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Randy Stein

Concertina Groups/bands

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About a year or so ago Jim Besser and I started playing together and found music and ways to make the anglo and the EC work nicely together. We then added the young and very talented melodeon player, Gus Vorhees and started the Squeezers. Our repertoire seems to defy categorizing as we play an eclectic selection of styles and music from genres, and time periods..

In searching YouTube I found several groups and bands that have a concertina in them or the lead is a concertina or accordion. There are groups like Rachel Hall's Concertina Orchestra, the Bootle Concertina Band and others that have more than one free reed player in the group. Also a few that have Chemitzer concertinas Like Bill Czerniak Band.

So anyone else have a group of multiple free reed instruments currently performing? If so what is it, where are you, and what kind of music do you play?

 

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Edited by Randy Stein

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At the Concertina Cruinniú last sundaynight these guys were playing : Edel Fox and Jaqueline McCarthy (concertinas), Josephine Marsh (concertina and accordion), Johnny Hehir (harmonica), Rick Epping and Mick Kinsella (English concertinas and harmonicas). About as reedy as it'll get and lovely too.

 

Cruinniu14007jpg_zps2a6f648c.jpg

Edited by Peter Laban

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At the Concertina Cruinniú last sundaynight these guys were playing : Edel Fox and Jaqueline McCarthy (concertinas), Josephine Marsh (concertina and accordion), Johnny Hehir (harmonica), Rick Epping and Mick Kinsella (English concertinas and harmonicas). About as reedy as it'll get and lovely too.

Great stuff, though my impression is that Randy was asking about groups that regularly work together, not ad hoc combinations of the moment.

 

I guess the monthly "English" music session at Stockholm's Bishops Arms pub on Bellmansgatan1 is somewhat in between. It's a regular event, with a number of nearly constant participants, others (including myself) coming less regularly, but with newcomers and complete strangers also welcome. It's rare that there aren't at least two concertinas (anglo and English) and three melodeons (or durspel, which is the Swedish version). Other instruments invariably include fiddle and recorder, usually guitar, ukuleles, and bones, often whistle, and sometimes banjo and/or hurdy gurdy. And songs are as prominent as tunes without words.

 

But among the more-or-less regulars at the session is a smaller group that lately have been practicing together, dominated by free reeds. Two durspel/melodeons, one recorder (soprano & tenor), one anglo, an English or two2, one with mandolin and ukulele2, and sometimes the hurdy gurdy. So far, we do mostly English songs and tunes, some Swedish, and the occasional sea shanty. We practice both for fun and with the hope of getting performing gigs.

 

Subsets of this group have already done some actual "performances". For a Christmas celebration we had our Englishes and a durspel, along with our voices and some "lesser" instruments (e.g., whistle). For a performance at an agricultural hall we were joined by the anglo player and another melodeon (and also by a standup bass and hand percussion).

 

1 It's a chain throughout Sweden, and there are (at least?) three other Bishops Arms pubs in Stockholm, but they don't have music.

2 Currently I'm the second English, when I'm in town, but the mandolin/uke player is enjoying a recently purchased treble English, so the one or two looks certain to become two or three before long.

Edited by JimLucas

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Great stuff, though my impression is that Randy was asking about groups that regularly work together, not ad hoc combinations of the moment

 

While I understood the question, I didn't think it would be a problem. The group's members all play together in different combinations in some shape or form and while the group was as such an ad hoc ensemble, they held the stage for the night (the Cruinniú's Farewell concert) and were sounding lovely, sporting a variety of free reeds in the process.

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Great stuff, though my impression is that Randy was asking about groups that regularly work together, not ad hoc combinations of the moment

While I understood the question, I didn't think it would be a problem. The group's members all play together in different combinations in some shape or form and while the group was as such an ad hoc ensemble, they held the stage for the night (the Cruinniú's Farewell concert) and were sounding lovely, sporting a variety of free reeds in the process.

 

Peter, do have any recordings. Even of a rehearsal would do.

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Edited by Randy Stein

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Very much a one-off but here are some recordings of a multi-instrumental group including assorted concertinas (treble and bass EC, a McCann duet and possibly an anglo), a melodeon, piano accordeon and harmonica - alongside fiddle, flute, concertina, sax, French horn, mandolin and guitar! - playing a recent Alistair Anderson composition called Hidden Hexham. Recorded a couple of weeks ago in Birmingham UK after a weekend of learning the piece:


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Peter, do have any recordings. Even of a rehearsal would do.

