Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Two discussions can take part blame for the seed to this rant:

Discussion: The Siege of Ennis - 21st Century Style
# Posted on July 23rd 2007 by Free Reed
https://thesession.org/discussions/14544

Discussion: Doolin - Mecca for the tone deaf
# Posted on July 23rd 2007 by regog
https://thesession.org/discussions/14540

But we, my wife and I, were the ones that really let rip, and this is the softer option… I don’t want this to be ‘specific’, as the concepts are not limited to one incident, place or person. We, my wife and I, and friends and family, have come across it more than once, and not just with regards to the traditions of Eire.

Anyway, trying to be general, here goes the weave of this, one ‘general’ example only, the results of discussion as we rambled the paths and byways around here…

This begins with friends who were steeped in the tradition of their locale, major ‘sources’, and they were regularly put to the pleasure of repeating their tradition, music and dance. These things were regular, and you knew the few dances that had been danced thereabouts for a good long time, and the body of tunes that were theirs as well. It was a good group of musicians and dancers, ‘regular folk’ despite their many talents, and people with welcome and limitless patience and humour. Things were well mixed too, all ages and sorts. This was well maintianed and nurtured ~ up until the swell of popularity in the sets took hold like some fever of dementia. The ‘local’ venues became meccas for some folk, tagged on the tourist maps as places to visit, and while it may sound bigoted, I’m mostly talking about ‘city folk’ and come-from-awayers, not ‘locals’, and mostly Irish city folks…buses and vehicles, cars, vans, 4-wheelers and caravans full of them…

These ‘tourists’ carried with them a lot of things that were not part of the traditions, expectations built on the fantasies they’d been fed in workshops and competitions and by, in some case, egomaniacal musicians and dancers who had put themselves out there as the priests of this new wave of ego inflated dance and music. They sought even had the gall, out of the ignorance that is disprespect, to work to change what they found. Like so many of this type, they were likely convinced it was for the good of us all, the damage was being done with ‘good intentions’.

These cattle would come trampling in with their requests for dances and tunes and ways that weren’t part of the local tradition they were ‘visiting’, like requesting versions that weren’t known or were solely the realm of competition and exhibition dancing and music. Hell, they often didn’t even bother to ask, they just imposed. "I’m here!"

With the increase in quantity and density and speed the other things that had been integral to the local tradition started to shrink with neglect and abuse, like the social nature of it all. For the locals, and for us, these were what we counted as the ‘craic’, not the flash and adrenalin excesses of this ‘new wave’. Being possibly too amiable, the locals can tend to give in too easily to the marauding hordes and attitudes and expectations fed by the pop culture of it all, like those mass entertainment summer schools and gatherings, like the larger fleadhs and other festivals of mayhem.

Was there ever a county where I didn’t see this invasion having an effect? No! Even with small intimate gatherings in those cities themselves. Too often ‘expert’ was a status assumed by someone having the balls to do so, whether or not they actually had a clue what it was they had chosen to be the official voice of. There were usually strong vested interests involved, like furthering their own selves, and sometimes meaning the neglect of true care and understanding of the tradition or aspect of tradition they’d taken as their own. And no, I’m not down on experts, workshops and mass gatherings. It is just that in the rush for quantity over quality, tunes or dances, for those that take that route, the soul and heart and necessary understanding that results in respect, all those things I value highly are too easily bypassed…

This was the topic during a long walk tonight, remembering people we cared about, and places, and ways, and how we’d seen things change for the worse, in our opinions ~ not by the free and informed choice of the locals, the regulars, but by the impositions of visitors, ‘tourists’, & ‘experts’, most of who were Irish, though generally not local… It’s a bit like those growing pods in the movie. These people feel a calling to infect everyone else with their notions of what the tradition should be, the music and/or dance, and all a bit at times ‘happy-clappy’? ~ not far off a cult, a bit too ‘Scientology’ for me. :-/

Not having the same self-belief and delusion, the more amenable ways of the locals can result in their stepping aside, or even removing themsleves from the onslaught, while those hordes come charging on and over the top of what was there before them, stepping all over it… Hell, even the locals can get caught up in all the excitement and hype. ~ And suddenly it’s all the same, and memory of what was begins to wane as fewer and fewer of those with that appreciation, understanding and knowledge, and way, aren’t about anymore.

