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Minstrel Anglo


gremich
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On 2/20/2019 at 7:04 PM, Tradewinds Ted said:

While the term "minstrel show" did come to mean the insulting style of black-face entertainment which was unfortunately popular for a while in 1800's into 1900's in the US,

Easy on there, Ted - don't overdo the Political Correctness bit!

Historically correct would be to say that the minstrel shows were immensely popular for several decades, and not only in the U.S. but in the UK, too. By the way, the black-face troupes in England - where the term "minstrel" was already associated with mediaeval musicians - were quite officially termed "Nigger [sic] Minstrels" to clarify. (My source for this: as a boy, I stayed in a house that had a collection of the satirical magazine "Punch" from 1902 to 1914. According to the cartoons in those magazines, no English bathing beach was complete wthout its black-face minstrels.)

Insulting? Well, no more insulting that the English music-hall comics who appeared as Scotsmen, Irishmen or Welshmen (or even Yorkshiremen), playing on the negative stereotypes of stinginess, lack of education, drunkenness and inability to speak English properly.

Yet some of the so-called "comic songs" that were written for these performers have become folk songs in the target country: e.g. "A wee doch an doras" in Scotland or "The Mountains of Mourne" in Ireland.

And the wonderful songs of Stephen Foster would not have been written, were it not for the black-face entertainers.

 

Political Correctness is the death of Art! (IMHO, of course)

 

Cheers,

John

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4 minutes ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

Insulting? Well, no more insulting that the English music-hall comics who appeared as Scotsmen, Irishmen or Welshmen (or even Yorkshiremen), playing on the negative stereotypes of stinginess, lack of education, drunkenness and inability to speak English properly.

 

John is correct that there is a tradition of offensive negative stereotypes against various groups.  I won't comment on how that might have played out in the treatment of these groups in Britain, but the continuing discrimination and violence against African Americans in the U.S. makes concern over "blackface" and the minstrel show tradition more than a matter of "political correctness."

 

That said, I think "Minstrel" is a fine name for a concertina.

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I have a Wakker bellow Minstrel arriving today.  In correspondence with the company, they let me know I will have one of the first "Version 2.0" Minstrels, changes as follows:

 

Quote

 

You’ll have one of the first of the ‘2.0 version’.
 
During the first year of production, a model is updated frequently, major updates usually every 30-50 instruments. Updates can be anything of different airflow values, harmonic equilibrium balance, key travel, finish, etc.
 
This is the 4th update of the minstrel. New is:
- different logo (lyra)
- adjusted harmonic spectrum (‘flatter’ equilibrium, RH less bright)
- different ebonized finish. 
 
Later this month we’ll also offer a different, high end, soft bag for this model ($65).

 

 

I'll post pics and such later if anyone wants.

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Ah... an interesting discussion about PC and Art, but life is short, so back to the original question.

 

For instance, how does the Minstrel compare with the Stagi (at the Button Box) for $825?

 

I seem to remember hearing about another maker coming in at under $2000. Who was that, or did I dream it?

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Can't speak to the Stagi.  But initial impressions with the Minstrel, after trading in my Rochelle, is that y'all are 100% right that you should start with the best instrument you can afford.

 

The Minstrel feels like a huge step up from my (refurb) Rochelle.  It feels like the dynamic range is at least 50% greater than I could manage on the Rochelle, which pretty much played at "loud" vs "less loud".  This is something I'm going to have to retrain myself on, as some songs have me jumping volumes between chords quite a bit.  The action is much, much better as well.  Notes start when I press the button and stop when I let go of them...with much more immediacy than my Rochelle could manage.  The Minstrel's G row on the right hand is responsive and easy, where my Rochelle felt like trying to squeeze air through a coffee stirrer.  The buttons are taller but narrower than the Rochelle, which I'm ambivalent on for now.  Delrin, not metal. It also seems like it weighs half as much and has a much smaller footprint overall.   The breather button is smooth and not nearly as gaspy as that of my Rochelle.

 

Only negative is that some of the notes are having weird sound quirks, like the old timey radio tube noise when alternating quickly, and the right hand C is tinny.  William Wakker says this is likely due to humidity and temperature shifts from creation to shipping to arrival, and to give it a week.  Here's hoping.  

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