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What Brought You To The Concertina World?

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Thanks everyone for sharing your lovely stories :) It's always nice to hear how others got into the music. Glad it worked out well for you, hopefully it works well for me as well.

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Our local High School (over 35 years ago) had an active folk music club. I'm not sure how we got so many great performers to come to upstate New York. Alistair Anderson visited and had a concert in our cafeteria and a workshop the next day. It was a relevation to listen to his playing. My brother Ed pick up the concertina first and I started several years later. I am still amazed by Alisair's playing and dedication to the music.

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Around 1966 I began going to folk clubs where, amongst others, I heard Louis Killen and Alistair Anderson perform. Could barely understand a word they said (sorry, Geordies), but was fascinated by their concertina playing, and was determined to get one.

Unfortunately, I acquired an anglo instead of an English; I had no idea of the difference back then....However, I can safely say that these fine players are responsible for my downfall entry into the concertina world. Thank you, gentlemen. Life would never had been the same without you.

 

 

Edited to add RIP Louis.

Edited by malcolm clapp

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Ditto Malcolm,

 

it was indeed the influence of lads like Louis Killen and Alistair Anderson that got me searching for a concertina in the late 1960s , though my first 'tune' on a concertina was about 1957 when I tried to play the anglo my cousin had bought at a church jumble sale for two shillings!

 

Just as Malcolm says, for me playing the concertina changed my life. I discovered all sorts of musics I'd been hardly aware of. Started playing Irish Trad and got carried along by the renaisance of it which really got going at the end of the '60s, wanted to play the Uilleann pipes as a result and ended up making them because it was easier than trying to find a set for sale ( at least where I was then living)... and the rest is history as they say.

 

I'm still making the pipes and have not had ' proper employment' since 1976 ! :)

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hmmmm. saw alan lomax doc "Kentucky Mountain Music." Struck by lightning, blew open the door to my Inner Modal Minor. Clawhammer banjo, wonderful teacher at a place called Gryphon Stringed Instruments in NoCal. Fell in love with fiddle. Folks there were co-conspirators in "Fiddler Magazine." Cover of which, featured one Martin Hayes, a propos of eponymous debut album. Tried the album, struck by lightning. Inner Modal Minor said, "Go West (of Ireland), Go East (Clare and Galway, that is)." Fiddle Teacher: Cait Reed, carrier of East Clare style, introduced the masters preceding Mr. Hayes: Martin Rochford, Paddy Canny, Bobby Casey, Junior Crehan. Struck by lightning, wanted more of this from masters in same style on all instruments. Tendonitis, tendonitis, tendonitis....fiddle case closed. B/C accordion.....Trips to Eire for study & soak-up. County Clare, thence to Gleeson's of Coore: Clare Concertinas in situ. Kitty Hayes, Gerald Haugh. Struck by lightning. Elsewhere, Mary Macnamara, Jackie McCarthy, Charles Coen, Tom Carey....Elizabeth Crotty, John Kelly Sr., so many more. Anglo concertina....years of obsession. Voyages for classes with targeted touchstone players. Mad and constant playing, playing, playing. Then one day....Restless. Wanted lower notes. Wanted all keys to hand when desired. Currently playing Tenor EC...To Be Continued... :ph34r:

Edited by ceemonster

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I had been playing all sorts of stringy things while at school. At the age of 19 I decided that it had to be Northumbrian small-pipes - so I moved to Newcaste ( and eventually ended up with a lovely competition-winning set by Mr. Green ). One day I went along to the High-Level-Bridge-Folk-Club - and experienced Alistair Anderson on stage. The next day I put an ad into the "Chronicle" and bought my first three concertinas ( two Lachenal trebles for a fiver each, the Wheatstone baritone for 50 ). I then decided to study in Edinburgh ( rather than Stuttgart ;-) and worked my way through another 50 concertinas... I used to take a night-train to London, check-out the concertina-places around Camden-Lock and buy the odd instrument at one of the auction-houses.

So far no doctor has been able to heal me from that addiction...

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Kind of late to the party on this one but I found this thread through another that just got posted.

 

I had no intention of playing the concertina at all until about an hour before I rented my first one. One of my friends works in a music shop that had just started carrying Rochelle anglos. I walked in on some unrelated errand and saw one of them sitting on the counter. When I asked about it, she told me that it was her concertina and that she had started learning to play initially so that she could understand them better from a sales point of view but ended up completely loving the instrument.