If a large Heavy Goods Vehicle (Mack Truck) comes up your backside blowing it’s airhorns and flashing its lights, you are best to pull over and let it pass… You can’t reason with such a*sholes… But, I will always have hope ~

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

A tour de force, ceol! I’d better not come over, I’d be another nail in the coffin.

Maybe Mecca is a Doolin for the tone deaf.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

We kept stealing the signposts…..

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

There’s a contradiction at the heart of this. (not from you ceolachan, your post is considered, heart felt and true)

It could be said that the strength of the tradition is fed and controlled by the pockets of cultural isolation. And yet, if these pockets were truly isolated, the traditions would be nowhere near as rich. To get it right, one needs a delicate balance of influence and fermentation within communities. So are the scales irrevocably tipping the wrong way? Perhaps they are.

Posted .

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

The last fleadh I was at was in 1977, already over crowded then. Never been to a workshop, or "Willie" or "Bodhran Bliss" type week/weekend either.

As for tourists, despite being the nearest town to Belfast International Airport, with two castles, a round tower and the biggest lough in Europe, we don’t get too many tourists.

But those that do come love the bodhran. Bless ‘em

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

This happens everywhere. There aren’t too many locals left in Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara sure ain’t what it used to be: laid back. Who are all these angry, hurried people with more money than god and a cell phone plastered to their head?

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

In my darker moments I tend to think that the problem is that people *started* listening. Then they wanted to play. So they stopped dancing.

Am I part of the problem? Yes.
Is part of the solution stopping deluding ourselves about what is traditional and what isn’t? Probably.
Would it help if everyone who played took part in social traditional dance? Possibly
Do I think this is going to happen? Probably not.

There’s a fairly important decision that’s really already been taken but isn’t too late to reverse:

Are we just going to play the tunes for our own enjoyment, or are we prepared to sacrifice our own time to encourage social traditional dance in our free time and try to actually bring the tradition back to wakefulness as opposed to simply keeping it clinging to life in a coma till it expires?

Darker moments, as I said……. ;-)

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

This is a good point though where and how? With rural pubs closing by the dozen I see a return to playing music at home again. It’s a good thing, more like it was, and i’ve seen some effort to dance again, as it is more private. There is more talking and sharing also. "Darker moments?" , I think things will return to social and community groupings sharing a common bond, friends and family as it was before pubs dominated. There has been a steady trickle this way as pubs became more and more a mess. A quiet revolution I hope.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

* Your safe nicholas, along with the rest of the eccentrics… ;-)

* Signposts? ~ That was a regular pastime in Cymru and elsewhere, to misdirect ‘visitors’, sometimes not stealing them, just turning them around to send any unfamiliar folks back the way they came, or to at least get them lost and frustrated.

* Llig ~ yes, I must confess contradiction too, part of what that was about…facing my own guilt… You are right, it is always about finding and trying to maintain some balance. Things will always change. It is the measure of what is lost that is the concern, and the trade off. Do we lose a part of our soul the more technical and materialistic we become?

* bodhran bliss, you would remind me of another metaphor, the ‘bitch’ I saw across the lough on one of the islands taking a hammer to one of the old stone crosses, collecting a momento to take home. Was I quiet ~ NO! Did it make a difference ~ no…

* sbhikes ~ yes…

* andy ~ it wasn’t that they started listening, it was that people can be selective about what they heard, that they can be exclusive, that they can suffer tunnel vision. They saw the flash but ignored the other shades and the earth around it that gives tradition sustenance and substance, that populates it with people, with characters. That sort of limited view tends to only sees technique, to see tradition as something outside of the human element that breaths life into it. That focus is drawn like a rook to the flash of candy wrappers, to the fancy bits, like some frippery of bow wizardry, missing the chuckle in the background, the grin and the glint in the eyes. They hear the notes, but miss the humanity behind them, the fiddler’s tales, their family, their village, the imperfections that make it so much more than just a sequence of notes and twiddles.

