Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXanHvrjQO0


Celtic Women ‘av a go… ~ daft as brushes and hair straighteners…
That poor bleach abused hair… What do you think, extensions?
She crucifies this poor little slip jig… IM’H’O
Don’t forget to flick your hair when you play this, if you have any to flick…
And give a Vanessa Mae stomp about a try, with affected attitude…

Mairead Nesbitt that is, lays it on a bit t’ick don’t yuh t’ink? :-(

And that dress? ~ and then rippin’ the ‘ell out of a set of reels… The gloss is blindin’….

I know, I ‘should’ start on a positive, but after this ruined my appetite and curdled my porridge, and killed the Irish shamrock, well, I had to share the pain of it…

I know, some of you old farts out there are probably in love with her, but it doesn’t set with me. I never did like barbies for much else that strapping to an Estes rocket and sending into orbit, or beyond the reach of my Monkies loving baby sister… She’d like this, being fond of things dripping of affectation and melodrama…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

*sigh* It’s becoming "The Irish Washerwoman" of our era. Too bad, it was a harmless, lovely little tune.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Awww, ceol: You’re just having a bad day. That crap has about as much to do with what us session fanatics like to do as MacDonna (as I like to refer to her) and clowns like Justin Timberlake have to do with my rockin’ buddies crankin’ out the Chuck Berry tunes in bars on weekends for us dancers.
This too shall pass…
She’s certainly a more technically accomplished fiddle player than I’ll ever be.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Tom’s got it right Mr."C".Let’s have a Paddy and listen to some Breda Keville instead.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Maybe I’m too old for all that hair flicking and dashing about the stage. At my age I like my women to keep reasonably still. I suppose it all part of the package that includes shaky eggs and a drummer with a swivel neck and pony tail doing continues single stroke rolls on various drums….did I hear ‘Awesome….of course I did. Not for me I’m afraid.
Ready Lads…A one..two…three..four….

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

What do you get when you cross Britney Spears with Eileen Ivers?

Not bad, but not trad.

IMHO.

And not to suggest I think I could do better, either.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

If you give me enough pints I may flail around a bit too, but I’m not wearing any dresses.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

i used to hate the butterfly, but then a couple of years ago i listened to the way its suppose to be played. listen to the liffey banks lp by tommy potts (seeing as he did compose the thing) for the proper version. its a great tune and definately not this generations the irish washerwoman.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

She’s speeds up between the first and second go around, must be terribly bored. Then there’s that "b-wooop b-weep b-wop" sound she gets on the first part that drives me crazy after the 2nd or 3rd time she does it.

It was obviously too early for me to quit herion today.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Wise words, ceolachan. More like a glammed-up public relations or marketing excercise that a sensitive rendering of that wistful tune. The music should be about soul, not about money. When I play that tune (or listen to someone alse playing it), I like to conjure up in my mind’s eye a hot sultry airless July afternoon, with a butterfly flitting between the hollyhocks, blissfully unaware that its short life is soon to end. I had no such feelings when I heard this particular rendering. It left me cold - and also angry that someone - albeit very competent - was popularising it. Also, if taken solo, it’s best on a wooden flute, or perhaps a breathy whistle, rather than on at fiddle.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Going on practically every time I’ve heard The Butterfly played, including here, I’ve come to call it (to myself) The Iron Butterfly, and dread the lumbering sweep of its wings in my direction. Comparable to an engorged pterodactyl barely able to clear the giant horsetails after a meal of juvenile dinosaurs, this tune can be relied on to cast its baleful shadow over my life every so often, and when it approaches I usually sham death till it has gone away again. It is not the tune that is at fault so much as the way it is so often played.

I have never observed that cavorting about while playing benefited the music, at any rate on the gentler instruments.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Regretfully Tradmoosic, this tune is getting pounded to bits regularly at thousands of sessions across America. I do indeed see it becoming Washerwoman-esque in the near future. It’s usually played much too fast and quite sloppily. The last time I heard it at a session, I didn’t know whether to join in and play or start a mosh pit.

But curse me I can’t help it - I think that celtic woman Nesbit gal is a cutie-pie. I don’t care if she is flitting about like a butterfly.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

And as if that poor butterfly’s life wasn’t short enough, she killed it before its time …

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

The way she plays the Butterfly is just way too horrible and syrupy, and I can’t stand it. But the two reels she plays after it - I would probably be able to tolerate them, and possibly even think them not to bad, if I just heard them. But it’s all the prancing around, peroxide hair, fancy lighting, pony-tailed, leotard-wearing drummer etc, that really gets me and makes me want to throw up.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Cute indeed! But although Barbie was fantasic, she was made of plastic…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I confess to sitting and watching Celtic Women one weekend afternoon, bemused. They’re very lovely ladies, very talented, and how can I fault someone for trying to keep the lights on and the roof from leaking? I wish them all the best.

But there was this one moment, this choreographed expression that Ms Nesbitt had down cold, a stage look, that won my admiration it’s for sheer, unapologetic, cheesy theatricality and nerve:

She was playing a slow vibrato-laden part, I think the beginning to that trad Irish tune “Shenandoah”, and she looked off in the distance, as if yearning for something. A single note floated through the reverb. Her eyes shone mistily. Finally, she found what she was looking for — a tender smile crossed her face and she nodded as if to say, “ah, yes…” then launched into the tune.

It was awesome awesome showmanship. I burst out laughing.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Glad I missed it. I may have burst out with projectile vomiting
; )

It’s fun to turn it into a hop jig and inflict it on people who are infatuated with the syrupy take on it, tho’ X D

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I suggest the best way to judge the musicality of a performance on video that perhaps is well OTT on physical expression (as in this instance) is to turn the vision off and listen to the sound as music in its own right.
In other words, would you buy the CD?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I dont like it
,of course, she is an accomplished player
.in my opinion she is clueless, completely lacking in good taste,or appropriate style,the other version is better,but that wouldnt be difficult.
I saw a fly but afly,fie man fie
,saw a butterfly flutter by,whos the fool now
saw abutterfly flutterby but afly and flutter by.thou has well drunken man, whos the fool now.

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Lazy, that’s interesting, so I tried it without watching it. It was even worse

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I’m glad this tidal wave of treacle has gone West, not East.

Obviously, plenty of people Stateside will pay good money for it. The rest, meanwhile, have huge expanses of desert, mountain, prairie and urban jungle in which to find refuge from it. We lack such spatial resources over here, unless you count the odd red squirrel sanctuary.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

If I get hair extensions, will I be able to play like that?

