Jump to content

Irish Music


jgerhard
 Share

Recommended Posts

Well if you are looking for something that can be played at the local session....

Mind you I have only been playing a few weeks really (but fooling around for a few months) and I am doing it with a fair bit of experience on the B/C button accordion, and so far all the tunes I know on the concertina I knew on the button accordion first (And since i am still learning the accordion and adding new tunes that may remain the case for a while); that being said, I found that the Balleydesmond Polka #3 and the Lilting Banshee Jig are both pretty easy. The Kesh is not too hard either though i find it helps if you play at least part of the B part on the G row (On the c row most of the notes are on the pull and I usually run out of air).

 

Hope you find this short list a helpful start.

 

--

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if you are looking for something that can be played at the local session....

Local sessions differ considerably in the tunes they play. If you want something you can play at your local session, go to it and ask the "regulars" the names of tunes everybody seems to know which are also not too complex. Even better if you can make outside-the-session contact and get them to teach you some of the tunes. You'll quickly discover which ones are accessible at your current level.

 

...I found that the Balleydesmond Polka #3 and the Lilting Banshee Jig are both pretty easy.  The Kesh is not too hard either...
To illustrate what I mean about sessions differing, I just looked up Ballydesmond #3 and I don't believe I've ever heard it, though they play lots of polkas at some of my local sessions. And at a couple of sessions when I played the Kesh jig and the Lilting Banshee (which I learned as the Laughing Banshee and for years was known at sessions I attended as Ryan's), nobody seemed to recognize them. Now after several months some of the others are starting to play along.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim,

You know I have to wonder about the sessions in your area. First you say that G/D accordions were more common at your sessions than B/C boxes (or your are alot older than I think; B/C accordions have pretty much dominated Irish box playing since the 1960s (And have been prominent since the 50s)) and now you are saying that the Kesh was unkown until recently? Granted every local has its own tune selection, but I had always figured the Kesh was so common that it was one of the first tunes almost every one learned... I am guessing that few people in your session are fans of the "100 __________ Session Tunes" series :).

 

I kid you not, I don't think I have ever met anyone with more than say 5 tunes under their belt who didn't know the Kesh... and I don't just mean in the Baltimore and DC area. I would say in the Catskills last year (At Irish Arts Week) that whenever anyone played that one, pretty much everyone with an instrument in a Session of any level would join in.

 

Oh well :) Just giving you a little bit of a hard time :).

 

As for the Balleydesmond #3... yeah I can believe that one is not as common. It was sort of popularized in Maryland last year when it was thought to a bunch of beginners in a bunch of different instruments when the Baltimore Irish Arts Center did its spring classes.

 

Oh Jim some of what you said did bring a thought or two of session ettiquette to mind...

1. First things first, ask for permission to record the tunes.

2. Don't interrupt the session with continued requests for tune names. Worry about finding out what the names are as you are learning them if ever. Some of the best players don't know the names of all the tunes; I kid you not, many times after learning a tune from Billy McComiskey I would have to go and use Richard Moon's tune database to find out what the tune would be called.

3. Be careful of using sheet music... just cause you know the name of the tune and find it in the tune book doesn't mean you will learn the right version... Some tunes are played in different keys in different areas... nothing more embarassing than playing a tune in G when everyone else is playing it in D :). Learning it by ear from a recording you made at the local session will save you that embarassementl; it will also mean you won't learn a variant that could throw others off.

 

Of course some sessions have a tune book and that will help you alot :). But in some areas like New York, Maryland, Chicago and Boston (and I am sure others in the USA and many in other countries including Ireland ;)) there are players that know thousands of tunes and any of them could show up at a session making the task particularly daunthing for those of us who are still working on our first 100...

 

 

--

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know I have to wonder about the sessions in your area.

I think some clarification is in order. I have not always lived in the same place, and I have participated in Irish sessions for nearly 35 years, in various cities and towns and at lesat 7 countries. Early 1970's session in New York City and environs differed from each other in both the instruments that normally appeared and the tunes that were played. Current sessions in Denmark and Sweden also have their individual characters and repertoires.

