Why the snobbery?

Why the snobbery?

I’m curious as to why so many trad players are so snobbish and rigid about the supposed purity of a session.

I really enjoy sessions, playing or just listening, but an evening gets terrible boring for me when it’s just tune after tune.

Why do you all shun groups that mix it up with ballads and tunes, like the Dubliners or Wolf Tones of the older generation? And god forbid, if someone were to play a Waterboys song and expect the trad guys to back them up a bit.

Why is that such a crime to you all? It makes the evening far more interesting to hear a mix of things, especially songs.

Re: Why the snobbery?

we have a similar problem in America…there are the purists…then there are the progressive types, a younger session crowd seems to be more open to new things…I’ve been known to rip out a song once in a while if things get too stagnant (and I don’t sing!)…sometimes an extra pint or two can help lighten things up.
there’s this other session I go to occasionally where the opposite occurs: too much singing and not enough tunes!…somewhere out there there is a session with the right blend (my perfect blend would be 80% tunes to 20% songs)
M

Re: Why the snobbery?

Well, find yourself a session where they like some songs, then, Rayzore. They’re out there. But a personal preference is a personal preference, and while I enjoy a song or two of an evening, I personally prefer to hear mainly tunes. I don’t think it’s a crime to like either; if a session of all tunes is boring to you, then find another session.

Oh, and in regards to playing, say, a Waterboys song and expecting trad musos to back them — why should they? Baroque ensemble players wouldn’t expect to walk into a session and break in with a tune of their own and expect everyone to back them up, nor would a Moravian nose flute player (old joke) expect the backing. Personally, I wouldn’t do it because I don’t know that music well enough to do a decent or even half-decent job of it, and why ruin somebody else’s fun time?

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since you brought up baroque players, there’s a group here in the states that does the O’Carolan thing almost exclusively…they also back up singers pretty well (to ruin everyone’s good time!)

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These additions are OK in small doses. The focus of a traditional music session should traditional music. I don’t think it’s snobbery. It’s what the purpose of the gathering is primarily about.

In London over the last few years there have evolved blues and rock sessions, as well as Circle of Death queue and sing a boring song type sessions, English, French and American music sessions.

If you want to start a Waterboys session, go right ahead. You needn’t invite me.
:~)

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Well said Zina! I don’t think there’s any element of snobbery in it whatsoever, Rayzore. It’s like accusing a fishmonger of snobbery for not selling pork. Sessions are all about tunes and generally people go there with that understanding. I think also there is a slight worry that the looser the session gets, the more accessible it is to complete whackos, one week it’s a harmless rendition of ‘Bang on the Ear’ and the next its a deluge of rainsticks, rock bangers and hippy ‘improvisers’.

And I love the Waterboys by the way!

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I am curious as to why so many trad singers are so snobbish and rigid about the suppossed purity of a song session.
I really enjoy song sessions but an evening gets terribly boring for me when its just song after song.
Why do you all shun groups that mix it up with jigs and hornpipes, and god forbid, if someone were to play the Snowy Breasted Pearl and expect the trad guys to sing along a bit.
Why is that such a crime to you all? It makes the evening far more interesting to hear a mix of things, especially tunes.

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I personally like a song once in a while, but when it’s too much for my taste (and I think even 20% would be too much for me), it tends to really kill the energy just when it’s really getting going.

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Y’know, Geoff’s windup there does bring up a point — it’s not just us who’re supposed snobs. If you start up a night that’s supposed to be all about one sort of music or other thing, say, tying fly fishing flies, you don’t expect to have someone yelling at you as being snobs for not wanting to knit a sweater or crochet a lace collar…

Although i guess Paul made that same point…perhaps I should go back to sleep now and try getting up again. :)

Re: Why the snobbery?

It’s not snobbery: it’s thoughtful musicianship and an understanding of the dynamics of the playing situation.

A comment that’s been made before but not in this thread:

There is a kind of dynamic energy that arises from a group of people playing music they know and can play well and with a sense of flow. Just as in a good jazz set, or rock set, or bluegrass set, or salsa set, this energy can be facilitated or impeded by how things are paced and structured. If you drop a merengue in between "Fire on the Mountain" and "Black Velvet Band" and "Blackberry Blossom," it may, even if good music, destroy the flow of the set.

