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Dan Worrall

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  1. Congrats for the fifteen minutes of fame, Bob! Imagine how less famous you would have been building banjos.....
  2. Another great Palestine weekend completed...and here is the photo of most of the attendees and their concertinas. Thanks to all who made it a success, and to Jody for all his efforts and music! Cheers, Dan
  3. Oh. Right. So who is the vicar here? I hope they don't charge a tithe!
  4. Thanks for the plug, inventor; glad you liked the book. I'm not from that parish however; they speak Texan where I live. I just logged on and found this thread, so here is my two cents' worth on harmonic playing. Like anything else concertina, there are varied styles and varied levels of difficulties. The reason I like Kimber's style so much for harmonic playing is that he is a minimalist. Once one learns to play a melody in octaves, then it is pretty much just a matter of adding a third note above or below the bass end of the octave pair, making a partial chord. Then drop out some of the bass octaves/partials that are off the beat, while still playing the melody notes on the right hand, and you have instant rhythm and chords. No need in this style for oompahs. No insistence on the three chord trick...Kimber played what sounded good to him even if it didn't fit that rather rigid system that modern pop music has pounded into our skulls. And hence, much less memory work. When a fancy chord requires one to mess with the bellows direction of the melody in order to play it, that requires muscle memory. Some folks have brains wired for memory, or have lots of time on their hands to practice, or both, and it works beautifully for them. But for my money, talent level and time, Kimber sounds perfectly fine, and old-timey to boot. Have fun!
  5. There may be some information on the festival website, oldpalmusic.com. See the general info section. It is a small town so nothing is too far. Many musicians have stayed at the Best Western but I expect it may be full by now. See you there!
  6. I think so, Robin. Back in 2004, while preparing my book on William Kimber, I was grappling with how to describe what I saw at the time as four main ways to play the instrument: along-the-row (eg, many of the old Irish players, and nearly all of the 19th century tutors for the instrument), octave playing (like Scan Tester and Chris Droney, and of course since then I learned of so many others, including Oz's Dooley Chapman), cross-row playing (e.g., Noel Hill etc.), and then what Kimber and so many other English players were doing in Morris music. I called it 'harmonic' playing in that book, and since then was exposed to dozens of brilliantly harmonic South African Boer players, so I am glad I didn't call it "English" style! If I had to name that categorization again, I might be tempted to call it "duet" style playing, because most harmonic style players play the instrument as if it were a duet. But then, one would have to invent another categorization for some of the South African Boer players, who play in weird keys like Bb and Eb on a CG Anglo, going wildly across the rows without even a tip of the hat to what most of us would call the 'along the row' core of the instrument. And then, we should add a separate category for the black South Africans, who play rhythmic riffs rather than melody, and who have even been known to reverse the direction of whole rows of keys to aid in this! But that is another story. Before 2004, in a mostly pre-internet era, it was a different world in terms of shared knowledge of the Anglo concertina - which is why I even tried to categorize the main styles. There were still at that time many Irish players who had never heard of 'English' style playing, and vice versa. And very few from my country (including me at the time) had heard Australians and South Africans play. Not that way any more! Alan Day's Anglo International recording spread knowledge of the great diversity of styles on the Anglo, and by today Youtube has made nearly everything accessible.
  7. Nice one, Jody....all ten parts of it! We've got a goodly sized bunch of concertinists coming; in fact it looks like a record-sized group for our workshops. If anyone else wants to take part, you are very welcome. Just email or message me; I've sent the sheet music out to confirmed attendees, and there is still lots of time to join in on the fun. See above posts for links and information.
  8. The Old Pal festival website (http://www.oldpalmusic.com/Home.html) has just been nicely updated by the festival folks. Please note that we concertina folks now have a subpage, which I'll try to update. I'll soon be sending out sheet music and mp3s for Jody's workshops, as well as a tune or two for the Compleat Beginner's workshop that I will hold with Katie Meeks and Nancy Bessent. It goes out to confirmed attendees, so if you are coming please let me know via email or PM via this site. It is going to be a great ride this year; hope to see you there! Dan
  9. Lincoln, There is plenty of crossrowing going on in the harmonic style. Have a look at William Kimber's style for example; he jumped often between the two rows that he played. You might also look at the (few) harmonic tunes in Bertram Levy's original anglo tutor book (Anglo Concertina Demystified), where you'll also get a good idea of it. Finally, check out some of Gary Coover's books. The easy tunes in his books are on the rows, but the more complex ones waltz around the keyboard a bit. There are examples in his work of some of the key British proponents of that style, whose work can get quite complex across the rows. I think it safe to say that many of the more complex British players figure out what row on which to play a particular melody note only after they find the best way to play the chords....so they can bounce around all over the place. And then there are the South Africans, who play lush chords and give little more than a nod to along the row playing. I don't think Irish cross-rowing will cause you any problems. The anglo is a puzzle-box, with lots of room for memory work! Dan
  10. Yes, and on You tube, if one is looking for some good examples of Boeremusiek. I meant that CDs specific to Boeremusiek don't seem to be available outside of SA.
