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Aquarussell

Going Sailing, What Should I Learn To Play?

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Some of the comments about concertinas on board ship are a little too pessimistic -- I've played mine while sailing pretty often and it seems to survive reasonably. (Mostly I use a Lachenal D/G that escaped from the Sally Army a while back). It is huge fun -- sweeping into Binic for a festival on a 3 masted wooden lugger, two concertinas playing in the bow as we did so -- cheered from quay to quay; or playing for a Remembrance Service on Tenacious while crossing the bay of Biscay two or three Novembers back -- concertina box floating as the seas came over -- many more occasions like those.

 

P'rhaps add "For those in Peril on the Sea" to your list -- also, someone already mentioned "Fiddlers' Green", it's good because it contains the line "I'll play my old squeeze box as we sail along" -- and you can.

 

Wishing you a fine and pleasant gale.

 

Chris

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Ok, so Sponge Bob Square Pants tunes, played because kids think they are nautical, finally put me over my limit. Might as well go buy a pirate costume so they can see some really cool nautical concertina playing. Heave ho, me johnnies! Avast! and Yo Ho Ho.

Presumably, Russell has asked for advice because he is aware that the California (actually, the Californian) is a historical replica and the State Tall Ship of California, charged to help students and the general public "to develop an appreciation for the maritime heritage and coastal resources of the state." So here's the big choice.....use this as a teachable moment, or just grin and play to the low information masses?

 

 

Perhaps to be truly authentic a dose of syphilis and a bit of scurvy? Now that would give the kiddies a teachable moment or two.

 

Yes, I posted a couple of authentic tunes that just happen to be commonly recognized at the moment because they're in a popular television show. I don't quite follow your jump from that to Disney, a pirate costume, and playing to the low information masses. It's not like I suggested the theme from Gilligan's Island.

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Ok, so Sponge Bob Square Pants tunes, played because kids think they are nautical, finally put me over my limit. Might as well go buy a pirate costume so they can see some really cool nautical concertina playing. Heave ho, me johnnies! Avast! and Yo Ho Ho.

 

Presumably, Russell has asked for advice because he is aware that the California (actually, the Californian) is a historical replica and the State Tall Ship of California, charged to help students and the general public "to develop an appreciation for the maritime heritage and coastal resources of the state." So here's the big choice.....use this as a teachable moment, or just grin and play to the low information masses? Time to dig out some information on the California and its former activity.

 

Dan, I agree about the teachable moment, BUT... Russell didn't ask for lecture material about the ship; he asked for tunes, and not even songs. He may already know the history of the Californian, or maybe not, but I doubt he can become an expert on either that or the sailors' music by tomorrow, which is when he's going to be playing on board. My suggestions were intended to deal with his reality, not some ideal he might work toward if he had a year to prepare. Perhaps unfortunately, that could include Sponge Bob.

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...a tutor published for it in 1846, by Elias Howe in Boston.

 

The same Elias Howe who invented the sewing machine? All things are interconnected...

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jdms,

Unfortunately not the same guy. But a fascinating fellow nonetheless. He collected and published sheet music in Boston in the mid nineteenth century. Ryan's Mammoth Collection (available online at the ITMA site) was a republishing of his oft-published tunes (at his request) by one of his workers. It is estimated that a couple of hundred of those tunes got appropriated by O'Neill for his Irish tune book.

 

cjm, Jim

No offense intended...those are good tunes for general use. I figured that maybe Russell was looking for something a bit more, and my suggestion was to remember that he will be on a vessel in which millions have been poured for the purposes of teaching history, so that maybe some historically appropriate tunes might be a better match.

 

My hat is off to the historical re-enactor crowd who spend so much time and effort trying to 'recreate' the past for school students and such. That ship is a huge such effort. Rather than doing the usual thing of standing around singing general purpose 'nautical' tunes that have nothing to do with either the concertina and/or that ship (a revenue cutter, not a whaler) and its times in California, just 15 minutes of searching leads to other options. Did you listen to that link for 'Oh California'? It is a three-fer: Historically accurate and nautical (written on board a ship that took the same route to California the same year, with the same kinds of people with gold-dust in their eyes), Very funny (the bits about getting seasick on the voyage around Cape Horn), and Very easy to learn (Same melody as Oh Susannah, which it parodied and which everyone already knows).

 

Now if the goal on that day is not to recreate or refer to any history....for example, maybe it is to coax money out of rich supporters...or there is just no time to learn anything appropriate, then go ahead, give 'em Sponge Bob tunes. :D

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Thank you everyone.

 

I expected a few people to come to my aid with ideas, I did not expect this deluge of information!

 

I am going as a passenger on this trip. The last time I went out on the Californian I took my concertina and played it, with permission, and as long as I wasn't in the way of the crew. I am not paid to play, but if they have a pro group abord you can bet that I will be taking notes. If not, I will do my best to please. Perhaps I could play the gaps when they are resting between sets. In any case, all the advice, from dance music to Spongebob, will be greatly appreciated and taken.

 

Last September during the Tall Ships Festival I played aboard the Surprise (the very ship from the movie Master and Commander). I was thanked by a woman who told me "Thank you for not dressing like a pirate". I simulate Jack Tar, does anyone know where I can find white fall front trousers of cotton duck or some similar material? Or a pattern?

 

I know a docent for the maritime Museum who plays fiddle, and her husband is sail crew for the Californian and the Star of India. He will be on the Star this Saturday and Monday, in the rigging. Perhaps I could join the museum someday.

 

I will enjoy the event, and I will play as much as I can, and joyfully. I have all my life admired those who make music, and feel that I am lucky to play at all, and have been surprised and gratified over and over again by the way people accept my twiddling on my little concertia.

 

And the friendliness of you people here on Concertina.net.

 

Thank you all.

 

Everyone, have a great weekend!

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Hello all.

 

Sailed out after the Star of India, and played when the Captain allowed. My fellow passengers enjoyed everything, the crew especially liked when I played South Australia!

 

We spent a tack towards Point Loma eating lunch, I played, ending with Amazing Grace, as the yacht the Amazing Grace had come out to see the Star.

 

The sea was very calm, no spray over the bow at all. At the end of our little voyage, the Captain suggested that there was a perpetual shortage of sail crew, and that any passenger who wanted to work a sailing vessel and not get paid show up Sunday mornings and be trained to the task.

 

I have to thank all you people who offered suggestions and encouragement.

 

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolute nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

 

With perhaps the possible exception of simply playing the Concertina just because you enjoy the music.

 

Russell Hedges

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I am a sailor. I play my concertina while sailing and just sitting in port. It matters not to me whether it's a shanty, a foc'sle song, the theme from God Father or Over the Rainbow. I play because I like it and it makes me feel good. I sail because I like it and it makes me feel good. If there's never a fiddle aboard to be 'authentic' it's not a concern. It's the wind, and the music, and the sea. History is not a freezing agent.

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