If you’re a tunes player, there is a sense of flow that comes when the tunes keep coming and keep getting better. It can be difficult to fit the (very rewarding, but very different) dynamic of a song or songs into the tunes w/out that impeding the flow. This energy is most evident to those playing—to those not playing (don’t like the term "punters"), it can seem "samey", but it is hardly that for the participants.

The principle reason that a session is a session and not a performance is because the former primarily exists for the gratification of the players, and the latter for the gratification of the audience. Of course each situation can provide secondary satisfication for the other group, but the priorities are very different.

This is commonly misunderstood by people who are not immersed in the music’s goals and social dynamic (not referring to you, Rayzore—just anybody). But once you’ve participated in a really cracking tunes session, and experienced what that sense of communal flow feels like, you can understand better why tunes-players might be selective/choosy about when, where, and how many songs are inserted.

As far as "expect[ing] the trad guys to back them up a bit," you can ask for this, hope for this, wish this would happen, but if you "expect" something to happen in a session, you are (and probably oughta be) doomed to disappointment. I don’t play in sessions in order to have things "expected[ed]" of me—I get that enough on gigs where people who’ve paid me well have the right to expect things. Someone sitting in a pub and getting to hear really good tunes-playing (for free), or coming into the session and wanting to sing a Waterboys song, doesn’t have any right to "expect" anything.

chris smith

Re: Why the snobbery?

Good points from all you guys and girlies - just something I want to add though : "many trad players are so snobbish and rigid" ….sometimes (the truth hurts), but it’s rigidly the only style some are capable of playing in, and any slight variance in the music style or content makes them feel ill at ease …sometimes this is mistaken for snobbery, although of course snobbery does exist……I’m glad to say that of all the IT musicians I know and have played with, only a minority have this insecurity…

I do agree with the general sentiment of playing IT music in an IT session, though.

Jim

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I agree with Paul about some sessions which are "too loose and open" attracting all sorts of nutters and comic singers. In fact, I mentioned this in another thread recently.

By the way, it’s not just groups from the older generation that mix ballads/songs with tunes. Most of the more recent bands do so as well. Cherish the Ladies, Altan, Dervish, Solas, Danu, De Dannan etc all spring to mind. Incidentally, I have always loved the Dubliners but I HATE the Wolftones.

John

Re: Why the snobbery?

If some session musicians want to do tunes only, far be it from me to dictate otherwise and it is true that you can get a great buzz going, no doubt. It’s also true for me personally that some of the best sessions I’ve listened to and/or participated in here in Ireland have been a mix of tunes, songs and story telling in the old tradition of "round the kitchen and mind the dresser" with everyone having a turn and usually with a self-elected but all agreed Master of Ceremonies. Not everyone’s Cup of Tea (D’ye know that tune?) but if you’ve never experienced a real good oul’ Irish Hooley like that, maybe you’re missing out on something different but wonderful and social. It’s very all inclusive and social and most importantly GREAT craic, even when the granny in the corner does "Danny Boy" Lord preserve us. (Where did you meet granny, Danny?)

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I think that every style of music has a certain sense of "snobbery" that it’s musicians have to overcome. It isn’t really snobbery. One or two different tunes are great, they mix things up a little and no-one gets bored. But be careful not to overdo it, that’s the reall message here. It’s important not to make anyone uncomfortable in a session, otherwise their mood will rub off on the whole group.

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a deluge of rainsticks….

What a great idea! Thanks, Paul. What a hoot that will be at a session.

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John, I undertand completely why you don’t like the Wolftones. They’re a tough band to listen to. I can never find a groove to their songs. I just mentioned them because they mix of ballands and tunes.

Appreciate everyone else’s comments.

