Reeling all over the world!

Reeling all over the world!

Hi everybody at the Session!
Isn’t it wonderful that - whereever we live in real life - we can all meet and particpate here e Session.
I’m so fascinated by the fact that the culture of one island in the middle of the ocean can "common ground" for people from all over the world - and that the web allow us all to meet at places like this.

Some of you probably grew up with this music, ‘cos you live in Ireland or some other ‘celtic’ country or at least have some heritage to that culture.
Others - like myself - grew up under other conditions and have bumped into the music for different reasons - and got stucked!

I come from and live in Sweden. Grew up with the same misch-masch of western rock music as most people in the Western world.
My first "folk" -encounter was when I discovered the music of Jethro Tull and fell in love with the harmonies and the sounds of flute and mandolin. And the slight folk influences on the early Zeppelin records!
Next it was Planxty and some "real stuff". And after that there was nothing for many years. just a sleeping passion. Until a couple of coincidences gave me the chance to play the music. First as a guitar player in a pub band (you know whiskey in the jar and that kind of stuff) and later as whistle player in a more serious band. That’s a small part of my history.
I’d love to know more about you, fellow Session partners. Where do you live, what brought you here to the Session, etc etc. Let us know!

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Hi Lars:

We actually have a thread on this subject, but it’s kind of buried waaaaaay back in the threads, so why not again? However, you can read about a lot of us regulars who’ve been around for a while in that thread.

Me, I’m from Denver, Colorado, in the States. I’m sort of a misch-masch myself — I’m a Chinese American who happens to teach Irish stepdancing and play Irish fiddle. I like just about all kinds of music — I’ve worked for Opera Colorado, my husband is a club dj who plays alternative/industrial/goth (so NIN is a favorite of mine, okay? heh), I played classical for a time in school (I lean towards the Baroque but like almost everything), and I once was in an a-capella girl group for whom I was the main arranger. I do a great deal of writing and have on and off for most of my adult life — you can see some of my articles at http://www.celticcafe.com. I’m currently starting up a new project at The Cafe called The Hidden Note, which will highlight new and upcoming artists. Look for it in the next couple of weeks at the Cafe.

I’m a freelance web designer for a living (if you can call it that) and am something of a neurovore (I live on my nerves!). And I think Jeremy is a god for starting up The Session! πŸ™‚

Zina

Reely!

My name is Glauber Ribeiro. I live currently in the Chicago area, USA. I’m a rank beginner, trying to unlearn at least 1 old thing each week —- still have many years to go before i’m calling the tune changes in a session. Just joined my first session in meatspace, where i mostly listen. I play the flute. My main musical influences are Zina Lee, Will Harmon and J

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Hi Lars,

I’m Toni and I’m from Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain). My CV is not as impressive as Zina’s, but here I go.
I used to play the guitar in my youth (pop/rock mainly) but I’ve always been fascinated for Irish music.
Then I joined of group of Irish set dancers in Barcelona (Irish and Catalan people) , the only one in Spain, as far as I know, and there I met my wife, a lovely irishwoman from Cork who plays the piano and was involved in a duo with a fiddle player.
So I got involved with Irish music at once, and shortly after I bought my first whistle and a bodhr

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Hi Lars!
My name is Irina. I’m also from Barcelona and I learnt how to play the whistle and the flute when I was in Galway studying at the university. When I came back last september I needed to find some session or somebody to play with, and then I met Toni and his wife and the rest of the band. It is great not playing alone once in a while!
There are a lot of musicians that I admire and listen to, some of them are Se

