-and-mortar sales: a limited launch in East Texas in March, and the main launch in County Clare in April. This year’s Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival (www.oldpalmusic.com ) occurs March 23-25 in Palestine, a small town in East Texas. The concertina workshop – a part of the larger old time music festival - has occurred every year (excepting Covid!) since 2004. This year the plan is 1) for workshops by Gary Coover (visiting from Honolulu) on playing the Anglo concertina in the harmonic style, on playing for sea shanties, and one workshop for English concertina. Gary has published several fabulous new books this year, among them The Anglo Concertina Music of Phil Ham (by Gary), and Anglo Concertina from Beginner to Master by Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, both in the harmonic style. Gary will use excerpts from them, along with his own tutor, Easy Anglo 1-2-3, in his concertina workshops. 2) Dan Worrall and Jarrett Branch will hold two workshops on the Droney/north Clare Anglo concertina style, as well as a complete beginner’s workshop on that style, all utilizing transcriptions from the new Chris Droney book. Old Pal will constitute a limited book launch of it, with copies available at half price for those who attend and place an order in advance for delivery at the festival. Gary’s new books will likewise be available to attendees at half price. No worries, one needn’t purchase any of these, as sheet music will be available for those confirming attendance in advance via email. Please send Dan and/or Gary a message via this website for more information if interested in attending! The formal launch of this new book on Chris Droney will occur at the 2023 Consairtín (www.consairtin.ie) in Ennis, County Clare the following month (April 13-16). The opening night of Consairtín will kick off with music by Ernestine Healy, followed by the new book’s launch and a celebration of the life and musicianship of Chris Droney. Music and set dancing will be provided for that opening event by the Droney family, including Ann Kirrane and her brother Francis Droney along with musical family and friends, as well as Dan and Jarrett, who will briefly discuss parts of the book in between music segments. The full schedule is available at the Consairtín website. Book copies will be available or purchase at Consairtín, and afterwards will be available for online purchase and at some brick and mortar outlets. So please do join us at either at Palestine or at Consairtín! It will be great to see you all, and to reminisce about one of the great concertina players of Ireland.
  9. I can only add a concurrence to what others have said, Chris. He was a wonderful person who did much for the survival of concertina playing in Australia, including the Australian concertina magazine that he helped publish for years. I very much enjoyed meeting him during my one trip to Australia a decade or so ago. May he rest in peace. Dan
  10. Gary, Congratulations on a masterpiece! The recordings of Phil Ham are wonderful, and the transcriptions straightforward. To me, more approachable that most harmonic-style players; I'd never heard his playing before. Very well done, indeed; cannot wait to see the whole book. How many keys on his keyboard? Does a 30 key miss much? I'm guessing not from the three examples you posted. Dan Worrall
  11. Tony, Thanks, but no need! I've sent the buyer all your notes on the refurbishment and your Morris photo! Cheers, Dan
  12. Sorry, it sold. Very quickly. Should have asked for more, but it did go to a good home and that is worth something, for sure. Sold at another site.
  13. For sale: "C. Jeffries Maker" 30 bone button CG Anglo, metal ends, 7 fold bellows. The instrument was extensively refurbished by Colin Dipper in 1979, and in use as a performance instrument for a North Devon Morris team in UK until the 2000s. As I am slowly aging, I'm looking to thin the herd a bit. It is an excellent player, looking for a good new home. "C. Jeffries Maker" stamp on the endplate places its manufacture between 1876 and 1891. It had been poorly cared for over the early years, and Colin Dipper refurbished all parts of it in 1978. Reeds, soundboard and endplates are original. Colin installed new bellows and external frame, and a new action and hand straps at that time. Gold embossing on bellows and bellows paper in the Jeffries design. An 'instant speaker', loud with the classic Jeffries tone. It was well played in the past few decades, but Colin looked it over last year and was pleased with how well his work has aged. Comes with a Dipper case. Price 5700 GBP or 7000 USD plus shipping and insurance. Cheers, Dan Worrall
  14. Looking forward to seeing you there, Gary! We've got a nice group coming, and there should be plenty of music. Also looking forward to Ann (Droney) Kirrane's concertina workshops and singing. And of course Shep's BBQ!
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