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Rayzore - I think maybe you need to find a ‘Jam’ - that sounds more like your type of thing. I assume they must be very common in America (Zina? Will?) because almost every person I met from the US (who didnt actually play tunes) in Galway loved to listen to "Jams" :-) Having said that - remind me to mention to Mirella, Padraig and Mary S next time we are in a session together that maybe the party would really hot up if only they’d sing a song by the wolftones. Sorry Rayzore - but you are not the first nor will you be the last to start a thread about music that you probably dont really understand. Hence why you think its snobbery - when it clearly isnt. Having said that - I am probably one of the more snobby people on this site!

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Re: Why the snobbery?

… you probably dont really understand …

Oh, I think I understand it alright, bb. I’ve been around the block once or twice.

I see it as a class of cultures between the pub bands and the session players. I like to mix between both worlds.

In general, I find the pub bands much more accepting of good musicians of any style. They love it when players can rip into a set of reels.

Except for the Chieftains "Long Black Veil," it just doesn’t seem to work the other way around, at least here in the DC/Baltimore Irish scene. A great example is the mayor of Baltimore. He fronts an Irish rock band and always hires hot young trad players to fill out his sound.

This discussion helps explain this clash. That’s what’s great about Jeremy’s Session, it gives everyone here, a chance to discuss stuff. I don’t get a chance ask this question during sessions. I know my place and I want to be welcomed back! ::smile::

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I admit that was a bit harsh. But seriously, maybe most people who play trad tunes like it the way it is, and dont find it boring. Just a thought - I know I dont find it boring in the slightest - never have -doubt very much I ever will. And dont get me wrong, I’m by no means a ‘pure drop’ fan, I’m really getting into some Tola custy, siobhan peoples, Diarmad Moyian, john McCusker tunes, which a ‘pure drop’ fan wouldnt particularly like (I dont think…) but I would draw the line there, rock is rock, trad is trad, I really dont think they can mesh without it sounding tacky, that includes the cheiftans.* Big Grin*

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Moravian nose flute player?

Sorry Zina Lee, dont know this old music joke. Does it have something to do with moravian part of Czech Republic? I was born there and never heard anything about it. (hope I dont look like a complete idiot, to ask you such a thing :)

Pavlina

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Re: Why the snobbery?

LOL — I have to laugh, Pavlina, because the reason it’s a joke is because once, long time ago here at The Session, we were trying to find a "safe" way to make a joke about a music type, and having problems finding an instrument that someone didn’t play so that no one would be offended if we made the joke about that instrument being unsuitable for Irish traditional music. We tried tubas, first, and then any amount of other instruments, and finally someone hit upon Moravian nose flutes (um, and I don’t believe there are such things…but are there?) — and now here’s you, born in Moravia! LOL

Possible Hijack: Tish told me at one point that she felt that, for some reason these days, The Session has gotten to this weird point where you have to be soooo careful about your posts, having to make sure every "T" is crossed and every "I" is dotted (I hope someone noted the joke there too), or people jump on the post (and you) for things that you probably never intended the post to be read as in the first place.

That’s partially because, I think, we’re no longer such a small group of friends that everyone knows everyone else and trusts that they post with the best of intentions, which was once pretty much the case. We’ve got so many people now, and there’s so much water under the bridge that many now walk much more warily than before. It’s kind of a shame, but I don’t see that there’s anything to be done about it, unfortunately…it’s just the way these things work…

Zina

Re: Why the snobbery?

I still prefer this site over the other Irish music bulletin boards, in large part because this is still the friendliest and funniest. And the tune archives are "awesome." :o)

One thing we’ve touched on before is the tendency for conversations to devolve into splitting hairs. Some of us greatly improved our conversation skills when we were reminded to think twice before dissecting someone’s innocent comment or question just for the sake of flashing our scalpels (however blunt and dull they may be :o). I’ve been guilty of that myself recently, and promise to mend my ways.

I enjoy the repartee and spontaneity here as much as anyone, but maybe it’s good that some people (*not* pointing a finger at you, Tish) are being careful when they post—frankly, some topics demand that. It’s all too easy to shoot from the hip and hit "post" only to realize you didn’t say what you meant, or said it in an unnecessarily demeaning or spiteful or dogmatic way, or that you said something that didn’t need saying at all in this forum.

One of the ongoing tensions of this site is that it is more open and accessible than most meatspace sessions. People of all musical skill levels can jump right in and participate, and we’ve got folks from wildly different cultures, generations, and experiences.

