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Favorite Sweet Spots To Play


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Sounds lovely Morgana.

 

Tom, here's one for you. A little story from my youth:

 

One of my musical endvors circa 1980 was a duo with "Dave" a mandolinist. We had an engagement in Western North Carolina and he offered to drive me in his VW bug. "Dave" was a very tall fellow that one might imagine very uncomfortable in such a small ride. He suprised me by pulling out his mandolin and started playing while controlling the wheel with his knees!

 

Out came my concertina and we had a very pleasant trip. Our first tune was "Eel in the Sink"! In retrospect (ole' cogger I am today) I'm glad that wheel was not as slippery as an eel. What a sight we must a been roaring down I-40, our long hair, beards and big, silly grins playing tunes completely unconcerned. Nutty as fruitcakes!

 

The acoustic properties of a 60's VW Bug are not ideal, but the novelty factor more than made up for a lack of resonance :P .

 

Wish I had just a bit more of that young feller within me today.

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Sounds lovely Morgana. 

 

. . .  He suprised me by pulling out his mandolin and started playing while controlling the wheel with his knees!

 

. . . What a sight we must a been roaring down I-40, our long hair, beards and big, silly grins playing tunes completely unconcerned.  Nutty as fruitcakes!

 

If the US is anything like Britain, driving laws have got much tougher than in the 60s and 70s. Recently in England, a woman was fined for eating an apple while driving! Playing a mandolin would probably attract a fine big enough to make you need to seel the car.

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'Fraid not Tom. Cell phone users weave all over the road, seemingly unimpeded. A cat passed me the other day with electric shaver in hand :blink: . The topper however was a woman I passed reading a book propped up on the wheel while she absent mindedly took a swig of her supper sized fountain drink from a well known fast-food chain :ph34r: .

 

Whenever possible I take backroads for fear of being wipped out by some yuppie on a cell phone behind the wheel of a super sized SUV....See, the young hippie within is long gone :( .

 

Postscript: A goodly number of our police carry personal cell phones and they too are chatting as they drive...Yee-Haw!

Edited by Mark Evans
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"Dave" ... suprised me by pulling out his mandolin and started playing while controlling the wheel with his knees!

 

... What a sight we must a been roaring down I-40, our long hair, beards and big, silly grins playing tunes completely unconcerned.  Nutty as fruitcakes!

Mark,

 

I think a word or two of explanation might be helpful to many of your transatlantic readers ? An American "Interstate" like I-40 tends to be extremely long (I-40 is 2,500 miles long, across the U.S.), straight and wide, not forgetting boring, the more so back in the '80's with a 55mph speed limit in force, so I'm not surprised the two of you found somthing more interesting to do. ;)

 

You could never play anything driving on the roads around here ! :blink:

 

The acoustic properties of a 60's VW Bug are not ideal, but the novelty factor more than made up for a lack of resonance :P .

With the engine noise, I'm surprised you could hear each other at all ! :P

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When I was learning guitar back in 1991, my two favourite places to play were the tube station at chancery lane tube station, my memory fails me which exit it was but there was a fiarly long tunnel with great acoustics.

 

And on the embankment of the thames by the side of tower bridge.

 

The embankment was great around 5 am on a misty summer morning. You could hear the city waking and watch the mist lift as the sun rose.

 

I was thinking about it yesterday, nostalgic pangs of a simpler life and promised myself that next time I'm in London I'd revisist both places with a concertina and a tin whistle.

 

I recommend tower bridge at 5am with or without an instrument, nothing like seeing the bridge through the mist and if you turn around seeing the silohuette of the tower of london looming.

 

For vocals you can't beat picadilly circus tube station, most of the exits are good but the one that leads up to the dilly itself is the best. Next time any of you pass through sing somewhere over the rainbow. I'm sure those tiles walls are missing that song.

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I have found a number of great places to play my Anglo that have wonderful acoustics and really allow me to savor the sounds that come out of my concertina.

In theses places that enhance the sound of my instrument I have had some of my best moments of playing....so much pleasure!

 

I was wondering if others have favorite spots that they frequent that enhance their sound and pleasure?

