The old ones are the best
I’ve given the internet a bit of a rest over the Christmas (and hope to God that you all had a very happy time over the festive season), but today finds me in contemplative mood after a few tunes last night with P____ and B___, two very old friends of mine. Concertina and flute respectively.
So, we’re in P____’s front room. All done out for the time of year. Holly. The tree. So on. A glass of the boyo to hand for each of us and a bottle of beer or stout to wash it down.
"Give us a tune, there, Seamie."
Now, I’ve been in the type of session from time to time where such a request would entail a degree of racking the brain for some obscurity. Such would be the nature of the thing.
But in this company, no such need to impress.
I started playing Rolling In The Rye Grass. A tune that would have many a player rolling his or her eyes. But P____ grined like a cat. "By God, Seamie, that’s the medicine, boy. Keep her nice and easy." And in he chimed and then B____.
And in to The Sally Gardens. "You’re taking me back, there, Seamie."
We were smiling by the end of it - and you know how it goes when you’re in that sort of company. You wouldnt want to just play the tunes twice or three times but six or seven or eight times round.
"Do you mind them tunes Barney McKenna used to play, Seamie? The Fermoy Lasses and that other one after it. Do you know them? Will we give them a lash?"
And then B____ says "What about a few oul’ jigs?"
And she starts The Ships In Full Sail. "God, I love that tune." And then into The Humours of Ennistymon.
And so the night went. All old standard tunes. The type that some players might sniff at. But grand, grand tunes and grand playing. Easy and steady. "Sure, you could dance to that and not break sweat." "Nor get out of puff."
The old ones, sometimes, in the right company, are the best. We all like to learn a new tune now and again. But when you’re with old friends, the old tunes are like old friends themselves.
A very happy New Year to you all and may you have tunes in abundance in the year and years ahead.