That’s wonderful, and it’s one of the strengths of this place.

But it also means that we’re less a "like-minded" group than is typical at our local session (and we know how "like-minded" that is, geesh :o). So it’s easy to come here expecting a homogeneity of opinion and understanding of "the session experience," and be surprised when someone disagrees or misunderstands us.

I suspect that tension will always be with us, but it teaches us to be more thoughtful, better communicators, better listeners, and more open minded. And we thought this was just a place to prattle on about the tunes…..

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Re: Why the fight for existance?

It is not snobbery, it is fighting for existance. Having played in sessions for some 30 years, I have lost count of music sessions which have been taken over, hijacked, turned around, call it what you want, by singers with the end result that the session either closes and moves or closes and re-opens when the singers have moved on. None of the hijacked sessions continued for any length of time once the musicians voted with their feet.
Sometimes it has been singers who don’t play who took the session in another direction, other times it was a steady trickle of three chord guitarists who only wanted "loud is best" songs, preferedly through microphones and had not got the inclination or capability to accompany tunes even when the chords are shouted out.
Anyone else seeing this happen now or has seen this happen over and over again in the past?

Moravian nose flute player

:) The part of my country is called Morava (Moravia), people are Moravani (Moravians), we dont use any nose flutes, mostly fiddles,dulcimer,double-bass,clarinet and somewhere bagpipes with wooden goat’s head on the top. So no wild men from a jungle :) But the story is really cute.

pavlina

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Re: Why the snobbery?

I’m with Zina. One night at an old tyme fiddle jam some guy came up and asked for some kind of rock number. I told him to forget it. He tried again later. I told him he was the kind of idiot who would ask a rock band to play Turkey in the Straw.
I don’t think this is snobbery at all.

Re: Why the snobbery?

Pavlina, u konchete prosim vystup a nastup, dvere se zaviraji… is that right? Not really Moravian tho’, and my spelling is probs wrong. Pivo prosim!!

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Prahadisim.

-dogma

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Didn’t Zina also say recently that one person’s snobbery is another person’s standards?

(Lefty, I saw the dead opposite recently - two blokes playing a pub gig, a fiddler/harmony singer and a singer/acoustic guitarist, so the barflies ask for Honky Tonk Women and Baker Street.)

Seems to me that sessioneers are prone to siege mentality because sessions aren

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I’m definitely a grumpy old codger. I spend several hours a day in my Japanese local and always sit in the same seat at the bar. The locals have started calling me "Grandpa"!

BTW Tish why the hell would you want to have anything to do with children anyway? They’re loud, ugly and attention-seeking.

Re: Why the snobbery?

Sorry, but I have to disagree.

-Max

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There’s goes Max, seekeing attention again…
:o)

Dow is just doing his W.C. Fields routine.

Hmph. I can be a gumpy old codger too, and I resent being lumped in with the snobs. In fact, most of us codgers are avowed low lifes, with no status nor ambitions beyond asserting our grumpiness….

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Re: Why the snobbery?

Dow, the "earth mother" type I *ain’t* but I have to admit there were actually a few children who were worth the effort. It’s the dad-blasted *adults* they kept dragging along with ‘em that I couldn’t deal with!!!

Hmph yerself, Will. A *real* codger doesn’t need an excuse to be uncivil :-p

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LOL, I can see it now—a workshop in how to be a grumpy old session codger: "Don’t try to think of an insult, just *be* the insult."
;o)

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Re: Why the snobbery?

I just *love* children.

Couldn’t eat a whole one, mind you.

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heheheee -you guys are funny.
D’yknow tho - I reread the first post and realised I shouldnt have said anything about it - cause it is *clealy* a wind up. I am so Naive sometimes!

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Re: Why the snobbery?

In Edinburgh and surrounding areas (Also at several folk festivals), many sessions are "amateur free for alls". I don’t enjoy these too much although I do attend them from time to time. They tend to be more of a competition than a session sometimes e.g. "I’ll sing a twenty verse ballad to make the most of my turn" or "This is too serious, so I’ll sing a nonsense song" or "I’ll play this fancy tune in C sharp minor so no-one else will join in". You’ll also get country and western, blues, old Shadows hits and Goodness knows what else? —oh, and some traditional tunes occasionally.

