Too fast?

Re: Too fast?

I can’t play it at that speed, so it would be tempting to say that it was too fast ….

.. but that we just be jealousy on my part …

… they modulate it into the minor as well.

Re: Too fast?

Hmmm.

Re: Too fast?

yuck. Bunch of dabblers.

Re: Too fast?

They all seem quite comfortable at that pace, so no, it’s not too fast.

I particularly like the bass player, he obviously knows what he is doing. A lesser man could easily have stuffed it up completely.

Re: Too fast?

Faster than I’d choose to play it - that’s about the speed I like to play reels at. Also, I prefer it without the swing. I often find that people who normally play jigs and reels tend to turn O’Carolan’s tunes into dance tunes, which I don’t think they were meant to be. Although I’m not a great conoisseur of classical music, I like to try to impart something of a rococo feel on his tunes, to set them apart from the 1000s of dance tunes, which came about to fulfil a specific function; these tunes are music for music’s sake. I’m no more enamoured of O’Carolan’s Concerto played as a reel or hornpipe than I am of Planxty Irwin or Fanny Power played as waltzes.

Re: Too fast?

"They all seem quite comfortable at that pace, so no, it’s not too fast."

They’re all well capable of playing it at that speed, it’s true - and probably a lot faster, should they choose to. The question is, does it bring out the best in the tune. Ultimately, of course, the answer is down to personal taste.

Re: Too fast?

I think it is a good speed for that set.

Re: Too fast?

Nice to see the brilliant Luke Plumb there on mandolin. I believe that’s Angus Grant on fiddle. Luke is one of finest players I have ever had the opportunity to session with.

Re: Too fast?

great playing.you can play as fast as you want as long as you play precisely

Re: Too fast?

Didn’t like it at all. I prefer it played nice and stately. Also, at whatever speed, it’s not a hornpipe. It’s an air and should be allowed space to breathe, and without all that choppy ‘swing’. I mean I play it swung, as does everyone I know, but that wasn’t really what I think of as swing - far too aggressively dotted for my taste.

I think I may be saying something similar to the peaty one …

Re: Too fast?

It’s a bit too quick (albeit they are in total control) for my liking … but having said that, if I hadn’t heard the tune before, I’d have thought it was fine.

Yes, I recognised the fiddler from Shooglenifty. Couldn’t remember his name, but now I do … thanks to Will Morgan’s post πŸ™‚

[*yuck. Bunch of dabblers.*]-Seosamh Ui Sinan

Do you really think that? Or do you just think they ruin it by playing it too quickly?

Re: Too fast?

Do you really think that?

Yes. I’ve heard this tune played in the exact same manner by many bands with interest in Irish music no deeper than having enough material to entertain drunks at St Patrick’s Day bar gigs. Hence the "dabblers" comment.

Re: Too fast?

^ lol, spot the clueless.

Re: Too fast?

Others may say, "TΓ‘ sΓ© air chois air bacaighe." But, I like the players, their interpretation, & the tempo.

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Re: Too fast?

As it says in the blurb-

Quee Macarthur: Bass
Angus Grant: Fiddle
Luke Plumb: Mandolin
James Mackintosh: Drums
Peter Daffy: Guitar and vocals

That’s four Shooglenifty members.

Re: Too fast?

Once upon a time there were two Irish harpists, Ceilidh Band Carolan and Stately Home Carolan. They had an acrimonious disagreement a few decades after dying and haven’t spoken to each other since about 1790. Like Pierre Menard and Cervantes in the Borges story, they wrote the same notes but with completely different intentions.

I like both of them. The links above are to Ceilidh Band Carolan’s music. Andrew Lawrence-King and the Harp Consort have a recording of the "Concerto" as composed by Stately Home Carolan, which is every bit as good as Kevin Burke or Shooglenifty but nothing at all like them. (It isn’t on the web, but there are a couple of interviews with Lawrence-King where he explains what he’s up to).

I don’t have much time for middle-of-the-road versions of this music. Obviously Carolan astonished his contemporaries. Whatever you do with the music now, it had better still be astonishing.

Re: Too fast?

