ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Before I explain what I’d like to ask, I’m going to confess that only after a short period of time playing ITM back in the early 80s — I started a "band." It was totally premature, and I was nowhere near ready to play gigs… but there I was. I’ve noticed when reading threads in this forum that it’s not uncommon among people outside of Ireland. I haven’t found one example of a beginner in Ireland starting a "band." So why do we (outside of Ireland) tend to "start bands" before we can hardly even play, and you Irish folks don’t? Do the Irish folks just have better sense? Am I wrong in my observation?

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Because there are amazing players of all types of instruments everywhere in Ireland, and the standard of playing is generally higher per head of population. If you’re a young person playing an instrument, you going to know how good you are expected to be before you can form a band that could get gigs.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

I’d suggest that there is less scope for gigs there too and people don’t tend to want to listen to ITM at gigs in Ireland unless it’s a"big name". Probably because they are spoilt for choice. I’ve seen handfuls of people going to see some artists who would pack out medium sized venues in the UK.
The session scene is the the "heart of the music" over there whereas, elsewhere, it’s more of a side show. So, as most musicians will have to depend on touring, they would have to be of a high standard.

John

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

As you say, guys, we are spoilt for choice. i was talking to the guys in Altan (scuse the name dropping) and was told that if it wasn’t for touring the U.S. and other countries abroad they could never make a living as a band. There’s just too many musos here raised in the tradition. Either you’re at the top of the pile talent wise or else you introduce some gimmick or other like mixing ITM with tango/flamenco/you-name-it. the last band I was in sold over 4000 cd’s in Italy and 3 in Ireland. Hmmmmm.

Joe

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

I think, especially from the USA point of view, that being in a band is a desirable thing no matter what kind of music you play. It is sort of the natural progression of things. Especially from my generation. It is a variation on the "American Dream". You learn a style of music, you find out you have friends that like the same kind of music, you form a band, and practice in the garage. The expectation is then that you: get gigs, get discovered, sign a rich and famous contract. It rarely works out that way, but I really believe that is the culture here.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Someone mentioned the law of supply and demand on another thread. Here in the US, there’s always a demand for Irish Music, whether it’s good old fashioned Irish Trad or Celtic Rock or the "green beer, plastic paddy" music. Americans love it all! You can get away with all kinds of craziness here in the US that wouldn’t fly so well in Ireland. (BTW -I have nothing against bands as long as the music is good)

Isn’t is the same for country music/American Old timey/bluegrass bands in Ireland? Seems like the Irish love this stuff, more so than a lot of Americans.(A lot of Americans can’t stand country music) I’ve heard of professional country singers making better livings in Ireland as opposed to the US. And I’ve heard of Irish musicians making better livings abroad, especially in the US….

Supply and demand…..sorry if I’m stating the obvious, don’t mind me : )

Hi Malcolm….I know you’re reading this : )

Ugh….I can’t get motivated to work today….

Joyce

Posted by .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Way back in the mid-70’s my friends and I did start a band in Ireland - not ITM, more Pentangley, folk-style stuff. We were truly bad and not ready by any means for stage performance. But one of our members happened to be on the social committee for her university and wangled us an opening spot for Scullion, a band that was becoming very popular in Ireland at the time.

We survived our set, and the crowd (truly enormous relative to what we might have deserved) was really encouraging. What a blast!

That was our one and only public performance, but I don’t for a minute regret it - or starting a band when we could "hardly even play."

Posted by .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

All of the above makes sense so far. Autumn’s point hits home—us Yanks are star-struck, we like our celebrities and want to emulate them. Plus, for amateur wanna-be musicians, there aren’t many choices—you either play in a band, or you play at home. It doesn’t take long, banging away in your garage, to decide that maybe a band would be more fun, even if you’re not completely ready.

Posted .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

This doesn’t really relate, but Joyce’s comments about old-time/bluegrass/country popularity reminded me of something that happened this last Sunday. Two lovely ladies from Dublin were in for a pint and looking for old-time music. They’d come all the way from Dublin to Asheville just to hear good old-time. Funny role reversal for me.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

That’s cool Jeremy : )

Posted by .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Hey jeball, I had a "role reversal" of that sort as well. When I first moved to SF back in 86, I was a roommate with Tom Savage, an Old Time banjo player from Galway. Two diametrically opposed musicians under one roof. It was like looking in the mirror.

Thanks for the responses

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Autumn, do you have a website with some MP3’s we could listen to? Might be cool to listen and discuss. I don’t know much about Celtic Rock. Might be something fun and different. When I think of Celtic Rock, the Young Dubliners and Flogging Molly come to mind : ) And I’ll even admit I’ve seen both these bands out in SoCal. (YD 4 times a the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach)

Joyce

Posted by .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Yeah, I’m always surprised when reading the various threads here how many "bands" get mentioned. Its not so common in Ireland for the various reasons already stated e.g. supply & demand etc. What tends to happen is that 2/3/4 people tend to get together to play and practice and this can lead to being asked to do sessions and you would get paid for these sometimes. While I was in Dublin a few of us got together to do a work charity thing for fun and beforehand practised a few tunes in the bar of the hotel. The manager approached us and asked us to play regularly (I thought we were pretty bad, and I’m not being modest!). Anyway we ended up with a residency of sorts for months. When that manager moved to the newly opened Hilton Hotel in Dublin he again asked us to do a regular gig and we obliged for over a year. Mind you our audience were mainly Americans staying in the hotel which kind of proves the other points made.