Such get togethers are OK in their place but some of these musicians and singers (I’ll use the term loosely) think that they can go to a typical Irish or Scottish tune session and do their own thing. They come away with their "noses out of joint" and wonder why. Again, I would argue that one of the golden rules is NOT to join a session unless you can contribute something useful towards it. This isn’t because you think that the musicians are being snobbish. It’s just common sense and good manners.

Geoff, I’ve also noticed that your average singer/guitarist isn’t very good at accompanying tunes either. I can’t understand why as the basic principle is the same, although you obviously want to stretch yourself beyond the "three chord trick" and master the various rhythms. Although not a great guitar player, I found it quite easy to accompany tunes but maybe that’s because I used to teach myself songs "by ear" rather than learning them out of songbooks.


John

Re: Why the snobbery?

John, My point was that they couldn’t accompany the songs that they knew so would have no chance trying to follow a tune, especially a modal one. Accompanying ITM is an idiom that takes some picking up and is generally achieved by much listening then much playing

Re: Why the snobbery?

Interesting, I think I made a similar remark some time ago asking the same question….(*grin*)

Out of pure interest and not really relevant to this topic, how many of you out there have played sessions in a pub in Ireland?

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Re: Why the snobbery?

Geoff, I agree that it’s maybe not as simple as it seems. The modal tunes require a different approach, as you say. Perhaps, the fact that I had already enjoyed listening to traditional music (the tunes) and also played some of them on the mandolin(and later, the fiddle) also helped me.

Hi DG. I have played in pub sessions in Ireland a few years ago when I wasn’t even as good as I am now. I found them very welcoming but, again, there are many different types and levels. Again, it’s common sense not to get involved if you’re going to be out of your depth. Having said that, I found quite a few where I coped OK —-from large get togethers such as Slattery’s, Dublin on a Sunday afternoon to more intimate gatherings in the west coast e.g Dingle, pubs in Clare and Galway etc. I also noticed that the pubs were very tolerant towards music and nobody minded me striking up a tune even if there was no session. They often gave me a free pint for this, although that wasn’t the reason I did it.

John

Re: Why the snobbery?

Well, beebs, you don’t write people and call them names right off if you want a civil conversation, now do you? LOL Still, you can learn a lot from even the silliness.

Did I say that, Tish? God knows what cr*p comes out of my fingers sometimes…hehehe I guess it’s true, actually. Hey, amazing.

Re: Why the snobbery?

Do I detect a hint of snobbery in DG’s query about who among us has played in pub sessions in Ireland? Well, I’ll match it with a whiff of defensiveness from someone who has played in sessions only stateside…where sessions first originated (ahem).

Doesn’t matter *where* the session is—what’s important is what the players want it to be. If a group of people get together once a week for nothing but trad Irish tunes, who’s to say they have to welcome or even tolerate a pogues’ song or djembe-boy or a rousing rendition of Flinthill Special or a half hour of horo solos on Moravian nose flute?

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Pivo prosim!

Wow Dow, it was excellent. You made me homesick! But I’m sure you know much more, than just Pivo prosim! What about : Dve piva prosim…tri piva prosim….ctyri piva prosim…..pet piv etc :)

Pavlina

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Re: Why the snobbery?

Er….so what does that all mean, Mark and Pavlina?

Hey, Will, now we know better — it’s Moravani Nose Flute! :)

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Looks like we’re playing anagrams in Moravani….

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Re: Why the snobbery?

Where’s Conan? LOL

Re: Why the snobbery?

I’m not sure, if can I translate those few naughty czech puns…it is before nine o’clock still and also I dont want Dow to feel betrayed on the public….but because its you Zina :) so Pivo prosim! Dve piva…tri piva.. etc means One beer, please!….two beers…three beers etc. and "Ukoncete prosim vystup a nastup dvere se zaviraji" Dow learned during travelling by the underground in Prague and it means "Finish please your entry and exit, the doors are about to close"

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LOL — Mark, you’ve been unmasked….