* Steve, yes, I like the idea of a ‘quiet’ revolution… :-)

> Am I part of the problem, yes! I think that is where the slightly over the edge passion of that tirade came from. It is a look inside, checking out my shadows. But that also suggests, since I am in the mix, I might be able to work toward becoming part of the solution too, through better understaning. There’s that constant hope again. Things do change, they move on. No amount of regret will bring back what has passed. For one, we remember selectively, and the healthy mind tends to remember the ‘good’ more so than the difficult and the painful.

This rattle of my cage comes after remembering some fine old musicians I had great respect for. I remember how in part they recoiled from the changes around them, disagreed with what was happening, and yet, were drawn into it, and blamed themselves for failing to keep up with the new. I don’t use ‘source’ lightly, these were and remain sources, and continue so in their absence. What is curious is that what people draw from them now seems to have a technical edge to it rather than fully showing the heart and humour these people put into their being, which included their music. They can be discussed so seriously, in hushed voices, rather than with the mirth these characters would have appreciated more ~ imho…

I’d like to believe that we can pass on tradition with something more than the fancy wrapper that often initially attracts people, and that sugar rush. I’d like to think that as carriers, the tradition in our trust, whatever our level of accomplishment, we can do more than just play the music, or dance, or teach it ~ that we can promote an attitude and a humour that will do a fuller job of showing our respect for those that carried these traditions before us… But, I am also worried that things tend to meld toward the homogonized…and the sterile… No, I’m no purist or mad person wanting to do as I’ve described before ~ make it in my own image. ‘Tradition’ is about people, community, for me anyway. Somehow the grind of the industry of it verges it almost toward a theme park kind of madness, and I’ve never been comfortable in that kind of mass of surging mindless numbers pressing to get on the next ride…

But, I’m with steve ~ I see a lot of good too, It was remembering old friends that got me started, remembering how they blamed themselves for being out of step with what was happening in a rush about them, remembering their discomfort… I miss them, and I think a lot of who I am is about trying to promote their spirit where and when I can, as imperfect a vessel as I may be for that end, as out of step with these general times as I may be. Those old friends, those characters, their generosity, concerns and humour are the core of my own concerns, and my better nature, and they are the hope too…

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

I find I am in tune with Ceol on this one but then everything changes ,we just cannot control how things change sometimes.
I remember going to Set Dance workshops with Connie Ryan many years ago and learning all the ‘new ‘ dances but since then they seems to be an inexhaustible number of dances that are taught at workshops and never danced again ;-(.
Perhaps things will die down and go underground for a generation only to be rediscovered in 30 years Perhaps when I am 99 some young person will ask me to teach them how Connie danced the Connamara Set (this will result in my death by heart attack but I will die a happy man ).

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Is this the time to toy with the idea that "the Irish session" as an almost global phenomenon is peaking now, or perhaps has already peaked - depending on how much weight you want to attach to quality and how much to quantity in assessing the peak moment?
Just give something that is perceived by the world at large as "Irish trad" one or two more big chart hits in the major English-speaking markets (USA, UK and a few other corners like Oz) and the music might then be returned to the "true aficionados". Much as happened to "trad jazz" (I can still hum Stranger on the Shore, Midnight in Moscow and the March of the Siamese Children - in fact I can remember competing with my contemporaries to burp the last one) and "folk music".
Once it goes over the top and becomes really unfashionable we will all be able to relax.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

