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English Concertina Goes Irish


chiton1
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Hi Mark

 

If I go to sessions (or seisuns as you call them) in Holland I am the only concertina player around, so they are always quite happy with me. As for a long time I was quite a solitary concertina player I just played in whatever key I liked. But the last two years I started to play more and more in the regular keys used in Irish music and my repertoire is growing, but still very far from my flute repertoire.

 

Hi Sandy

I saw Jean Michel two weeks ago. Played a little too. We have a (second) house in Brittany not far from his place, and try to be there as often as possible. I will give him your regards next time I see him, if you give Dick mine. So you play with wrist straps too - great! I find it removes some strain from my fingers while pulling out.

 

Hi Nils

I will try to go to Bielefeld in May and hope to see you (and others) there. Second weekend would be 7/8 or 14/15 May?

Last year I followed a 4 day workshop in Tocane (France) led by Tim Collins. It was great! Although I was the only strange EC duck in a AC pond, I made a few good French AC friends which I will meet in Paris next month. They changed their monthly reunion schedule to match my visit - ain't that sweet?!

 

Hi David

While in Paris I will also meet a starting EC player which is a professional sound engineer, and she promised to make a few recordings of me, and also learn me a few (recording) tricks. I will try to put a few the recordings on the net.

The sound files were fun but it costed me again at least one hour to just have a random pick of the music offered. This site is dangerous and self discipline and restriction is needed in order to retain (regain? as I have the floo now) my health and to use my four fingers (I just found out that I type with the same four fingers as I play concertina with!) for music again.

 

Still I have another question: Is there any list of all recorded (records / CD's whatever) concertina music? There is so for the wooden flute but what about concertina? I would very much love to see such a list (or three lists: AC, EC and duet). And if such a list doesn't exist, could we make one here??

 

Hermann

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Still I have another question: Is there any list of all recorded (records / CD's whatever) concertina music? There is so for the wooden flute but what about concertina? I would very much love to see such a list (or three lists: AC, EC and duet). And if such a list doesn't exist, could we make one here??

 

Hermann

Hermann

 

On this site there is a music page. I do not know if this page is complete, but it describes a lot of CD's (including some sound samples).

 

BTW: As I live close to Arnhem I regularly visit these two sessions:

An Irish session in Arnhem: only Irish and often at "high speed" (at least too high for me)

A folk-session in Wagenigen: they play a mix of folk music. A lot of melodeons (trek-harmonica) but a very friendly atmosphere.

 

What kind of sessions are there in you region?

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Still I have another question: Is there any list of all recorded (records / CD's whatever) concertina music? There is so for the wooden flute but what about concertina? I would very much love to see such a list (or three lists: AC, EC and duet). And if such a list doesn't exist, could we make one here??

 

Hermann

Hermann

 

On this site there is a music page. I do not know if this page is complete, but it describes a lot of CD's (including some sound samples).

 

 

Before everyone else points it out let me hasten to add: this list is not comprehensive or up to date. Nevertheless it may still be helpful. Your (that's everyone here) additions and contributions are welcome. Ideal format is a short paragraph or two and maybe a small scan of the cover emailed to me or Paul.

 

I suppose the Music page could be organized by AC, EC, etc. but doing that for the Learning/Tutor page (and a lot of other overdue work here) is probably higher priority.

 

Regards,

Ken

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Hi Ken/Henk,

 

I have looked on this music page and its very good for latest releases (I saw a few I do not have which I will try to buy).

But I would be interested in a data list which could be arranged chronologically or by musicians alphabetically, in which all publically released items could be found. So even including 70ties records etc.

I looked into the ICA site and found they have an archive but was a little dissapointed that it was a paper archive only. And although building history (makers, dating instruments etc.) is important, the most important of course is the music made by our little instrument, and the people who play it. There should be a place were concertina music (both publically released and unreleased) should be kept.

