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Dan Worrall

Wrap-Up On Palestine 2014

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The 12th annual Palestine Old Time Music Festival, including our 10th annual Palestine concertina workshop within it, just concluded….another absolutely wonderful weekend. On the general festival side, it was great weekend for all sorts of old time music…..Texas fiddling, Virginia banjo playing, some Georgia sisters playing jazzy old southern string band tunes, shape note singing, mountain dulcimer, you name it. Margaret and Jerry Wright and their family do an absolutely standout job running this unique, small and down-home festival every year....kudos to them.

 

On the concertina front, Ann Kirrane (nee Droney) held a really great series of concertina workshops. Her straightforward dance music style, honed by four generations of Droney concertina playing in north County Clare, was like a breath of fresh air, and she patiently got everyone in the group through a waltz, polka, jig and a reel…which we played together at the end of her acoustic concert on Saturday. We had 18 concertina players this year….a very good turnout for this neck of the woods.

 

Ann wasn’t only holding concertina workshops. She brought along Gerry Hanley, a superb box player from Galway, and teamed up with good friends Bill Galbraith (guitar, from Houston), Cormac Gannon (San Francisco, bodhran) and Emily Standish (Bill's better half) for a series of concert turns there. The evening concerts at Palestine are a bit like a variety show, with all sorts of old time music. The Irish visitors put on a great show of Irish music for the Palestine folks, and everyone was just blown away by Ann’s singing. As soon as she dipped into her mix of traditional Irish and American songs, Texas hearts just melted. General festival goers and concertina players alike are hoping to coax her back down to these parts next year. She played a couple of house concerts in and around Houston too…people now know her and Gerry, and want to see them both again.

 

Another highlight was the visit of Zak van der Vyver, a Boer style concertina player who lives in England. He teamed up with Sean Minnie, another Boer style player (from Detroit) who made a second trip to Palestine this year, and the two of them gave a workshop on Boeremusiek. Always great to hear the concertina-guitar combination, and of course jaws were dropping with Zak’s intricate chords and yet very smooth playing (you can hear some of his tunes on the Anglo International CDs of a few years ago). There was also a nice concertina player's session of party pieces hosted by Ann, and the standout had to be Kurt Braun’s rendition of ‘Love Potion Number Nine’ where he used his Crane Duet to accompany his singing.

 

The weather was cool, and the memorably harsh winter this year had delayed the Spring in Palestine, but there were still some nice dogwoods out by weekend. See you all again next year!

 

Photos:

1. Most of the 2014 concertina crew. L to R: Michael Lee Garrett, Earl Richards, Mark Commins, Jim Wells, Dan Worrall, Ann Kirrane, Jim Bayliss, Martha Schinzel, Kurt Braun, Nancy Bessent, Stephen Mills, Susan Mardele, Kenny Tweedy, Sean Minnie, Bob Harvey. Not pictured: Larry Wilson, Stephen Knoll, Zak van der Vyver, Mindy Howell.

 

2. Bill, Ann, Gerry, and Cormac in concert Friday night.

3. Sean and Zak play boeremusiek in their workshop.

4. Emily, Bill, Ann and Gerry in a house concert before Palestine.

5. Stephen Mills, Dan Worrall and Kenny Tweedy share a tune.

6. Jim Bayliss

7. Tunes on a front porch

8. Dogwood tree and azaleas

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Edited by Dan Worrall

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In the first picture, I assume the Crane in the middle belongs to Kurt Braun, but who plays the Maccann underneath it? And is that a wooden-ended Hayden third to the right of that pair? Besides those three, it looks like ten anglos and three English.

 

A nice mix, but maybe in need of more non-anglos? ;)

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In the first picture, I assume the Crane in the middle belongs to Kurt Braun, but who plays the Maccann underneath it? And is that a wooden-ended Hayden third to the right of that pair? Besides those three, it looks like ten anglos and three English.

 

A nice mix, but maybe in need of more non-anglos? ;)

Sean Minnie brought the MacCann, and played some nice Boer tunes on it. And yes, that is a wooden-ended Hayden. We lost our one Jeffries duet player, who moved to Hawaii last year. Not everyone wanted to place their concertinas on the stack. so a number are not in the photo. The overall mix of systems is perhaps in line with worldwide overall playing preferences, with the duets perhaps a bit over-represented if one does percentages. Not sure why we'd necessarily want to change that, no offense to any of our non-Anglo playing friends! Old time and traditional music can be played on anything from an autoharp to a zither.

