is irish piano vamping out of date?

is irish piano vamping out of date?

With guitars and bozoukis dominating, apart from a mere handful of good solid piano players (notably lennon and mcgrath), the interest in piano backing is decreasing. is irish piano playing dead? If not, who are the rising starts to look out for?

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Funnt that,
I would have thought that the opposite is true. I reckon I’m hearing more piano in records than ever before. Buille, Beoga, Reed Only and Tim Collins, North Cregg, Callan Bridge, Harry Bradley, never mind the ceili band explosion…

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

I think it’s coming back now. In fact, Geraldine Cotter and Felix Dolan are still active, and many of recent recordings have piano backing. John Blake is definitely among the rising stars, though he plays guitar more often. http://www.claddaghrecords.com/www/product.asp?pID=1596&cID=17

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

And Felix Dolan’s son, Brendan, is carrying on the tradition quite nicely.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Mac Morin is one I know of who’s really doing some great things on the piano. I’m not a fan of the old “boom-chick” style piano accompaniment. I guess no more than I am of “boom-chick” style guitar or anything else (that’s just me though). He’s not just backing either, he does a lot of melody playing, but he does it very well. Oh yeah, he’s not an Irish player though, Cape Breton. Anyway, here’s a link or two for Mac Morin:
YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjyHur3_GdE&feature=related


And here for a few MP3 clips.
http://www.cranfordpub.com/recordings/Morin.htm

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Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Bernadette Flanagan… Rose Conway Flanagan’s daughter, Brian Conway’s niece. Very nice player!

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Yeah, but Cape Breton is a different thing altogether - the piano was alway thriving there, and the prowess and style of the CB piano players is in most cases admirable - they don’t go half way, oh no sir!

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

alway*s* <blush>

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

I wish….

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

You should hear Ryan Molloy. He’s on Humdinger with Paul Brock and Enda Scahill - absolutely top-notch.
Kind of rollicking, inventive yet still perfectly suited to the music.
Reminds me of the great Cape Breton players.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

The ceili vamping style is fine when one is playing reels in 4/4 but most modern players often prefer to play reels in 2/2 - even though they don’t know it… and zouk and guitar are well suited to the later… The problem occurs when one musician is playin in 2/2 and the piano is in 4/4.

I had a great session a few weeks back with a piano and fiddle. We played Coleman tunes, but crucially in 4/4, with the master coupler on the box, and it worked very well. It’s its own style and vibe and was a fun change.

So I don’t view it as being out of date, just another option when the instrument comes out of the case.

p.s. there will be no recorded examples this time! 🙂

Martin.

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Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Brian McGrath rocks - I’ve heard rumors of a new At the Racket CD on the way

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

listen to Padraic O’Reilly from Corofin and you’ll see that the piano in irish trad isn’t dead 😉

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Real piano in trad is generally dead. Most of the so called piano players mentioned here play electric keyboards not pianos, and I’m not just talking about in sessions, they record with them and do gigs with them.

I can sympathise with piano players using keyboards instead of pianos in sessions and certain gigs, I don’t like the sound but what you gonna do, lug a piano around with you? On recordings its unforgivable. If you’re gonna make a recording please use a real piano!

Oh and nobody mentioned Jim Corry, he plays with the Tulla Ceili Band and is one of the few piano players in trad I like. Reg Hall is also someone I can listen to, he tends to keep it nice and simple.

The Cape Breton style is much better to the old vamping style though and I’d like to see more Irish players adopt it, it works well with Irish music too I think.

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Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

electric pianos are vampier

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

I suppose if one relied on real piano, one would be at the mercy of the venue having something playable. As a piano player, that is a very long assumption to make. I have arrived and found some real clunkers.

As much as I am well known for despising all things (except maybe recorders, CD burners and such) electric and digital in ITM, the digital piano is an occupational hazard because it is certainly less difficult to lug around than the Grand in the living room.

Also, the ability to direct connect to sound systems and recording devices make it desirable. Sadly alot of the cheaper digital pianos…and even the good ones sound like c**p.

You hear a non-musician electrical engineer’s impression about what a piano tone sounds like. Alot like having a submarine builder design a sail boat.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

No. Nice sounding acoustic pianos don’t travel well but that doesn’t mean that the piano is dead as an accompanying instrument. It can sound terrific backing the fiddle, flute, or both at once, and you don’t have to look very hard to find beautiful, recent recordings that employ piano backing. Jim Corry is great, so is Geraldine Cotter; her piano accompaniment of Ronan Browne, Maeve Donnelly, and Peadar O’Loughlin on several different recordings they’ve done is first class.

I also want to throw in a good word for Mary Corcoran’s piano accompaniment of Harry Bradley. Lovely stuff.

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Speaking of nice sounding acoustic pianos - the Cork School of Music bought something like 50 new Steinways recently. Also the head of the Music Academy at UL is Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, a great pianist (I’m sure he can vamp if he feels like it). All seems like evidence that piano is alive and well in Irish music. I happen to like the sound of a slightly out-of-tune saloony old upright piano, but that’s probably from listening to too many 78s

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

I have to say that I myself prefer the guitar/bouzouki style backing, imho. I have quite a few recordings with piano, as mentioned above, particularly on ceili band cd’s.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

is irish piano vamping out of date?…. YES YES YES

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Sez the guitar, mando, banjo and zouki player…from Ozzie land…
: P ; )

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Steinways for ITM???!!! Now that is really taking the music form upscale.

I am used to seeing 100 year old uprights that haven’t been tuned since Paddy Maloney was in diapers, or spinets uf unknown provenance that sound like the toy pianos my kids played.

But there is a very authentic quality to the old/marginally tuned pianos.

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If electric pianos are “vampier”, are they a pain in the neck?

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Speaking as someone who has been playing piano for much longer (thirty-one years) than is good for anyone, I want to thank you people for recommendations about which piano players I might want to try listening to. Since a local Irish Session was started here in 1995, I have been playing piano more-or-less irregularly with this group of mixed nuts. And, since real pianos are very rare, I have had to use what I jokingly refer to as my genuine imitation piano (a Roland EP-90 Digital Piano) when I play at the sessions. I agree completely with the person who said that when a piano player makes a recording, they ought to use a real piano instead of an electronic keyboard because they are in a recording studio and you would think the studio could afford a real piano.
I agree with Zippydw’s comments about the differences between real pianos and digital pianos. Yes, Zippy, Digital Pianos do seem to be an occupational hazard for piano players at sessions. One of the few advantages of playing a Digital Piano is that I can turn the volume down low enough so I can hear all of the other musicians at the session.
I think Steinways for Irish music is too fancy but then I am biased in favor of the small Samick upright piano which I have at home. It works just fine for accompanying anything and everything.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Geoffwright, if the electric piano is made out of glass, does that make it a pane in the glass?

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Only one name to mention here.Beryl Marriott.The best.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Michael Tennyson of Leeds … when he’s not driving a JCB 🙂

“…when one is playing reels in 4/4 but most modern players often prefer to play reels in 2/2 - even though they don’t know it…”

So true - at least, it seems to work that way in London - maybe sessions should advertise as being one or the other? Mind you, it’s nice playing at either, I’m all for diversity 🙂

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Piano accompaniment may be out of fashion, but never out of date, if played by the right person. I myself love it!
Martin T’s point about 4/4 and 2/2 helped me finally realize, however, why reels accompanied with the old piano style feel different. Sometimes, just for variety, I will play my guitar “Felix Dolan” style for a set, using the thumb for the left hand part and three fingers plucking together for the right hand part.

Re: is irish piano vamping out of date?

Hopefully…

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