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Hi everybody. My name is Dave (Daver). I’m fairly new to "The Session", but I found it useful already in finding tunes and tips. I live in England and have played the guitar since I was a teanager, mainly ragtime type instrumentals. I have always been interested in music of all sorts, Hendrix, Zappa, Dylan, Beatles…
I have always maintained a keen interest in folk/traditional music and have been going to folk clubs and festivals since my early 20s. At the age of 40 I decided to have a go at the fiddle, I’m now 52 and play fiddle in a Barn-Dance band. I also play in a session that I started up some years ago. I’m not sure if my fiddle tecnique improves any more, so I practice in the hope of at least not getting any worse! One of my all time favourite musicians is Stephane Grappelli at the time when he played with Django Reinhardt in the 1930s, he just made it look and sound so easy. My favourite fiddle players include Kevin Burke, Mark O’Connor and Dave Swarbrick.
The fiddle has become somewhat of an obsession but it keeps me off the streets and I have made some good friends through playing. I love the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland and England. I find that the ethnic music of other cultures also stimulating.
I’m often asked by non-folkies why I like folk music and I answer that the range of musical styles is so great that you can find nearly everything there, it’s not just unaccompanied songs by old beardies. I like where folk music is at the moment, enjoyed by thousands for the music not for the fame and fortune. Although I would like to see more folk music programs on English TV, we seem to ignore it and appear to be somewhat embarrassed by it. Anyway session friends, back to work.

Daver

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Hi to Lars and everybody else. I

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Hei Lars - Hi everybody else

I’m Halldor, living in Oslo (Norway), so web-speaking we are almost neghbours.!

I started playing "violin" way back at age of 10 but at some point I quit , beeing bored of classical stuff that I did’nt feel ownership of it. However, I luckily got my fiddle out of the case in my student days in Trondheim (It was used as a model to build a 24-foot pink violin in a bath-tub-boat-race contest!!), and I really started enjoyiing playing folkmusic in a student group called "Snaustrinda" . The repertoire was mostly norwegian dance music (waltz, polka, pols and reinlender (=schottish)) with an occasional reel and irish twist. I started learning Irish music by trying out tunes from O’Neils. (I now have a hard time "re-learning them with an irish style!!)

Playing on a boat trip with this lively and crazy gang I met an American girl, who happened to play violin, and who joined the group. After marrying her we had the luxury of a one-year "honeymoon" street-performing Norwegian folk at the Norway Pavillion, Epcot Centre (WDW) in the Orlando, together with two accordians from this student group.

Back in Norway, I started going to sessions and I now spent a lot of time listening to music and doing my best to join in in at the neck-breaking speeds. One week at Willy Clancy’s provided lots of ispiration. Recent highlights include a visit to Dublin before Christmas where the sessions and people at Gogharty’s were espcecially friendly.

Having wife+2 kids, and busy working in the eBusiness & telecom field, I divide whatever is left over of time on irish and Norwegian folk (I play in a fiddle group counting 20 fiddlers +1 Swede) When not logging in to "The Session"I enjoy going to sessions at the "Dubliners Folk or other pubs or private sessions in Oslo.

By the way - my third musical dream is one day to master swing jazz fiddle. This weekend I’ll be at the Oslo Django Reinhart festival to listen to goodies. Yum.

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Hi Lars, hi everybody else!

(Hi, Glauber, how did I make it on your list?)

My name is J

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Hi, Lars! Hi, Y’all! (I just borrowed a little Texas talk there.) What a joy to hear from each of you.

I’m Linda. I, like Glauber, am from the Chicago area. I grew up on Dixieland and Jazz and Big Band music which I love—you know, all the music that was popular in my parents generation and makes MY spirit sing. But, I spent many a year totally involved in playing guitar and performing European folk dancing, too. (That was BIG during the late 60’s and all through the 70’s…yes, I’m a "baby boomer".) I made a lot of costumes for the group. And I enjoyed immensely dancing the "Jota de Badajoz" and the dances of Germany and Scandinavia. To this day, if a tune sounds like a schottish to me, then I know it’s a hornpipe. Eventually, I was taken with the speed and rhythms of the Balkans. (Anyone ever see the "Tambouritzans" of Pittsburg play and dance and sing that stuff? Incredible!)

But, alas! Living in Chicago and being in the folk dance scene, I still wasn’t introduced to Irish trad music until 6-7 years ago, and, like you all, I was hooked. I started playing the bodhr

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What a great way to start my morning! This has been just great. My name is Cassie, and I live north of Chicago in Beloit, Wisconsin. I teach middle school choir and general music. I, too, had a secret love affair with folk music in the 60’s and 70’s while I studied (yawn) classical music. I started listening to and playing Irish music about 5 years ago. My husband and I went to Ireland about 3 years ago. He got sick and left me alone in a music store in Galway. I bought a concertina. When we got home, I sat in the basement with it for hours, crying in frstration. Then, one day, magic happened, and I got through a couple of tunes. I dropped in on a session down in Rockford, IL—and heard beautiful, beautiful conertina playing. That’s how I met my teacher. I have since bought a better concertina, and a b/c button box, and have met many wonderful people through this music. I’ve attended Irish Fest summer school classes, and willingly drive to Madison, Milwaukee and Rockford for session. I took my conertina to Ireland this past November and had a lesson with Mary MacNamara, thanks to a reference from this site. What a great group of people!

