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Solo Singer With Concertina? What Players And Albums?


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Does anyone have any recommendations on recordings of Australian "Bush" style concertina? It appears to be one of the good old basic unschooled styles of harmonic playing, and there's a good website of tunes, but I'm not clear on where to find recordings, particularly for ballads, voice accompaniment, etc.

 

The National Library of Australia has a lot of unpublished recordings of old time Aussie players. I have combed through all of them for my House Dance CD, which also features traditional old time Anglo performers in Ireland, South Africa and England. Standouts in Oz for old time players are George Bennett and Dooley Chapman, but there are others. I don't recall anyone singing with the c., although several of them sing without it. There are also some clips of some of the current players in Australia too in House Dance....but no vocals. You can get that CDRom (digital book and about 200 archival tunes) from the Button Box or from the publisher, Musical Traditions in the UK. I don't know of any comparable comprehensive source of old time bush music available (ditto for Boer music). There are individual CDs for modern performers, of which Dave de Hugard is a favorite of mine. And my good friend Peter Ellis of Bendigo Victoria recently compiled a wonderful album of traditional Bush music recordings of the 1960s and 1970s entitled Music Makes Me Smile....available by written enquiry at enquiries@vfmc.org.au . I could be surprised, but I don't recall any solo c. with singing on this 2 disc set.

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To the best of my limited knowledge Michael Hebbert doesn't sing either (I stand to be corrected on that one) , although there is, of course, a recording of him playing solo and accompanying Andrew Frank's singing available through Free Reed Records.

 

That's IreneS above; I seem to have messed up the quote thing.

 

He does! (well you did ask, Roger)

Edited by Roger Gawley
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Maybe I read too fast, but I'm surprised no one has mentionned Harry Scurfield !

I have two CDs of him, featuring songs accompanied with his collection of Dippers (G/D ; standart and baritone C/G)

His style is very inventive, and he is not afraid with experimenting in weird keys (Cminor, Emajor,...)

 

You will certainly not find him on itune and should contact him directly ; that's how I purchased the 2 CDs I own.

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Maybe I read too fast, but I'm surprised no one has mentionned Harry Scurfield !

I have two CDs of him, featuring songs accompanied with his collection of Dippers (G/D ; standart and baritone C/G)

His style is very inventive, and he is not afraid with experimenting in weird keys (Cminor, Emajor,...)

 

You will certainly not find him on itune and should contact him directly ; that's how I purchased the 2 CDs I own.

 

What kind of music does Scurfield tend to do? I may need to look him up and order a CD or two! I see some tiny snippets of him on YouTube, but nothing consistent, though one clip from Swaledale shows just a few moments of him singing with solo concertina.

 

 

 

There are way more than a few !Xhosa or Zulu solo singers with concertina.

Quite right, what I meant was in terms of YouTube clips to add to my playlist; since you mentioned it I've gone digging and found a half-dozen or so really cool clips of African singing with concertina; the playlist grows yet further.

 

There are some real oddities on that playlist now, breaking away from the largely British-based crowd. In particular there's a Japanese woman who plays Anglo and has a few songs of her own composition. And, as has been mentioned on Cnet before, there are a smattering of largely younger folks who appear to have taught themselves Anglo without any real direct influence from established players, so have a really primitive style worth noting.

 

 

I was glancing back at the Roberts/Barrand albums I was perusing on iTunes initially, and recalled that I'd paused in buying their stuff before because there's just so much of it that's voice with solo concertina, so I'm slowly buying those up for my playlist. The only artist I've found thus far with a higher rate of pure voice and concertina tracks is Peter Bellamy, who has simply scads of those, but John Roberts isn't far behind. I'm also finding yet more YouTube tracks to add since many of Roberts' YT tracks are solo concertina with singing.

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Steven Arntson has an interesting take on singing with Anglo concertina. Not a folk musician but rather an exponent of modern classical art song with a minimalist bent.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lstgWE6WGFQ


"Don't You Want to Go to Heaven, Uncle Sam?" and "No Certainties" at On the Boards in Seattle, Washington, February, 2009



Half way through this vid you get to hear him sing and play the concertina with only one hand!



-------------



http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Steven_Arntson/Solo_Concertina_Music_2005-2010



will give you a nice overview of what he is up to. I particularly like song #5 called “Birth” and #2 "Learn" both of which incorporate some inspired yodeling!


Edited by Jody Kruskal
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What kind of music does Scurfield tend to do? I may need to look him up and order a CD or two! I see some tiny snippets of him on YouTube, but nothing consistent, though one clip from Swaledale shows just a few moments of him singing with solo concertina.

 

 

 

Below is the outline of the CD "patches in your gussets" (the key indications are from me)

As you can see, a varied repertoire, including music-hall songs, compositions, jazz classics, a socialist hymn, a french valse-musette, and even a south-african song from Jonny Clegg played in guenuine squashbox style !

