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Who Are Your Tina Influences?


meltzer
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I play my 30 key anglo mostly for song accompaniment, & for me it has to be Peter Bellamy.

 

Not in the sense of trying to sound like him (some may be pleased to hear), but playing quite "thick" sometimes unorthodox chords & picking out the melody sometimes. I also like playing left-hand singlenote harmonies & countermelodies. It says in one of the sets of notes to a PB album that Peter played "almost as if he'd never heard how a concertina should be played" or something along those lines -- which appeals to me in a number of ways. ;)

 

My favourite music is pretty much unaccompanied anyway -- The Watersons being my all-time favourites -- so I suppose I try & use my tina to capture something of the richness of that style of harmony, with constantly-shifting & crossing vocal lines. Not saying I can do it, like (who could?), but it's fun to try.

 

The first tina player I ever really heard was Alistair Anderson playing the English, which absolutely blew me away. But not in a way that made me want to do likewise. Plus I'm a convert from the melodeon, so push-pull suits me a bit better.

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Great question! For me:

 

Irish style: Noel Hill, Michael O'R., Fr. Charlie Coen, Grey Larsen, among others

 

Singing: Ian Robb, Brian Peters, Peter Bellamy, Bob Zentz, Alistair Brown, John Babula, Bob Webb, Dave Webber, Danny Spooner, lots of non-concertina players

 

Morris (this style is still pretty new to me) and English style (also still pretty new to me, so I'll mix them together here): Both Kruskals, John Kirkpatrick, the William Kimber recordings, hearing folks like David Barnert in person .

 

Sheer amazement: Rachel Hall, others.

 

And probably most of you here if I ever get to hear you!

 

Ken

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I remember to this day a concert given by Louis Killen in Cambridge, Mass in 1974. Other incredible musicians were around - I was a big Allan Block fan - but there was something about Louis Killen's concertina that grabbed me. He bears full responsibility for getting me hooked. Sometime a bit later I saw a TV clip of Alastair Anderson at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Rivetting. Then I started to save money to buy as many LP's on the Topic and Trailer labels that I could find. I thought Steel Skies was phenomenal.

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I didn't even know Louis Killen played the tina. :blink: A gap in my musical education I'll have to address, I think.

 

As for John Kirkpatrick, that Shreds & patches album he did with Sue Harris in the 70s (was it?) is one of my all-time favourites, and one of the first folk LPs I borrowed from my local library when I was a nipper. That version of "Game of all fours" on there is a superb tina arrangement.

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I would say the most significant influence on me in that he was the first (as the twig is bent ...) was Peter Trimming. He started me on the whole left-chords-right-melody bit. Then probably Harry Scurfield who opened my eyes to playing parallel octaves. Then all the tutors who've suffered me with remarkable patience in workshops over the years: John Kirkpatrick, Brian Peters, Vic Gammon and more.

 

Chris

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My first experience of the concertina was hearing Tony Rose accompanying his singing of "Blackwaterside" on an early BBC Folk on Friday LP. My local music shop had a cheap and nasty (bright red, big plastic buttons, you know the sort of thing) concertina in the window, so I bought it. In my total ignorance of all things squeezy I didn't know that Tony played English but I had bought an Anglo.

 

When I started playing in the early 1970s, concertina players of any description were thin on the ground, so it was very much a matter of working things out for myself. My earliest influences were the singer-songwriter Richard Plant, Colin Cater, and the William Kimber LP. Also John Watcham on "Son of Morris On", and of course the inimitable* Peter Bellamy. However, my biggest influence has to be John Kirkpatrick.

 

I also ike to think I've also picked up tips and ideas from all the musicians I've played with over the years. You never stop learning.

 

 

 

*Actually, much imitated but never matched!

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I should add Steve Gardham (co-editor of the recent EFDSS reissue of the song collection Marrowbones -- buy it now if you haven't already ;) ) as an influence, as it was him that let me get my grubby little (13 year-old, IIRC) paws on his beautiful vintage anglo, more than 20 years ago. That gave me the push-pull bug, although I went for a melodeon first.