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Hey, Cassie! Hi 5 to a "neighbor" and fellow teacher! Where & when is the Rockford session? When the weather gets warmer (like next Summer) it would be fun to drive out there. It’s ONLY an hour and a half’s drive from me. πŸ™‚
You’ve got tenacity, woman! Your story gives me hope that it’ll fall into place for me, too.

And, Sharron, what I find amazing is that you could just decide to play a bunch of instruments and in a couple of years you do! But, all of you guys out there who have done that astound me. I can’t imagine how without having extraordinary talent and determination. Kudos, you guys!

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Hi, everybody and thanks for all your answers.
I really love to hear about you all!
I envy you who has a wife or husband who shares your interest. My wife is mostly into jazz and hates when I practice on the whistle. She begins to growl and my dog begins to howl. So it’s a wonder that I’ve been able to learn the instrument at all.
I too likes to play different instruments. As I mentioned I started out with the guitar many years ago. Now I’ m planning to take the guitar playing a step further by tuning it DADGAD or DADEAE. I’ve also played the electric bass. Now I love to play the mandolin and the bodhran as well. I’m a lousy player on those instruments, but it’s the sheer joy of trying and discovering what you can do.
I’ve no intention to become a pro. I’m so happy being an amateur. It gives me the freedom to do and not do whatever I want. Learn a difficult tune if it gives me satisfaction. Or just let it be if it doesn’t.
I build my own whistles. Mostly of aluminium. It’s also a something I want to develop further. Next week I’ll build a steam chamber and start to bend wood for bodhran rims. And later I’ll try to build a mandolin and then a mandola and then…….
Ooops I forgot, I need time to do my job and some time to play on my instruments as well….
Lars

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8 dogs!!!!!! On this site, you better say at least one of them is an IRISH setter or IRISH wolfhound! πŸ˜€
One guy came into our pub one night and said he sings and plays (on harmonica) the Blues. (He was really good, too!) We joked with him that if he was going to play that stuff in an Irish pub, he’d better call it the Greens.
Well, I really want to do very well on the bodhran. Once I reach an acceptable level (by my own evaluation…hmm! that may be never with my perfectionism. Maybe when my instructor says I’ve reached an acceptable level), I’d like to attack the whistle. I’ve got my Sindt whistle waiting for me in my bodhran case ("waiting in the wings" so to speak).

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Lars, try a low whistle — almost everybody loves the sounds of those!

Zina

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Greetings all!

Will Harmon here. At first I worried that this thread would be a repeat of the "Who’s Who and Who Plays What?" thread that Jeremy started last fall or summer, but I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s biographies here, especially so many fun and enthusiastic newcomers or lurkers revealed.

And I’m greatly humbled by Glauber and Jorg’s comments. It is incredibly gratifying to hear that I’ve been able to pass along any helpful knowledge or information at all. It’s a great reminder that all of us are links in the circle of Irish traditional music—the tunes we play and the techniques we use, and even the ways we think about the music have been handed down for many generations, from one player to the next. By participating in this online session, each of us joins that remarkable, age-old community. In short, if I’ve helped anyone here, it’s only because really good players—Linda Danielson, Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, and all my local session mates—have helped me.

So…I’ve played Irish fiddle for 20 years, after stumbling through piano, harmonica, drums, 5-string banjo, guitar,and mandolin. I’ve dabbled in classical, folk, blues, rock, and bluegrass, playing in a rock band through highschool, then in a bluegrass quintet during college. I also started teaching music when I was 15.

I first heard Irish trad music back in the 1970s, with the Bothy Band playing Farewell to Erin on Mick Moloney’s midnight radio show out of Philadelphia. I’ve been carrying Irish tunes around in my head and urging them out of the strings ever since.

