who was playing concertina?

who was playing concertina?

On Tuesday’s trad show on Clare FM, Eoin O’Neill played a lovely set of tunes from Michael Mahony’s brand new CD (mostly songs). I didn’t catch the musician’s name, but it was a young woman from Clare playing concertina (that narrows it down, eh?) in a live setting. Saoirse something? Wonderful stuff. The first tune was Bag of Spuds.

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I heard a solo track that she has on that CD on one of the trad shows on Clare FM a couple of days ago, but I think it’s no longer in the archives. And I didn’t catch her last name. It was very nice. Maybe Eoin will see your question and answer you. He told me he’s been poking around here lately.

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Most likely Sorcha Curtin

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looking down the recordings for that tune, the two that come to mind are Edel Fox & Mary MacNamara - if it was concertina and fiddle, it was Edel, if it was concertina and box, it was Mary

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although probably not in a live setting (I didn’t read that bit),
they usually archive them for a week

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The question referred clearly to Michael Mahoney’s CD Geoff, possibly the launch programme. I have already given the name of the most likely player in that setting.

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I’ve got a copy of the CD "On Malbay’s Shore" which features the great West Clare singer and musician Michael Mahoney and the musician on that track is in fact young concertina player, Sorcha Curtin. Sorcha has played as a young girl for many years in the Thursday night session in Cleary’s Bar, Miltown Malbay which accounts for her very traditional approach to the music. Hopefully we’ll hear more from her in the future.

Re: who was playing concertina?

Full details on the CD are shown at https://thesession.org/recordings/2889. The CD can be ordered from the Cois na hAbhna Archive by contacting Frank Whelan at ceoltrad@eircom.net.

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ha, i had precisely this question after listening to that show and didn’t think it could be answered…..

the last several months has just been a vintage harvest of obtainable recordings of concertina played the way i love it and i’m almost a little tipsy on it…..i’m playing the dympna o’sullivan record a couple of times a day, plus there’s paddy murphy, and this cut, and the tommy mccarthy cuts on the new bobby casey, and the tracks on the feakle anniversary recording, and the new kitty hayes/peter l. on youtube, and……….it’s all just a happy whirlwind…..

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oh, yeah, and all the concertina on the "kitchen sessions"…..

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‘Sorcha has played as a young girl for many years in the Thursday night session in Cleary’s Bar, Miltown Malbay which accounts for her very traditional approach to the music.’

Sorcha is just one of at least a dozen local concertinaplayers of the same age-group. Not the best of them, nor the worst. She’s a nice somewhat shy girl who seems to be put up front more than she likes herself.

Anyhow, the Blondes and ‘very traditional approach’, well, I suppose you will have to have been there to fully appreciate that remark and get a good laugh out of it.

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i also love sharon o’leary of west clare….guess she is a bit older…

here is a clare fm-generated concertina question….i like my feakle anniversary cd, but had thought that a feakle festival track i heard on clare fm was on this cd and was disappointed to find that it was not——either paul carroll or joan hanrahan played a beautiful set of reels played by kate mcnamara backed on guitar by michael landers, who often plays with mark donnellan & andrew mac….it was live at the festival, and i wrongly took it to be part of this anniversary cd——anyone know if this track is on a cd, or????? i love the playing of kate mcn…..

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paulA carroll….sorry

In Defence of Sorcha and Blondes

No this has nothing to do with the dumb variety but just an attempt to counter an assertion about Sorcha’s playing and also the session where she picked up many of her influences. The statement "Not the best of them, nor the worst" would suggest that there is something mediocre about this young concertina player which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Anyone who has listened to this CD would agree with me and isn’t this why the thread started in the first place with compliments in the various posts. As for "who’s best and worst" let’s leave this to the adjudicators and competition addicts and just enjoy good music when we hear it.

I also can’t agree with the assertion that we can "get a good laugh out of" the Blonde’s traditional credentials. My own personal experience during "Willy Week" is that this is always a favourite session venue. I understand that throughout the year it attracts musicians such as Michael Falsey (a living legend of Kilfenora, Tulla and Laichtin Naofa Céilí Band fame), singer and musician Michael Mahony, box player Peter Haugh, flute player Pat Curtin just to mention a few - I don’t think that they come much more traditional than that!

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My point was ofcourse that Sorcha is just one of many young concertina players in the locality who is now being singled out as special because she happens to have a tune on a CD. And yes, there are a few players here that I would think of maybe as nicer.

The Blondes, well think of that as you like. To each their own I suppose, the assertion that someone should go there to get a particularly special traditional flavour to their playing is ludricous. Or you may say the same thing about the sessions in Friel’s or the Crosses of Annagh, Hillery’s or even Malone’s these days.

