Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Does anyone know of a Sligo-style teacher in the Bay Area? Someone who plays and teaches the ornaments in an authentic style? I am in the East Bay, but I would be willing to go anywhere in the Bay Area.

Thank you!

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

I have no clue, but it might help if you clarified which Sligo style you are talking about. Modern style a la Seamus & Manus McGuire? New York Coleman/McGann style? Something else?

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Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Thank you. I don’t know anything about different Sligo styles. I like Michael Coleman and Kevin Burke.

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Nobody can doubt Coleman as the epitome of the Sligo Style, although I would award Paddy Killoran the same respect. Both of those however are incredibly hard to learn from. When I first took up fiddling my leaning was also towards the Sligo style. I have since branched away bit because there is so much good stuff in other styles. All the same Sligo style is as good a starting place as any. I found the album by Kathleen Collins to be an extremely good example of the Sligo style, and it’s much easier to learn from than the older stuff (especially if you slow it down). It’s an excellent album in itself. Check it out here :-https://thesession.org/recordings/30
If I remember correctly you can download it free on line. The other thing I’d recommend, if you are any good at teaching yourself, is Matt Cranitch’s "Irish fiddle Book" (with CD’s). He has a section that describes the different bowing and ornament styles of different regions (including Sligo), and he takes you through playing the ornaments one at a time. That book was my primary learning resource. Sorry I can’t help you with your actual question, but possibly this may help you a bit.

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Why do you want to learn Sligo style*? Are you planning on moving there? Are there players in your area that play Sligo style specifically and you are looking for a teacher that will help you play with them? Do you already play fiddle and are looking for specific techniques?

If your goal is to learn to play fiddle so that you can play with other local musicians, then you should drop the ‘Sligo’ bit and get a good teacher that plays locally so they know the settings and repertoire. You’d have to be extremely lucky to find somebody who specifically teaches Sligo style in your area. A good teacher will help you learn as much as you want to learn, including techniques from players on your "wish list".

*Nobody really plays like Coleman anymore, the music has evolved. Maybe the New Yorkers like Brian Conway, if that’s your thing. Kevin Burke doesn’t really play Sligo either - his influences are quite varied. IMO, the whole concept of "Sligo style" is a bit of a misnomer and can be a source of confusion.

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Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Coming from Melbourne I feel a bit unqualified to answer your question but I seem to recall Dale Russ at some stage was based in San Francisco, if he’s still around there he would be an ideal person to seek out for advice. Not sure whether it’s "Sligo style" but it’s great fiddling:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1uQlOsv8s0

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Although I started out focussed on the Sligo style, I have to agree with Aaron. Firstly, it probably doesn’t actually exist any more, and secondly, why restrict yourself. I can shift from one style to another, but then, only ever play solo. I’d have to adapt to session playing, and my hard studied emphasis on regional style would have to disappear.

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Thank you for all of the responses.

To clarify, I don’t live in Sligo and don’t plan on moving there.

I have been playing fiddle for a long time, mostly old time, bluegrass, country and Cajun. I love Irish fiddle and want to learn it. There are a couple of sessions around here, but no one who plays at them really sounds authentically Irish to me. Other than a bowed triplet once in a while, I don’t hear any of the fiddle players playing ornaments - no cuts or rolls, and very few slides. To me that just doesn’t sound Irish.

As to why Sligo, as a couple of folks have commented, you have to start somewhere, and that is the style that I find most compelling. That fiery Sligo style with lots of ornaments just does it for me. I have always found that I work a lot harder at learning music that I am passionate about than I do with music that I have to learn whether I want to or not, such as to play in a band. So I figure that if I pursue a style that really sends me I will work harder at it. I am not closing any doors, and certainly am open to learning elements of other styles, such as Clare or Donegal (I like Tommy Peoples’ playing a lot).

I’m actually now toying with the idea of going to Portland to take a lesson or two with Kevin Burke. He teaches, both in person and by Skype. Portland is just a 1.5 hour flight, and I could visit some family and friends at the same time. Maybe start with an in-person lesson, then follow up with Skype lessons and maybe sign up for fiddlevideo.com, where KB has a lot of instructional videos.

Again, thank you for all of the comments, and please keep them coming.

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

The best performers aren’t necessarily the best teachers. Trust.

Find the good players in your area, they exist somewhere. You just need to find them and connect with a good teacher through them. If the Bay area is anything like the Portland area where I live, you’re bound to find a couple good fiddlers that can help you out, without you having to resort to canned videos or traveling or skype.

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Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Actually, Dale Russ is up here in the Seattle area now. But, Califiddler, why don’t you drop in on some of your excellent local sessions and ask around. I’ve heard some fine fiddle players at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, and the Plough and the Stars in San Francisco. If they don’t teach, they likely know someone who does.

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Having lived in the north Bay Area up until 2 years ago, I can heartily recommend 3 players that can teach you all you want to learn. First though, attend the local session in San Francisco at the Plough and Stars on Clement Street. They session on Sundays and Tuesdays starting at 8pm. They have rotating hosts, so check the online calendar to see who’s hosting. You can meet them, hear their playing, and see if they’re taking students at this time. The three players I recommend are Erin Shrader of Three Mile Stone, John Caulfield of the Gasmen, and Robyn ni Conney, who’s studied with Kevin Burke for over 6 years. Hope this helps.

Re: Sligo style fiddle teacher in San Francisco Bay Area?

Thank you again for the responses. I will check out the 3 players whom fiddlerdan mentioned, and check out the sessions at the Plough and Stars and at the Starry Plough (I played my first gig there 25 years ago!).