 

Can't even remember what make his box was, other than that it had an unfeasible number of buttons -- definitely way more than 30.

Edited by meltzer
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I am still trying to master Irish tunes and Noel Hill has definitely been the greatest influence on me in that regard. Have also been adapting his fingering techniques to playing other genres. I'm not much good so far at coordinating left-hand accompaniment with right hand melody, but Bertram Levy's and Alan Day's tutorials have been helpful with this. So count them as an influence too.

 

In terms of whose sound I most like to listen to it would be Noel Hill and John Mock. Noel's playing of slow airs can almost make one weep, they are so beautiful and rich. John Mock has a simpler style that I enjoy just as well, especially when he weaves it within a fully orchestrated piece.

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The first concertina playing I ever heard was John Kirkpatrick's on Morris On, although at the time I couldn't have told you which tracks featured anglo and which button accordion. My girlfriend in the late 70s got me interested in Alistair Anderson (who she had a bit of a crush on), but the first concertina player I saw live was the late Mel Dean, through a beery haze at Whitby Folk Festival in 1977, and it was that experience that persuaded my to buy an Anglo rather than an English

 

Like Howard I was much influenced by John Watcham on Son of Morris On and also by JK on Plain Capers. Peter Bellamy was a great influence indirectly, in teaching me the value of drone and discord in song accompaniment (incidentally, I think the remark about him playing like someone who had no idea what a concertina was supposed to sound like was one I came up with).

 

Howard's dead right about never stopping learning, and picking up things from every player you meet (Howard, along with Pete Trimming, was also one of the best anglo players around when I started doing folk clubs twenty-odd years ago). You think you know all there is to know about the instrument then you suddenly run across someone like Harry Scurfield, and you tear it all up and start again. Also can I give honourable mentions to Andy Turner, Keith Kendrick, Bob Walser and Jody Kruskal, all of whom I've enjoyed sharing stages with over the years.

Brian

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Tom Kruskal, whose 1980 record "Round pond relics" (with the amazing fiddler Jim Morrison) started Morris music on concertina rattling around in my head. It's never left.

 

Jody Kruskal. His Grand Picnic album - a cassette when i bought my first copy - was a revelation about how an Anglo could be used as a driving force in a dance band. And I connected with his apparent belief that if a concertina has all those buttons, by cracky, use them, and not just one at a time.

 

Big Nick Robertshaw for showing how Morris music could be bold and creative, and not limited to the handful of chords that melodeonists find convenient. You can serve the dancers and sound great was Nick's credo. I'm still working on it.

 

Alan Day, whose Anglo International introduced me to various other styles. Great stuff for a person with a short attention span like me.

Edited by Jim Besser
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I would say the most significant influence on me in that he was the first (as the twig is bent ...) was Peter Trimming. He started me on the whole left-chords-right-melody bit.

Thanks for the comment, Chris. It's nice to know that I have my uses!

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Howard's dead right about never stopping learning, and picking up things from every player you meet (Howard, along with Pete Trimming, was also one of the best anglo players around when I started doing folk clubs twenty-odd years ago).

Thank you, too, Brian!

 

I well remember running a rather exclusive Anglo workshop at Sidmouth 1986. I invited you to come along, also John Kirkpatrick. I first met Howard Jones at this workshop, plus Martin Nail was there. In addition, there were two others, whose names I don't recall.

 

As to my influences. Well, I never consiously adopted a style from anybody else, although I listened to a lot of players over the years, and some aspects of their repertoire, or playing style, must have crept in. I still listen to other players; not just on Anglo. I find that dabbling with other concertina systems also, on occasions, teaches me something new on the Anglo.