  11. I'm not sure whether it is generally known, but if you have a hankering to hear South African Boeremusiek played on the concertina, then this website of Kalie de Jager is full of CDs of that music that can be purchased from him. Have a look at the catalog: the number and variety of them are always surprising. I thought the general forum crowd should be aware. I'm not sure how easy it will be dealing with purchases from South Africa, but send Kalie a note if you are interested. I don't know of any other general source for them outside of that country. Cheers, Dan CDS: http://kalie.boeremusiek.net/cds.html General information on Kalie's site: http://kalie.boeremusiek.net/
  12. It's that time again, time to start thinking about bringing yourself and your concertina to East Texas for the 12th Annual Old Palestine Concertina Weekend (a part of the 15th annual Palestine Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival). The festival will occur March 31-April 2, 2016, in the small town of Palestine, Texas. For new folks, the Palestine music festival is an absolute gem, with a charming location in the East Texas Pineywoods, in high springtime. Organized each year by Jerry and Margaret White, there are workshops for every conceivable stringed instrument, from various forms of dulcimers to fiddles to banjos, and shape note singing workshops for singers....for me those shape note sing-ins are among the high points. There are superb lunchtime and evening concerts each day. The performers -- old time genre for the most part, but always some variety too -- are accomplished, and very approachable. And then there are sessions of every sort, 24/7! It is all very laid back. For the concertina workshop, Jody Kruskal will return for in what is, I think, his sixth appearance at our concertina weekend. Jody is a superb teacher and a superb performer, and focuses his teaching here on an old-time style. Here is what he is planning, similar to that offered last year but with new tunes and skills: Friday #1 Beginner Anglo + anyone else who wants to join. Friday #2 Learn the three tunes and work on bellows and old time style. Saturday #1 Keep working on the tunes, bellows and old time style. Saturday #2 Show and Tell masterclass where everyone brings their stuff to the session and we work on it. On other concertina items, we always have a number of duet players attending who get together. I’ll offer a session for complete beginners on Irish playing, where we’ll talk about old style playing and learn a tune or two. Sean Minnie, our South African new Texan, will be there along with a number of us who will form and demonstrate a Boer ‘orchestra’. Should be fun! There is lots for non-musical spouses to do in town (an old steam train; dogwood festival that week, azaleas in bloom if our timing is right, etc.), and there are the great festival concerts every lunchtime and every evening, in an old auditorium seemingly right out of a Faulkner novel. To confirm and get on the mailing list, send me a PM via this site, and we’ll email you Jody’s tunes plus other information goodies. The Old Pal festival cost for participating musicians (in workshops and concerts) is $80 for the three day weekend or $40 per day (last year’s numbers), with non-musician spouses charged much less. On top of this, we charge an extra $30 for the concertina workshops, to defray travel expenses of our workshop leader and performer, Jody. Send me a message, and we’ll get you in on the action. Here is a link to the review on this site of last year’s concertina weekend, and here is the link to the overall Old Pal Festival site. Hope to see you there!
  13. I'm not sure who Stephen is referring to on his referred notion of 1860s popularity. I can't remember the source of that myself, offhand, Dan - though I think it was probably from the introduction to an 1870's tutor for the German accordion/melodeon. But it is something that I've mentioned several times before - I'll have a hunt and see if I can track it down... No matter, Stephen. If they were writing only in the 1870s they could have little idea that the golden age was still ahead of them. I don't think even the duets came around until the 1880s (except for Wheatstone's failed experiment). Just a random thought, but if one were to count all the handmade concertinas being built today, it is probably on the order of magnitude of say a couple of hundred per year. That number is very likely dwarfed by all the Scholas and Rochelles and Jacks and Jackies and Klingendahls and such from the small factories in China, Italy, and until recently East Germany. One can go to maybe a fifth of the music shops in the USA and find a cheap two row concertina for sale, to this day...so there is a fairly large number of cheap instruments on the market. That may -- perhaps -- be somewhat similar to the comparison of the 400,000 cheap factory made German concertinas to the 5000 English made concertinas per year in 1876.