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

The trouble with you lot is that you don’t realise that it was a performance. We just don’t do performances around ‘ere do we. Performances make us uneasy. But the world needs performances, even bad ones, and I’m not altogether sure this one fell into that category. I won’t buy it but I’ll give it 4.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I like a good performance. This was not a good performance

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I’d pay good money to see you dressed up like that, with hair extensions, and cavorting about with your harmonica Steve…

Thanks you lot, I haven’t stopped laughing yet… You’ve put me in a good mood and I’m sure tomorrow morning’s porridge will be fine…

Hound dog, to suggest such a torture… My wife, not seeing what was happening, was complaining bitterly from a distance, where she was hearing it in a much less direct form… If she’d been any closer I’m sure her ears would have bled…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I’ve no hair to flick, and I’d look rediculous in a basque…so this sort of prancin’ about isn’t something I’m at all capable of…not without previously downing at least a half bottle of Jamesons or something of similar or greater strength…

I’ll book a hall for you Steve, and arrange the costume and makeup, just tell me when and where…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

For my sins I have to do performances most of the time. It gets me free Doom Bar (after which I don’t give a monkey’s bloody mickey about whether it was a performance or what), and a few folding greenies in the back pocket on a good day. I judge as to whether I gave a good performance or not by whether the pub clientele whooped, cheered, stomped and danced and whether the landlord wants us back next week. He always seems to. I do not use the same criteria to decide whether I played well or whether I’m sacrificing my soul to the divil. That can wait until the sleepless hours following the gig. By my reckoning, looking at the thing as a whole, on balance, taking all the pros and cons into account, I reckon the lady gave a good performance. That is not to say I think she played The Butterfly well. The Butterfly is a track on my own CD yet I find myself singularly unable to judge whether she gave a good performance of it or not. All I know is that I listened from start to finish and found it interesting and that I probably won’t be going to that particular YouTube link again. Judge not lest ye be judged. I’ll take yer good money on the terms you refer to any time, C. But I always want free Doom Bar, I warn you.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

When it comes to the musical interpretation of The Butterfly by Ms. Nesbitt, well, that’s not the way I like to hear that tune played, and I’ll leave it at that.

As for her posturing and overall prancing about, it puts to my mind the idea of some cheap stripper. She is rather inelegant in her demeanour, and I personally find that this in itself taxes the tune into gawdyness. Too bad, because she certainly is a skilled fiddle player. She reminds me of Celine Dion : Oodles of talent but no brains or heart to make it mean anything.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Well so much for the musical interpretation. But it was meant to be a performance. Do you think it worked on that level? Do the cheering punters at the gig or the Gawd-knows-how-many pages of riotous comments on the video count for nought? Think carefully before getting on the high horse…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Maybe she’s technically accomplished but it was a pretty soulless performance. She didn’t seem to engage with the music at all - far too focused on getting that hair flicking right for the cameras. It might make a good hair conditioner commercial.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I think Steve Shaw has it right - we, the denizens of the session.org are NOT the target audience. However, I’m sure the blue haired bitties in the front row were quite weepy eyed at her performance.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Hey Ceol-I’m glad that some of us were able to cheer you up a bit…
To paraphrase someone’s comments in an earlier discussion (which was paraphrased from somewhere else, I’m sure), "she sure is purty…tombo wants to doink the purty girl…"
Back in the day when we were doing the local festivals, I used to make the joke (on mike, of course) that people should stick around because the next set, whatever hapless sideman we’d brought along (or me, if there were no other victims) would be presenting their tribute to Michael Flatley. Heavily-oiled bulging biceps, with some kind of brass thingees wrapped around them…come to think of it, didn’t Mark Farner in Grand Funk Railroad start doing that around 1970?
I’d like to know what Steve’s talking about regarding the "Doom Bar". We never heard about that stuff at the South Haven Blueberry Festival…

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Llig wrote "I tried it without watching it. It was even worse"
Thanks. A successful verification of my suggestion!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Sure Steve, it was indeed a performance, but one that put the player before the tune, and that’s what seems unacceptable to me.

So what if people comment about it on YouTube? I’m sure a lot of people would comment about any well-known performer given the chance.

A "performance", depending on whose opinion is tapped, might be many things, and I think the ambiguity of that signification might be at the root of much discussion on this board.

To perform a piece of music may be done in the context of a theatrical play as a form of prop, used by a comedian who knows just enough to play said tune for the effect required by the play.

It could just as well be played in a very formal context, such as a presentation of The College Hornpipe played by the Orchestre de la Maison de Radio France under the direction of Kurt Mazur, and presented to the public as "Une Matelote à l’Angloise"…

Bring the two together and you get opera.

This said, and I think the majority of those who have contributed to this thread might agree, if "performance" there is to be, there must be a certain sacrifice made by the interpreter in favour of the piece of music being presented, or submitted to the public’s appraisal. This is what makes the piece live.

To present The Butterfly in the way Ms.Nesbitt does puts herself forward of the tune like some piece of meat in a butcher’s shop, the overall resulting in a dead and ready product for consumption by the masses.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"Doom Bar" has me flumixed too… It sounds akin to ‘the restaurant at the end of the universe’, and rather final… But Steve has me more worried with his notion of ‘entertainment’… In a saner reflection, I’ll hold on to my hard won dosh. I really don’t want to see Steve stomping around on stage in a basque and long flowing dress and extensions blowin’ on his harp… But hey, there’s always a crowd somewhere that will throw their coins at anything, and for some, all it takes is a skirt. So, Steve, best of luck with the act. Don’t get arrested… But, if you have time, what is this "Doom Bar" stuff? Is that a harmonica strapped to a 1000 Watt amp and ear busting speaker system?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Interesting Fanning ~ like chocolate that is mostly vegetable fat and sugar ~ wrapped up in a pretty package and hyped further by the advertisement and media ~ yes ~ an audience is manufactured for it. Let them have it, if that’s what they choose, I prefer real chocolate and food without all the hype and additives, personally. In most cases we know the butts our eggs come from, by chance, free range butts… But, hey, there wouldn’t be this quasi-chocolate or ready meals or battery hens if there wasn’t someone to sell it to, someone willing to buy into it…

Your words speak well for my initial notion, Fanning ~ that it was less about the music and mostly about the performer and the performance… Where music is concerned, the music usually suffers under such influences ~ like the little bit of chocolate lost in the vegetable fat and sugar…if that makes sense? :-/

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

DoomBar’s only 4% ~ Sheesh! Steve’s a Whoos!!! :-D

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"Derriere Bollywood" ~ now that has Ms. Nesbitt beat hands down…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

My guess is that "Doom Bar" is a local beer in Cornwall - possibly somewhat like Winkle’s Old Peculiar (beer) as drunk in Ankh-Morpork.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"Old Peculiar", now that’s more like it Laz!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Interesting analogy Ceol’. Incidentaly, I enjoy 98% chocolate.

An interesting commentary on the market economy could be made here : I don’t blame the eejit that tries to sell ice to Inuits, but the Inuits that actually buy it from him…

I’ve mentionned that I operate in a country (France, or Absurdistan if you like) that has done everything in the course of its history to eliminate its own traditional music, so notions of ITM here are scant at best. If anyone can get away with cheap renditions of Irish music, it’s me. I’d just as well not though.

Respecting the public means giving them something they may not know well, but something true. Giving them vegetable fat and sugar, then selling it off as "chocolate" is still selling them mostly junk and lying about the true content of their purchase.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

A couple of thangs. I love The Butterfly (I’m one of those contrary bastards who think that tunes that get played too much get played too much because they’re bloody good tunes), but I don’t own it. If someone wants to play it with swirling hair and big, er, "thingies" flopping around, they’re jolly well entitled to as far as I’m concerned. The next thing is that it’s a free country and I can zap the browser in a split second if I don’t like what I hear. Next, it’s a composed tune anyway and as such (why I’m saying that bit I don’t know) I don’t think it behoves any of us to say how it should or shouldn’t be done. Not that we are doing, but it does mean that it’s OK to do more or less what you like with it and you’ll be either praised or strung up for putting your head above the parapet, and all power to ye. I did say I wouldn’t be taking another look at the video, which means I wasn’t all that keen to say the least. I can tell you I think it’s crap but I can’t tell you it’s crap. I’m actually not saying either. Now I happen to be a Doom Bar expert so ask me anything. I help out with the tasting at the brewery every Friday. :-D

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Steve, OK to ask you late about Doom Bar on Friday then? :-)

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

… that should’ve read "OK to ask you about Doom Bar late on Friday then? :-)"
After that faux pas I really must carefully check some other typing I’ve been doing off-line this evening!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

YouTube Right c?
ask your baby sister who was one of the early people starting the now ubiquitous music video.
What would you do under all those lights in a blue dress?
Anyway TV is always better wit the sound turned off. But she is not dancing a slip jig.
Are you sure it is butterfly. I cannpt tell. My speaker is blown.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

It’s a great ‘performance’, even though it lacks any sort of feeling for the tunes. She’s making money - you can see it in the driven look in her eyes that she’s up there doing a job of work, and doing it pretty nicely by her own criteria.