 

I didn't record anything, except one tune that Mick & Rick played on harmonicas accompanying themselves on the concertinas, just the start of a set of tunes, before the rest of them joined. It was a tune I didn't know and thought of learning. It's on my phone though and my son took off with the USB cable. (I'll see if I can use a cardreader to get it)

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You might like to look up the 'full English' project headed up by Fay Heild on behalf of the English Folk Dance Song Society, Rob Harbron is the Concertina player in that ensemble.

 

Then look up the Hawkwood Concertina band, 30 plus concertinas playing full arrangements I think that there were around 15 parts in one recent arrangement. spread over G Bas, CBass, Baritones, Trebles, Anglo, and piccolo concertinas

 

Dave

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The Full English are the winners of the best group category in tonight's BBC Radio 2 Folk awards. they also won the category for best album of the year.

Edited by John Wild

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You might like to look up the 'full English' project headed up by Fay Heild on behalf of the English Folk Dance Song Society, Rob Harbron is the Concertina player in that ensemble.

 

Then look up the Hawkwood Concertina band, 30 plus concertinas playing full arrangements I think that there were around 15 parts in one recent arrangement. spread over G Bas, CBass, Baritones, Trebles, Anglo, and piccolo concertinas

 

The Hawkwood band made a nice CD a few years ago: http://www.concertinaband.org.uk and they have a YouTube recording that I like very much at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAylfbi22h8 .

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Randy and Jim, great to hear about your Squeezers band. Keep it up.

 

As for me, I play Anglo concertina with quite a number of dance and concert bands for contras and Playford English country dances. The oldest one is the contra dance band Grand Picnic. Your old cassette tape is surely worn out, get the remastered CD. We've been playing regularly since 1986 and are still going strong. Squeezology is heard on the Anglo International triple CD. Dressed Ship, The Thistle Biscuits, and quite a few more can be viewed and heard on my band page: http://jodykruskal.com/bands_thumbs.html

 

I pull a six piece band together with loosely the same seasoned musicians for the actor Richard Gere every few years for the past 20. We sing songs and play for his family get-togethers. The Geres sing with us too... it's always fun, one rehearsal and off we go. We do a command performance of an eclectic mix of covers, old country and hill-billy songs, tin pan alley, patriotic songs, McGuire sisters, Leiber and Stoller, American song book, show tunes and songs from old movie and TV shows and even advertisements, classic folk songs, rock-a-billy, Dylan, Springsteen... you name it. They laugh, they cry, we all smile.

 

I'll never forget the last one we did, Richard's dad's 90th birthday party. The Geres rented a restaurant in their old home town and invited all the neighbors and families from Richard's and his siblings youth. About 200 people. Richard and a young cousin of his joined us on mic for the chorus of Ghost Riders in the Sky. We were all howling Yippee I Oh - Yippee I Ay. Oh my, what a time! :rolleyes:

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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You might like to look up the 'full English' project headed up by Fay Heild on behalf of the English Folk Dance Song Society, Rob Harbron is the Concertina player in that ensemble.

 

Then look up the Hawkwood Concertina band, 30 plus concertinas playing full arrangements I think that there were around 15 parts in one recent arrangement. spread over G Bas, CBass, Baritones, Trebles, Anglo, and piccolo concertinas

 

The Hawkwood band made a nice CD a few years ago: http://www.concertinaband.org.uk and they have a YouTube recording that I like very much at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAylfbi22h8 .

 

There's also this Japanese band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzXuH9J3KJc, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H22GMBP2grw, etc.

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My band Albireo has multiple instrumental combinations which include me on melodeon or anglo and Steve Hodgskiss on EC.

 

www.albireo.co.uk

http://albireo.bandcamp.com/

Just finished listening to your album - really enjoyed it. The unusual (to me) combinations of instruments work really well and a great selection of tunes. Well done.

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Concertinas feature heavily in the music of the English Morris tradition - my own side, The Powderkegs of Whaley Bridge, regularly have a band of one or sometimes two anglos, one EC, and two melodeons (with other instruments). I usually play fife or rauschpfeife when leading the band for the actual dancing, but once the side repairs to the pub add my EC to swell the free reed sound yet further.


I really must get around to getting those 'The Powderkegs Wall Of Sound' T-shirts printed ...

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Concertinas feature heavily in the music of the English Morris tradition - my own side, The Powderkegs of Whaley Bridge, regularly have a band of one or sometimes two anglos, one EC, and two melodeons (with other instruments). I usually play fife or rauschpfeife when leading the band for the actual dancing, but once the side repairs to the pub add my EC to swell the free reed sound yet further.

If a Morris side's musicians constitute a proper "group" -- and I believe they do, -- then this old thread adds lots to the list. :)

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