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hahahahahhaahhahahahahha!!! Oh shoot I just spilled water all over my keyboard…. Luska, you are hilarious, ty. I suppose the underground translation is better than finding out he said, ‘Excuse me, could I interest you in some nose-flute lessons?’ Or worse, ‘Excuse me, can you tell me where I might find a teacher on the nose-flute?’

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…steady trickle of three chord guitarists who only wanted "loud is best" songs,

Yikes geoff, I wouldn’t welcome that type either.

Re: Why the snobbery?

Don’t forget that the three chord guitarists are also generally (though not always) the "boom chukka chukka chukka" guitarists as well…

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Max, I hope I haven’t offended you. I don’t consider you a kid. You’re 15. By the time people reach the age of 15 they tend to have lost the attention-seeking thing and go the other way - they hate to draw attention to themselves. At least I did when I was 15. I don’t mind 15 year olds as a general rule because they have developed ideas about the world and you can have a decent conversation with them. If I was ever to have a kid, I’d abandon it or get someone else to look after it for its first 12 or 13 years and then take it back once it’s learnt how to behave and make conversation. Maybe just on the weekends :-)

Pavlina is a fab name! I learnt the underground thing because I used to go to the Czech Rep every year when I was living in the UK. My older brother has been living in Prague for years, so I used to go and visit him there whenever I had spare cash for beer money. He reckons the trad scene there is pretty good btw.

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Me too, Max, and as I say, my problems were rarely with the kids anyway. I’m sure you’d be a definite asset!

(At least you don’t keep snorting all over the screen.)

Dow, someone I worked with once said that the way to raise a child is to give it to a military academy when it’s 6 months old. You get it back when it’s 21 and it calls you "sir".

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Oh, don’t worry about it Mark! I know what you mean about kids, though. I have six siblings and they are all younger than me. Me and my brother have to share the same twin-sized bed. I am surounded by little screaming kids all day long. And I really mean all day long because I am homeschooled, so I am home most of the time. I really love them all, but somethimes they get so iritating, noisy and pushy that I have pretty much the same feelings for them that you expressed in your earlier post.

Once agian, I just want to say that I’m not offended.

-Max

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BTW Pavlina, I didn’t need the expressions "2 beers please, 3 beers please" etc because I only drink one beer at a time. However, my brother and his friends needed to be able to say that for when they bought rounds in for me.

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LOL @ military academy - what a grand idea :-D

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I’ve heard it said on authority that some of the best musical education can be had at some miltary academies - Kneller Hall in the UK for example. You’re not only taught to blow or bang something at a professional level but you have to learn another instrument - usually a stringed instrument - to a professional playing standard as well.
Trevor

Re: Why the snobbery?

The priest who married my ex and I had what he called The Bung Hole Theory of Child Raising. He thought it would be worth the experiment to wait til a kid hit the age of 1.5 and then put them into a wine cask and shove food and water through the bung hole. At 21, you let them out. :)

Yes, he was joking. LOL

Re: Why the snobbery?

Um Max? Between the bodhran, the banjo, the spoons & the pre-pubescent Gene Simmons check-out-my-tongue shtick, I’m thinking calmer might be better. You don’t want your stage patter to turn into Romper Room. Read Last Night’s Fun, then get back to us. Where’s the next Tom Doorley, I ask you?

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Emily — I was thinking that if we went halfway in between what you see in the picture and what really happens on stage, we might be able to produce a decent act. We kind of freeze up on stage. Oh well, that will get better with time.

Hmm… Next Tom Doorley? Maybe in time I can convince our whistler to take up the flute.

BTW — I slyly suggested Last Night’s Fun to my parents, and they firmly said that their Christmas shopping is fininshed (at least as far as I am concerned). :) I will buy it myself though, and maybe I’ll even get everybody in the band a copy for Christmas.


-Max

Re: Why the snobbery?

A priest with a bung hole theory of child raising? The devil, you say! Zina, I’m going to have to sign off for the evening, my mind is simply reeling with evil, evil thoughts.

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LOL, see what happens when you lick the tipper?