As creatures of our time, we may all unwittingly be part of the problem, but we should not ‘beat ourselves up’ about it, as the modern saying goes. Geographically and temporally separated from the old values- ‘heathens’, as our parents might have said with a knowing smile- many of us ‘keep the faith’ towards the culture through our respect and enthusiasm for the music, and in other ways.
As Ceol articulates, it comes down to heart not technique. It’s about the people we knew in our youth, about something intimate, light, nimble, precious, a modest goodness to be salvaged and taken forward, though the times may be against us.
People who understand this have no need to rush to Ireland, cluttering the highways and byways with unsummoned instruments, seeking an experience that by the nature of things is likely to be ersatz.
As you say, pull over and let them pass, those in search of a quick fix of speed and glitter, as they race on down the freeway to ‘Oirodisney’ or some other chimera of their own concoction. They will tire of it eventually. The less literal will find what they are searching for, still there and patient within.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Well, someone in the West of Ireland could cynically make a fortune out of all these gormless wannabe-player tourists by instituting a Pay to Play session, like what someone described here:
https://thesession.org/discussions/12422
As long as the "real session" players kept their real sessions quiet and went "underground" — this could all be agreed upon by tacit understandings between local players - winks and nods all round, in the local parish - people could take turns of being the paid player - same as buskers take turns on pitches on the London Underground.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

It was in County Clare and Galway I first noticed a steady trickle of musicians avoiding the main drag with many fed up of the usual guff. Why I came to this site was to read the previous discussions and as a great temperature guage to what is going on in a bigger sphere than the little goldfish bowl I swim round in. This power of instant global communication is fantastic, I think the internet has slowly become the new meduim of exchange, for instruments first, now for more, and we are free of the pub monoply that crudely defined ITM. I’m sorry for those that earn a crust playing, I fear for them that they are forced out by play for pint have a go sorts. Has anyone done a live session via the web? It would be a great statement at least.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

I play at least once a week in some sort of session, not neccessarily strictly ITM. The ones in pubs have all hit difficulties due to the landlords wanting to maximise income with Sky Sports, "music quizzes", and such like, to drag the punters in. It seems to be the ones in the back of restaurants and cafes, at weekends, that have the least difficulties in premises.
I can see how there might come a time, even in the Metrolopse, where we might turn to a house-party type of session, as a relief from these problems.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Steve- you canNOT be serious- playing live with someone half way across the globe? Some of us have enough difficulty synchronising with people in the same room :) Then there’d be time zones and jet lag and….

Re: Invasion of the Bawdy Snitchers ~

Thanks, Ceol, and the rest of you, for the most thought-provoking and inspiring discussion I’ve read here in a long, long time! Could have devolved into whinging and horror stories, but for once the voices of reason prevailed! Got me daydreaming about organizing a house ceili—might be able to fit a set or even two in the living room if I can figure out where to shift the oversized couch and the stereo and mountain of CDs and …

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

I’m just thinking out loud really, I know it wouldn’t and couldn’t work in music way, I’m just kinda thinking about the irony of using the new with the old instead of against it, a bit of a p*ss take of the i-everything world. Although I would like to be able to tune into a webcast of live music from other places, not just ITM but what else they have to offer. I suppose it’s hardest to take the fact that it’s ourselves driving the worst harm this time, no one else to blame, driving motorways through our heritage.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Pete mentions house parties- presumably referring back to how it was done in Ireland and elsewhere in the first half of the last century. How did they/do you discourage gatecrashers, unwelcome eejits etc.? Or was it completely open house?

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

"driving motorways through our heritage"

Interesting statement Steve - let’s try and be unambiguous here - exactly how how you driven motorways through your heritage? By you music becoming popular? Because people worldwide want to play it? Because it’s taken on a life of it’s own beyond it’s place of origination?

Posted by .

