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Hello, all

 

Last Friday my dearest friend dropped dead of a massive heart attack at age forty-six.

 

After the initial shock many of us realized that funeral costs needed to be covered, so the musicians in town put together a benefit show to add to the pot.

 

This is mainly a rock 'n roll crowd, but I led off with "Lament for Limerick," the saddest tune I know on concertina. It is a powerful tune, and concertina seems to have the ideal voice to deliver it.

 

The noisy crowd, hearing the unfamiliar instrument and the melancholy melody went fully quiet for the only time during the whole affair.

 

Have you played for such occasions? What did you play, and what spurred the choice?

 

Robert

 

P.S. Pay attention to what you eat, excercise often and, if you are a smoker, see if you can cut back---way back.

And as you love your family and friends, let them know about it while you can.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sorry to hear about your friend Robert and well done for your response.

Even when someone is very ill and you expect them to go, it still comes as a shock when they do.

I responded to My lovely Aunt's death by writing a little tune to remind me of her and I still get choked up if loads of people join in.

Al

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Have you played for such occasions? What did you play, and what spurred the choice?

 

 

 

My father, who sang in several choirs, passed away very unexpectedly not long ago. He was born and raised on a farm on the Saskatchewan prairie, and loved the old cowboy song "Home on the Range". At his memorial service all of his musical colleagues formed a mass choir of over 100 voices and raised the roof with it. My brother (guitar), son (button accordion) and I performed it again for a small family gathering at his interment. I could almost hear him joining in with us.

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When my "cowboy" uncle passed six years ago I played the Bard of Armagh, known to him as The Streets of Laredo. I played it on the english and took full advantage of the smooth playing with drones. When I played for a cousin I included the Aaron Boat Song which can be played with a misty thoughtfulness. The concertina is quite effective with laments and I think the brittle sound competes fairly well with the nuances and bending possible on non-fretted stringed instruments. eric in montana

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When my "cowboy" uncle passed six years ago I played the Bard of Armagh, known to him as The Streets of Laredo. I played it on the english and took full advantage of the smooth playing with drones. When I played for a cousin I included the Aaron Boat Song which can be played with a misty thoughtfulness. The concertina is quite effective with laments and I think the brittle sound competes fairly well with the nuances and bending possible on non-fretted stringed instruments. eric in montana

 

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=11586&st=36

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After an old friend in the Highlands died, I visited his grave in the Badenscallie burial ground. Sitting alone on the hillside overlooking the sea and the islands where Murdo had lived all his life, I played Neil Gow's "A Farewell to Whisky" on my EC. That was 30 years ago, and I still visit him in memory when I play it.

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I have always liked how Eternal Father sounds on my baritone C/G. I do a medley of Nearer My God to Thee, Eternal Father, and Amazing Graze.

 

I have not had the opportunity to do this, and missed a chance just because it did not occur to me. Not too long ago I was a pall bearer for my best friend's monther, Kathleen. My friend's parents were proud of their Irish roots, and I wish it had occurred to me to work in a rendition of I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen. Not exactly traditional, but I think she might have liked it.

Edited by NoNaYet
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Yes, sidesqueeze, but that is the beauty of it. It's like having a photo of your friend sitting on the end table, but even deeper because it is in your muscles as you play, moving your fingers, rocking your body, breathing with the instrument, as much a part of you as your eyes are.

 

And thanks Al, for your kind words; they are gladly accepted.

 

Cheers,

Robert

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How about The Foggy Dew? It's in O'Niells, and is a mournful march written to remember the Easter Rising.

 

B

 

For someone with the right rebel bent perhaps, but not a lament. This made me wonder if I Wish I Was In Carrickfergus might not work as well.

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Have you played for such occasions? What did you play, and what spurred the choice?

Different musics on different occasions, depending on the persons involved.

 

At one funeral service I sang the Mingulay Boat Song... not because it's funereal, but because in his wishes for the service my friend had asked that I do so. (No unexpected sudden death in that case, but a long and courageous battle with cancer.)

