Sorry to keep banging on
I made some comments here recently about the session I go to most, particularly the concern about the standard of the new people attending. It is extraordinary but it is getting worse.
There has been a lot of talk here recently about bodhrans. I am not going to repeat any of the points. The discussion often focuses on whether there is a role for the instrument at all. Or that it is capable of much more than people think. The argument can become polarised and heated, but I would be astonished if even its most ardent supporter would say that you needed three in a session. But that it what we had at one point on Saturday night.
I mention it because I am fascinated by the thought process that led to this, of the lack of it. Any musician on any instrument does, I would have thought, go through some process before they join a session: do you know the repertoire, are they playing at a pace you like or can keep up with. The point being that you make some judgement that you will be able to fit in and enjoy it yourself; and that the other players will get something from your contribution. As a fiddle player I enjoy playing with other fiddles. There is a contribution that a number of fiddles can make, and the slightly different emphasis all fiddel players have make the music interesting. I expect flute players have a similar view. And the mixture of different instruments gives a richness to the music.
None of this can be true for more than one bodhran player. they cannot play exactly the same thing, so the beat will become confused. And even if they could, what would be the point? What benefit would there be in two people pounding out the same thing? It would deafen the musicians and the people trying to listen. So there cannot have been a process of reflection and consideration on what they could add to the music. What clearly has happened is a thoughtless self preoccupation. At one point there was one melody player accompanied (swamped by?) three bodhrans, a poor guitarist and a poor bouzouki player, all of whom seemed to enjoy themselves hugely. The other melody players were left to watch. I decided to leave.
What is the answer to this? i do not know. I make this contribution to let off steam as much as anything, as I go the session only about monthly I do not feel it is for me to say. That is more for the people who go every week and have more of an investment. But I do think it is sad.