Max, that photo took me right back to my own adolescence (tut, tut, Zina, I’m talking about my *first* one, not what I’m going through now :o), years spent in a friend’s basement recording studio or draining his dad’s backyard swimming pool so we could drop in on our skate boards. ‘Cept my best friend looked just like the guy in the middle, without a mask.

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But before I do, I just want to say, Max, you’re super cool. Don’t forget to tell them that the author, Ciaran Carson, is a prize-winning Irish poet & professor. Maybe they can work it into your curriculum? Well there is a lot of drinking & smoking… oh well.

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LOL — Will, we had to put that mask on Daniel to hide his actuall facial features for the photo. The results were so satisfactory that we suggested gluing the mask to his head. This would block unwanted visual qualities, and it would prevent him from experimenting on the whistle in the third octave. (just kidding) :D

Btw — Thanks Emily!

-Max

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Hey, he was an Episcopalian priest with two kids. ;)

Re: Why the snobbery against bungholes?

This one (bungholing) hits a dischordant note in what is left of my memory…I think it was an experiment carried out by Fredrich the Great???Emperor in Early Europe. He had two children isolated in a dungeon from all other human contact to see if they could develop speech without outside influence…

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Geez. Sounds like a good reason for snobbery against it, all right…and here I thought he was making it all up!

Re: Why the snobbery?

And, hey, GW, did you/your teacher call them shuffles, trebles, doubles, or rallys? Just curious.

Re: Why the snobbery?

DG - have you played in any session in ireland? Just curious…..

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Re: Why the snobbery?

Will, you can remember back that far?

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There was no hint of snobbery in that question Will, just curious cause there’s so many people on this site that are from abroad, I was wondering how many people who tune into this site are living in Ireland and have experienced a session at a pub in the middle of nowhere (or in the "sticks" as we call it!!)

And nope, as in my biography, I’m not good enough for session playing yet which I will quite happily admit, and at least from this site will know the etiquette when and if I ever am good enough!! I love going to sessions and love the freedom to go with the flow you see in musicians, obviously though within reason (not bursting into a Pogues song, can’t stand them anyway…!). There is a growing trend here though that in order to get the punters in, a lot of sessions are paid and do not welcome strays. There’s one local session I’ve been to a few times but it’s kinda obvious they’re playing to get paid and not playing because they love the music. They almost look bored and are going through the motions.

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Re: Why the snobbery?

Rayzore

Been away and only just came in on this.

Imagine a few guys going to play a bit of basketball - perhaps just in a knockabout fun fashion. They do it regularly. Then someone comes along, jumps in among them and after a couple of minutes says "Lets put the ball on the ground and play soccer now". If the basketballers say no, are they being snobbish? No - its just not what they went there for.

You say "I really enjoy sessions, playing or just listening, but an evening gets terrible boring for me when it’s just tune after tune."

You are like a guy who wants to play soccer - why not go somewhere where they do - there are plenty of sessions about. If there aren’t then you should start one. But don’t expect the basketballers to change their preferences.

My 50,000 yen’s worth of mixed metaphors.

Cheers
Dave

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50000 yen would come in handy right now…

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(Still seems to be some glow of the original topic left in this thread, so I’ll use the opportunity to ease of some frustration)

In Norway there aren’t that many opportunities to play irish music, and the two regular sessions are always crowded with guitar players. The tune addicts amongst us have tried to set up alternative sessions, but it does’nt take too long before the gang starts to show up and sing their songs. There is a rivalry between the tune players and the singers, but mostly on good terms.

I have for a long time been going along with the "if you can’t beat them, join them", getting my full share of instrumental backup training, and tried to recruit co-players through the jungle telegraph (sms..) when going. But last time I had it. One of the singers sang between 15 and 20 songs - almost none-stop. This one singer used more than 50% of the bandwidth and still there were 5 or 6 others eager to take their turn. In my mind sessions should be the joint forces creating music with the occational performance adding spice to the craic, not the other way round.

I had a chat of the instrumentalist/ singers where I suggested maybe we could do something about the situation and maybe reserve one night for "folk club singing" and define the other as instrumental. I found we were on completely different planets. His ideal session was a 50 - 50 mixture. I could’nt help frowning. I realized at that point that snobbery in the sense of withdrawing from the current session scene and creating another setting where there is more room for tunes probably is the only survival strategy.