At 43, creaky joints and aging nerve synapses are taking their toll, so like Daver I’m just trying to slow the decline. I lead a local session and occasionally play a gig at a local coffee house or on stage for good causes, but I’m a writer by trade, and it’s wonderful to play music simply for the joy of it.

Glauber, your enthusiasm for whistle and flute is one of the main reasons I’ve recently taken up these two instruments, and the new perspective has taught me stuff about Irish music I didn’t even know was there. It’s also rejuvenated my fiddling. Thanks for the inspiration!

Looking forward to another year of great sessions online!
Will

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I never thought of it that way, Sharron. Thanks! That’s encouraging. And give each of those 8 fur balls a hug from me. I love dogs though I don’t have any of my own at the moment. I used to have English Springers, field trained, when I lived in the country.
And, I agree with you, Will. Reading these entries has been a delight. See what you started, Lars? πŸ˜€ Where is local for you, Will, may I ask?

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Sorry, meant to say that after an army brat childhood (all over the US, three formative years in Naples, Italy), I now live in the center of the Irish universe—NOT—the self-proclaimed "Queen City of the Rockies," Helena, Montana, USA.

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Well, I’ll jump in here and introduce myself. I’ve been lurking for a while, and I guess it’s time I actually posted something. I’ve really just started playing Irish fiddle in, oh, about October, but I’ve loved listening to it since I’ve known about it. I had the great fortune to spend a couple of days in Ireland in May, and hearing a real session for the first time gave me the impetus I needed to actually get a start playing Irish music, and the really nice community of people here in Bloomington, IN is a super place to learn. It’s been an interesting road, so far: I started playing classical violin when I was 5 (my parents didn’t ask *if* I wanted to play an instrument, they asked *what* I wanted to play). I really enjoy classical music, but playing violin never quite clicked with me although I played in various orchestras and quartets all the way through college.

My other musical love, however (now has to rival the fiddle!) is the harp. Again, began learning to play pretty young, 7 or so, and mostly have climbed the classical route. Since a pedal harp is pretty large for a small girl, tho’, I played a smaller folk harp into high school and had a supportive teacher who encouraged me to play more traditional music for that style of harp as well as get the fingers in order for the canonical solo repertoire. So now I have a pedal harp and my "baby", a double-strung neo-celtic lap harp. It’s not exactly traditional in any way other than it’s a harp, but she sounds awfully pretty playing those aires! Any other harpers in the crowd?

In my other life I’m a graduate student of physics here at IU…which would be utterly irrelevant except that it takes up so much time that i rather be playing music!

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Welcome aboard, Elia. Nice to hear from a harpist. It kind of makes the membership more complete to have you here. If you ever get up Chicago way, come join a few sessions.

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Bloomington — isn’t that where Grey Larsen is from? If it is, and you hang out at his session, say hi for me, Elia!

Gosh…Glauber, I didn’t say thanks for putting me on your list because I thought you were slagging me! *grin* Seriously, I’m not, am I? There’s lots better folks (like Will!) to look up to than me! πŸ™‚

Zina

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Zina, how dare you suggest that you’re somehow more worthy of slagging than I am! *grin*

Truth is, I consider you one of my influences too. I really appreciate your comments about the playing and attitudes of all those brilliant players you get to hang out with, and your work with the slow sessions—and posting it on the web—convinced me to set one up here in Montana, tho so far on a much smaller scale.

While it’s true that any musician’s approach to the tunes and playing will change (hopefully "grow") over the years, and there’s no substitute for a decade or two of experience, I find that a person’s sensitivity and openness to the music and to musical companions matters more than how long he or she has played, or how many tunes s/he knows, or how technically accomplished they are on their instrument.

The bottom line is that I know that my playing has improved because I’ve listened to what other people (including you) have said on this site. That’s good news for us all because it testifies to the fact that each of us can hope to continue improving even after many years of playing, and that we’re all capable of contributing mightily to one another’s progress—newcomers can have something to teach the more experienced players, and fiddlers can learn from whistle players, etc.