It even sounds better if you compare it to the video response posted - Drowsy Maggie after she fell asleep, having taken arsenic from the rigor mortis grin on her chops…. and the audience loved that one as well.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

So here;s the question.
If Mairead Nesbitt showed up at your session would you turn to her & say, "Do you ave a tune for us?" or "Nice hair!"

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Probably more along the lines of "nice hair," since I would be flirting shamelessly.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Random: Hey, you started this, not me…
I suspect that I’m a bit more, um ‘mature’ than Marklar, so I’d leave the shameless flirting with the alleged delectable unit to him. I’d be trying to find out if Mairead’s mom was along, so’s I could flirt with her, instead. And maybe I’d be trying to get some fashion tips for my 14-year-old daughter. I’d definitely ask for a tune, as it’s apparent that young Mairead can kick my skinny keister tune-wise any day of the week.
Just to answer your question…

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Who was the Jolly Green Giant? Why was the Incredible Hulk playing the spoons/drums?

What was the Andes connection? I didn’t see the Patagonians playing their panpipes? Is it Celtic or is it South American - can’t they make their mind up?

I am happy that I am payed the going rate, to sit all night on stage with a pint at hand and just play, without having to throw myself around like a demented dervish (that is the audiences job).

Why did all the band have dots in front of them? Aren’t we trying to discourage dots in ITM?

Having watched the pianist bashing the keys, out of time with the sound track, I am begining to wonder if it was a soundtrack, and if she was actually playing.
She has sold her soul.

Re: Celtic Women

As it happens I just received some press material because Celtic Woman will be playing four gigs in Germany this autumn. It’s a case of ‘40 million flies can’t be wrong’:
"Celtic Woman sold more than 4 million albums worldwide,
topping the US World Music Charts for 95 consecutive weeks."
Who are we to argue?
I wonder what the world music charts are turning into these days.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"She has sold her soul"

Perhaps.
I think there is a point where I draw the line on what I will and will not do with the music I love best, just so I can still face the mirror in the morning without wanting to shoot myself.

I think she has drawn a rather different set of lines than i might.

And then ecstatically, with wild abandon, LEAPT over them.

Rather sad, I think.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

& how many voted Bush repeatedly as president? Should this determine anything? :-/

~ for how many consecutive year? ~ I’m still praying for diving intervention… Please, if there is a God!!!

"diving intervention" ~ I like that, get your suits on and lets get under all this shight and do our sessions in underwater pubs…

The point ~ "millions" can be horribly wrong…

"US World Music Charts"?! ~ :-P

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Tommy Potts is the best version so far,but Iam not a great Potts fan,and even his version doesnt really do it for me.
The Butterfly is a lovely tune,and wasnot part of it composed by Potts
.Iam sorry there are two traditioinal fiddlers I cant stand,one is Potts,and the other is …SeanMaguire,for completely diferent reasons.
however I will give Tommy Potts 8 for this one.

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Never mind Mairead. Her mum, Kathleen, is a really fine trad fiddle player and teacher. You should be able to see her on a Comhaltas video clip somewhere. And she smiles!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Ah dickens, I’m glad to see Tommy can still stir the pot, he’s not for everyone, no doubt. A true radical genius, even years after the fact. My buddy who found the clip had never heard him before. "What’s with the intro, is he drunk?"

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I have put a version up on sound lantern,so you can all rubbish my version now.Dick Miles

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

If you aren’t wearing a basque, a long flowing skirt and blonde hair extensions I’m not interested… ;-)

So, give us the link already…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I’m still haunted by images of the "engorged Pterodactyl". I think it would be a much better performance if a short, fat, ugly and balding middle aged man wearing ill fitting jeans and an old sweater was to play it ;-)

Where have all the ladies gone? Who is going to defend this woman’s right to have long blonde hair and wear a skirt if she chooses?

Ok, will get off my soap box now.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Hey, who’s to say she isn’t an embarrassment to both sexes?

I’m all for any balding middle aged man playing it. or blalding middle aged woman… Besides, I’m more intrested in the music than the packaging. The age, sex, costume or state of health are incidental…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

im sorry there dick but you are obviously stupid! lol. tommy potts composed the bloody tune, that is how it was meant to be played, the way he interpreted it. obviously there is room for scope but i listened to your link there and im sorry if that was me id be embarrassed! to give tommy potts 8 (to give him a rating at all!) and then put a link to your own tripe is laughable! lol. its like condemning neilidh boyles version of the moving cloud without realising he wrote the damn thing (the version you hear playe dby everyone is wrong, listen to james kelly, paddy o’brien and daithi sproule for a closer version of the tune).

im sorry if tommy potts and sean maguire irritate you but if you ask any of the great fiddle players young and old, they are two players that would be mentioned as influences. frankie gavin sure said he wished he could play like tommy potts. give me a break man, if these two truely great players irritate you and you play the way you do, it shows how much or in this case how little you know about irish music. maybe the reason you cant stand them is because they are both masters of the tradition and they are another reminder of how you are not. stop kiddin yourself!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

God I cant stand the bloody tune……
Shes just playing a tune lads, jeez you lot got nothing better to do than put someone down? Id like to see any of you stand on stage solo and play the butterfly. Shes not my cup o’ tea either but as an All Ireland fiddle Champion she probably a lot better fiddler than any one here. Sounds ok to me . Yer al just jealous that she makes a living playing music, is beautiful, famous and a fine fiddler. perhaps pop in here to make your views known;http://maireadforum.com/forum

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Nothing wrong with a bob. I wouldn’t deny she’s probably doing very well monetarily, that doesn’t mean we can’t have an opinion about the music, and air it. Unless of course you’re the grand poobah of tradition and it is your judgement that money is more important than quality and we have not right to speak to the contrary… You do seem as ready to judge, in this case all present. There’s no jealousy here, so you got that one wrong, and sorry, I don’t think she’s either beautiful or a particularly fine fiddler. Yes, she’s got technique and a slew of tricks, but my idea of ‘fine’ is someone I’d want to have a regular ear full of. Sorry, she’s not in that category, not by any stretch of the imagination, yours or mine. So, comment on what you feel about her playing, but don’t put words or attitude on our plate that we haven’t actually clearly stated, please…grand poobah…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I don’t think you should be so hasty, tradmoosic …

As I understand it (and perhaps you’ll think I’m "stupid" too) Tommy only composed the third part.