But as already stated there are just so many top notch players here you would need to be very brave or a really excellent musician to start a band.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

There are numerous Ceilidh bands all over Scotland, pretty traditional except mostly they are amplified and a lot of them include bass and/or drums, they work pretty steadily playing dances and functions and most of them are good. A lot of the musicians come from or drop into the session scene, and can mix and match ad hoc at short notice.

Are people saying that the same is not true for Ireland, or are they just overlooking "Ceili" bands?

Posted by .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

I wasn’t considering "Ceilidh" bands when I started this thread. Most bands I’m aware of, that are the type I was referring to, don’t consider themselves to be "Ceilidh" bands. This would be a slightly different catagory I think.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

I started playing in a "Celtic" band in Calgary before I had a clue about the music because there is an "Irish" pub on every street corner clamouring for an "Irish" band every weekend. They paid better than the other venues, so I played what they wanted me to play. Don’t get me wrong, the band was fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but, as Joyce mentioned, it was a matter of supply and demand. If they had been clamouring for my singer-songwriter shtick and paid me as well I would have done that. Bluegrass? Fine. Hungarian gypsy music? Bring it on.

When I was in Ireland it seemed like the pubs set the standard as well. They didn’t want "Celtic bands" - they wanted "Irish sessions", so they paid musicians to sit in a corner and look like they were having an ultra-traditional, spontanious, unamplified good time in a quiet corner. Where I was living there were only three pubs and all of them boasted "traditional Irish music sessions 7 nights a week from June to September" (I’m embarassed to say I took some of those gigs too). All the session players were paid and plied with booze, the publicans fought bitterly for them, and most of us were no good. I don’t think they have better taste in Ireland. It’s just a different kind of bad taste that seems somehow more "authentic".

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

*realizing that all sounds rather cynical* what I ought to say is; as a person who really, deeply loves playing music no matter how cheezy or tasteless or bizarre it is, I naturally flow into any available musical niche. I play what people want to hear *and* I enjoy playing it, *and* I feel very fortunate to have any opportunity to be paid to play it. I am infatuated with ITM now that I’ve learned something about it and invested so much time into it, but I *started* because it was the soup of the day.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

What happens to us session players in Montana is someone comes to our weekly sesh and assumes we’re a band (cuz our sets are sooooo tight :-| ) and they offer us money to play at their party/fundraiser/festival/coffee house. So the core players look at each other and say, yeah I need cash for new strings and my whistle acquisiton disorder, so sure, let’s do it. Some "clients" are just looking for something—anything—different from your average rock band, because we’re overrun with those. And some people actually want Irish music. And a few people are simply happy to find music that’s not unpleasant to listen to, played by people who look like they’re having fun. But then I live in a small town…..

Posted .

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

These were recorded a couple of years ago but:
http://www.revedufaun.com/Merchandise.htm

and Lord Toad’s Retreat is actually our version of Campbell’s Farewell to Red Gap. My advice for the best tracks to listen to, to get a feel the style we tend toward are Lord Toad and Twa Corbies. They both hover at about 2 mins.

I think we have more of a Steeleye Span or Fairport feel….We don’t really do anything Flogging Molly or Young Dubliners like. I think of those guys more as Irish punk.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Where on earth did you come up with "Pukin’ in the Heather?" That killed me. And the sweet gentle harmonies… so moving…

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Sci-fi/Fantasy writer Steven Brust. He is the author of that…shall we say,"gem". If you liked the Bob Dylan chorus, you should hear the William Shatner chorus sometime. I got blind sided by that one at one of our last gigs. Truly frightening.

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

I can imagine it,,, "Puking… intheheather, Bones - in windy…rainy weather… I… wish…WE…. were… to… gether…"

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

I’ve just been listening to your Dampton Worm Autumn, great! I used to live near to Penshaw Hill where the worm used to wrap its tail round at nights. You can still see the marks if you look, though some say its just the old track to the quarry.

Jerry

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

In a performance setting what is good and what isn’t is only judged by the audience and their response to what you are doing whether it is good or bad!

Re: ITM bands (the concept) Ireland compared to US etc.

Jack, your question implies that you have a choice. If ITM players are few and far between it is likely that you form a band as you play with the same people every time anyway. Doing gigs doesn’t come first but is an incentive to improve.
When I started in the seventies sessions were only known at festivals. This has changed slightly but I’d still have to travel over an hour to get to one. If I lived in Ireland I wouldn’t dream of starting a band. No need for it.

Posted by .