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot ~" ~

Yes, I think that sometimes our passions can result in an unintended tyranny, fueled too often by ignorance. So we tear down the old shop with the limited choices, ignore the voices of the elders, nudge them aside, they haven’t a clue what they’re rambling about ~ and , since we’re no longer satisfied with just the one or two local sets of quadrilles, those few couple dances, maybe there’s a couple of other figure type dances, but not enough. And, just a handful of tunes? You must be kididng, compared to the endless other possibilities evidenced in tune collections and endless recordings? How can we be satisfied with less? So, that limited choice is leveled. The asphalt is laid for a big parking lot, with spaces for the tour buses, and we put in one of those big high falutin’ supermarkets with aisles and aisles of choice, or so we think ~ tons more square sets and figure dances and fancy steps and tunes up the yin-yang, more than we can possibly ever know… Hell, we even have more being produced every day, and ‘challenging’ ones too, got to have the ‘challenging’ ones, so more scope for choreographers and composers.

Oh yeah, we place this new fangled big yahoo supermarket outside of town where only those with a car and the notion will go. To hell with the local post office or farmers market or little shop of tradition… Now we have what everybody else has, all the same, homogonized, no more that weird character and his family that ran the local shop. Now we have management and there’s even home delivery and standardization. We don’t even need to go out and subject ourselves to those little old witches pushing their shopping cars into our ankle. To hell with even bothering to go park and shop or bump into other folk, we’ll have it delivered. To hell with anything unique and regional and limited in a welcoming and comforting way, to hell with local produce when we can get lamb from New Zealand and apples from Chile. We’ll have quantity and more quantity, tunes back to back and dances back to back and everything WHOOSH!!! Hell, why bother at all, when we can have it all on the stereo or on the TV and no risk of conflict or BO…

You know, sometimes I think lauging gas would be a better option, or some other drug to excess? :-/

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Maybe I’ve missed the new purpose in this all? I am open to being informed! I long to understand!

I do miss the way we had it, places I went where we only ever did a couple of dance sets, over and over again, where we had just a few couple dances woven in, maybe a figure dance too or two, and we played the same damned tunes pretty much, from one year to the next. Where was that ~ Clare, Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Donegal, Fermanagh, Dublin ~ the list can easily be endless ~ Little River, Sydney Mines, Eskasoni, Inverness, St. Peters ~ etc… It was never ever about the music and dance, that was really just a pleasant excuse for a get together, and we always, ALWAYS, chatted and laughed. It was never dance or music back to back without a pause. We valued the pauses, we looked forward to them… They filled easily with our voices, our concerns, with care, humour and the kindness of friends… :-)

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

It’s true, this could actually be one of the most thought provoking threads on here.

I don’t entirely agree with you Ceolachan, I think the reason people started to acquiring tunnel vision is more to do with the downgrading of the importance of dance. People started expecting to enjoy simply the act of listening, which resulted in what was previously the couple of fiddlers and a flautist playing for the dancers needing to acquire a form of presentation to make it exciting for a paying audience.

It’s sad how people would wail and gnash their teeth at the idea of a ceilidh band with an electric bassist and a small-kit drummer. Yet, and it’s demonstrated by the success of commercially run ceilidhs, this kind of thing draws in non playing dancers. Why is it beyond the scope of capable musicians to form such ensembles and run not-for-profit organisations to encourage traditional dance, while keeping their truely traditional playing for an audience of other players that will appreciate it, is a mystery beyond me. The musicians should understand that they aren’t really doing this for their own benefit, they’re doing to to bring the tradition back into the lives of people who aren’t capable or willing to indulge the ways of 100 years ago - something we can’t blame them for.

In doing this, hopefully the musicians would feel part of something larger than themselves, part of a community of friends who share a common enjoyment and social activity. Which, when you think about it, is the reason why people partook in traditional music all those years ago.


Discussions like this are all very well and good, but who would actually be minded to do something like that? I suspect very few. But so many people want to weigh in on whether or not a certain band or playing style is killing the tradition, while failing to realise that upholding their lofty technical ideals they’re slowly watching the ideals of a traditionally minded culture slip away. But at least some people realise the problem is here.

Actually, I do agree with you. We cross posted, but your final point about chatting and enjoying people’s company is something that I wholeheartedly argee with you on.

Looks like it’s me getting bogged down in the semantics of it after all…. :-/

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

The last time I was in Ireland was 1964 or 65, for a month or so. Because I play the music, people keep quizzing me on why I don’t go back. C’s initial post here contains the answer.