 

In terms of recordings, I too listened to John Kirkpatrick, John Watcham etc. I first met a concertina (well, two, actually) at Croydon Folk Song Club in 1979. Mick Tems was booked, solo, but turned up with Pat Smith. Two Anglos; wow what an introduction! It took me almost two further years before I had captured one of my own. Wonder what I'd be doing, now, instead on typing this post, if I had never taken those first tentative steps.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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As well as listening to the top players already mentioned, I would cite as influences others possibly less well known but equally dedicated:-

 

- the late Gladys Thorp, without whom I would never have picked up an instrument

- the many players encountered at the West country Concertina Players weekends from around 1988 onwards, who showed

me that there was something which I could realistically aim for in between my level and Alistair Anderson

- folk club and session organisers for giving me an outlet to play and encouraging me to continue

- Brian Hayden for introducing me to an understandable duet system after I had failed with the MacCann (and I do appreciate

those wonderful players who can do wondrous things on a MacCann)

- other professional players not already cited - Sandra Kerr and Sarah Graves on English, Tim Laycock on duet.

 

 

- John Wild

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i play traditional irish music on anglo. i appreciate the concertina's capacity to be an "entire band," arrangement-wise, but the sound that was like an arrow in the heart for bringing me to irish music was the "melody front-and-center" sound, and i love concertina best when played as a melody instrument, a style often associated with the music of county clare. i have & listen to just about everybody recorded on irish concertina, but my main influences are musicians who play in a very clean melody-centered style a la fiddle or flute, as opposed to sounding like they're accompanying themselves on ceili piano, which seems to be kind of a postmodern trend right now in irish concertina. (many claim this to be "pipes-based," but the fact is that in irish piping, there are as many if not more clean-style players as busy players). if i wanted a busy concertina sound, i would be playing morris music, not irish. so....i play the modern "across-the-rows" fingering, but my cherished influences, regardless of whether they finger across the rows or in the old "on the rows" manner, play as if "the melody is the message," in the words of the wonderful finnish accordion virtuoso & composer maria kalaniemi. thus, not in any particular order: charles coen, mary macnamara, chris droney, terry bingham, kitty hayes, dympna o'sullivan, claire keville, kate mcnamara, cathy custy, sharon o'leary, mandy murray of london, gearoid o'hallmhorain's cleaner style as displayed on his recordings, and john williams' cleaner style, especially as displayed on his first, self-titled cd. great question and very fun to answer it!

Edited by ceemonster
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1970s - I learned in isolation, not knowing that John Kirkpatrick and Alistair Anderson played different instruments so learned anglo sounding like both.

1980s - Noel Hill

1990s - Mary MacNamara, Jaqueline McCarthy

2000s - Chris Dromey, Tims Collins

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(Howard, along with Pete Trimming, was also one of the best anglo players around when I started doing folk clubs twenty-odd years ago).

 

Thank you, Brian, for those kind words! I shan't hesitate to quote you!

 

When I listed my influences, I meant those who had either inspired me to start on the instrument or helped me to develop my technique and style. I didn't include Brian or Peter Trimming, both players who I admire immensely, because by the time I met them I had already established my playing style (which leans heavily on John K's but leaves out the difficult bits :D ). So while I count them among the players I have undoubtedly learned something from along the way, I wouldn't call them "influences" in the way those who first inspired me were.

 

I first met Brian at my local folk club when he was doing the rounds and trying to get established. As we both perform mainly traditional songs and tunes with guitar, melodeon and Anglo concertina there was an obvious affinity. I have watched his career, as they say, with interest. The boy shows definite promise!

 

Peter too is an old acquaintance from sessions and WCCP workshops at Sidmouth.

 

If we're going to widen the net beyond the most significant influences, besides Brian and Peter I would add (in no particular order)

 

Paul McCann (who was a fine Anglo player before switching to duet)

Rev Ken Loveless

Andrew Blakeney-Edwards, another Sidmouth acquaintance who sadly died far too young

Nigel Chippendale, a huge talent who also died too young

Andy Turner

Roger Digby

Dave Prebble

John Percy

Will Duke

most recently, Jody Kruskal, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Bradfield in the summer.

 

There are of course many others. On other systems, I would include Alistair Anderson, Sarah Graves, Dave Townsend, Tim Laycock, Ralph Jordan, Mike Tibbert, Steve Turner, Dick Miles...

 

It is interesting to note how many of us started playing virtually in isolation, knowing few other concertina players and perhaps not even aware that those we were listening to on record were playing different systems. The resources and information available to players today were simply non-existent when I started.

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