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A Concertina Encounter In Seattle!


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I don't know when I'll have time to wade through the topics since I last checked in, but I just wanted the world to know what a nice guy is Bruce McCaskey! We were in touch because of my trip to the state of Washington over the last 5 days. I just got home last night(- the travel nightmare is another story- and I am so glad I chose NOT to bring the concertina) but I want to take a minute to thank Bruce publicly.

 

I was visiting my dad who is at the point with his Alzheimer's where the decline is evident and increasingly rapid. To give my step mom a break I took Dad on the ferry to Seattle for a quick tour of Pike Place Market. I told Bruce in an email that I thought we'd be there around midday. After taking my dad to lunch at the Pike Pub and Brewery we headed for the fish market. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me: "Are you Allison by any chance?" There was Bruce, with three concertinas! We found a public seating spot and had about 10 minutes to chat and play a few tunes before my dad was restless and it was time to go.

 

I'm going to make my first attempt to post a photo that my dad took with my camera. His hands aren't too steady any more, but I think he did a good job[/img]ail?.dir=2516re2&.dnm=bf36re2.jpg&.src=ph[/img]

 

(OK, I still don't know how to upload pictures- somebody help, please??)

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(OK, I still don't know how to upload pictures- somebody help, please??)
Hey, Allison. Welcome home. I think you'll find that most of the posts since you've been away have been about travel with or without a concertina.

 

Anyway, If you're having trouble posting your picture, e-mail it to me (see address in my sig) and I'd be happy to post it.

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It was a pleasure to meet Allison and I enjoyed the short time we spent playing together. Looking at the photo I think I see that "concertina face" my wife is always commenting on!

 

If I ever play at the public market again maybe I'll set the open instrument case out in front of me and see if I can collect enough money to pay for lunch (or at least a beverage). I've been thinking of making a sign I could place in the lid of the instrument case.

 

Maybe "Donations to pay for concertina lessons" would result in generous contributions? It could have alternative wording on the back that says "Concertina music free - Silence $5 for 15 minutes." I wonder which side would generate more revenue? Come to think of it I might be able to make some money with the latter if I set it up in the living room at home.

 

Thanks sharing the photo.

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I don't know, today I was waiting at the car dealer for the 50,000 mile check setting outside working out some tunes and two of the sales guys ran over and started asking all kinds of questions about the concertina.

 

Alan

Concertina salesman, as a side line?

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Thanks so much, David, for posting the photo! I will learn, someday. Hey, Bruce, sorry about the "moment" caught on camera- you were much more animated most of the time!

 

I don't think I'm quite at the level of playing where an open box would get anything- but it was a fun place to practice!

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I don't know, today I was waiting at the car dealer for the 50,000 mile check setting outside working out some tunes and two of the sales guys ran over and started asking all kinds of questions about the concertina.

 

Alan

I had a similar experience while waiting for the ferry shuttle on my way to Nantucket (for a morris tour). There was a little booth/waiting area with a few women sitting there, and I decided to play my concertina outside while waiting for the bus given my lack of anything better to do. Just played a few tunes, and quite unexpectedly, garnered a nice little round of applause when I finished. And of course there were a number of questions on the instrument once we got on the bus.

 

Don't think I'm ready to make any money from my playing though.

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Maybe "Donations to pay for concertina lessons" would result in generous contributions? It could have alternative wording on the back that says "Concertina music free - Silence $5 for 15 minutes." I wonder which side would generate more revenue? Come to think of it I might be able to make some money with the latter if I set it up in the living room at home.

 

Maybe things aren't quite as desperate as my comment implied, but the concept does highlight a personal perspective.

 

I typically play Irish music on my concertinas. I spent several months traveling last year (two round trips per month), always by air, and I took a concertina with me every trip. Because of the nature of air travel (and perhaps issues specific to the airline) most of my flights were delayed, typically an hour or two and in one case almost seven hours.

 

During these periods of forced boredom I'd try to find an empty gate where I could sit and play for a time without imposing my efforts on an unwilling audience at the gate for my own flight. Over the months I had many opportunities to see how people in the vicinity responded to my efforts, and I've established a personal thumb-rule about impromptu playing in public places for a non-Irish-music-inclined audience.

 

I find that almost anyone is impressed and pleased to hear a single tune played on a concertina. I think it's a combination of the novelty factor of the music, the instrument and the unexpected encounter. If someone asks about the instrument when I’m traveling with it, I’ll get it out, play one fast tune and then put it away. The requester is happy and I see all smiles in my vicinity.

 

But only those with a love of the instrument or the music (or both) are likely to want to listen to extended playing (five minutes or more), especially if I include a lot of fast tunes. For the bulk of the public I find that at about the three minute point the novelty factor has worn off, the flurries of notes have started numbing their minds, the smiles have faded and they start remembering someplace they need to be.

 

If I do find myself in a situation where I'm playing for something of a captive audience, I try to stay with slow airs; they seem to be better received than a string of faster reels and jigs. I think the latter have perhaps too strong of an ethnic flavor for those that don't already have a love for it, while slow airs tend to touch and soothe a different, deeper part of the mind.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey
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Bruce, I agree with your observations; and I'm afraid that - despite my love for the concertina - I side with the listeners who gradually drift away.