You say "the version you hear played by everyone is wrong." The idea of "right" or "wrong" versions of tunes is totally at odds with my understanding of traditional Irish music.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"Skin The Peelers" ~ the caterpillar to this
Key signature: C Major & G Major in the comments
Submitted on February 7th 2004 by fiel.
https://thesession.org/tunes/2482

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

i dont think you’re stupid grego, i was referring to dickens comments as a whole and his audacity to post his own playing of the tune as an attempt to push his own agenda.

as for right and wrong, personally i have nothing against, taking the moving cloud as an example again, with the version everyone plays, but as regards how the tune was originally composed it is ‘wrong’ in that sense.

but i do think that tommy wrote the whole tune not just the last part. this is talked about in a series of documentaries broadcast on rte radio some years ago.

and i can see what you are saying ceolachan, but there are numerous tunes that sound incredibly similar but are unrelated, take for example ‘the pigeon on the gate’ and ‘the drunken landlady’. both tunes are very similar but there is no relation or story on the two becoming mixed up or anything.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

there are many ways to play a tune,and we are all entitled to subjective opinions.,
but one of the important things [imo] is to pass on and share different versions and enjoy music.
tradmoosic, quite frankly I dont care what you think about my playing any more that I care about what JimCarroll thinks about my singing ,I enjoy what I am doing.
I am not sure what these agendas are I am supposed to have,apart from showing another way of playing the tune.
I mean you dont seriously, think, I expect to get work from posting a tune up here,do you think all the bar owners in Cork and Kerry are listening to the session to spot new talent.

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Ionannas;

" (…) as an All Ireland fiddle Champion she probably a lot better fiddler than any one here." (sic)

She does have a great technique, this is undeniable.

"Id like to see any of you stand on stage solo and play the butterfly"

I play this piece, solo, myself as part of my repertoire, and have done so before up to three thousand people. That’s not gigantic, but it’s enough to make you think twice about your presentation.

Don’t you dare try to give any of us here any goddamned lessons you hear me?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I heard her playing on the radio a few times before she became a "Woman’ and famous. She was a darn good player, and I bet she would still be a great addition to any session. Don’t confuse the glitz, and the style she uses in these grand productions, for her true spirit and abilities.
I remember a session at a festival once where Martin Hayes was one of the participants, and all I knew of him was his ‘new age-ish’ recordings with Dennis Cahill. But what I saw that day was a great session player who fit right in and was a lot of fun.
And I would bet that after seeing Celtic Woman, a lot of little girls who might otherwise not be exposed to The Music turned to their mommies and asked if they could learn to play the fiddle, which is a good thing.
Music is not a zero sum game. These performances are not a threat to us, merely a different approach to the art. And many people enjoy them, so who am I to rain on their fun.
Live and let live………..

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I thought the lesson here was ”how not to play the butterfly”. What lessons are you referring to ?
You have a video of you playing the butterfly on stage? As I said , Id like to see it, then we can slag that too eh?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

One thing about Mairead Nesbitt’s fiddle technique that I don’t think anyone has specifically commented on here is that you’re not going to be moving fast round the stage while playing the fiddle without a violinistic disaster (bow parting company with the strings and things like that) UNLESS you’ve got absolutely solid technique and control.
If you’ve got that solid technique and control why not put it to good use and earn some good money by doing spectacular things the audience enjoys?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Someone mentioned a lack of synch between sound and vision. That’s not completely unusual on YouTube - even a perfect video uploaded can end up with some asynch by the time it’s gone through various processes in YouTube’s servers and finally comes out the other end as streaming video.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

relistening to Mairead and not watching the video.
I will say this,her technique and tone are good,her rhythym is better than Tommy Potts,She would[imo] be better to dance to than Potts,but I prefer Potts ornamentation,but its all subjective,if we al liked the same thing wouldnt life be boring.

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

There are so many musicians whose publicly available recordings don’t BEGIN to do them justice.

For instance, you wouldn’t begin to know how good Kathleen Keane is from Gaelic Storm CDs, and Roisin Dillon, with Cherish the Ladies, is an absolute monster fiddle player, with amazing time, and depth of variation. You’d NEVER know that from the available Cherish the Ladies stuff on YouTube or the recordings, though…because CTL has always been about something different than highlighting individual players.

Sean Keane is another player whose depth, brilliancy and power is only hinted at by the recordings I’ve heard. I never fully appreciated how amazing he is until sat across a table from him and his son, Paraic, in a nearly deserted pub in Fort Lauderdale, and held on to a guitar for dear life.

So I’m very careful about drawing any negative conclusions about any obviously technically accomplished player from a single clip on YouTube, in a specifically stagey setting.

Mairead….If you are reading this…I heareby announce the cutting of the slack.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

That said… I can’t help but wonder:

Where does she put the wireless box?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Well, it was quite the hardship, and entailed several close inspections of her entire person on the video in question, in slow motion, reverse, stop frame, and so on, but after extensive research I can safely declare that Mairead is absolutely drop dead gorgeous.

Oh, yes, and the wireless box is on her left shoulder, under the aforementioned tossing and twirling blonde tresses.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I thought her g string was pretty sharp.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Hey SWFL, you are one sick bastard badly in need of a girlfriend or maybe an engaging hobby. Perhaps you should consider getting into Model Railroading.
…just my HO, Buddy!
Tom

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

How not to play "The Butterfly" ~ and I didn’t say she didn’t have ‘technique’ or ‘style’ or that there weren’t other possibilities, but what she does to this tune, keeping it to personal opinion, as we do ~ SUCKS!!!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Jayz, there are some unreconstructed sexists on this board!

On a more serious note (and those who are still bedazzled by Máireád Nesbitt can look away now) I did once read a serious analysis of Tommy Potts’ playing of ‘The Butterfly’. I thought I still had a copy, but sadly that’s not the case. Does anybody know where this might have been published, please?

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

What is a unreconstructed sexist.?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

If we are to believe some of the comments in other discussions on this web site, an "unreconstructed sexist" is someone who is either "sets mad" or a religious nut who is "sects mad".
Since I don’t play fiddle and just accompany the other musicians, I am not going to comment on how Mairead plays "Butterfly" except to say that this is obviously an example of "show business" (using the term rather loosely). Otherwise, she wouldn’t be dancing and prancing around on the stage while she plays her fiddle.
She is pleasant enough to look at while she plays.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Very classical, she seriously is not very trad is she.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

would have been funny if someone in the front row row launched a big custard pie and hit her smack in the coupon might have took her down a peg or two and stopped the look at me routine!! he he!!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"… she seriously is not very trad is she"
I don’t think that can necessarily be deduced from a stage performance which is intended to bedazzle and manifestly has very little to do with playing traditionally, apart from choice of tunes. You would have to hear and see her playing in a number of gigs, ceilis, sessions, - and teaching, before a useful judgement could be made.
I think any full time professional musician who is struggling up the ladder will confirm that the prospect of money will usually trump almost all other considerations at some time or other.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Um yeah - but didnt I hear somewhere that she grew up playing both classical and trad?

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"… grew up playing classical and trad?" Good on her. Wish I’d had that chance. Times have moved on. There are a lot of musicians around now who have been trained in, and successfully make music in, more than one genre - not just trad and classical, but also trad, classical, and jazz - I know at least three such in that category.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Except that it is very hard to lose that ‘classical’ sound if you grow up playing both. Look at Zoe Conway.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

And I’m trying to get a tone like Zoe’s!
Anyway, I’m signing off. I’ve got to get some sleep. We’re driving to Donegal in a few hours’ time.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Zoe conway is a really good fiddle player…I’m not trying to diss her or anything -I just think its got a slight classicalness about it.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I’m sure we all, if given the opportunity, would not quite sound
trad under the pressure of playing before several thousand
punters that have paid large sums of money to see a show.
I would venture to say that she probably kept it straight to be able to get through it without faltering, which she did, and also to be able to run around at the same time and do all the other stuff. Come on, its a brilliant display of confidence and stagecraft. I would speculate that in a session she would play quite differently, not that I care that much, but she’s probably
grown up playing in sessions and knows what the craic is so
to speak.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I’m waiting for ceolachan to put a video of himself playing the Butterfly onto Youtube..