Clueless? pllleeez. I reacted to what I heard. They sound like a bunch of bluegrassers dabbling in Irish music - and we have far too many such bands in my neck of the woods.

Shooglenifty eh? I heard them once. Once was enough. No music there either.

Re: Too fast?

" don’t have much time for middle-of-the-road versions of this music."

Yep - Brotherhood of Man made a hash of it.

Re: Too fast?

Ooh, I liked that autoharp version. Thanks Weejie. πŸ™‚

Re: Too fast?

Clueless, yes, that’s you. And anyone who can tell the difference between a quality of musicianship and their own personal taste will agree. I hope you’re young as you have a great deal to learn.

Re: Too fast?

Thank you Jack, that explains a lot. I always wondered why so much of Carolan’s music seems to work either way.

Re: Too fast?

"They sound like a bunch of bluegrassers dabbling in Irish music" ~ Seosamh Ui Sinan

Yeah, that would fit my initial impression, though not negative, but I didn’t think they sounded ‘relaxed’ or ‘comfortable’. For me it had a bit of the bumbling along about it, not quite holding together, and more akin to an exercise of typewriting to canned music. They seem to be having fun just the same, but I didn’t stay with it to the end. It was just a bunch of friends making a hash of an old standard, doing nothing new with it, and not seeming to have much understanding other than akin to what Seosamh said, kind of folky cute, "Hey ma! Look at us!" Bless ‘em… It’ll do for St. Paddy’s day in Pittsburgh or St. Petersburg… It’ll give the tourists and the folkies a thrill…

Re: Too fast?

That’s interesting c. you seem to have described something quite similar to the *stories* about how Carolan & Geminiani came to collaborate on the concerto. ("Hey ma! Look at us!") Of course, those accounts could be mythical.

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Granted, it’s not Luke Plumb at his best.

Posted by .

Re: Too fast?

The world is large enough to accomodate many approaches to the same tune…

Re: Too fast?

Ah great post - it brought out the pure drop snobs and the "it’s all good" crowd in equal numbers quite quickly. The initial question was - "too fast?" The tune in question may be more comfortable to some in a more traditional setting, however, I see nothing in the video that indicates they claim to be a pure trad band. Performances should be allowed creative latitude in their musical delivery. The musicianship is great and they looked effortless and joyful in the delivery. My guess is those who attended the show were highly entertained and the band got paid. Case closed. It wasn’t a session and therefore shouldn’t be compared to a session appropriate version

Re: Too fast?

"The world is large enough to accomodate many approaches to the same tune…"

Absolutely Al, and yes Tawny πŸ˜€ It is a ‘Concerto’ after all, or has aspirations to that by title…

And yet again someone feels the need to devalue an opinion they disagree with by calling names ~ "Pure Drop Snobs" ~ but what else can you expect from the juvenile and insecure, eh? Of course they are right and everyone else is wrong ~ "case closed!" πŸ˜› Whose the uppity snob?

Re: Too fast?

It illustrates the problem I have with Shooglenifty. I went to
a couple of their shows at the Nat. Folk Festival (Australia),
just ended. I couldn’t work out what to call their music.
It sounds neither Scottish nor Irish nor anything else in particular. I do not hear any bluegrass in it all. Luke does not
play bluegrass mando and I am not a bluegrass fan, but I’d like
them better if they did commit to a style - bluegrass, scottish,
dixieland … something.

Re: Too fast?

In answer to the OP: Yes, too fast, too much swing. O’Carolan was thinking about Vivaldi (a contemporary) when he wrote the Concerto.

Re: Too fast?

Interesting stuff….There is no evidence that Carolan ever called this piece a "concerto" - it seems it became known as this. The other title "Mrs Power" is perhaps more likely. If it were supposed to be a concerto, then it would have presumably been intended for a solo - or instruments playing solo parts - along with an orchestra.

Bunting suggests the "imitation of Corelli" rather than Vivaldi - but it’s all conjecture. As for the Geminiani story, there is no concrete evidence that they ever had the "contest" - just stories.

Re: Too fast?

"It sounds neither Scottish nor Irish nor anything else in particular. I do not hear any bluegrass in it all."