Maybe a more positive way to look at it is that I’m not "avoiding going to Ireland," instead I’m staying here to nourish my own local session and stock of tunes and craic and community. Essentially doing what people did in small towns 200 years ago—play tunes, dance, sing, and pass the evening over a few pints and laughs. Works for me.

Posted .

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

" Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave."
I don’t fret at all about what’s happening to "the tradition". I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some great old players over the years who seem to represent old styles of playing but what would I really know? I’ll never lose the pleasure of playing a few tunes with old friends or new acquaintances and having a few drinks whether it be at home, at a party, in a pub, in a tent at a barbecue in the rain ….

Posted by .

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

" Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone"
> ~ such fictions are better left with the likes of the Victorians…

"It’s with O’Leary in the grave."
> ~ Odd you should add this, as it was in fact an O’Leary that in part had me in this pensive mood, remembering an old friend, and this after a moment of emersion in polkas and slides in search of tunes that began with a jump of a fifth or more, crazy eh?

"I don’t fret at all about what’s happening to ‘the tradition’. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some great old players over the years who seem to represent old styles of playing but what would I really know?"
> ~ that, as you said, you had that ‘pleasure’, which is the heart of ‘appreciation’… Is that not a form of ‘knowing’?

"I’ll never lose the pleasure of playing a few tunes with old friends or new acquaintances and having a few drinks whether it be at home, at a party, in a pub, in a tent at a barbecue in the rain…."
> ~ Well said, you’ve got it right!!! See, you actually know more than you give yourself credit for…

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Tabby, one of the most together and informed souls I ever had the pleasure of sharing this ‘tradition’ thing with was an illiterate farmer, illiterate in that he had a learning disability that nobody ever sussed or helped him overcome. He couldn’t quite fathom reading or writing, but the knowledge he held in stories, the tales of the land and people about him in the little part of the planet he called home, and having never ventured beyond his island ~ well, it was an intelligence that far outstripped any geniuses I’ve known ~ in understanding and insight and music… He was a big heart, a big mind, a local treasure and a hell of a lot of fun to keep company with. So, yeah, I think what you make of where you are is worth loads more than how many camps of workshops or festivals you’ve frequented, or air miles you’ve clocked, imho… :-)

Such intelligence was not uncommon… The O’Learys had it, the Cassidys had it ~ etc., etc., etc… It may be that it is becoming less so? :-/

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Home-grown, small-scale meetings with like-minded people can be remarkably difficult, if you live in certain parts of the UK. There may be a local pub session going, but, if you’re unlucky, it will turn out to be rather hard-edged, with relentless, ‘hard-core’ playing, and relatively little talking or craic, and certainly very little ‘Irishness’ about it.

Paradoxically, the best experiences for me have been in the homes of friends who play well, *like* (but don’t necessarily love) the tunes, are NOT passionate about Irish music per se, and have no Irish connections whatsoever.

Which puts me, muppet that I am, in the missionary position of trying to cajole these much better players into releasing the ‘comfort blanket’ of the notes, and to play by (and from the) heart. Far from ideal- just the way the dice have fallen. The blind leading, and being led by, the blind.

In an ideal world, everywhere would have an old chap a la Willy Clancy or Junior Crehan with the ‘knowledge’ of the kind Ceol described, around whom things could coalesce and burgeon organically as they once did. Unfortunately, these guys are few and far between, and many did not stray so far. The ‘Paddy in the Smoke’ guys seem never to have reached these far-flung parts, or if they did, probably didn’t stay.

P.S. If I’m wrong about this and just haven’t found you, please get in touch so we can get some real house parties going here in the South West (a bit far for Cornwall, mind!)