Here a friend of mine who plays button accordion had a pile (a dozen or so) of 70ties concertina records (all systems) that I never heard of, and there must be more I think.

All that is needed is a simple database and a lot of data input. I wouldn't mind doing that with a little help from other concertina.netters. But first I want to make absolutely sure there isn't such a thing already or that somebody else already started such a venture. I Hate doing work for nothing.

 

Hermann

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But I would be interested in a data list which could be arranged chronologically or by musicians alphabetically, in which all publically released items could be found.

...

All that is needed is a simple database and a lot of data input. I wouldn't mind doing that with a little help from other concertina.netters. But first I want to make absolutely sure there isn't such a thing already or that somebody else already started such a venture. I Hate doing work for nothing.

 

Hi Hermann

I think this is a great idea.

 

In the 1977 EC tutor book by Richard Carlin there is a English concertina discography which is now dated and far from complete.

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A couple of updates on this perennial...

 

1. Last year in June I was at a concertina workshop in France, part of the Rhine Valley Irish Association feis ceoil (every year at Whitsun/Pentecost). The workshop was led by Aoghan Lynch of the group Slide ( and the rest of them were there too). There were about 5 Anglo players and I was the only one with an EC. Inevitably they started on the topic of alternative fingerings. I usually switch off at this point (for obvious reasons) but this time it got more interesting.

 

Aoghan was demonstrating how to use alternative fingering to avoid breaking up the flow of a passage of music with bellows direction changes. Easy for him to talk, he plays a top-of-the-range 38-key Suttner with just about every important note available in both directions. But what are you supposed to do with a 30-key, if the only option you have for a certain note happens to be in the opposite direction?

 

In that case, Aoghan said, do some experimenting and find an alternative note that harmonizes or otherwise fits in with the tune.

 

So here we have this characteristic of the Anglo (namely the necessity for bellows changes to reach certain notes) that for decades has been supposed to be so interwoven with Irish music (as the so-called "built-in bounce") that it is often claimed to be the reason why the Irish adopted the Anglo and not the EC. Yet one of the top contemporary players of Irish traditional music on the Anglo concertina is telling people to change the notes of a passage of music rather than apply this characteristic. It would appear that this characteristic is not only not necessary for Irish music, but in some cases is actually a liability.

 

2. In 2003, the English musician and singer Dick Miles, who now lives in Co. Cork, entered the Co. Cork concertina competition with his English concertina -- and won (Living Tradition magazine isue 58 Sep/Oct 2004). It seems that the Irish themselves have much less of a problem with the EC than some anglophobic Irish-Americans.

 

Jonathan Taylor

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Aoghan was demonstrating how to use alternative fingering to avoid breaking up the flow of a passage of music with bellows direction changes. Easy for him to talk, he plays a top-of-the-range 38-key Suttner with just about every important note available in both directions. But what are you supposed to do with a 30-key, if the only option you have for a certain note happens to be in the opposite direction?

 

Interesting. The received wisdom (of which there seems to be an awful lot in Irish music) is that a 30 button is preferable to >30, because they are lighter and therefore faster to play. For this reason 30 button Jeffries go for more than 38 button Jeffries of similar quality. As the player of a 45 button box (though not, admittedly for Irish music) I have my doubts about this too.

 

Chris

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Jonathan, the old Irish communities in the states are in some quarters a closed society in all respects. An already marginalized people risked everything to come here and found themselves unwanted. "No Irish Need Apply" signs hung in shops in Boston during the middle to late 1800's as a warning to any cheeky "Paddys" not to cross the door looking for a job....They closed ranks, survived and flourished.

 

Can be frustrating for a "mongrl" like myself whose ancestors came early in the 1600's (Irish, Welsh, Scots and yes even English) and settled in isolation down South (a whole 'nuther bit of baggage). Most of us are just now looking back to our heritage. For me it's one flowing thing that I find delight it, particularly the connections between the cultures.

