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Engish Workshops/instruction


jggunn
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I have been playing the English concertina, in a largely closet manner, for about twenty years. I play mostly tunes, but with effort I can do more complicated chordal things. What I cannot do, and have asked for advice about several times on this forum, is how to accompany singing. The advice has been good, but I cannot really seem to translate from the words to the execution. What I would like to do is something more than the three-chord trick. I can do some minimal harmony, but what I have in mind is exactly what I believe I see Steve Wilson doing, but Australia is a long way away (although my granddaughter will be there next year and I may visit). There is so much available instruction on the Anglo but when it comes to the English the basic answer is really just try this or that and find what sounds good to you. I live in Davis CA half the year but I am on the coast of Maine from about June 1 until November. If anyone knows of someone who gives instruction in this sort of thing or of an English workship, I would appreciate ideas. I will also probably attend the Old Songs Festival in Altamont NY at the end of June. Thanks, Jack

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Hello Jack,

 

Ho, I'm flattered. I just gave a workshop at our National Folk Festival at Easter here in Oz, you should have been there! Can't help you much with contacts in the US. Is Jeff Warner close? , he's the only one I can think of ( I don't know Jeff but nothing ventured....).

 

 

The advice has been good, but I cannot really seem to translate from the words to the execution. What I would like to do is something more than the three-chord trick.

 

Here's some more words to translate, sorry. The three chord thing is a great starting point, I use it a lot, with the chords built using various inversions. To achieve rhythm a lot of my playing is simply part of a chord ( 1 or 2 notes) held while the other note/s are played on the off beat. And also whole or part chords just played as a beat (on beat). A lot of direction change with bellows is used and also bellows shake too (is that allowed?). Of course it would be a bit boring to just do this for a whole song so I usually try to work in some fancy bits in between, or vocal fancy bits. Have a look at my "Wallaby Stew" or others here

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO39EOc_UVf728cjv8zl-9Q/videos

 

Good luck with your quest for help in the US.

 

Cheers Steve.

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As you've been playing a long time, you may well be familiar with Alistair Anderson's "Concertina Workshop". If not, have a look. You can still buy the recording - as a CD now rather than vinyl - and the wonderful book is downloadable as a pdf from the Free Reed site: http://www.free-reed.co.uk/frrr15

Granted it's mainly tunes, but there are a couple of song accompaniments to get you going.

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Thanks for the replies. I actually do have the Anderson book and CD but had not paid much attention to it. I now see that it does have quite a bit that addresses my concerns. And I will try to get to NESI this year, since I will be reasonably close in Maine at that time. And I am looking at Australian geography.

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