 

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the fact that I would far rather play than listen. The whole physical-tactile-musical experience makes time stand still for me, and steaming cups of coffee grow cold untouched. Literally. I have to set the oven timer when I practice in order to get to the next thing on time. But unless we're talking professional-grade, 5 minutes of someone else's straight, fast tunes is plenty. Now a concertina with strings and winds; that's something else. Then I can listen happily for hours, but I'd still want liberal amounts of the slow tunes you described to be in the mix!

Cheers,

Molly

 

PS: I know, I know; Jim is going to want a picture of the concertina with strings and winds . .

Edited by molly
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Bruce, I agree with your observations; and I'm afraid that - despite my love for the concertina - I side with the listeners who gradually drift away.

 

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about the fact that I would far rather play than listen. The whole physical-tactile-musical experience makes time stand still for me, and steaming cups of coffee grow cold untouched. Literally. I have to set the oven timer when I practice in order to get to the next thing on time. But unless we're talking professional-grade, 5 minutes of someone else's straight, fast tunes is plenty. Now a concertina with strings and winds; that's something else. Then I can listen happily for hours, but I'd still want liberal amounts of the slow tunes you described to be in the mix!

Cheers,

Molly

 

PS: I know, I know; Jim is going to want a picture of the concertina with strings and winds . .

 

when i was little, i used to hate watching baseball. my friend said that it's really boring to watch, but it's fun to play, and more fun to watch if you play it. i never really gave it a chance, but maybe i should have.

 

while i quickly get bored listening to any untalented musician, regardless of the type of music, i most enjoy listening to a good musician playing his/her most difficult material unaccompanied, and i find that i have to listen for a while to begin to understand the music. one of my favorite albums is the elizabeth crotty cd and my favorite tracks on it are the ones where she plays alone. every time i listen to it i think how sad it is that there are so few recordings of her playing, that if i could just listen to her play a few more tunes i might learn so much more.

 

it took me a while to come to this perspective. i've heard dark irish beer is an acquired taste as well. unlike the music, it should probably be appreciated in moderation.

 

so it seems that there are several concertina players around puget sound. how many of us are there? i know there are at least two in olympia other than myself.

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[

so it seems that there are several concertina players around puget sound. how many of us are there? i know there are at least two in olympia other than myself.

 

There are at least five in the Victoria, BC area, just across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

 

Rod

Edited by Rod Newman
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[

so it seems that there are several concertina players around puget sound. how many of us are there? i know there are at least two in olympia other than myself.

 

There are at least five in the Victoria, BC area, just across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

 

Rod

 

 

There are four on Orcas Island and at least one on San Juan Island.

 

Molly

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so it seems that there are several concertina players around puget sound. how many of us are there? i know there are at least two in Olympia other than myself.

I know of two on Bainbridge Island, five in the close Seattle area, and of course Dave who's a bit east of me in Duval (and I believe there's a second there too). Come to think of it I know of a fifth in Seattle (but don't actually know him) who often turns up at the Fado sessions.

 

Bruce

 

Edited to add: I realized I know of at least one more who lives on the local islands. I think it might be Vashon Island but I'm not certain of that.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey
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I know of two on Bainbridge Island, five in the close Seattle area, and of course Dave who's a bit east of me in Duval (and I believe there's a second there too). Come to think of it I know of a fifth in Seattle (but don't actually know him) who often turns up at the Fado sessions.

Is that Fado one of the bars of chain here in the states? It is interesting that they would hold a session if it is.

 

An interesting story: Fado is also a type of Portughese music. My wife is interested in Fado due to her heritage, and last summmer we returned to East Lansing to attend the Great Lakes Festival partially because they had a Fado singer scheduled from her home town of New Bedford MA. Afterwards we were talking to him, and he told us about how he saw there was this chain of Fado bars, and was thinking, "Wow, I can travel the US and perform." So he started calling these places, only to find out they were Irish bars.

 

Alan

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Is that Fado one of the bars of chain here in the states? It is interesting that they would hold a session if it is.
Indeed it is - I see the corporate site lists a number of locations around the US. Sessions are held Sunday at 4PM at the Seattle location, though I've very rarely attended. Maybe I'm too much of a homebody but I don't find myself too inclined to drive into the very heart of downtown Seattle at that point in my weekend. Nothing against the establishment though, the food's decent and the setting is comfortable.
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so it seems that there are several concertina players around puget sound. how many of us are there? i know there are at least two in Olympia other than myself.

I know of two on Bainbridge Island, five in the close Seattle area, and of ........................

 

Bruce

 

 

 

I live in the Methow Valley, east slope of the Cascades in the town of Twisp. Mostly bluegrassers over this way, gets kind of lonesome, would love to connect with some like minded folks. I started to organize a 'Northwest Squeezefest' some years ago, but circumstances required that I abandon the project, and I have not had the time to make another attempt. Since there are a good sized group here in the Northwest, we should make an attempt to get together, no matter how informally. Cheers.......Forrest <:{!!!!!}:>

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