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Ceol- there’s so much in what you’ve posted above, but let me take just one sentence:-
"We valued the pauses, we looked forward to them… They filled easily with our voices, our concerns, with care, humour and the kindness of friends…"
The Coleman Archive, Vol.1, has a couple of stories thrown in among the music, and the voices left in on the introductions to a couple of songs. It’s not much, just a glimpse maybe of what you are talking about.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Driving a moterway through our heritage, sorry I am often too local in my scope, I mean the building of moterways through the Tara landscape here in Ireland, a literal buldozing of the past. i do worry about loosing the physical representations of our past. I don’t worry about the music or the dancing, the language, in fact, I think it’s better than ever, the weight of thought in this site is a testmony to that fact. Sure we have a lot of guff out there but why worry? Isn’t it better the kids play whistle badly than not at all, better than some of the other rubbish, at at least some might take it onboard and seek more from it. Culture grows only through contact, and that’s never been easier. I’ve a bad habbit of doing a skit of "old men" who liked ham san’gs and warm porter and had hankies on thier heads etc, but I loved them all, the anticipation as a kid of them coming in one by one ot listen to the ould man sing, the mother so proud of her boys and girls, don’t get me started. I’m very optimistic, what with smoking bans, rip off prices, poor service, people are realising why do they need the pub, sure it’s fun now and then, but why is it the dominant vehicle? Take it back I say, "mind the dresser an’ round the house" . As for how you control it, there’s always a chance of a wan*er but there’s always the chance of a might player or a new friend.

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Steve, I liked your motorway on all perspecitves ~ conotative, denotative, figurative… I also am a constant optimist, despite stiring things up for discussion now and again.

Tabby ~ don’t let the excesses and extremes put you off. On a not to far past visit to Clare we spent nights in a pub where we only danced "The Caledonian Set" and some couple dances, there were just a few musicians, and the music was Clare-ly familiar, regular stuff at a Clare-ly relaxed pace ~ beatiful ~ and we had plenty of time to chat and laugh too. The company was good, and we were welcomed with smiles. At most we had two full sets and we mixed as well. In the evening we probably did "The Caledonian Set" at least half a dozen times, interspersed with a bit of couple dancing. It was good.

I have been at similar laidback events where the ‘hungry’ have arrived, quickly been disappointed, and we were glad to see them part ~ if not appreciative of their very vocal complaining…

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

"The Accidental Tourist" ~ jig
Key signature: D Major
Submitted on July 24th 2007 by you.
https://thesession.org/tunes/7536

~ taking a melodic sidetrack to this discussion…

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

Don’t want to sound too gloomy here, but was looking at Bernard Parkin’s interesting site on East Clare musicians http://claremusic.tripod.com/
and was struck by two things:- a) a fair number of the players were farmers and b) most were well on in years, and many had already passed on (that was already a few years back).
Would it not be fair to say, that, particularly in the West of Ireland, it is the regular folk in small rural communities who have given the music so much of its character- made ‘traditional’ synonymous with simple, honest, altruistic, good?
As the rural economy changes, it is perhaps inevitable that this rural bedrock of the music will also shift. The music is just too strong to go under, but the changes in the way it is mediated and perceived already reflect the wider economic forces of globalisation, cheap travel, migration, mass marketing etc., as part of the (dreadful term) universal ‘leisure industry’.
This makes it even more imperative that the grass roots people, so long its custodians, fight to hang on even more determinedly to the music and pass it on as ‘organically’ as possible at local level.
It seems hard to keep popular things to a small scale (think Apple, Microsoft etc.), and Irish music may likewise be in the process of becoming a victim of its own success.
But small is still beautiful, and, under threat, it looks even more beautiful and precious than it ever was. Long may it remain unstandardised, unhomogenised and unglamourised.
(Rant over. Thanks for listening)

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

P.S. Please don’t misunderstand- I’m trying to look forward, not back. In fact, one of my favourite young groups- Teada- are playing in Montana in August (lucky old Will & co!). If ever there was a case for turning the signposts round in Ireland, this is it. >>>>>> "Head for the wide open spaces of Montana, folks."
That would clear the congestion- temporarily at least :)

Re: Invasion of the Body Snatchers ~

We’ll leave a light on for you….
:o)

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