I suppose it’s a Comhaltas thing.

As for the CD, it’s lovely as a tribute to Michael although why was no effort made to record him when he was in better health and anyone who has heard the ensemble tracks on it will have to wonder if his music is best remembered by wrapping it in accordeons, banjo flute and pipes. Surely he deserves better.

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I just like to sum up and make clear (if I wasn’t before) that Sorcha is a very nice concertinaplayer but one of several from the same community, that is no negative reflection on her in any way. .

The blondes as a stronghold of the traditional approach is what got me going.

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i think that for folks whose exposure and access to current irish concertina players is limited by a winnowing process that is arbitrary to say the least, it is refreshing to get to hear examples of playing outside the narrow category of what we are "supposed" to find "special," according to awards schtick, workshop-tutorial faculty assignments, and comhaltas kitsch. i don’t mean the bruited players are not good musicians, but i find it very revealing of something, that left to their own taste, un-indoctrinated listeners flip over playing such as that on this track and would like to hear more……it is like the thread on concertina.net where people wanted to learn how mary macnmara does her triplets, or when someone posted asking where they could get more concertina playing by patsy lewis…..the gatekeepers do not have the last word on what people respond to…….and ha, nice to hear that there is more out there….

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Unfortunately C. the ‘gatekeepers’ do have a say in what people respond to, people seem to respond to what they are fed and that is recorded music.

The whole point of my post was to say there’s a whole world of nice young concertinaplayers, this one being just one of many players from the 13-18 age group that play around the same level and locality.

And speaking of Comhaltas kitsch, I have seen the poor girl in question recently at a concert with the ‘Blondes’ group and I pitied her (and anyone else) for having to sit through the Oirish cabaret atmosphere they let loose on their audience, joke telling and Fester and Ailing type singing and all.

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well, i was being charitable and going on the theory that people respond to what they like if only they can get to hear it, expressing my sense that what the gatekeepers have a say in is exposure, i.e., what those not on hand to see for themselves, have access to. but anyway, nice to hear there is plenty of it around. seemed to be the case on the corofin and kilmaley "kitchen sessions," as well….

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[Oirish cabaret atmosphere, etc]

oh, there too? i knew that stuff went on at malone’s but didn’t know it was elsewhere, ha….

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Malone’s, don’t think the mondaynight suffered from that. Bernadette McCarthy is there now on the mondays and it seems to be thriving.

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[Oirish cabaret atmosphere, etc] - there seems to a lot of mis-information on this thread and I’d be very surprised if this is the sort of thing that goes on in the Blondes.

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Come on Bannerman, read what was said :

‘And speaking of Comhaltas kitsch, I have seen the poor girl in question recently at a concert with the ‘Blondes’ group and I pitied her (and anyone else) for having to sit through the Oirish cabaret atmosphere they let loose on their audience, joke telling and Fester and Ailing type singing and all.’

which was a perfectly valid statement that referred to a specific occasion.

Can you point out where the ‘lot of misinformation’ in this thread is, please. I don’t mind addressing any of it.

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Was the occasion a Comhaltas event as that’s what seems to be inferred?

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The concert was indeed organised under the Comhaltas umbrella.

Seriously now, I don’t want to get this into a row of sorts or have it leave any sort of bad feeling after it , if you think I have put ‘misinformation’ in this thread I will be happy to elaborate on what I have said in order to clarify things. We agree to disagree where matters of taste or opinion are concerned but I have not posted ‘misinformation’ as you seem to imply.

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In order to clarify the matter then, can you please confirm where the concert took place and the Comhaltas group that organised it.

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I have taken the specifics to e-mail

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I feel you are getting tiresome Kilfarboy. Try not to be so negative and critical . Mol an oige" Have you ever played in the Blondes? I have and enjoyed it. In fact I would say it is one of the best traditional sessions you’re likely to find . They are broadminded enough to welcome a party piece from anyone brave enough to contribute. I have also been in O’Friels , another great pub. Pity you chose to comment on a man’s state of health in a public forum . I think this was out of order.
I have no problem with a variety concert . A little humour is refreshing . I can even listen to Foster and Allen . Your attempt at humour? in this regard is puerile to say the least.

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You have chosen not to respond openly in the session to Bannerman , yet you can dish the dirt when it suits you and take cover when your bluff is called. Lets all r3ad your response .

