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Rhomylly

Just Saw The Most Awesome Concert!

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Okay, this is a little off concertina topic, but saw Mick Moloney (Green Fields of America, et al) in concert last night. Bill McComisky so rocks! He was playing the BA so fast on some numbers I literally couldn't see his fingers any more -- and I was in the 6th row!

 

There was also this uilleann piper, whistle and flute player named Kieran O'Hare, who bore more than a slight resemblance to the actor Sean Astin. Which meant Samwise Gamgee was playing uilleann pipes, tin whistle and flute...and it just made sense.

 

Hobbitssess playing irish music, my precioussssssss....

 

Anyway, it was just an awesome time!

 

renewed my BA cravings..... oh my yes.

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Rhomylly, where was the concert? Kieran O'Hare is from Atchison, Kansas (site of the Amelia Earhart girlhood home!), but I think he may be living in Chicago. He used to be part of that KC-based Irish scene centered around former members of the band Scartaglen (Mike Dugger, Roger Landes, Connie Dover, Kirk Lynch, Becky Pringle). My brother Joe (BC box, anglo, whistles, keyboards) used to be part of that circle till he moved to Portland, OR a few years ago.

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If it is the same Billy McComisky of Baltimore, if your ever in town here you can find him playing at a monthly ceili at J.Patricks Pub in south Baltimore and you would be a lot closer than 6 rows. Great musicans, great dancers and lots of fun.

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The concert was in Jefferson City, MO, about 30 minutes south of where I live -- Columbia. it's funny, my husband actually applied for a job in Atchison last year (he was the #2 choice, dammit!)

 

It is the same Billy McComisky of Baltimore. I must confess that when I was living in Baltimore I could be found in Bertha's in Fells Point more often than I should have -- for my folk music fix. My Irish pub days were in DC...

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Some years ago I used to get to a session in D.C and I remember seeing Kieran O. there a few times. Indeed a virtuoso.

 

Billy M. also plays anglo, by the way (a BA student of his told me that), though I don't know that he does so publicly. Hence the quote from him in my keyboard layout article. Having changed the bass buttons on B/C acc. to a more useful layout, I thought he would have some ideas for anglo too, but he says he doesn't.

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Okay, this is a little off concertina topic ...

Not really because, as Ken has already mentioned, Billy also plays the anglo, he has even recorded on it. He is a wonderful button accordion player though !

 

I met him at an All-Ireland Fleadh, some years ago, in the company of Bobby Gardiner (another great button accordion player - my favourite). I believe that Bobby, when he was living in the US, was a musical influence on the young Billy.

 

There are lots of concertina connections to Bobby Gardiner, who is originally from Oughdarra, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. His grandmother, mother, aunt, and one of his daughters, have all been players, and he has taught a lot of children himself. He also got a lot of music, when he was young, from our mutual friend Mickaleen Conlon, a great anglo and C#/D player. Mickaleen's father also played the concertina, either on anglo, or English , whichever he could get his hands on. (Irish players couldn't afford to be so choosy in those days !)

 

So you see Rhomylly, you weren't so very far "off concertina topic" after all !

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Speaking of Billy McComiskey, I noticed he's teaching BA the week of the Irish Arts Festival in E. Durham, NY. look here

 

Concertina is taught by Michael Rooney and Fr. Charlie Coen.

 

This is July 11-17, winding up with the Traditional Irish Music Festival

Saturday, July 17.

 

Is anyone going to this?

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There are severalrecordings available of Billy McComsky avaible on CD: He has a solo BA recording -"Making the Rounds" (I think that's the name ?), and 2 recordings of him playing with the band-In the Tradition (Billy plays both BA and anglo on these 2 albums). They're fine albums and he's a great player AND quite a likeable character: I had the pleasure of going to some workshops he gave at the Summer Solstice Festival in CA. Most of the workshops were for BA but he did do one for anglo,although he said that he doesn't play much Anglo these days and infact he didn't have one for the workshop so he used my Herrington--Boy it was nice to hear my anglo being played by a good player. If i'm not mistaken, these recordings are available through the Button Box--Steven--

Edited by Steven Hollander

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For folks who use CD's as a learning source the CD "One More Time" with Billy McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill and Zan McLeod has eighteen tracks with the type of tune and it's speed for dancers. The music is very very clean and easy for the ear to pick out the three instruments. The CD was made by/for the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance. It is one of my favorites for listening and reference. I guess it is available through the school.

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I thought the group Billy M. played with was called 'The Irish Tradition". Regardless, There is a great selection from one of those albums on one of the early Green Linnet compilation CDs. He does a great solo concertina version of the "The Corner House" followed by "My Maryann". (with Mick Moloney on banjo)

Edited by Sandy Winters

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I thought the group Billy M. played with was called 'The Irish Tradition". Regardless, There is a great selection from one of those albums on one of the early Green Linnet compilation CDs. He does a great solo concertina version of the "The Corner House" followed by "My Maryann". (with Mick Moloney on banjo)

 

--OOPS!--"Irish Tradition" is indeed the band name--I must have had my head up my bellows??

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Billy also did two CDs as part of Trian. I saw him and about 20 other great musicians at the Monthly Celi at J. Patrick's in Baltimore Today and it was spectacuar. After the Dance I was talking to Billy I told them that the band rocked today... in his immense modesty he told me he knew :) Billy is a great character with a great sense of humor. Not everyone gets his humor or appreciate him.. but those who do know what a gem he is and what he has done to make Trad Music truely special in Baltimore. I have no greater pleasure than when I can sit down and have a tune or two with him... well maybe one greater peasure but that involves a woman and alot more privacy than Irish Music requires ;).

 

Billy has to some degree or another mentored most of the Irish Box Players in Maryland and many in NY as well. He doesn't play the Concertina much anymore and in fact I don't think he has one. He told me that he couldn't devote enough time to it to get seriously good at it (of course his not good enough is better than I will ever likely be on either the bc accordion or the concertina).

 

Of course you never know, his son Sean (already a great box player in his own right) might take up the concertina ;).

 

--

Bill

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That was a great ceili. I spent most of my time at the back part of the bar since I had my english concertina with me (not in any hope of playing with those folks, I am decades away from that) but I had come from a practice and could not bear leaving it in the car so I didn't move around much. Much later in the evening someone else showed me his Connor anglo. It looked like a nice little compact instrument. Maybe someday I try my luck with an anglo but first I will probably try the diatonic harmonica. I will have to start wearing a concertina.net tee shirt when I go to these events.

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