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Tommy Pott’s version is ok IMO but preferred Pere’s version. Many of the old legends are over-rated. (waiting for the vitriol!)

As for the clip, prancing about in a false idiotic fashion makes her look cheap and nasty even though I think you could get a good tune out of her in the right circumstances.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Also, It is quite obviously a mimed performance.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Ultra-commercial - obviously, but I still wish that I could play half as well as her. I’ve had her CD "Raining Up" for ages and I really like the direction in which she takes the music. Furthermore, I don’t think that having a sweet tone makes you "too classical". I’ve heard the likes of Aly Bain criticised for having "too classical a sound", which is rubbish.

I don’t know how things are going in Ireland, but in Shetland, most of the fiddle wonderkids who become freakishly good very quickly attain a very clear and sweet tone, not your typical trad bite. Especially the girls - the lads usually retain some of the "crunchiness". The thing is, these lasses don’t attract comments such as “syrupy”, “treacle-like” or “too classical”, instead they go to competitions on the mainland and come back with more trophies than they can carry. I don’t know whether or not this is at least partially due to a better *overall* standard of fiddle teaching these days, but I’d get hammered if I dared suggest such a notion here – and this is a different topic anyway.

However, these lasses could look at a railway track and buckle it, so apparently it’s OK for them to have a sweet tone. In the case of this clip, the *majority* of objectors seem more disturbed by the “glam” aspect of the performance, the bouncing around, the dress, the heels, the lighting, the smoke machine, etc. Plus the fiddler’s appearance, and that seems odd to me. Am I missing something fundamental? Whoever your favourite female fiddler is, Liz Carroll or whoever, she’ll probably fix her hair and maybe put on a bit of make-up before a gig – the same as how I’ll have a shave, sort my clothes out, and make myself presentable beforehand. If, in this case, the fiddler’s already very attractive without trying (she’s “conventionally” good-looking anyway, whatever your tastes happen to be) and the result is especially glamourous, does that qualify her for “Barbie doll” jibes? I can’t see why, myself. Especially when the gig’s not even a gig - but a stage show like this one, in which costumes, lighting and visuals are important almost by definition.

As for the jumping about – the way I understand it, this lot play in stadiums and arenas etc in the States. If you’re playing solo fiddle on a large stage, it makes sense to try and get around the stage a bit if you can. Say what you like about the flamboyant way in which she does it, but as lazyhound already pointed out - I know I’d have a bowing disaster if I tried running and jumping about while playing. I’d surely have a balancing disaster if I tried it in high heels!

It’s already been summed up – we’re not the target audience for this stuff, so there’s no need to be offended by it. There’s always the “off” button. I’m quite happy to treat these shows as a separate entity from Irish and Scottish trad – live and let live. What does sicken me, rather than these commercial shows, is getting caught listening to something by eg. Mairead Nesbitt or Chris Stout or Zoe Conway in amongst my Johnny Cunningham, Aly Bain or Alasdair Fraser iPod tracks and having to sit through a sermon on “popularising the music” and “selling out”. I’ve heard pretty much every well-known traditional musician denounced as a “sell-out” by the self-appointed “KEEPERS OF THE TRADITION” – sometimes randomers in pubs, and sometimes regular “contributors” to this website. If that title was official, this lot would’ve excommunicated most of the tradition’s greatest players by now. Most of the emerging talents these days have come up through Comhaltas, done the Fleadh and all that jazz year after year, and worked twice as hard as the rest of us to come out top of the pile. If, after all that graft, they want to, horror of horrors, make a living from it or put an alternative spin on the music, fair play to them I reckon.

Bottom line – and this is where I put the final nail in my own coffin – this music is not sacred. It’s dance tunes. Sometimes very old dance tunes, but dance tunes nonetheless. And the odd slow air. It’s supposed to be FUN. And playing it differently from Coleman or Tommy Potts or whoever shouldn’t warrant a grisly death. Now that I’ve made a complete pariah of myself, feel free to fire away, but I probably won’t be around to reply until tomorrow…

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Oh my, well, apparently I’m male, heterosexual and I enjoy looking at pretty ladies. Help! I need reconstructing! :-/ ;-)

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"Am I missing something fundamental? "

Yes. Unreconstructed sexism. I’d like to see ceolachan perform like Mairead, so I could complain about his sallow complexion, bandy legs, crumpled trousers, ugly ears, gormless expression.
It’s quite amazing that whenever someone posts a video of female fiddlers so many people complain about their hair, their eyes, etc, etc. Pathetic really. The girl is trying to make herself a career in showbiz. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

Mairead Nesbitt ~ “The Butterfly”

ceolachan you have made many fine contributions to these discussions. The merit of this one escapes me. At the end of the day I hope you wish to help young players with their appreciation of traditional music..Just not sure I see your hand being extended to Mairead Nesbitt. If that is not possible you should consider wolfbird’s advice.
;) .

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

‘Tommy Pott’s version is ok IMO’.

Oh, dearie me. Tommy Potts wrote the tune, you ignoramus!

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

So??? you ignoramus!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

You can take the man out of the bog…

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Are you daft enough to think the original writer of a tune always plays the best version?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

… but you can’t take the bog out of the man.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

More seriously, Bogman, you really ought to learn a little bit more about Tommy Potts. Nobody else has ever played, let alone recorded, his ‘version’ of ‘The Butterfly’.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Unbelievable

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Hardly a pariah Swift, I don’t exactly disagree with you, except your comment that it’s mostly about the costume and the Vanessa Mae stomp about, it is focused with the title ~ how ‘not’ to play "The Butterfly", so, mostly it is about the melody and its treatment. Yes, folks can choose their alternate directions, I am not suggesting otherwise, I just gave an example, in my opinion, of how it can go horribly wrong despite everything else, including talent and hard won technique… And yes, thank goodness no one can strap us to a chair and subject us to this as a loop, repeatedly. There is free choice. I think, if that loop were applied as a form of torture, that eventually it would reduce the person to a babbling, drooling mess and eventually melt a body to a steaming pile of goo…

Good that she can make the money she does, I wouldn’t deny that to her either, where there’s an audience willing to pay… Luck her is all I can say, but I still think this rendition of this particular tune, as that is all this started with, is awful and not to be emulated, even if someone offered you big bucks to do it. But, hey, she’s making a killing, and yes, it isn’t in me. As said, for one, I haven’t the hair to flick around and this old fart would only raise laughs with my Vanessa Mae imitation… I wish I did have her technical ability, but I still wouldn’t butcher that poor tune like she has… It’s not the artist, it really is the abuse of a melody in that artists hands…

I see wolfbird is on his crusade again. Alright wolfbird, everyone knows you hate me. Give it a rest…

Random_notes ~ have your say, but please, don’t humour wolfbird’s obsession with dishin’ me… Hate is not worthy of any support.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

You flatter yourself, ceolachan. Grow up, for ****’s sake. I don’t waste my mental resources on such silly childish things as a ‘crusade’ against the likes of you, let alone ‘hate’. (You ought to see someone about your paranoia.)

