Jump to content

Who are the concertina pros?


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 126
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

As for professional vs. full time musician - another mute point.
Misha, I think you mean "moot", which means "debatable". We have already demonstrated that it's not "mute", meaning "silent". :D
The phrase "moot point" uses the second definition of moot: "deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic."

Hmm. When I clicked on that link, it said the word wasn't in the dictionary, though further search found that it was. :unsure:

 

But I do know that definition, too. I've always thought that the "second definition" was derived from the first, i.e., a moot point has no significance because it is open to debate. Without a definite conclusion, it can't validly be used to support an argument or proposition.

 

I suppose we should really ask Misha to clarify what he meant. ... Misha?

 

Er... Hu-h? Hmm... Umm... Yea, I agree. As usual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I do know that definition, too. I've always thought that the "second definition" was derived from the first, i.e., a moot point has no significance because it is open to debate. Without a definite conclusion, it can't validly be used to support an argument or proposition.

 

Possibly another back-formation, but my understanding is that "moot" comes from lawyers, or law students, meeting to argue as an organised (or fun!) competition. A "moot point" is a good one to base such a discussion around, even though it has no practical significance.

 

("Mooting" competitions are still an important supplement to the education of barristers [court lawyers?] in this country.)

 

Edit: "Moot" being an Old English/Anglo saxon form of "meet," hence Tolkien's "Ent Moot" and the village of Skirmett in Buckinghamshire, Skir-mett "Shire Meet" right next to Fingest "Thing-Hurst" = "Parliament Hill"

You really wanted to know that!

 

Sorry! Back to pro concertina players!

Edited by TomB-R
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another name for the pot: Jon Boden of Spiers and Boden plays duet. Not as often as John Spiers plays the anglo on stage, but he is a full time musician who plays concertina during a paid public performance.

 

Yes, he was one I had meant to add to my earlier list, but forgot. I also meant to add Steve Turner, who has since been added and Bernard Wrigley (see English International), EC player and actor, who has so far, not been mentioned. Then there are three more anglo players that come to mind; Roger Edwards of Trio Threlfall, Mick Bramwich and Felix Castro, but I don't know if any of them earn a full time living from their playing. I notice that there are no Australian players on the list, or South African players, for that matter. Surely there must be at least one from each country, who makes a living playing. Finally, I realised that I misspelled Damien Barber's first name in my original list. It should have an 'e' after the 'i', not an 'a'.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Drinkwater
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. I knew that Jon Boden plays duet, but I'd left him off because so far as I was aware it does not form a significant part of his playing on-stage (last time I saw him live I don't think he even had it with him) although he certainly brings it out in sessions. I even thought hard about including John Spiers, but eventually decided he plays anglo on stage enough to qualify.

 

I'd intended to exclude those players who primarily play other instruments and only occasionaly bring out a concertina, whilst including those like John K or Brian Peters whose concertina playing is a significant part of their performance.

 

Bernard Wrigley - how could I have overlooked him?

 

Looking at the number of gigs on Trio Threlfall's website I would guess that Roger Edwards is full-time.

 

This does highlight the difficulty of knowing who is actually a full-time pro, since many well-known and very busy musicians are actually semi-pro.

 

The total number is now up to 40, not counting players like Jon Boden or Ian Telfer whose reputation is based on playing other instruments but who also sometimes play concertina.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A number of the names mentioned supplement their income by performing,some are on (or were on) ,Government grants,teach music and have other forms of income .like Roger Edwards. Even Bernard Wrigley does acting.His old friend Mike Harding for years playing English is now a Radio presenter. There are very few real professional Concertina players out there.

Al

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK, here are my conclusions:

 

  • based on these responses, there are approximately 40 or so musicians who earn their living, or a substantial part of it, as full-time professionals. This is not a large number when viewed from a global perspective, but as it is an obscure instrument and they are nearly all playing folk music it is hardly surprising there are not more
  • many well-known and influential musicians are not full-timers
  • many play other instruments and the concertina is only part of their performance (although I have only included those where it is a significant part)
  • many supplement their earnings from performing through other activities
  • A far greater proportion than I had expected are playing English music, especially if you include those American performers who include many songs of English origin. Given the high profile of some Irish players, and ITM generally, I had expected this genre to dominate

I'm not really sure what this tells us! I believe the professionals are important because of the work they do to extend the instrument, both in terms of technique and in terms of what it can do musically. It is usually the professionals who take the music into new directions where the rest of us then try to follow. On the other hand, many of the most important and influential players are not full-time pros.

 

I can only express my amazement and gratitude that so many people are prepared to take on what is a far from easy way of earning a living. However, a friend who is a full-time fiddler tells me he can't imagine having a proper job, so it is clearly rewarding in many ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With reference to your original post hjcjones I wonder whether the initial assumption may have been more accurate within amended parameters!

 

Amongst all the names on this thread we have "professional musicians who play concertina" and (a very few) "professional concertina players." While there may be a good number of English musicians in the first category, John Kirkpatrick and Brian Peters being fine and obvious examples, are there more Irish musicians in the second?

eg Does Noel Hill play other instruments in public?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With reference to your original post hjcjones I wonder whether the initial assumption may have been more accurate within amended parameters!