 

I asked if I could just push a button or two and she said that she would just get one of the rentals from the back to properly teach me a tune. She showed me how to play Terry Teahan's Polka and I was hooked! I walked out of there with a rental concertina and started working on learning some more tunes. I think that having someone right there at the beginning to give me an idea of how the instrument worked made the difference.

 

I played the piano and violin growing up but nothing has stuck for me like the concertina did. People joke with me and say that it's genetic because my grandpa played the English concertina (not sure what he would say about his granddaughter playing the anglo!) but I think that I enjoy the puzzle of figuring out the "path" of each tune in the buttons.

 

When the concertina rentals from the shop got a little more publicized and they wanted to offer lessons (they have local musicians teach private music classes), I became the concertina teacher! This is not because of any great skill or talent but because no one else wanted to do it, I am a teacher so I figured I could handle individual adult students after telling roomfuls of children to quiet down and stop picking their noses. I just had my first student today and it was great! He was very enthusiastic and he has a great ear, so it will be fun to see what tunes catch his interest.

 

I don't think I could ever stop now, I'm having too much fun! Hopefully the concertina won't skip a generation this time and if I have kids someday maybe they will play too. I won't even be mad if they play a different system than me. :P

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I started playing music in the mid 70s... I've always been interested in trying the concertina but it wasn't until about 3 years ago a friend of my uncle's brought a few over for me to try... all very inexpensive Anglos. It did inspired me to look around again and I found a Wheatstone Crane Duet in Newfoundland for a very good price. Unfortunately, I only learned a couple of pieces and it ended up on the shelf after a week or so. I sold it a few months ago and instantly had regrets so put in an eBay bid and 8 hours later I was the proud owner of a BB RE MR 48K English Lachenal which although in terrible condition was working fine after about 6 hours of tinkering. I've never stopped since and was soon offered an Excelsior in by far even worse condition (which I've spent well over 100 hours on restoring and still have a long way to go). I finally found an untouched, unrestored Wheatstone M22 which I play everyday and work on almost every day. It's a real gem! I'm having an amazing time both restoring and building up a repertoire at the same time. The English concertina seems to fit me perfectly, both working on them and playing them. I just wish I would of started in the mid 70s when they were a lot easier on the pocket book but it's never too late to start a collection if one is very, very patient. I would love to find an unrestored Aeola TT next, then a Baritone. There are no other player's around me but I am doing my best to change that. John

Edited by 4to5to6

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May you do well with your Excelsior too! They can be such lovely (which prominently includes lovely-sounding) little instruments!

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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There are no other player's around me....

 

Are you sure? Your profile says you're located in Western Canada. How far west?

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I am about 50 miles from Vancouver, BC. There is the young lady I sold my duet to of course. Rumors are there is a player in the Fraser Valley but I haven't been able to get a name yet. If you know of someone, please let me know. Probably best to PM me. John

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For those who are interested in hearing the music of Fr. Charlie Coen I recommend his new CD "Around the turf fire at Coen's". It was just released at Catskills Irish Arts week in July 2015 and it is a treasure!

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Turned to a load of different instruments in 2009 after being a pro guitarist all my working life. Played melodeon since 2011 and tinkered with the EC since 2012 having been given a Jackie by a very kind chap from Kansas.

 

Got into it big-time just recently and invented my own tablature for the EC. Just bought a Lachenal treble. I am 62 but as excited as a ten year old!!

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I stumbled upon Concertina by accident while looking into accordions. I found videos from Dr. Toru KATO to be particularly cheerful, and got hooked on the sound.

 

I have delayed the decision to start playing due to various life circumstances. I intend to start learning the Anglo system by renting a Concertina Connection "Rochelle" from the Button Box soon, hopefully getting the process started next week. (I'm fairly certain there's paperwork to sign and stuff.)

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A few years ago after getting into folk music I wanted to take up an instrument that would be better for English traditional tunes (I already played guitar and 5-string banjo). I bought a cheap C/G concertina and learnt a few tunes in C and G, but at the time I could never really get my head around the cross-row style of playing for tunes in D. Being unable to afford (or even find) a G/D I eventually switched to D/G melodeon and got rid of the concertina!

 

Then last year I spotted a 26 button G/D Jones being sold by Chris Algar on eBay, and decided to take a punt and have now been playing the Anglo again for about a year. I now have a Marcus in G/D, but my favourite box is a 38 button metal ended Bb/F Lachenal.

 

Experience in playing the melodeon is definitely an advantage in learning the anglo again, but it's important to avoid the temptation to think that the finger is identical and that you can just transfer tunes across! I still play mainly "on the row" in the harmonic style, but have learnt to cross-row and have learnt a few tunes in A on the G/D.

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