Richard,

 

You remind me of a story of such a magical spot told by Tony McMahon, in his sleevenotes to the Joe Cooley album :

 

Joe was also influenced, during his short stay in Dublin at the end of the forties, by two great music makers of that city, Sonny Brogan and Bill Harte, R.I.P. These men had first played Irish music competently on the single row melodeon, and later on the double row button accordeon. Joe learned much from them - how to make tasteful gracenotes, how to embellish a tune without ruining it, as well as tunes from all parts of Ireland. Indeed, whenever I pass under the iron bridge across Jones' Road in Dublin, I think of Joe's account of how the three of them had stopped to play a tune underneath, on their way home after a night's music. "There was the iron echo of the lovely music in the stillness of the night." All three of them told me of this as if it had held some special meaning for them....

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What a great instrument the 'tina is.  I can't imagine anything nicer than driving through Ireland with someone playing a live soundtrack in the passenger seat.  You couldn't do that with a guitar/clarinet/bodhran/harp/double bass could you!

Well I have tried it with a small 22 string lap harp but it was more difficult than enjoyable :P

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Ah, Mark. The skinny hippie lad in us still lives...just not in the back of a converted step-van, or the passenger seat of a 60's VW.

He is in every choice you make, every attitude you favor and, I'll bet he sits in on every set you play, Lord luv 'im! :)

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'Fraid not Tom.  Cell phone users weave all over the road, seemingly unimpeded.  A cat passed me the other day with electric shaver in hand :blink: . The topper however was a woman I passed reading a book propped up on the wheel while she absent mindedly took a swig of her supper sized fountain drink from a well known fast-food chain :ph34r: .

 

Whenever possible I take backroads for fear of being wipped out by some yuppie on a cell phone behind the wheel of a super sized SUV....See, the young hippie within is long gone :( .

 

Postscript:  A goodly number of our police carry personal cell phones and they too are chatting as they drive...Yee-Haw!

 

Mark - good that you've not seen me racing to the band rehearsal on the (transatlantic) backroads - was not practising the concertina though - was spooning hot noodle soup. Boy it tasted good. By the way I remember a wonderful sunset.

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Hot noodle soup? I assume you had the cup somewhere other than your lap :ph34r: .

 

Multitaskers...I know you cats are out there balancing the plates as the juggler on the Ed Sullivan show did. I can barely manage one thing at a time and that with uncertain results :( .

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I keep a tabor pipe (one-handed, 3-holed pennywhistle, flageolet) in my car. Before I learned to play the thing, I had always regretted not being able to play an instrument while driving. Now I can.

 

Oh, and I invented a word for the act of playing a flageolet while operating an automobile:

 

Autoflageolation.

 

Interestingly, I play it with my right hand while driving, but with my left hand all other times (I'm beating the tabor with my right, which is the "correct" way to play it). I find that if I learn a tune with one hand, I don't need to relearn it with the other.

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I keep a tabor pipe (one-handed, 3-holed pennywhistle, flageolet) in my car. Before I learned to play the thing, I had always regretted not being able to play an instrument while driving. Now I can.

David

You better take care.. Imagine the airbags start working....

Is that flageoswallowing :blink:

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[snip] ... I find that if I learn a tune with one hand, I don't need to relearn it with the other.

I play the French Horn for which the valves fall under the left hand, and in switching to all the other (valved, valves played by the right hand) brass instruments had no difficulty in "getting" the correct fingering.

I have yet to find out whether practising a tricky fast passage on the french horn will improve the swiftness of my abilities on the flugel ... :blink:

Samantha

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When the Irish harp was my main instrument I found that tunes I could play on piano came easily on the harp. But then there are more similiarities between the two instruments than you might think :P

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  • 10 months later...
I once took a concertina to work with me and played away a quiet inspection shift down one of the North Staffordshire coal mines at a depth of 4200 feet.

 

Any advance on 4200 feet ??

 

Only upwards, Dave.

 

1st June 1984 saw me playing for North Wood Morris Men, just above Dambockhaus Schneeberg (Austria) at a height of 1810 metres. We then had a snowball fight with our hosts!

 

Can anyone beat this (planes excluded!).

 

Regards,

Peter.

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This is an interesting idea, one that got me to thinking about all the possibilities, and I'm glad Peter revived the discussion from last year. I got my tina during the cold months, but I'm thinking about playing it on my deck out back when it gets warmer. The deck has a view of a hill topped by large boulders and a small forest. The houses are far apart, so hopefully it will work out all right. Hopefully my retriever will be able to tolerate it!

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