 

Amongst all the names on this thread we have "professional musicians who play concertina" and (a very few) "professional concertina players." While there may be a good number of English musicians in the first category, John Kirkpatrick and Brian Peters being fine and obvious examples, are there more Irish musicians in the second?

 

Possibly, but is that a valid parameter? Can we really say that John Kirkpatrick or Brian Peters or Alistair Anderson are not professional concertina players because they also play other instruments? Is someone who plays only one instrument somehow more worthy than someone who plays several?

 

John K divides his time fairly evenly between concertina, melodeon and button accordion - using your parameter he couldn't be described as a professional concertina player, but neither could he be described as a professional melodeonist or a professional accordionist! Each instrument would disqualify the others.

 

I tried to exclude those musicians for whom concertina is just an occasional diversion from their principal instrument - for example, Jon Boden's name was put forward but I don't regard him as a professional concertina player, although he is a professional musician who sometimes plays concertina, so he didn't go on the list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With reference to your original post hjcjones I wonder whether the initial assumption may have been more accurate within amended parameters!

 

Amongst all the names on this thread we have "professional musicians who play concertina" and (a very few) "professional concertina players." While there may be a good number of English musicians in the first category, John Kirkpatrick and Brian Peters being fine and obvious examples, are there more Irish musicians in the second?

 

Possibly, but is that a valid parameter? Can we really say that John Kirkpatrick or Brian Peters or Alistair Anderson are not professional concertina players because they also play other instruments? Is someone who plays only one instrument somehow more worthy than someone who plays several?

 

John K divides his time fairly evenly between concertina, melodeon and button accordion - using your parameter he couldn't be described as a professional concertina player, but neither could he be described as a professional melodeonist or a professional accordionist! Each instrument would disqualify the others.

 

I tried to exclude those musicians for whom concertina is just an occasional diversion from their principal instrument - for example, Jon Boden's name was put forward but I don't regard him as a professional concertina player, although he is a professional musician who sometimes plays concertina, so he didn't go on the list.

 

This is not a reply... there are of course numerous definitions of the word 'professional' but can it be realistic to suppose that in this day and age anyone could generate sufficient money from simply playing a Concertina to survive on that income alone ? Perhaps I am misunderstanding the true meaning of the word 'professional' in this context. I shall be only too happy be proved wrong. ( I guess there is also more than one interpretation of the word 'survive' ! )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...can it be realistic to suppose that in this day and age anyone could generate sufficient money from simply playing a Concertina to survive on that income alone ?

Let's see if Meryl Streep gives up acting and starts playing concertina as her sole means of support. :o :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

can it be realistic to suppose that in this day and age anyone could generate sufficient money from simply playing a Concertina to survive on that income alone ?

 

I'm not sure I understand - this thread has just identified about 40 of them. The purpose of my original question was to find out who are the full-time professionals, those who earn their living at it. OK, the list we've come up with may not be accurate, there may be some on there who actually depend on another source of income or who have now retired, and there are almost certainly some omissions. It was a casual enquiry on cnet, not a piece of academic research. However it is a demonstrable fact that there are people around who make a living from playing concertina, albeit in some cases also from playing other instruments. How good a living they make I've no idea, but they're presumably happy with it.

 

My reply to TomB-R was simply in answer to his suggestion that if you restrict the list to those who play only concertina this would skew the figures back towards the ITM players.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With reference to your original post hjcjones I wonder whether the initial assumption may have been more accurate within amended parameters!

 

Possibly, but is that a valid parameter? Can we really say that John Kirkpatrick or Brian Peters or Alistair Anderson are not professional concertina players because they also play other instruments?

 

It depends on the question, of course, and you made the original post of an enjoyable discussion. However, to my mind the most interesting aspect of the question is, can someone make a living from playing solely concertina? If not 100%, who comes near?

 

Making it rather less black and white than I implied I think it is interesting to consider which of the professionals comes nearest to being "a professional concertina player" rather than "a professional musician who [sometimes] plays concertina," but from a financial rather than a musical perspective!

Edited by TomB-R
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does Niamh Ni Charra count? Played with the Chieftans, Noel Hill, Riverdance and taught at the Comhaltas School. She plays fiddle and concertina.

 

Thanks

Leo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on the question, of course, and you made the original post of an enjoyable discussion. However, to my mind the most interesting aspect of the question is, can someone make a living from playing solely concertina? If not 100%, who comes near?

You're right, and I should have asked whether your parameter was a helpful one, rather than a valid one. Of course, those who play only concertina are undoubtedly the "professional concertina players", but to exclude those who play other instruments is to exclude some of the most obvious names.

 

You're probably right that if we focus on those who play only concertina then ITM players are more likely to dominate. We could speculate why - my guess is that many of the multi-instrumentalists are also singers and have a broader approach to their music than those who focus on Irish traditional instrumental music. Also, for those playing English instrumental music the melodeon is an obvious choice of other instrument, and doesn't involve as great a leap from concertina as learning say fiddle or flute.

Making it rather less black and white than I implied I think it is interesting to consider which of the professionals comes nearest to being "a professional concertina player" rather than "a professional musician who [sometimes] plays concertina," but from a financial rather than a musical perspective!

Unless they tell us, or unless someone can hack into their tax returns, we're not going to know.

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


Make a Donation


×
×
  • Create New...