When you consider that four members came through this band (though not Luke), you might see the connection:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG6nXF7w1n8


Gary Finlayson (who is not in the OP clip) is a good Scruggs style banjo player - but he also went through the Bothy Band record thing - I mind sitting through him showing me how "amazing" MΓ­cheΓ‘l Γ“ Domhnaill’s chords were while he played the guitar over the records (back in the 70s in his flat in Edinburgh).

Re: Too fast?

It should perhaps be pointed out that Shooglenifty have been earning their crusts as a professional band for a good number of years now. Surely their style of music has a following - I’d say that matters more than the opinions of a few ‘pure drop’ detractors.

Re: Too fast?

[*It should perhaps be pointed out that Shooglenifty have been earning their crusts as a professional band for a good number of years now. Surely their style of music has a following - I’d say that matters more than the opinions of a few ‘pure drop’ detractors.*]

I agree. Good musicians, although I can see that many would not like the bass’n’drums thing, but there you go …

Love the "A Whisky Kiss" album πŸ™‚

Re: Too fast?

I’m just speaking for myself - the music, while professionally
played - didn’t ring my chimes.

However I was proud to hear and see that Luke is the pointy
end of the band’s sound. It’s good to see somebody from New
Zealand or Australia go out and conquer the "big time". I briefly
played in a session with Luke a couple of years ago and I felt like
digging a hole and crawling into it - his standard was so far
above me.

Re: Too fast?

> but I’d like
them better if they did commit to a style - bluegrass, scottish,
dixieland … something. <

Hup, why do things need to fit neatly into predetermined boxes?
Drums and bass with tunes isn’t my thing either, however, Angus Grant is a tremendous traditional fiddler out-with that context. Not recognising the quality of musicianship and calling these guys dabblers is ignorance in the extreme.

Re: Too fast?

ormepipes link made me smile most.

Didn’t Shooglenifty have a phase with much more varied percussion ? My mates didn’t think I would like them but I did.

Re: Too fast?

Live and let live.

Interesting to read a few of the comments above, some of which made me laugh. Who gives a monkey’s? I find myself asking.

For what it’s worth I too think it was faster than I’ve heard others playing it before, but that rendition was, to my ear at any rate, just a different take on an old theme, ain’t that the essence of it all.

I learned a long time ago not to get to prejudicial about trad music and how others play it.

Rushed ~

Forget specific tempos, or styles for that matter, clear or mixed, or the specific melody and any tales or history behind it, in ‘more’ accomplished, understanding and considerate hands it might seem relaxed, at ease, natural, interesting. I’ve heard it at a faster tempo but where it didn’t sound so. This in my ears and opinion sounds ‘rushed’.But, there’s no doubting they’re having fun with it, and who’d deny them that? Not me. I can appreciate the kick they’re having, sharing, but it does nothing for me beyond that appreciation. As Hup put it, it don’t ring my chimes. And, I have nothing against bluegrass and am very fond of what is collectively called ‘old time’ or ‘string band’.

If it sounds rushed, a little clumsy, as it does to me, then it would be my sense of it that it’s likely being taken too fast for their collective abilities. However, we all know how a stage and mics and an audience can raise our heart rates and excitement and consequently the tempo too. A beginner playing this at half their tempo would also likely sound rushed, having moved beyond their ability and in that rush missing the music.

Going metaphor, driving, losing control on a tight bend and spinning is an adrenalin rush, but it ain’t ‘good’ driving, though surviving it might show proof of some skill. In all that rush you’re likely to miss the landscape, the scenery, and in this case, back to the music, you might not be able to listen fully to and appreciate what your mates are doing - and what you might learn from them… Mind you, rushing past it all you can quickly put it all behind you, something too frequently true of sessions.

But, hey, some folks get off on the high of a fairground ride and ‘losing it’, ‘letting rip’. Generally there’s no real harm in it. but yeah, it sounds rushed to me. No, I didn’t say ‘Too fast’, I said rushed, and not questioning the craic, which I also place a great amount of value in…

As to this collection and sequence of notes, O’Carolan or not, and whatever tales might be associated with the melody, after all, this was a question of tempo, I see no reason to bring the books out or do a preponderantly weighty Internet search… Now, if someone wants to start a discussion on O’Carolan and this particular tune, maybe I’d bother, probably not, but maybe I’d just lurk and chuckle, maybe not… πŸ˜›

"Who gives a monkey’s ~?"