Sheesh. If anybody else had started this thread with such spite and nastiness, I’d have said the same to them. It’s perfectly obvious to anyone where Celtic Woman’s stands in the spectrum of music. Criticising someone’s hair, dress, etc, is pathetic, especially when it’s the standard garb for that sort of gig for that sort of audience. What the heck do you expect her to wear, torn jeans and dirty t-shirt ?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

She is using the music as a vehicle and not playing it for the musics sake. As far as I’m concerned people can do whatever they enjoy with the music as long as they do it with sincerity. I find that kind of ‘performance’ vulgar and damaging.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Your use of your ‘mental resources’ seems pretty twisted wolf… You see and respond to what you choose, and in my case it is always ‘nasty’. You look past anything else and seem to love leaping on what I say and attempting to tear it apart by, as is usually the case, childish vitriolic banter. I’ve suggested it before, but don’t expect you to take anything I say as useful, that maybeit might be better for you to avoid any thread I start as you rarely have anything useful to add, just more of the usual crap and personal attack. I don’t find it particularly useful or constructive, buy hey, I guess I just have to learn to let it pass. That should be easy, as it rarely changes, but it does bother me seeing you appear amongst others whose comments, in agreement or disagreement, I find an interesting read. Your howling and pi*s marking is just personal, tiring, and, if that is your intent you’ve succeeded, irritating…

It is particularly obvious when you don’t choose to comment on anyone else’s contributions by mine, and need to personalize it. But, any acid like that isn’t going to be changed by my comments…

I’m with bogman ~ ‘performance’ or not ~ money in the pocket or not ~ I found this performance to be pretty dire… But hey, if you like it, say so, give your opinion, if you can, without making it personal…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

For crying out loud you two. If I have to stop this car and come back there…

Oh, sorry folks, slipped into "Dad" mode for a second there. :-P

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

If you can focus in on the ‘heading’ ~ How not to play "The Butterfly"

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Howdy SWFL, you’re not likely to find me in the same car with wolf. I’d much rather walk and enjoy the weather as it is…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

LOL! I know Mr. C, I just couldn’t help but think of my lads bickering.

I have similar affections for both you and Mr. wolfbird. It’s hard to see you tussle. Many regards to you both.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Some balance would be welcome, your attempt is appreciated…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

125 ~ this has definitely continued past first page… LOL! :-D

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

bogman, I agree, the video is a display of vulgarity. It’s kitsch. It’s not something I would choose to watch nor pay to see. But 75% of mainstream culture falls into that category.

As far as you are concerned ceolachan, you’re a middle aged man who ought to know better, if you had any dignity or self-respect. Go and ask your wife what she thinks of your mean petty comments.

I dislike racism, ageism, sexism, making fun of people who have disabilities, and all similar nastiness. One of the reasons I like this site and the people drawn to this music is because, on the whole, they show generosity and goodwill.

As Random_notes said, the merit of this thread escapes me. If the video is so horrible why post it ? Why not post something admirable and uplifting ? It’s just an excuse for ceolachan to do a bit of sexist bitching. It was totally negative from the start, and unfair to any musician. When are you going to post your version of Butterfly onto soundlantern, ceolachan, so I can hear how it *should* be played ?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Let’s see, should we count the ways ~ how many positive contributions, links and listens I’ve made compared to the few critical ones, like this one, which is mostly to do with the playing, but taking the context into account too. And if we add what has been done quietly for others behind what appears obvious on site here? Well, I don’t need to bother measuring it.

I know you have a low opinion of me, there’s no changing that. C’est la vie. By the way, my wife agrees with the start of this thread. Go on, trash her too. While we’re at it, did you say something that wasn’t ‘petty’ here? Hmmmm? Should we be comparing? You’d have nothing good to say of anything I offered, for the ears of for discussion, so why bother to ask? Did you want something else about me you could trash?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Do we need to pass everything by you for your approval first? Are we not to discuss the obvious kitsch and other problems we might see or experience about mainstream culture, or that might irritate us? Should we just ignore it because it might not meet your acceptable intellectual requirements?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I believe you have a low opinion of yourself, ceolachan, or you wouldn’t feel compelled to slag off that fiddler.
As far as your other comments are concerned, I have more interesting and rewarding and constructive things to do than waste my time on your imaginary nonsense. Go back to your bottle of rum and telling the world about your digestive complaints and other aches and pains. No doubt someone out their finds your ego-centric self-indulgence even more entertaining than watching Mairead Nesbitt.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I shouldn’t have to qualify this, but this discussion didn’t start here, it started in my classes, teaching this tradition, and then was moved to here to see what others had to say…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Sorry, I missed your latest tirade wolfbird. That would be good for me if true ~ that you couldn’t be bothered with slagging me off, that you had more interesting and rewarding and constructive things to do. Oh how I wish that were true. That would be some comfort. I wish you the best, and may you find more interesting, rewarding and constructive things to do with your time than waste it on the likes of me… Please, the powers that be, can you make it so? P-L-E-A-S-E!!!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I guess I should consider myself lucky to have been raised in a musically literate home with two parents who listened to a wide and eclectic variety of music and encouraged their children to do the same thing. Also, my mother (who was a music teacher) encouraged me to try to play anything and everything I wanted to on the piano. As a result, I am equally comfortable playing in almost any type or style or genre of music.
Swift—I don’t think you made a pariah of yourself. I liked your comments.
SWFL Fiddler, you don’t need reconstructing—you just need a good woman who is willing to try to appreciate you and understand you (as I have been lucky enough to find).
Bogman, while I was a music major in college, I wrote a few pieces for piano in a composition course and had to let one of the piano instructors perform my pieces at a recital. I was dissatisfied with the performance and I still think I could have done a better job of performing my own pieces even though this piano professor supposedly knows more about playing the piano than I do. I think I could have given a better performance because I wrote the music myself and I understood what I was trying to say musically better than anyone else.
Speaking of appearances…..since one of the major discussion points on this thread seems to be Mairead Nesbitt’s outward beauty and the way in which she is using it, if any of you would like to find out just how plain, homely, and unhandsome I actually am, there are pictures of me on the web site of the Arkansas Celtic Music Society (as I have stated before).

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"I guess I should consider myself lucky to have been raised in a musically literate home with two parents who listened to a wide and eclectic variety of music and encouraged their children to do the same thing." ~ fauxcelt

Absolutely!!! Lucky!!! ~ as is anyone with the blessing of music in their youth…or anytime afterwards… I can’t think of a musical form where I haven’t managed to find something in it somewhere that spoke to my heart, that I appreciated… That includes the many offshoots of this music.

I started this to widen a discussion that started elsewhere, and so that those under my influence would see it develop and hopefully see contradictions, agreement and disagreement. Well, it succeeded there. I can’t ask for more and shouldn’t let irritations, for which I’m particularly susceptible lately ~ get in the way… Thanks all for giving it some time and thought…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Hey Swift - I didnt say that she sound classical because she plays sweet like….She sounds classical because she sounds classical.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

With regards to my partner, and doing my best to do her reasonable justice ~

My wife groaned as the U-Tube video started the first time, "I should close my eyes, this is bad."

After it was over, "I hated ‘The Butterfly’." She started prancing about the kitchen and leaping around with an invisible bow and fiddle in hand, giving it shtick and flipping her hair. "I didn’t like what I saw, the swish, swish, awful, and that gown. She must be ditsy."

