Accordion Style

Accordion Style

This is a friend of mine from New York , his style is quite like anything I’ve heard before, its all triplets and variations, I think its good.
He’s playing two well-known reels , The Sally Gardens and The Bucks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8jZdL8GAPo

Re: his style is quite like anything I’ve heard before

I agree. Big red box. Very wet tuning. Crashing chords. Heavy. Yes, quite like a lot of stuff I’ve heard before. I didn’t like it then, either.

But I did like his teacher’s page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8jZdL8GAPo.


Or this, which is light and lovely:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Va0ojp-Dk


And the ever wonderful, effervescent Constant Billy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T443X7tN7ks&feature=related

Re: Accordion Style

A truly unique style - no doubt about that…

But ask yourself - why does no-one else play in that style?

In the course of putting all those triplets in, he’s losing the rhythm of the tune ..

.. he’d be a nightmare to try to play along with at a session, IMHO. 🙁

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.. but a nice John Whelan clip you posted, focus…. 🙂

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If you have to be told what the tunes were - and we did - there’s definitely something missing.

Posted .

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But yeah, loved the John Whelan clip

Posted .

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Nice playing, I enjoyed playing along and picking up a few of his turns. Its always interesting to hear how tunes can be ornamented on different instruments and the places to ornament that would not be obvious on say the fiddle.Keep it up. Well done.

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very good,5 stars.
I did not have to be told what the tunes were.

Posted .

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The Billy McComiskey clip was about the nicest bit of B/C playing I’ve heard.

I think the lad from New York has a bit of a way to go before he cracks it, but my own ignominious (and quite prolonged) run-in with the B/C box persuaded me that it was a difficult and perverse instrument whose basic instincts were entirely contrary to mine; something relatively easy to make noisy flourishes on, but needing a lot of input to make real music on.

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Sounds like Joe Burke on dexies to me.

Posted by .

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You need to get to get to west Galway, Conamara, Cong etc. Everyone plays like that or at least attempts to.

Re: Accordion Style - not quite

“You need to get to get to west Galway, Conamara, Cong etc. Everyone plays like that or at least attempts to.”

Not quite true. There are enough real musicians in those places to make life interesting. It’s like saying that every concertina player in Clare plays like Noel Hill, or at least attempts to. You’re painting with a mighty broad brush.

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OK focus, let me rephrase that. The vast majority of red JCB accordion players that I have heard and played with in west and south Conamara and the Aran Islands over quite a long time including many who have emigrated to Boston, Chicago, London and elsewhere have all tended to play in a style that is very similar to the OPs clip. That leaves lots of room for a reduced brush size.

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Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth…

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Left hand lets it down for me, but at least he is using it. Good to hear an accordion that doesn’t sound like a concertina for a change.

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I thought the original clip was good for a student practicing embelishments, but lacked the steady rhythm and good taste it would take to play with others. I’m sure it’ll all come with time.
No single performance need define a player.

The clip of John Whelan is my absolute favorite. It’s so exciting to see and hear him play. The box is like putty in his hands. The music seems alive, rather than recited when he’s playing.
Does anyone know if there’s a good album/recording of his available?

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free reed ! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Wicked hacker! jig! tradthingie! Inane anus! Howya! 🙁 🙁 🙁

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One aspect of the beauty of John Whelan’s music is the ornaments are behind the music, not in front of it. It is not an easy task, especially playing the box at speed. He is one of the most tasteful players there is.
My suggestion of a recording is Celtic Crossroads. I don’t know if it is still available as a CD but it is downloadable at Amazon

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this is not my favored ornamentation style, but i think those who are critiqueing his rhythm or tempo are misplaced….i think they are reacting to the ornamentation style. it’s not for me, but to be fair to the lad, i think both his pace and his beat/swing are lovely…..nice, reasonable speed and lovely rhythm….it’s not a c#/d/one-row-melodeon rhythm, but it’s lovely….

just not the ornamentation approach for me….i like a very plain, clean, old-style approach to embellishment even on a b/c…..my fave b/c players ornament like melodeon or old-style c#/d-ers…the younger paddy o’brien of Chulrua comes to mind, or josephine marsh, mary rafferty…..but i think this kid is good…

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Well I liked the clip considerably more than the early posters. I I think the guy is on the way to becoming a fine player of some character and some of the criticism has been a little harsh.

I don’t think the style is all that unusual, I’ve heard a fair few bc boxes played in a similar manner although probably not so many younger players. I think the style is heading towards the heady times after the bc first took off, and does include some of the excesses that bc tempted playuers with by way of triplet flushes. I think that the triplets are a little overpowering and tend to turnmake the tune less rythmic, more so in the Bucks, than in the Sally Gardens more. But like ceemonster I think the guy’s basic rythm and swing are lovely.

But this is something that the bc box IMHO and sometimes PA can encourage in players if they take overadvantage of the possibilities presented. I think Breatnach commented on this in “Folk Music and Dances of Ireland” but I may be misremembering (and anyway Brendan didn’t seem to like accordeons at all going by this book, and I take a pinch of salt with his musings).

I don’t think there is any need to assume that the basses would be used in the manner of the clip when playing in a session when they would be overpowering.

I hope the guy continues to work out his style and express his personality.

- chris

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nfldbox, that is a good description of John whelan’s style (and it is a beautiful clip).

- chris

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well id like to thank everyone that has commented on my playing (yes even the ones that werent so positive) i like a bit of criticism. I’d like to think that my style of playing is similar to that of the great Galway box player Joe Madden (RIP). Granted I will admit that the video wasnt the show of my lifee, sligtly rushed and sloppy. Ill hopefully have a few new videos up on youtube soon so feel free to subscribe and comment…and to ceemonster, my original teacher was mary rafferty.