Maybe I do, a wee but, but it ain’t gonna lessen my appreciation for these friends having a good time…

Re: Too fast?

ceolachan - juvenile and insecure? Ouch. Your honor, I wish to appeal my conviction. How else would you describe those among us who immediatley dismiss a group of talented musicians simply because they put a contemporary spin on traditional music? I understand some folks don’t like the rendition, but to toss it away as crap seems unreasonable to me. If not snobbishness, perhaps tradlier than thou?

Re: Too fast?

I would also disagree with your definition of "rushed." Rushed to me suggests musicians struggling to get in the notes. These guys were quite fluid and effortless.

Re: Too fast?

It should perhaps be pointed out that Shooglenifty have been earning their crusts as a professional band for a good number of years now. Surely their style of music has a following - I’d say that matters more than the opinions of a few ‘pure drop’ detractors.

It has a following because people in general have no taste or training in music, especially festival organizers!!!!

Re: Too fast?

I mean, Beyonce Knowles is popular too, and so is Justin Bieber! The "if it’s popular it must be good" argument is nonsense!

Re: Too fast?

ceolachan when you wrote, "It was just a bunch of friends making a hash of an old standard, doing nothing new with it, and not seeming to have much understanding." & didn’t listen to the entire clip I was assuming you haven’t really listened much to Luke Plumb’s playing (other tunes). And perhaps I was biased as I am always eager to listen to whatever he may be playing. Given all that I was reading your post above with skepticism. As you often do, though, you won me with your charm & love of music.
Got me there! It was when I read … "likely being taken too fast for their collective abilities." & I couldn’t disagree. It’s not uncommon for musicians to do that. So when I got to the driving analogy, I was in the car with you; except we were on bicycles. ;)

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Re: Too fast?

"The "if it’s popular it must be good" argument is nonsense!"

I didn’t say that. I said they had a following and can earn a crust doing it. That’s what matters.
That they undoubtedly have experience in traditional music of one sort or other is an additional point. Likewise the festival director involved with the particular festival that clip comes from.

Re: Too fast?

ok, i read the critiques above first, then decided to listen.

i enjoyed it.

oh well.

Re: Too fast?

so then i watched the kevin burke link, and enjoyed it as well.

hard to compare. a group of people enjoying the playing of a tune, and one man enjoying the playing of a tune. it’s two quite different things, isn’t it?

Re: Too fast?

" ~ to toss it away as crap seems unreasonable to me" ~ Jusa Nutter Eejit

I don’t disagree, it’s just too easy to try to categorize people in a way that completey disallows them an opinion. I like disagreement, just not name calling. I get tagged with that one myself and can’t quite figure out on what basis. Slotting folk into an easy tag when we don’t really know them aside from comment here, well, it just sits uncomfortably.

Glad you disagree, but even on repeats it still sounds what I’d call ‘rushed’, not completely at one with the music or each other…

Apologies for letting my grouch out JNE… Other things are influencing and feeing that demon lately. 😏

I enjoyed it, including taking repeat listens and letting it play out to the end, but that appreciation and the attendant smile doesn’t change my criticism…

I have an uneasy feeling I’ll be rushing through some of the music tonight. I’ll have to try to pace myself… πŸ˜€

Re: Too fast?

Ah no worries Ceolachan - Perhaps I just need to take a page from your more measured and tactful writing style. I had been posting on sports and politics blogs before reading this forum. I forgot to downshift back into civility before re-entering Mustardia’s more leisurely speed limits.

Re: Too fast?

Re the OP, I like the pace of the piece but it sounds "fast" when they play it. I can’t really explain that!

There are so many versions out there (the strength of Carolan’s music - I think - is that it lends itself to endless arrangement). Here’s one I like - apart from being a nice-looking guitarist, she plays this with (I think) real musicianship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq1KLOQluSQ

Re: Too fast?

hahahahahahaha, my point is, I think that it is not played too fast but made to sound fast which many contributors have said with varying degrees of eloquence. rushed? or sounds rushed, contrived urgency expressed in a very relaxed way
Bloody clever whichever way you look at it.
I especially liked the key change cue for the drummer to wake up, even if he wasn’t too sure about where the tune was going.