She continued her dance and slash around the kitchen, tearing hairs off that invisible bow, "The Butterfly was terrible, too slick and slippery", as she pulled on the bow and gave another flick of her hair.

She came over to the stove where I was fixing oatcakes and a rhubarb and blackberry compote with dark chocolate and pecans and we had a nice little snuggle and laugh.

"I warmed to the reels", she added. "They didn’t mess around with the reels as much as some new agey groups." She went back to her dance.

"The man with the drums was good." She stopped dancing, dinner almost ready, "I think we’d have a good time with them in a house dance."

We were in agreement… Dinner turned out fine, very tasty…

I enjoyed the unexpected entertainment… I count myself lucky there too, whatever else the world might throw at me… ;-)

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Feck, I’d sure as hell give her a seat at my session and buy her pints for the evening. I don’t care what Mairead does during her stage shows—not particularly relevant to sessioning, eh? Anyone have a clip of her sitting in down at the local pub? I bet she’s fun….

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Bio of Maried Nesbitt note how it states she is a CLASSICAL violinist…not something I just made up or pulled out of a hat…but in fact, the truth

" Mairead Nesbitt Biography
Mairead Nesbitt was born to John and Kathleen Nesbitt, both well-known music teachers, and has a sister, Frances, and four brothers, Seᮬ Michael, Noel and Karl, all of whom are musicians. She has been a piano player since the age of four, and began playing the violin at age six.
Her formal musical studies began at The Ursuline Convent in Thurles, Ireland, and progressed through secondary schooling at the Waterford Institute of Technology and the Cork School of Music, during which time she participated in the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. Nesbitt completed post-graduate studies at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music under Emanuel Hurwitz.

Besides her family, Nesbitt has stated that her influences range from Itzhak Perlman and Michael Coleman to country music’s Alison Krauss and rock’s David Bowie and Sting.

After finishing her post-graduate studies, Nesbitt joined the RTɠConcert Orchestra in 1991, at the young age of 16. She later moved into solo performances, working with a variety of performers, including Van Morrison, Clannad and Sharon Shannon. She also spent some time as fiddler for the Irish group Coolfin, and recorded an album with them."

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

All the more reason to give her kudos for a decent job on those reels—not all gummed up with vibrato, trills, and mordents. For a highly trained "violinist," she’s not a bad trad fiddler, especially given the context of that clip (on stage, playing to a general audience). As ceolachan’s wife noted, she didn’t stray from the music as far as many fusion groups do these days.

Sure, Siobhan Peoples’ playing is more to my liking. But I’d still enjoy swapping tunes with Ms. Nesbitt.

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I never ever said she was bad, just that you can hear a slight classicalness in her playing. Which is neither here nor there, it was just a thought really.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Yeah, I agree Cruella, I see where you’re coming from…

On an earlier note, with regards to "The Butterfly" not having a caterpiller existence that predates it ~

Roche II, page 24, tune #255 "Skin the Peelers" ~ & predating "The Butterfly"

"The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music, Volume II", 1912

"Hop Jigs" ~ pages 24 - 28

X: 255
T: Skin the Peelers
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: Gmaj
|: B2 B BAB G2 A | B2 B BAB dBA | B2 B BAB G2 A | B2 e e2 B dBA :|
|: B2 e e2 f g2 A | B2 e e2 B dBA | B2 e e2 f g2 a | b2 a g2 e dBA :|

"The Butterfly" is a muddled version of this, muddled, by all accounts, by Tommy Potts mixing up two slip jigs… Because one is the better known, as is often the case, does not mean it is the ancestor. This one predates "The Butterfly" and Tommy Potts….

It seems pretty obvious to me…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Not one person here ever said they’d deny the lady a seat at a session… There wouldn’t generally be enough room to worry about her trying her Vanessa Mae imitation on us… I suspect she is more laid back when not on stage ‘putting on the ritz & glitz’…

But back to that take on "The Butterfly" as an act of abuse, I’ve heard beginner renditions I’d count as better on the senses, personally speaking… And my wife’s air fiddle gets more marks for entertainment value, by me anyway… :-)

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I realize that, c. I’d just prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt, rather than spend bandwidth dissing her stage persona when she’s done nothing to force herself on us here.

Besides, this thread feels too much like mistaking an actor’s character in a movie for his real-life personality….

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

No, again, it’s not her, it’s the way this slip jig was abused. As said, it started life in a discussion with others and then moved here to see what might transpire…

Here’s those two tunes again ~

Doctoring the order of things ~

Skin The Peelers ~ reversing the order of parts, Roche, 1912
https://thesession.org/tunes/2482

|: B2 e e2 f g2 A | B2 e e2 B dBA | B2 e e2 f g2 a | b2 a g2 e dBA :|
|: B2 B BAB G2 A | B2 B BAB dBA | B2 B BAB G2 A | B2 e e2 B dBA :|

The Butterfly ~ removing one part only, Jeremy’s transcription
https://thesession.org/tunes/10

|: B2 d e2f g3 | B2 d g2 e dBA | B2 d e2 f g2 a | b2 a g2 e dBA :|
|: B3 B2 A G2 A | B3 BAB dBA | B3 B2 A G2 A | B2 d g2 e dBA :|

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"Besides, this thread feels too much like mistaking an actor’s character in a movie for his real-life personality…." ~ Will

Not so much the actor or their ‘character’, though that was also raised, and the costuming, but the interpretation of one particular piece…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

One instance does not do justice to any person, true, and I was ranting a bit in a daft sort of way at the start… :-/

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Well…and picking on anyone’s playing of a melodrama like the Butterfly is a handy bit of rhetoric anyway, eh? ;-)

As yer better half said herself, the reels aren’t so bad. Nothing blindingly inspired about them, and I get the sense that Ms. Nesbitt is playing them "safe" for the telly’s sake. But nonetheless solid trad fiddling. Close your eyes if the tress tossing offends—the music itself is easier on the ears.

The expressive aspect of music is a bit like playing double stops. Many people are tempted to lean into it, to push, instead of letting the sound to stand for itself….

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Sure Will, and that’s the classical music thing, lots of drama going on. I’m guilty myself from time to time. Have to stay on top of it and keep it understated.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

A good analogy ~ pushing ~ rather than allowing the form and tune to do a little speaking for itself… The playing is the B movie melodrama, there’s no reason the tune can’t earn at least 3 to 5 stars out of 5 in the right hands. It can help to know that difference, to hear it played well, and badly. This is for me, Ms. Nesbitt’s stage performance of this tune, one of the worst I’ve ever heard, for this tune, for a slip jig, but in very capable hands, as evident in her technique and tone. It does nothing to show how a beginner doesn’t quite get things right, but to direct someone to a very capable bow weilder and recognize how they do it wrong, for me, that is a valuable part of an education in this music.

There’s no reason to come down on someone who does their thing in innocence, but this is a display, on stage, in public, and with the millions scrambling for their CDs, well, this mouse scrabbling in a cupboard isn’t going to cause much of a ruckus. I feel, personally, it’s a good example of how something can be done horribly wrong, listening with your eyes closed and forgetting everything else and just with regards to "The Butterfly"… I’m glad to say, those who were party to the seed discussion concering this tune, not just this performance, had no trouble recognizing what was wrong with this, just on the audio, and how others did it better justice, with respect…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Sure, her Butterfly is more of a hornworm, a lumpy , hunching caterpillar. No arguments there.

