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Jim Besser

Poll: Totm For August, 2015

Poll: TOTM, August 2015  

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Heavens, July went quickly. Time moves fast when you’re having a good time - or learning new tunes, right?


Here’s a selection for your consideration for the August TOTM. Please vote; please participate. The more involvement we have in the TOTM forum, the more fun it will be for all of us.


Egyptian / Greek / Turkish: Misirlou


A guy I know claims that Misirlou, commonly regarded as Greek, Turkish or Egyptian in origin, is the most recorded tune on the planet. I don’t know if he’s right, but the melody has been recorded in just about every imaginable musical genre, from very traditional Greek to klezmer to pop. The 1962 Dick Dale version, which much later became part of the sound track of the movie Pulp Fiction, was credited with spawning the 'surf guitar' rock genre. Periodically I hear it on elevators and as the background music in TV commercials.


Read about its origins and remarkable travels around the world here .


Here's a very traditional Greek version on santouri, and another sung.


How about accordion? This guy takes a long time to get past the intro, doesn't he?


And a very cool jazz version.


When I told you Misirlou turns up in the strangest places, I wasn't kidding. How about the Beach Boys, or Chubby Checker?

And what do you call this one?


I don’t have a clue how I’d approach this tune on concertina, especially given the chromatic limitations of the Anglo, but it will be fun to figure it out!


American: Puncheon Floor


Recently I had a conversation with a hardcore oldtime musician who insisted his kind of music - American fiddle tunes, generally from the Appalachian Mountains region and often with origins in England, Ireland and Scotland - could never be done on concertina.


Obviously this guy never heard of Jody Kruskal, among others. Oldtime fiddle tunes - and if you want to get into a discussion about exactly what that means, feel free - are great fun to play on concertina.


Jody has several CDs full of this infectious music, and here’s a cut from one of them, and the next tune in our August poll: Puncheon Floor is a driving reel and great dance tune, with a fun key switch, usually played in G and D.


I recommend all of Jody's CDs, available on CD Baby, but this one, in particular, is a treasure trove of great oldtime tunes.


Here it is played by the Glen Echo Open Band, led by fiddler extraordinaire Steve Hickman, for a contra dance - I’m somewhere in there wearing my grimmest concertina face. It’s s the second tune in the set, starting at about 3:16


And a rather frenetic, bluegrassy version, and one that's a little calmer.


BTW, a puncheon floor is a primitive floor build from logs flattened on only one side. As in log cabins. As in ‘ this is really oldtime.’


Scandinavian: Mary och Evans Bröllopsvals (Mary and Evan's Wedding Waltz)


This lovely waltz was written by my friend Bruce Sagan, an incredibly talented Scandinavian and Balkan fiddler and nyckleharpist who also happens to be a fine Morris dancer. It’s on his Northlands CD, a collection of original tunes in the Scandinavian tradition with Bruce and fiddler lydia ievens.


Since I seem to be promoting CD's this month, this CD is wonderful, and you should probably buy it now! I'm not well acquainted with Scandinavian music, but Bruce and lydia's CD is at the top of my 'favorites' queue because the tunes are memorable and the playing exquisite.


Here’s a short clip of Bruce and lydia playing the tune. Sorry, that’s the only Web version available. If this tune is chosen, you’ll be able to go to sessions with a totally fresh tune that everybody will love.


For a sneak preview of the dots, here's a link on Bruce's site.


Breton: the Wren


Every now and then a certain fiddler friend comes to sessions at my house and I always ask her to play this tune, which I can’t seem to remember. Which is a shame; this Breton an dro, which has worked its way into the American contra dance repertoire, is wonderful.


Here’s a gorgeous version on hammered dulcimer ( starting at about 58 seconds) by local performer Maggie Sansone


Here's a rather sedate dance version, and a simple version on mandolin, played very slowly and then faster.

And a fiddle, accordion and guitar trio rounds out our examples; The Wren starts at about 1:10 on the video.


That's it: the August poll. Hope you're enjoying your summer and that one of these tunes will make your August even better!

Edited by Jim Besser

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Wow, Jim; I really appreciate the research you do to give us examples of proposed tunes! Much less finding the tunes themselves. Bravo!

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Wow, Jim; I really appreciate the research you do to give us examples of proposed tunes! Much less finding the tunes themselves. Bravo!

 

Thanks! It's been fun.