It’s amazing that this is possible over the web, without ever actually playing together. Imagine what we could do if we all sat down together in the same room…hmmm….perhaps we should start a more serious, exploratory discussion about convening a meatspace session among the cyberspace Session participants. I know not everyone would be able to make it, and it would be incredibly difficult to decide on a location. Maybe an annual US session, a Euro session, etc., and some years down the road, a grand meeting in Galway?

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Oh Zina!
If you only could hear me and my dog when I practice the low whistle!
The wolf instincts in her tell her that I - the leader of the band - has started a howling session. Full moon or not…
So with the dog - the tin whistle is to prefer compared to the low whistle. And guess why I never pick up the harmonica anymore?!
But your right with my wife. Even she can appreciate some moments with the low whistle.
And the dogs breed…not Irish, but almost Scotch. She’s a Shetland Sheepdog, combining the best of Viking and Celtic heritage, just like her masterπŸ™‚
Lars

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Hi All!

Another lurker here, also a fiddler, also started classical violin at a young age (although not as young as you, elia!). However, a few years after starting, things happened, as they frequently do, and violin playing was one of the casualties. My parents were music snobs, nothing but classical and some (very) esoteric forms of jazz were allowed in the house. Add to that a cloistered environment, well, I was 16 when I first heard rock music. Bizarrely, that first experience with "unacceptable music" was Black Sabbath "Paranoid" (it was a gift - and no, my parents were not pleased πŸ™‚. Major relevation, and off I went into the depths of musical depravity (aka rock and blues), not to surface for many years. During that period, there were a few failed attempts to teach myself an instrument, and then I decided to just stick with listening to others who could make music that was enjoyable to hear (unlike the sounds I made on the sax, yikes).

Then the 40s struck. I woke up on the morning of my 42nd birthday and had one of those ohmygod! moments - time was rushing by and letting crud from the past continue to muck things up was just plain dumb. I wanted to play music and had some training on the violin, so why was I just sitting around doing nothing? I bought a violin that morning, thinking blues or oldtimey (anything *but* classical), but Fate had other plans. Natalie MacMasters was playing in a nearby town that night, a friend suggested I go, and that was it. Boy, she sure can play, and not only that, she has the best time - it is obvious that she loves making music.

So, now every minute not spent at work or doing all those little things that you just can’t get out of doing, is spent playing or listening to music (or reading back discussions on this site), trying to get a feel for what it is that makes a jig a jig - instead of just a bunch of notes strung together in 6/8 time. Sometimes I wonder if it is possible for a person not steeped in traditional music from the time they were a child to ever really "get it". I have to fight the need to play the music perfectly, exactly as it is written down on the page (learning by ear is so hard and sheetmusic so seductive) - leftovers from the classical training, no doubt. A glass of good single malt helps somewhat πŸ™‚. But, I love playing and if I never quite get it, well that’s ok, I’m having a grand time trying. Luckily, I live in a very isolated place (in the mountains in New Mexico), so there’s no one to be driven insane by all the squeaking and squawking - although the coyotes sometimes howl and yip along. I wonder if it’s in pain or accompaniment?

hmm, well, this was a ridiculously long ramble, back to work or I’ll still be here tomorrow morning….

Sosaidh

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All right, all right, I’m completely embarrassed now, Will — and of course a player can *always* learn something from another player, no matter whether they’re an experienced player or a beginner. But I still think folks like Will and J

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Oy, for such a sparky lass, you sure embarrass easy, Zina. πŸ˜‰

I don’t think of myself as a role model at all, more of a co-dependent really. *chortle* My head’s full of Irish tunes, so I go around bumping into door frames and weaving across the yellow line just to hit the rewind button on a particularly juicy phrase (I thought DWI stood for "Driving While listening to Irish tunes") and neglecting my job and kids. Hardly a role model. It’s an addiciton, no doubt. If you’re reading this, you may be deeper in trouble than you realize. Just take this short quiz:
Do you play tunes by yourself?
Do you need a stiff set of tunes to get through the week?
Do you feel more sociable after belting down a few tunes?
Do you quickly put away your instrument when your spouse comes home unexpectedly?
Do you fritter away too much of your paycheck on your habit?
Do you ever fib about how much time you spend playing tunes—or logged on to The Session?

Seriously, I think we’re all hooked on the music, and some of us just really enjoy spreading the fun.

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Oh dear.

Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
No. (He’s likely to pick up the guitar and start in if I keep going.)
Does it count if I spend both mine AND my husband’s?
Er…I’m not sure anyone’s ever asked!

Usually it’s me doing the embarrassing, Will, not the other way round!

zls

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Me? Being a role model?
Actually, I am flattered… (and I

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Zina, yes, Bloomington is where Grey Larsen is. By some strange twist of fate, I have yet to meet the man, but I have confidence that I will soon. And I do love it that the harp sounds good no matter what I do to it - not so with the fiddle. On the other hand, it’s a lot harder for me to pick up the faster tunes as quickly on the harp…I consider myself a much better harper than fiddler, but my fingers seem to get in the way when I try to play dance tunes on the harp if I haven’t learned them really solidly by myself first. But, heck, I can drone and I can chord!

Linda, that’s a marvelous welcome, to hear somebody say that having a harper makes a community more complete. Thank you.

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Great post Jorg. I always enjoy it when somebody posts the same sort of thing I’ve been thinking and feeling, and makes it all come across so well.

Elia and Linda, your conversation made me realize that one of the aspects of this online Session that I like so much is that it’s more diverse than what’s available to me in my hometown. We have every possible trad instrument represented here, people from many different countries, youngsters and oldsters, etc. Makes for a great circle—the friendliest on the Web and as welcoming as any realworld session I’ve been to.

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Thanks, Will. I feel exactly the same about it when somebody else manages to do that.
Side effect: I can

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Good lord! J

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Zina - Supposedly, he and I will be at the same house party this evening…the only reason I haven’t been to his session yet is my dratted schedule. If I get a chance, I will tell him hello for you and that you’ve, umm, "got plans for him". πŸ™‚

Will - you’re absolutely right…I know where to find a community of other harper/ists, but it is wonderful to find a diverse group of folks and instruments that still manages to have a community feel to it.

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Plans for him? Nahhh…just plans in general. πŸ™‚

J

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Who said I was looking for GOOD English, Zina? I

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Funny, J

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Thank you, Zina.

As we say here: You put a flea into my ear! (Hope you can make sense of that)

Last night in the pub I told my love about the — very distant — possibility of taking a trip across the Atlantic. And had a hard time afterwards to convince her to pour me another Guinness…
There may be more obstacles than I exspected…

J

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Tell her the States is a lovely place to have a honeymoon, J

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Okay, here’s where I REALLY start showing how stupid I am: Who are Grey Larson and Kevin Crawford?

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Hi Lars, and fellow pickers and players.

My name is Hans, and I’m besed in Oslo, Norway (same as you, Halldor…). I currently play in a trio, Ugrass (Ditchweed, that is in english), together with a flute- and a fiddle player. I’m a bluegrass picker myself, lending what knowledge I may have to this irish/bluegrass/celtic band of ours. I grew up with my father being probably the only Norwegian making a living (more or less, that is…) as a bluegrass banjo player. I therefore started out playing the banjo-killer, also known as guitar on a Martin HD-28. I’ve now been playing on and off stage for about 13 yrs.

Apart from noodling on the guitar, I work as a copyright lawyer (paying my dues to the hand that once fed me), currently in the field of litterature. Being married and father of a 2 year old junior picker, I don’t get arund to The Dubliner (in Oslo) and other such places as much as I might want to, but every now and then I may be observed on stage in some crummy little bar. My kind of bar, that is…

Happy spring time, everybody, and to those who deserve it; thanks for The Session!

Hans

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Linda, Gray Larson is an American fluter (who lives in Bloomington Indiana). He wrote the tune Thunderhead, which you might hear a fair amount. Try http://www.larsonandleague.com for more info.

Kevin Crawford is also a fluter, he plays with Lunasa — definitely one of the top fluters in the hot young player category. (He ably replaced Michael McGoldrick in Lunasa.) Lunasa’s web site is http://www.lunasa.ie .

What’s not knowing who some players are got to do with being stupid? πŸ™‚

Zina

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Thanks, Zina! I suppose a better word would be ignorant? There’s just a lot I don’t know when it comes to the names of "known" people or groups…a LOT! I’ve been hanging out in sessions for several years now and all these names I see mentioned here from time to time are a mystery to me. Lunasa?

Linda

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