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as a non sequitur, but just to release some concertina love into the air, i believe it was that same clare fm segment where i was wondering about the playing on the "malbay shores" cd, where a cut from the john jo casey cd of concertina music was played, reminding me to get re-acquainted with my copy, which hadn’t had much rotation of late…..what a lovely and unique little morsel this record is….the liner notes had this great line which i think is apt for all of us here, of whatever stance on this issue, which was to the effect that those who put it together were hoping it would contribute one more little piece to the mosaic picture of clare music…..the more of those little pieces i get, the happier i do seem to be….i notice that both kilfar and bannerman have been particularly generous on youtube of late with wonderful little pieces of the mosaic, and it is just great……🙂

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I don’t think you’ll be served in any way by me stating a time and place of a concert you weren’t at Piper Reilly. Sometimes these discussions become so specific they’re best taken off the public forum. I have supplied Bannerman with the details he asked for, no problem at all.

I have had some good nights in the Blondes during the winter time long ago with JC Talty and Michael Murphy with George Byrt on the piano, playing the old Ceiliband sets. I enjoyed that.
There were nights far less memorable too. Pete Haugh and Michael Mahoney, all fine people. I don’t think there’s a problem with raising an eyebrow though at some of Bannerman’s comments as I did.

And for my comments regarding a Comhaltas atmosphere, a personal peeve maybe but I don’t like that very much so sometimes I tend to give out a bit. As I said, we can agree to disagree on matters of taste and opinion. No problem.

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There may be a point where some specific things are best handled off the public forum but I couldn’t help reacting to a comment that the traditional credentials of the Blondes were something we can "get a good laugh out of". Similarily I feel that Sorcha’s playing style has been influenced by her association with musicians of the calibre of Michael Mahony as has probably lots of other young West Clare musicians. I’m glad you enjoy the odd clip Ceemonster as at the end of the day it’s the sharing of the music which is a lot more important than the airing of opinions.

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Fair enough, this discussion went further than it should have.

I a way Bannerman you speak always fro ma CCE background, Comhaltas event and Comhaltas sessions. Which is fine. It wouldn’t suit me but it’s a big world and there are many tastes.

But my reaction was maybe coloured by this. There’s more to music than what Comhaltas presents us with and singling out one concertinaplayer, fine a player as she may be, also ignored the fact the same community has quite a few more equally worthy of praise Just as it has several locations and outlets where those attending can pick up a true ‘traditional approach’.

I mentioned that concert which was organised by the local CCE but included a community wide selection of players, many not at all affiliated with the organisation. The Blondes group is the quintessential Comhaltas group and some of the entertainment they provided wouldn’t be mine. Sorry if saying so offends anyone.

At the same concert Brid O Donohue’s pupils played, as the Ceoltoiri Lachtin Naoifa a name they have carried for many years. The group had at least three lovely concertinaplayers (I don’t recall exactly who were playing the concertina in that group on the night (I remember three by name), The group included flute,fiddle, concertina, harp, pipes whistles and brilliant dancing. Easily the best part of the concert for me, for the level of playing and the sheer joy and fun these teenagers radiated. And I can only remind you all this skill and fun came to pass without any involvement from CCE.

That’s the positive side I look at, the sheer number of promising musicians that’s there, that will hold the future, all of them.

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Hi again folks .
Been away. I note Kilfarboy that you haven’t had the grace to acknowledge your grave omission in commenting on the state of a man’s ill health on a public forum . Shame on you!
With regard to your laudatory comments on the performance of an individual group at the concert you draw attention to , I am informed that the majority of the performers are indeed members of a Clare branch of Comhaltas and compete regularly at Fleadhanna Cheoil. "Go neiri an tadh leo"
You also refer to the fact that they have used the name "Ceoltoiri Laichtin Laichtin Naofa for many years . That’s most refreshing since the famed Laichtin Naofa Ceili Band was formed in Miltown Malbay /Mullagh /Quilty area formed as far back as 1954 and the line up included that great flute player J.C.Talty of Tulla Ceili Band fameand uncle of Brid O’Donoghue. Perhaps you weren’t around then.
I am of an age to remember the great days of the house dances / parties in rural Ireland when a group of musicians elevated above the dancers ,on the flagged kitchen floor provided the music, where singers , storytellers , lilters . liars and all sorts of entertainers performed to the delight of all present into the early hours. You obviously have little concept of the might of the proud tradition that we have inherited , as is evident from your negative knocking ,ill informed comments regarding the "Blonde’s" session . I cannot find find words to castigate your negativity and lack of understanding or appreciation of what is central to our Gaelic heritage . You use the name "Kilfarboy " the name of a parish with an ancient history . Respect it!

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Please post a profile Kilfarboy , I like to know who I’m responding to /differing with. I may not agree with your opinions but defend to the death your right to express them.

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Come on Kilfarboy. What’s the problem ? Cat got your tongue? Embarrassed by the half truths eh?