  14. Hi Stephen and Randy, good to hear from you both! I'm not sure who Stephen is referring to on his referred notion of 1860s popularity. In Volume 1 of my concertina history books (link here) I showed that 'sightings' of the instrument in English books and Journals strongly peaked in the 1890s, and dropped off to nearly nothing after WWI (see Figure 52, p. 35). Seven years ago, when I was doing my research for that book, Randy kindly gave me access to his early Lachenal numbers, which I combined with Wheatstone ledger numbers to produce a combined Wheatstone-Lachenal production chart from data known at that time. It shows that the two largest decades were the 1880s and 1890s. My interpretation of Randy's early data (Figure 43, p. 27) showed a Lachenal peak in the 1880s, but I now see that Randy's latest data shows it peaking in the 1890s -- evidence that his decade wait was well spent! At any rate, it was clear to me back then that the last two decades of the nineteenth century were the glory days for the concertina, and that that popularity was driven by the popularity of the Anglo-German keyboard. Regarding the 400,000 number for German concertinas that Randy mentions, I quoted that number on page 29, and made a pie chart of it in Figure 44, p. 30. The German concertina overwhelmed its Anglo-German cousin in popularity everywhere, including England. Figure 45, p. 30, shows why....the vast numbers of English buying public were working class poor. The fellow playing concertina in a workman's cottage in the countryside --or in East London -- hadn't the money for a handmade English-made instrument, unless he was a musician dependent upon it for some of his livelihood (street musician or rural musician playing for dances, for example). Those cheap German instruments wore out, however, and when WWI came, the vast supply of German instruments was cut off, never to really return. This hurt not only the sales of German concertinas, but Anglo-Germans as well. It was at that time that "Anglo-German" concertinas became "Anglo" concertinas, as I showed in the chart in Figure 55, p. 39....there was a German stigma after the war. Regarding the rise of the accordion, in Volume 2 I showed that the accordion became more and more popular in the 1880s to 1900s decades, eclipsing the concertina in the 1890s (Figure 11, p. 171 of Volume 2). Then both got whacked by the rise of the guitar, in the 2000s decade (Figure 12). I used New Zealand newspaper data for those Figures when writing in 2008, because NZ had complete digital data for all its newspapers then (still waiting for that in the UK and US!). Nonetheless, sales of all musical instruments fell precipitously with the rise of the gramophone. BTW, for interest of cnet readers, both books are available for free on Google Books, or for sale at Amazon. Cheers, Dan
  15. Very sad news. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Clare on two occasions, and she was gracious enough to play Mrs. O'Dwyer's old German concertina for the CD that I helped produce for the OAC in Milltown Malbay two years ago, Tripping to the Well. A lovely player and a lovely person.
  16. Glad you liked the CD, Jody. Of course, I remember you speaking to just such an issue -- of sensitively blending in with stringed instruments -- in one of your workshops, or maybe at a pub. I think Janet's playing approached that ideal very nicely. And Daniel, I figured you must have heard of Janet, being a Californian. Dan
  17. I know the seller...the Stagi is in excellent shape. A good buy for an entry level to intermediate level player. Dan
  18. I must confess that I don’t buy a lot of new concertina CDs these days, as there is a certain sameness to them. Every now and then, one stands out as unique, however. Certainly Roger Digby’s CD last year was one, and Dapper’s Delight another; I penned brief reviews of each on this site. Last month I came across another group, much closer to home, which sports an Anglo concertina in a refreshingly different context. The group is from California, the Santa Cruz Percolators. The concertina player is Janet Dows. I’ve never met any of them, although I have exchanged emails with Janet about our Palestine concertina weekend every March. They are a group of three (fiddle, concertina and guitar) who play a very California-esque mix of all sorts of dance music. Old time American music; Quebecois fiddle tunes; Tex-Mex polkas; Caribbean. Normally, I recoil from that sort of eclectic mix, preferring to get my music direct from the source. But in California, that sort of thing is perfectly normal, and they pull off that diverse mix without a hitch. Great foot tapping tunes. The thing that captured me, however, was the concertina playing. Usually, a CD employing a concertina will have it be a concertina-dominant recording, with everyone else taking a back seat. Nothing wrong with that at all, and some of my favorites players are like that – think Noel Hill or John Kirkpatrick or Alistair Anderson or Jody Kruskal or….go fill in the blank. What is different here is that the concertina player – Janet Dows – is on most tracks playing a second fiddle-type role to the also excellent fiddle playing of Laurie Rivan. Doing that well requires great sensitivity and the ability to effortlessly blend in with string instruments, never trying to steal the show with the pyrotechnics for which we concertinists are often noted, not always favorably. It is a great display of how that can be done. My wife and I took a trip out west a few weeks ago, and that CD – called Step Out – found its way back to the dashboard player more than once. Here is their website http://www.santacruzpercolators.com/ ; the CD is available at cdbaby. I thought that Forum folks might find it interesting.