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Remember to mention Kurt's kazoo which, I thought, fused rather well with the sound of the concertinas.

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Old time and traditional music can be played on anything from an autoharp to a zither.

 

Dan, of course this is very true (and needs to be repeated from time to time as to me), but your particular A to Z nevertheless made me smile, as it might suggest a limitation to just the family of, well, zither instruments...

 

Besides, I recently ordered a basic black A-model autoharp in order to give it to my wife for accompaniment and am expecting its arrival through transatlantic shipping within a further week or so. I am quite curious about what can be done with it and all the more about the sound... :)

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Old time and traditional music can be played on anything from an autoharp to a zither.

 

Dan, of course this is very true (and needs to be repeated from time to time as to me), but your particular A to Z nevertheless made me smile, as it might suggest a limitation to just the family of, well, zither instruments...

 

Besides, I recently ordered a basic black A-model autoharp in order to give it to my wife for accompaniment and am expecting its arrival through transatlantic shipping within a further week or so. I am quite curious about what can be done with it and all the more about the sound... :)

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

Hi Wolf,

 

There was a stunning autoharp player named Betty Scott at Palestine this year; she lives in the Dallas area. I found a youtube of her from a year or two ago for you. The recording quality is poor, especially in the first four minutes before they got the sound system sorted out. But it will give you an excellent idea of what your new autoharp can do in the hands of a skilled player.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC6BpLGq32o

I hope your wife has fun with it.

Cheers,

Dan

ps. Don't know if you already know it, but the modern autoharp came into being as a result of the inventive genius of Carl Zimmerman. Carl was one of the early builders of the German concertina in Saxony, and he exhibited ten and twenty button Uhlig-style 'accordions' at the London Exhibition of 1851; some of us think that he coined the term 'German concertina' for those instruments as a marketing ploy to mimic the more expensive English concertinas that were displayed there. He later invented the larger Carlsfeld concertina. He moved to Philadelphia in the 1860s, where he sold concertinas and accordions, and designed his autoharp....basically the same system as today. I wrote about him in my concertina history books, chapter one.

Edited by Dan Worrall

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Dan, I really appreceate these pieces of information! I knew about Zimmermann but hadn't been aware of the concertina relation. And the video gives in fact a taste of another instrument well worth the effort, so thank you!

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Autoharp and concertina go together very well IMHO.

My wife plays the autoharp as a chordal instrument, and the combination with my concertina seems to work.

The sound of the autoharp is not loud, and so I have to pull back a bit now with my Suttner. The Lachenal didn't have the issue, being a naturally quieter instrument.

Her's is not the Oscar Schmidt type of instrument, but is a European form (we haven't seen anywhere else). It has bars and strings to play in C.G or D (or the minors), but this is also a good match with the C/G concer. It is not played from behind like the OS models, but as a table top instrument (like a zither).

Hope you enjoy playing together - we do :)

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In the first picture, I assume the Crane in the middle belongs to Kurt Braun, but who plays the Maccann underneath it? And is that a wooden-ended Hayden third to the right of that pair? Besides those three, it looks like ten anglos and three English.

 

A nice mix, but maybe in need of more non-anglos? ;)

 

1 Crane, 1 Maccann, 2 Haydens, 3 English, 9 Anglos, I think.

Edited by Jim Bayliss

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In the first picture, I assume the Crane in the middle belongs to Kurt Braun, but who plays the Maccann underneath it? And is that a wooden-ended Hayden third to the right of that pair? Besides those three, it looks like ten anglos and three English.

 

1 Crane, 1 Maccann, 2 Haydens, 3 English, 9 Anglos, I think.

 

Hmm. Which is the other Hayden? The one sitting on top of the Rochelle?

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In the first picture, I assume the Crane in the middle belongs to Kurt Braun, but who plays the Maccann underneath it? And is that a wooden-ended Hayden third to the right of that pair? Besides those three, it looks like ten anglos and three English.

 

A nice mix, but maybe in need of more non-anglos? ;)

 

1 Crane, 1 Maccann, 2 Haydens, 3 English, 9 Anglos, I think.

 

Not that anyone was counting, mind you! :)

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Hmm. Which is the other Hayden? The one sitting on top of the Rochelle?

 

yes

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