Hope I don’t seem to negative. And please don’t get the wrong picture about the session scene in Norway. There are great tune sessions happening here, whenever we get our act together and outpower the rest. Please, please come visit and bring your lads with you, and let’s have weekend full of tunes. Help! Me, Halldor

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Zina, Shuffles from memory, but I think two flaps make a shuffle, three a treble,four a double and five is a rally.Did you call them bridges, leaps or up&overs?Most double clicks I could manage whilst airborne was five.I tried to explain to a fiddle student of mine that the rythymic ornamentation on the fiddle is the same as stepdancing beats and shuffles but she then complained of having five left feet :)

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DG…sorry for my defensive pounce then :o) I too live in the middle of no where and we had to create our own session. But we’ve since had some nice folks from Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Co. Donegal) drop in and they all commented on how right at home they felt—that our session was remarkably just like the ones in Ireland. My session mates who have been to sessions in Ireland say the same thing.

The last time I was in Ireland, I was 5 years old. I plan to get there again someday….

But there are lots of good, friendly sessions all over the States, many with ex-pats leading the fray.

And DG, don’t sell yourself short—fiddle is difficult only for the first 20 years, and then it’s merely frustrating after that :o) Keep playing the tunes and you’ll be sitting in at sessions in no time.

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Its not a bad thing to pay musicians to play sessions. Sure you could have a session free for all and everyone welcome etc etc, but isnt it also nice to have the session with amazing musicians playing??? I know that the session in galway are almost *all* paid - and no offence DG but none of the musicians I know only do it because they are paid. They do it cause they love it - being paid is a bonus! They certainly dont look as if they are just going through the motions.

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No offence taken but I wasn’t referring to all musicians, of course it’s a bonus to be paid for something a person loves doing and there’s nothing wrong with being paid. I wish I loved my job enough cause then I wouldn’t care what my salary was! I was only referring to this particular session.

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Re: Why the snobbery?

I basically drive an hour or more to get to the few sessions held out here (speaking of "sticks"….), so I know the frustration when a formerly peaceful gathering is derailed into a singalong (although this is a hazard of situating oneself in a bar, after all).

However, on the other side of the coin …. at last night’s session the leader (an inclusive sort of fellow) held out his guitar to one guy at the bar, who proceeded to play and sing about the sparest, most beautiful version of that old standard "Silver Wings" I’ve ever heard.

I found it worth missing a tune or two for …..

Also, one of the things we’ve had success with here is keeping the less-traditional (as well as the slow/learning session) stuff toward the back end of the session time — the theory being that hey, any folks sticking around that late are drunker by then and it’s more suitable entertainment, anyway — plus we all get to leave and not look bad because ‘Good GOD! Look at the time! I’ve got to work in the morning!’

;-)

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Sometimes I look & feel uninspired when I play in sessions - maybe like I’m going through the motions. Its usually because there is someone really irritating there - like poncho boy. I usually get really into the music when its above my level and I feel I have to work for it - know what I mean? Maybe thats whats happening at your local DG - maybe Poncho boy has a twin.

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Greenwiggle: D’you know, I’ve never thought about the dancing in terms of ornamentation or vice versa? I’ll have to play around with that…We call ‘em all three depending on what you’re using the leap for…FIVE double-clicks? *insert your favorite swear word here*, you’re an open champ, aren’t you?

Back on the thread, or at least, where the thread got hijacked to, one of my friends came to a party and we’d hauled out the instruments. She doesn’t play, so she sat and listened and enjoyed herself. After, she told me that I look "very calm and peaceful and almost ethereal" (her word, not mine!) when I play, which made me almost drive off the road laughing. Apparently all the inner turmoil and swearing and wincing doesn’t come over on my face…

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Do you know BB? You could be right!! Now I come to think of it, I went there one night and there was something like 4 guitars had turned up, against a mandolin, one whistle player and a bodhran. Maybe that was the night some of the other musicians didn’t look to happy……!

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