Re: Too fast?

3 totally separate and unconnected points:

I didn’t see any "pure drop snobbery" or anyone being "tradier than thou". A straw man, if ever there was one.

Meanwhile, for any music, it does matter what the associations are with it. If it didn’t, you could forget ALL western classical music, because every single bit of it relies on people’s understanding of what’s gone before. IMO, the same applies to trad. If you think about it, it’s bound to. All music is built on conventions. Too obvious, really.

Just in case JNE was including me in the "pure drop snobs", I said I didn’t like it, and I didn’t. I thought it was dreadfully rushed, and not relaxed at all. This isn’t to do with putting "a contemporary spin on traditional music". Actually, FWIW, it also sounded old-fashioned, like something out of the 70s, to me. Hardly contemporary. But I like all sorts of "spin" on all sorts of music. I only care that it convinces me that it’s well done and produces an end product that stands up. This? Just rushed.

Rushed - - -

for me means it doesn’t quite hold together, isn’t ‘relaxed’ and ‘at ease’. I’m not making that judgement on one person but the group effort. Like with the linked to thread, it shouldn’t be dragged along by the fastest player but the tempo should be set collectively, taking into account everyone’s ability, not dragging one or two trailing behind, or forcing them to just play a sequence of notes rather than give the event and the music its just due. I don’t doubt they’d be fun to share a tune with, but the question was about speed, and I remain with my original observation, that it is ‘rushed’. While I appreciate the craic, mates having some fun, I’m not keen on the results. It’s not for me.

A good player in a group setting is also one, if leader, who sets achievable goals rather than just barrelling forward and not listening to and taking into account the abilities and needs of others. It’s a basic consideration I appreciate, especially in such situations, where it isn’t a ‘session’, though it is a valued addition there too, at least for involving the less able, once in awhile…

Re: Too fast?

I haven’t spoken or played with Luke much but judging from the occasions when I have, I’d say that any decision to play this tune fast and swung would have been a conscious one of interpretation appropriate to the crowd and venue, not any lack of knowledge or appreciation of the tune as it would normally be played, nor any lack of exposure to the genre. I quite enjoyed it for what it was. I like the Stock Camp venue too - I often used to camp right next to it.

Luke is an extremely versatile player. Give his album with Simon Bradley "Wintering Out" a listen. His bouzouki playing is nice and he has a rare ability to come up with tasty counter melodies on the fly. Here’s a preview from YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm_p6GRvGWs.

Re: Too fast?

Apologies to all for my wisenheimery and blanket assumptions. I was just trying to keep the conversation lively.

Re: Too fast?

Well, you’ve taught me a new word, at least, JNE. πŸ™‚

So Shooglenifty or Kevin Burke?

Well actually they are not mutually exclusive choices -both are excellent. The Funky String Band is a close relative of Shooglenifty and they are fun (music as fun - hope that is not anathema to anybioy? πŸ™‚ ). In the first video clip look carefully for the red tassle on the fiddle played by Angus Grant - that is a badge indicating that he is a pupil of Angus Grant senior who is indispistuatly a traditional musician - albeit Scottish not Irish. Angus Grant junior is also an accomplished traditional musician - I have heard him play in this mode when he is not being a ‘Shoogle’. I think it is excellent that peoplpe who like traditional music can also branch outside of it - which brings me neatly back to Kevin Burke - a quick look at his many incarnations reveals that he is not constraining himself either. So where are these rigid boundaries coming from? Maybe it’s something we are doing to ourselves - and maybe we are the losers if we do

Re: Too fast?

I was on the mixing desk at the Stock Camp when this was played. It was not rehearsed and Angus didn’t know that O’Carolan’s was going to go into the minor key and told me so over a beer later. They played everything from Robert Johnson, Hoagey Charmichael, to La Padita. As far as being "Dabblers", Martin Hayes and Andy Irvine hold Luke’s mandolin playing in very high regard. they are obviously "dabblers" as well.
http://lukeplumb.com