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I don't know if your friend was Irish, but I guess they played "When Irish eyes are smiling" for Ted Kennedy's funeral. If he was Irish, he may have wanted a more upbeat celebration tune in there as well. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my best friend, my Mom, a year ago...and I think of her every single day. Tell the people in your life you love them...every chance you got. When I moved away in the late 90's, I started telling my Mom, I love you, at the end of each conversation or meeting. It was habit that continued through the years and I said it as we hung up the phone, 1 hour before she passed on. It was the last thing I told her, and she me.

 

Peace to you!

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At one funeral service I sang the Mingulay Boat Song... not because it's funereal, but because in his wishes for the service my friend had asked that I do so. (No unexpected sudden death in that case, but a long and courageous battle with cancer.)

 

My mother also prepared a detailed order of service for her funeral. She wasn't ill, just old, and took her time to prepare for the journey to meet her Lord. One item she requested was the solo "Some day the silver cord will break, and I no more as now shall sing" by Fanny Crosby. This was so suitable, because she had sung gospel songs all her life, and she it was who taught me by example that singing in public is the most natural thing in the world to do. She requested that an old friend of hers sing it at the funeral. This friend was well on in years himself, and I wasn't sure whether he would feel up to it, so I learned the song myself, just in case.

 

In the event, the old friend gladly took on the task, and did it well. And I was glad he did, because the whole affair was so emotional for me that I couldn't even sing along with the congregational hymns, although I knew the bass lines of them all off by heart. I just couldn't have sung that solo!

 

Perhaps instrumental music is easier to play through tears under emotional stress, but maybe not.

My son-in-law was a dedicated orchestral horn player, and coordinated a sort of "horn network" to hook up hornists with string orchestras who needed them. When he died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 32, sixteen hornists played at his funeral - twice as many as at his wedding five years previously. And it was just as well that there were so many of them, because I don't believe a single one of them managed to get through "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" without cracking. At any given moment, however, there were enough of them playing cleanly to carry the music, and it was a wonderful send-off.

 

John

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I attempted to play the harmony on the treble clef stave for Londonderry Air at my Granddad's cremation in 2003 in Dec 2002 although diffidently during the arrivals period at the crematorium. A relative admitted to me after the full service that when he was approaching he 'thought he was hearing' Danny play. He forgot for a moment that it might have been myself playing. Others also commented on how beautiful it was to hear the sound.

 

Even earlier I heard something perhaps more affecting than the usual, i.e. Aisling Gheal! There's many more of these slow airs (Fonn Mall in gaelic) and laments, which'd undoubtedly be as deeply affecting. Tony MacMahon's version is on Spotify. I bought this CD in the mid 1990s to hear Noel Hill playing, but have never forgotten any of it despite not listening for years, till now! Aisling Gheal is the last track on it, which is fully by McMahon on accordion with no Hill accompaniment. Without all the session work earlier on the album, I don't know if I'd've warmed to it cold so easily. Even now as I play it on spotify as I write (song Vs loud concreting works/strange thumps) I think I am tapping into the same emotion felt when first heard. However, is this lament style really concertina territory? It would be interesting to hear any comments.

Edited by kevin toner
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I have been reading this topic with wry smile.

Several years ago my friend Bernie Weiss passed on. Bernie was the last of the vaudville entertainers.He even worked on stage with the Marx Brothers. He returned to the UK, had a short Music Hall career and then returned to the states with his wife and 3 kids. I met him while playing at a restaurant and he showed up the next evening with his accordion and we had a real go at it. When he got sick and knew he was "going out" as he put it, he asked me to learn Humoresque by Debussy to play at his going away party. I did and to this day it was the best send off ever!

rss

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I have been reading this topic with wry smile.

Several years ago my friend Bernie Weiss passed on. Bernie was the last of the vaudville entertainers.He even worked on stage with the Marx Brothers. He returned to the UK, had a short Music Hall career and then returned to the states with his wife and 3 kids. I met him while playing at a restaurant and he showed up the next evening with his accordion and we had a real go at it. When he got sick and knew he was "going out" as he put it, he asked me to learn Humoresque by Debussy to play at his going away party. I did and to this day it was the best send off ever!

rss

That's a really jolly tune; it's in the To Do pile.

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