 

The bit about an EC winning a competiton in Cork was hopeful and at the same time depressing. Competition particularly in Irish Traditional Music and Dance has served to entrench rigidity into art forms that need creativity alive and well so they don't become museum pieces.

 

Too much thought at this early hour...coffee!

Edited by Mark Evans
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2. In 2003, the English musician and singer Dick Miles, who now lives in Co. Cork, entered the Co. Cork concertina competition with his English concertina -- and won (Living Tradition magazine isue 58 Sep/Oct 2004). It seems that the Irish themselves have much less of a problem with the EC than some anglophobic Irish-Americans.

 

Wow, that gives me some ammunition for sure. I have a few of Dick Miles' CD's and really love them.

I come across many "Anglophobic" Americans, Canadians and Japanese. (as I live in Japan) One of the many reasons I dislike going to sessions in Tokyo is because of the looks and attitudes I get from people when I open a Concertina case with an EC in it. Its like I'm commiting a greavious sin by useing an EC for Irish music.

Just my two cents on this.

 

-Brad

Tokyo Japan

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...It seems that the Irish themselves have much less of a problem with the EC than some anglophobic Irish-Americans.
For my own understanding: should'nt it be Anglophilic (or EC-phobic) instead of Anglophobic?

If talking about dislike for (literally, "fear of") the people or government of England, "anglophobic" is the correct word. (I'm pretty sure Henk knows that, but he forgot to use a smiley. :)) So when it comes to discussing concertinas, we're faced with a dilemma. It's too late to try to substitute "saxophobic" for dislike of Anglo-Saxons... besides, that might upset the members of Saxophone.net. :o :D

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I looked into the ICA site and found they have an archive but was a little dissapointed that it was a paper archive only. And although building history (makers, dating instruments etc.) is important, the most important of course is the music made by our little instrument, and the people who play it. There should be a place were concertina music (both publically released and unreleased) should be kept.

Hermann - the ICA are trying to get a sound archive set up, and also a database of concertina related recordings. But these things are only just starting. The 'paper' archive was only started about four years ago, but the 'Printed Music' archive has been going for almost the whole 50 years of the ICA - and that is representative of the music played. Its only recently that people have started to realise that things like this are useful, but setting them up takes a lot of dedicated work.

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  • 3 weeks later...

''the ICA are trying to get a sound archive set up, and also a database of concertina related recordings. But these things are only just starting''

 

 

Great!

I was already gathering information to eventually make a database myself in case nobody else was doing it. Now I can go on and play the concertina again.

As sson as I know who is working on the database I will send the lists and other info I gathered to that person.

Had a great time time in Paris. There was a meeting of concertina players (all anglo's) and every night there were sessions. The last night there was a session with two AC and two EC concertinas and its sounded great!

By the way I was in Tokyo last year but would never had thought there were (no EC's allowed) sessions over there!

Hermann

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''the ICA are trying to get a sound archive set up, and also a database of concertina related recordings. But these things are only just starting''

 

Great!

 

 

It is important to note that two separate activities are involved here.

 

For the sound archive a small number of recordings of existing players has been made, but this is a program in its infancy, and progress depends on time availability of those available to undertake the task, a factor which does vary a lot.

 

The database of recordings should be a much simpler task but is also still at an early stage. Various individuals have their own records. We must hope to find a way to combine these in a unified format, which can subsequently be made available to all.

 

Meanwhile, without committing myself to any timetable, I would be happy to collect information on behalf of the ICA.

 

For information, I would add that, though this is not a definite announcement, having been ICA Treasurer for 16 years, I am considering that the time may have come to retire from the post at the next AGM in the Autumn (fall).

 

- John Wild

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Am in a silly mood today, perhaps because I watched television last night. There was a repugnant program, "When Good Pets Go Bad". Somehow it seemed to me there was a correlation with this topic and no...strong spirits were not involved.

 

A vision of myself as an overweight corgi foaming at the mouth trying to play the concertina reel on my EC :P .

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