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Whats wrong with double stops? I love them.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Nothing wrong with double stops, beebs. But some fiddlers think you have to lean into them, instead of letting the two strings vibrating at once naturally raise the volume. So you’ll hear whanging, crashing double stops, instead of easy, natural double stops.

And that’s a metaphor for Ms. Nesbitt’s layering her Butterfly with bowing swoops and hair flicks and pirouettes and pelvic thrusts, as though the tune itselft weren’t somehow enough….

Posted .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I love ‘ringing strings’ too… There can be a consequence of pushing, and that is often physical, in the ailments too many fiddlers and other musicians are all too familiar with.

I was accused of being sexist here, well, in another realm, dance, there is Mr. Flatley, "Laird of the Dance", but that is a very different thing, he uses elements in exaggeration, not as in this case a given tune, melody, though also inclusive of the elements used to present it… His dance is quite obviously, outside the norm. So, the comparison works on some counts, not all.

For other examples, and I quite like Brother Ryan’s take on it ~

Brother Ryan Dunn ~ The Butterfly ~ with his blessings
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FKdWfq1fRU


Ryan Dunn ~ Dennis Ryan’s / The Butterfly
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd8U1CtNCdw


The Butterfly - Harp & low whistle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzlyHma7LyI


TradLessons.com ~ hmmmmm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xtFyPZ1mXo


A couple of daft Americans give it a go
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AW39DD6PGes


A 5 year old gives it a go for her cousin Thomas
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=att3PuEiz4o


A mad friend of mine gives it a go ~ Where’s yur cat?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBfShu8LVJ8


Harp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McFiEPY4RGY


Lots more harps ~ what’s the plural, a bevy of harps? ~ a string of harps?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVAMBY5VqEY


Mandolin ~ a young lad’s first time in public
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZfnSqT_dag


Guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqv0s7gIhtE


Bashing the ‘ell out of it
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDLGMJS3XbA


Grian ~ UGH! :-?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAp61Tij0pc


Mac Léinn- The Butterfly set :-/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpnA09VvyGQ

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I wouldn’t roll it that much, as Brother Ryan does, but it’s a lovely take on it and very danceable. Even more, I do love that whistle the brother’s playing… Maybe someone will give me one for my birthday or Christmas if I can make up for all the bad things I’ve done over the year. Maybe Santa won’t have enough time to count my infractions twice… :-/

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Well, I was expecting a good kicking there. Maybe I did the denizens of the site a disservice by pre-empting a harsh response, apologies for that.

Ceolachan, I understand that your objection is to the actual execution of the tune, and fair enough, I much prefer the stuff on her solo CD to this Butterfly video, although it doesn’t really annoy me either. My post was aimed more at the people who replied after you with comments about appearances etc. Typing "it reminds me of some cheap stripper" is a bit over-the-top considering she’s wearing a full-length gown, in my view.

I’ve had a look at a couple of the other Butterfly clips, as (in general) we Shetland fiddlers aren’t really the experts on slip jigs that the Irish are. Out of the three I checked, my favourite was Brother Ryan’s. It’s lyrical, at a nice speed, and I like what he’s done with the first part. I didn’t mind Mairead Nesbitt’s. To be honest, I didn’t much care for the Tommy Potts clip. *ducks and covers* I don’t know what’s going on at the start, I’m not big on the sort-of-roll-type-thing that he keeps doing in the second part, and the phrasing gets on my nerves. It just sounds a bit…untidy…to my ears. Just my personal taste, I guess, I’m not used to hearing the fiddle played like that.

Somebody already claimed that it suits a whistle better, I guess Brother Ryan adds a bit of weight to that argument.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Oh yeah, and check this from bb’s Wikipedia quote:

"After finishing her post-graduate studies, Nesbitt joined the RTE Concert Orchestra in 1991, at the young age of 16."

She finished a post-grad by the time she was 16?! Hmm. I reckon whoever wrote this article must be a bit confused…unless Nesbitt was some kind of child genius?

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

"My post was aimed more at the people who replied after you with comments about appearances etc." ~ Swift

I accept guilt there as I did include that in the opening, which was part in reflection of my wife’s reaction to it… Worse was said but will go unquoted…

SWFL ~ Hey, I love daft people, whatever their nationality. Hmmm, that accent? Yeah, I can hear a little Newfoundlander in there. Maybe it’s the area of the island he hails from, or a low fish diet? ‘New Fief Fiddler’ ~ I should linked on and read further. Now there is an island I’m very fond of, and once called home… So, daft North Americans, though ‘Newfoundland’ probably qualifies as something seperate from the mainland, eh?

Their words ~ "A beautifully haunting piece that we have recently added to our repertoire."

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Yes, I have a feeling they’d like to disassociate themselves from the rest of us eejits, if possible. ;-)

Great music up there! We have a few tunes from them we like to trot out, good fun!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Yeah, I love the music, it has a rawness I appreciate, generally speaking. I’m not sure about their take on "The Butterfly", but that would be me digging another hole for myself, so just as well this is lost here in the back pages…

I gave a good amount of blood in my time there to the bugs of Newfoundland… And there was the wonderful seafood ~ mmmmmm!!! I remember the grunion runs too, collecting them in buckets, and one of the biggest and tastiest cod I’ve ever caught. Lovely people too… It would be nice to get back there and catch some music and dancing and other entertainments, including the food and drink, and for my dear wife to see the beauty of the island, in all respects…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Hmm - too true Swift - but still doesnt take away from the fact that she is a classical violinist - which is the only reason I cut and pasted that in the first place….so that we could all understand what I was talking about…although for some reason not many people do…..very strange.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

My husbands from Newfoundland - and I lived there for a year. Youre right - they dont like to be considered anything but Newfoundlanders.

Posted by .

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I did and do cruella…

That was one of the things I loved about Newfoundland, a place apart. And then there’s that little French island nestled up to the place… I always wanted to visit there, and would still like to…

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Having considered the huge mass of recordings of this tune out there, I think that just maybe, despite the super groups and hot shots doing so, and me generally loving tunes on their own, that it might be a safer bet to play this with at least one other slip jig, as a good danceable tune. In company it might be less likely to stray too far into la-la land… :-/

Most, maybe as much as 4-to-1 or worse, have this on its lonesome, a track dedicated to it, where just possibly it is in greater danger of abuse? I’m not saying I don’t also appreciate some of those individual takes too… But for the rest of us, it might be best to play it in the good company of other slip jigs?

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I don’t entirely dismiss the playing but I have no need to look at her while she’s doing it. But while on You Tube I looked at and truly enjoyed the Nova Scotia Kiltics and entirely agree that the dancers and their traditional sean nos style is the best. Very nice! But what’s the matter with the Step Crew - I mean - after eliminating all the pretentious clothing and show-off behavior?
C. Nicolas

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

Thanks for those links, ceolachan. StepCrew is great!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I thought she played fine.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I shall never play "Butterfly" ever again, but you "Killers" beware, I will avenge myself. You have wounded me sorely.

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

I read the whole discussion, but one thing I didn’t understand why no one mentioned

For the life of me, what are the names of the two reels she plays afterwards? I am looking for them everywhere I can’t seem to find it!

Re: Why? ~ How not to play “The Butterfly”

It;s a lovely tune, but the harp world had a go at this earlier. I saw many of the same sentiments in the early 1990s ("how many versions of Butterfly can we print") in the Folk Harp Journal.

I suppose when a good tune is played well, it is like an infection, and must run its course.