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Breton: the Wren

 

Thanks for the name, I've played that tune for a long time (usually paired with Theme Vannatais (sp?) and only had the name "An Dro" for it :-)

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Egyptian / Greek / Turkish: Misirlou

 

...

Read about its origins and remarkable travels around the world here and here.

The second link shows only the beginning of the article, with the rest overlaid with a subscription request. Close the request popup, and I'm left with only the Financial Times current front page, and I'm not motivated to spend time searching further.

 

Funny, though, that I'm familiar with the tune both from the Beach Boys and from my internatiional folk dance days, but I had never put one and one together to realize that they were the same. (I never knew the name of the Beach Boys version; I just heard it a lot during my college days.)

 

American: Puncheon Floor

 

Jody has several CDs full of this infectious music, and here’s a cut from one of them, and the next tune in our August poll: Puncheon Floor....

Unfortunately, I get the message (here translated from Danish): "This video is not accessible/available. Sorry."

 

Scandinavian: Mary och Evans Bröllopsvals (Mary and Evan's Wedding Waltz)

 

This lovely waltz was written by my friend Bruce Sagan....

 

...

Here’s a short clip of Bruce and lydia playing the tune.

Lydia also plays nyckelharpa. Studied at the Eric Sahlström Institute in Sweden a couple of years ago. Do you know if they've done anything together on two nyckelharpor?

 

Breton: the Wren

 

Here’s a gorgeous version on hammered dulcimer ( starting at about 58 seconds) by local performer Maggie Sansone

Another video that's unavailable, at least to me. (I'm in Sweden at the moment, but I expect I'd have the same problem in Denmark.)

 

But it's another one I've heard before, in a variety of arrangements and tempos.

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The second link shows only the beginning of the article, with the rest overlaid with a subscription request. Close the request popup, and I'm left with only the Financial Times current front page, and I'm not motivated to spend time searching further.

 

 

Hmmm. I was able to read the article when I checked the link (I do check all the links before publishing) and it worked, but now I'm getting the annoying ad. Will delete.

 

The other links work fine on this end. I don't really understand how YouTube works in terms of geographical differences. It's very irritating.

 

I had no idea the Beach Boys did Misirlou, but then, almost every else did, so why not? I do remember the Dick Dale version from my youth.

 

I know lydia plays nyckeharpa. I think the Northlands CD is the only one with both Bruce and lydia. There is some nyckleharpa, but it's hard to tell who's playing, and the liner notes don't clarify matters. Two phenomenal players.

Edited by Jim Besser

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The other links work fine on this end. I don't really understand how YouTube works in terms of geographical differences. It's very irritating.

Same as reported by Jim here in Germany, I'm afraid...

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The other links work fine on this end. I don't really understand how YouTube works in terms of geographical differences. It's very irritating.

Same as reported by Jim here in Germany, I'm afraid...

 

 

I'm not sure what to do about it.

 

YouTube remains the most convenient mechanism for sharing tunes without violating copyrights. Obviously I can't rip tunes from my own CDs or Spotify and post them here. But it's frustrating when our European participants can't access some of the samples I post.

 

Any suggestions ? Anybody?

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16 votes, so far, and there's a 2-way tie for first, with third place only one vote behind. (Of course, I'm not saying which is which.)

 

Today's your last chance to cast your vote. Don't miss out.

 

Otherwise known as... BUMP! :)

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16 votes, so far, and there's a 2-way tie for first, with third place only one vote behind. (Of course, I'm not saying which is which.)

 

Today's your last chance to cast your vote. Don't miss out.

 

Otherwise known as... BUMP! :)

 

Please would sb. bring the fallen-back tune (of course I'm not saying which one it is) to the fore? B)

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Lydia also plays nyckelharpa. Studied at the Eric Sahlström Institute in Sweden a couple of years ago. Do you know if they've done anything together on two nyckelharpor?

 

Here is a video of lydia (who always spells her name with lower case initials) and Bruce and two other nyckelharpa players at NEFFA.

 

lydia also does a lot of work with Andrea Larson. I heard them at a house concert this past spring. They both played fiddle, lydia played nyckelharpa, perhaps Andrea did, too. I don't remember.

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lydia also does a lot of work with Andrea Larson. I heard them at a house concert this past spring. They both played fiddle, lydia played nyckelharpa, perhaps Andrea did, too. I don't remember.

I'd be surprised if she didn't. She and lydia studied together at the Sahlström Institut (founded in honor of Sweden's most revered nyckelharpa player).

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