 

First you say that G/D accordions were more common at your sessions than B/C boxes (or your are alot older than I think; B/C accordions have pretty much dominated Irish box playing since the 1960s (And have been prominent since the 50s))
That was true of the earliest sessions I went to; in fact accordions of any kind were infrequent, and not always appreciated, because they were so loud. Those sessions were in Manhattan and quite public, and it seems that some of the accordion players I heard of -- and later met -- were B/C players, but in those days I think they stayed pretty much within the hard-core Irish communities in the outer Boroughs, which I didn't yet have contact with. One fellow in particular who did become a regular at the Eagle Tavern played only a 1-row D box, but was widely admired throughout the Irish communities.

 

...and now you are saying that the Kesh was unkown until recently?
Not at all. I'm saying there's a new generation of young musicians who have never even heard many of the tunes that another generation tired of 30 years ago. Maybe that's because none of the "new" bands are recording them, and maybe that's because they consider them too common. Furthermore, there are Irish groups that are popular in continental Europe, which have never been to America, and I suspect other groups -- from Ireland, as well as Irish-American -- that are well-known in America but virtually unknown here.

 

Granted every local has its own tune selection, but I had always figured the Kesh was so common that it was one of the first tunes almost every one learned...
Well, that's what I thought, too, until I played it at one Swedish session and folks looked curious instead of joining in.

 

I am guessing that few people in your session are fans of the "100 __________ Session Tunes" series :)
Dunno. I never asked. But I think the ones who didn't know Kesh learn mainly -- if not entirely -- from recordings. But at least one of them has lived and played with local musicians in Belfast.

 

I kid you not, I don't think I have ever met anyone with more than say 5 tunes under their belt who didn't know the Kesh... and I don't just mean in the Baltimore and DC area.  I would say in the Catskills last year (At Irish Arts Week) that whenever anyone played that one, pretty much everyone with an instrument in a Session of any level would join in.
So would I. Which is why I was surprised when it happened in Sweden. It's also considered old hat in Copenhagen, only 20-30 miles -- but a very expensive bridge crossing -- away.

 

But we don't have Irish music schools, camps, or "weeks" around here. Folks who want to do that go to Ireland itself, and most just don't. We have very little in the way of resources for beginners (an annual 1½-day class, or maybe private lessons, with nothing else for 150 miles or more), and no kids involved that I know of. (Lots of resources in Sweden for Swedish music. I think their cultural consciousness makes the Irish look disinterested.)

Edited by JimLucas
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First you say that G/D accordions were more common at your sessions than B/C boxes (or your are alot older than I think; B/C accordions have pretty much dominated Irish box playing since the 1960s (And have been prominent since the 50s))
That was true of the earliest sessions I went to; in fact accordions of any kind were infrequent, and not always appreciated, because they were so loud. Those sessions were in Manhattan and quite public, and it seems that some of the accordion players I heard of -- and later met -- were B/C players, but in those days I think they stayed pretty much within the hard-core Irish communities in the outer Boroughs, which I didn't yet have contact with. One fellow in particular who did become a regular at the Eagle Tavern played only a 1-row D box, but was widely admired throughout the Irish communities.

 

Mmm, it must be that they stayed in the outer borroughs since I am pretty sure that Billy McComiskey was still in NYC at the time and I know his teacher Sean McGlynn was still there and Sean must have played B/C since the early 1950s at least. I will have to ask Billy the next time I see him.

 

--

Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...it must be that they stayed in the outer borroughs...

I think that's true of the (my) early years.

 

...I am pretty sure that Billy McComiskey was still in NYC at the time ...
I remember hearing his name long before I first saw him. (He was younger then, and so was I.)

 

I know his teacher Sean McGlynn was still there...
And I know Sean's name, but I don't think I ever saw him.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...