Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.
I know this topic has been broached on several occasions, but perhaps not dealt with in depth as a single discussion.
In London, as I’m aware that is the case in many parts of England, the Pure Drop from Erin can be Polluted by having tunes played by local English players playing local English tunes. And if you had a session in Denmark, there’d be plenty of Danish stuff interfering. What right do these interlopers think they have in coming in to our little enclaves of Ireland with their foreign ideas? Outrageous. Preposterous.
We here in South East London try to - and in general succeed in - keeping the music very strictly Irish. Our Irish credentials are very sound. I myself are 4th generation Irish, maybe 5th, my fluting colleague has never actually set foot on the Emerald Isle, but has seen all of The Pure Drop series on video, which I’m sure is more than most Fair City afficionados would have done. Our fiddle player once had a girlfriend from Ramsey, IOM, and thereafter couldn’t stop singing The Craic was Ninety in the….
So, as you can see, we are deeply steeped in the UK pub session going back and forwards many generations…well…half a generation forwards, maybe, if you count the time my daughter came to the same pub, but in the lounge bar, not the public bar where we were sessionning, to meet her mates before they went off to a rave. She was very embarrassed that she had arranged to meet all her hipster-rave buddies in the same place as her sad dad’s boring old session. But at least they heard the music somewhere in between the inane chatter. That’s good enough for me. So, as I say, we are deeply entrenched in the tradition by listening to the odd Planxty album in amongst John Martyn’s "May You Never" and Grateful Dead’s "What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been", between spliff-tokes. So maybe you now appreciate the depth of our passion. Personally, my passion gets so deep that by the following morning my head hurts badly. Or was that the 7 th pint?
But it’s when, if you’re in Scotland at a trad music session, you are subjected to someone playing Scottish tunes. WTF? And in Wales, bliddy Welsh hornpipes boyo? We’ve all heard of Northumbrian tunes but I dinna expect ta actually hear them when a wis in a session in Alnwick, man?
My question is this. Should sessions and thus session players be allowed to play vernacular music or should they be compelled, possibly by force of law, to play only Irish Traditional Music, as defined by EU regulation 1421, paragraph 2(d). So should sessions be regulated by law, especially local laws. Should Irish sessions be retained as Irish sessions throughout the world?
As you all are aware, Ireland, as a small country punching well above its weight, could apply diplomatic and economic pressure throughout the world, to ensure that sessions abide by the law.
And Ireland would not be in its position of relative strength had it not become independent from the UK.
Exactly the same position as Catalonia is now, about 100 years later.
I await your affirmative responses.