  19. I just noticed that the Salvation Army celebrated its 150th anniversary with a massive parade in London on July 5th, with timbrelists and brass bands. This forum didn't note that event. Given the very strong history of concertina playing in the Army, were any of you UK folks there with your concertinas to help mark the event?
  20. For those interested in hearing examples of Anglo concertina music from musicians and times long past, there is a deal out there. Many will remember the House Dance CDRom that I compiled and wrote a few years back. Well, it is part of a sale at Musical Traditions right now; the physical CD is still 12 pounds Sterling, but you can buy a download for only 2 pounds...only about $3.00! I have no financial interest in this; I donated all my meager 'earnings' to the EFDSS when it came out. But I highly recommend it for the 200 audio files of early recorded players from Ireland, England, Australia and South Africa. There is absolutely nothing else out there with this range or depth of historical recordings on the Anglo, in any country....so if you are interested in other angles of Anglo playing other than just modern session styles, then this is an amazing bargain. Here is the link to the sales site at MT: http://www.mtrecords.co.uk/download/covers.htm Here is an old review of the work: http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/worrall.htm ps. lots of other cool stuff for sale at MT right now, as you can see at the link.
  21. Just a thought, Irene, but isn't Concertinas at Witney at the very end of September? That is within spitting distance of the second week of October. Last time I was there....admittedly, twenty years ago....there were plenty of duet players there. Why not pass the idea onto them, to hold some sort of session or lecture or whatever during that weekend to mark the occasion? I heard back from Bob Gaskins, who was excited at the discovery. Regarding his old MacCann bio project, he says however that, 15 years hence, he has 'lost his command' of the MacCann material. That wouldn't be difficult to do, because as Bob describes it, he has a bookcase four feet high full of collected MacCann documentation, just sitting there. Looks like someone with a burning desire to write the definitive bio of MacCann should contact Bob....just my opinion. Randy Merris likes writing about the concertinas in the Music Halls (see PICA).....just a thought.....are you there, Randy? Or maybe Andrew or Myrtle's Cook or Stephen? Who will put the bell on the tail of this cat?
  22. Hmmm.....he sure looks dead to me, Stephen! As for a death date, it was sometime between Sunday 10th and Wednesday 13th October 1915, as the reporter said on a Thursday that he had died earlier that week. Sure, someone should see if there is a death certificate, and maybe a burial location, both very nice to have, but for most of us, Andrew has found the smoking gun. As for how he died, we can assume perhaps that it was not foul play, else the reporter would have mentioned that. There were a bazillion ways one could die of disease or poor health in Victorian urban England. Great if we can find that on a death certificate, but that is perhaps of less interest than his obit.
  23. Well done, Andrew!! And ditto to all who took part in the chase. Nice to see something so positive happening on the net! I just sent an email to Bob Gaskins, letting him know the case has been solved.....and that we all look forward to his book on the life (and now death) of Professor John Hill MacCann. I don't think Bob closely follows this site these days, so I didn't want him to miss it. Now for those ICA folks in the UK, especially the MacCann players.....this leaves just four months for you to get together a little celebratory session or maybe even a seminar on the occasion of the centenary of MacCann's death. Looks like it will occur in early October this year, thanks to Andrew's research. Maybe that would be a good time to release that long-awaited Duet International, too? Dan
  24. Thanks, Mike Byrne; I found the Jeffries stamp on one of the rosewood ends....looks just like your photo. I had forgotten that. Oh, and now I remember that I bought it from Alex West. Nice instrument; this is one of the good ones.
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