Most are solo concertina/singing, a few also include some fiddle.

 

BTW, Harry has been a precursor in collecting and bringing to europe south-african styles ; in particular, is at the origin of the "Zulu & Sotho squash box" compilation mentioned previously in this thread.

 

For the second CD I own (squeeze a little one in), unfortunately, I lost the liners, and my computer does not recognize the tracks.

 

 

If you want to contact him I can provide his email contact (preferentially PM)

 

 

 

------

 

Beans, beans, beans © 2:59 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 2
I'd rather be the one in your arms (A) 3:09 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 3
Woza friday (Bb) 3:11 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 4
Make me down a pallet on your floor (A) 4:15 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 4
Do talk to strangers (D-E) 3:25 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 4
Les feuilles mortes (Em ; G/D) 2:49 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 3
The Internationale (D ; G/D) 2:49 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 3
L'accordéoniste (Cm-C) 3:41 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 3
Your feet's too big (A) 3:05 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 3
Jenny Lind (D) 3:25 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 2
Papa's on the housetop (A) 3:28 Harry Scurfield Patches in your gussets 2
Edited by david fabre
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  • 5 weeks later...

Having looked around for a proper place for this I came to the conclusion that I might present "it" here: Not a proper recording which would fit in with the above-mentioned tracks, merely a Demo, meant to demonstrate a style of accompaniment.

I Whish I Was a Mole in the Ground

Thanks to Jody whose performance has once again been an inspiration for giving it a try!

 

Edit: I had mixed up this thread with another one in the teaching/learning compartment where I had rather intended to post the link (which I did by this time).

Edited by blue eyed sailor
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As I'm going through both my YouTube and iTunes lists, I'm rather struck by how large a proportion of concertina singers are doing something broadly trad. Whether full trad, neo-folk, or hymns/carols and the like. Of 90+ tracks I have on my YT "Singing with solo concertina" public playlist, there are only maybe four musicians who have multiple tracks of non-trad singing:

  • Juliette Daum (some jazzy tunes with a large EC)
  • Yuya (simple arty accompaniment to singing in Japanese with a small EC)
  • Steve Wilson (a mix of jazzy singer-songwriter tunes, a few pop sources like the Beatles, Bette Midler, etc)
  • Cnet's own Geoffery Lakeman, who has a couple of jazz standards

 

Looking through my iTunes, I have 103 tracks of singing backed just by concertina, and there are only about two tracks I have that I wouldn't call trad-related:

  • "The Albatross" with John Roberts and Tony Barrand. Not quite sure to call what this genre, kind of somewhere between jazzy, cafe music, and film music? Neat long narrative song with a lot of dark humor.
  • "First Kiss" by Mike Agranoff; another long narrative with a similarly jazzy-cafe ethos. Really well-done accompaniment, great plaintive singing.

 

I'd strongly recommend those two tracks to anyone interested in the breadth of concertina-singing styles; they're both available on iTunes and as Amazon downloads for 99c each.

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As I'm going through both my YouTube and iTunes lists, I'm rather struck by how large a proportion of concertina singers are doing something broadly trad. Whether full trad, neo-folk, or hymns/carols and the like. Of 90+ tracks I have on my YT "Singing with solo concertina" public playlist, there are only maybe four musicians who have multiple tracks of non-trad singing.

 

It is a little disappointing that more non-traditional songs are not done with concertina accompaniment, especially since many modern song compositions have such interesting arrangements.

 

In it's heyday the concertina was very often used for the "popular" music, the music of the day. These days it's almost always used for the music of yesterday. Why is this so?

 

There are multiple reasons of course, I'll not offer an opinion here. Others may wish to respond. I'll just lament that our wonderful little instrument is not used outside the boundaries a little more often.

 

Regards to all, Steve.

Edited by Steve Wilson
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In it's heyday the concertina was very often used for the "popular" music, the music of the day. These days it's almost always used for the music of yesterday. Why is this so?

 

In my case (and I suspect many others), I was already playing the "music of yesterday" on other instruments (guitar, banjo, hammered dulcimer, recorder) when I found myself attracted to the concertina. I was not so much a concertina player looking for music to play as a "music of yesterday" player looking for instruments to play it on.

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you all. I´m glad you like it. It´s my first video, I edited (cut) it myself and I´m planning on more. Video is quite new to me, right now I´m exploring the new possibilities.

Yes Adrian, I wanted to go to the Concertina Meeting but couldn´t make it. I miss that input I got last year. I´m still greatful for your advice and teaching.

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Yes Adrian, I wanted to go to the Concertina Meeting but couldn´t make it. I miss that input I got last year. I´m still greatful for your advice and teaching.

 

And so am I as to this year's meeting, whereas in 2013 I hadn't been available for attending Adrian's class because I didn't want to skip lessons from Simon who did a great job too. Best wishes - Wolf

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