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  1. Last night my neighbors held an "indoor camping" party, due to the weather not cooperating with their plans to fire up the grill outside. So we sat in a circle around a guitar amplifier piled with Christmas lights as a bonfire/"ampli-fire" and had beers and s'mores. Two of the guys hauled out guitars, so I walked down the hall back to my apartment and brought back my Elise duet concertina, and for the next few hours we played pop songs for the increasingly tipsy crowd to sing along with. I've messed with arranging basic currently popular music on concertina, but hadn't really used it in a pop-music session yet, and it came off surprisingly well. Not that it was unduly demanding, a lot of this stuff is just 3 to 4 chords and in a limited number of keys. The Elise handles F/C/G/D just fine, though one tune in Emaj I had to work around the lack of a Dâ™­. I'm not a strong concertinist, so I started with a base of just 2-finger root-fifth (no 3rds) chords on one hand or the other, and would vary that up by mixing up low and high tones (I on left hand, I-V on right hand, etc), or doing arpeggios or riffs within the chord of the moment. Then a few solos on the easier pieces. We covered both some classic rock and some recent tunes: Wouldn't It Be Nice (Beach Boys), With a Little Help from My Friends (Beatles), Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison, 1988), Free Fallin' (Tom Petty, 1989), Somebody I Used to Know (Gotye, 2011), and Call Me Maybe (Carly Ray Jepsen, 2012). Of the tunes, I'd say Free Fallin' and Somebody were the best served by concertina, particularly the latter with all the blippy little arpeggios in the background being almost perfect on the keys. A few songs just didn't fit well, so I switched to a Hare Krishna double-headed drum for All My Lovin' and a few others. Anyone else had good experiences using concertina for singlongs of post-WWII music? I'm certainly more of a folk player overall, but there are plenty of modern songs that sound good on acoustic/trad instruments; I think I'm slightly on the younger side for this board (early 30s) and so I figured folks might enjoy hearing about the concertina's enduring applicability.
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