Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

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.

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I like the bit about your daughter’s rave. Did you go?

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Hi Danny!

Despicable behaviour if you ask me! I’ve just consulted with Dr. Jameson and he says to do things the Orstrylee-anne way and pack the lot off to Manus Island and make them wait there until they receive the appropriate accreditation for EU Regs 1421 para 2 (d) aforementioned! There they might get a taste of some Bush medicine which might heal them and help them realise the error of their ways.

Unlike Tasmania, now established as an independent country, free of the shackles of the Mother Empire and, I would hope, the colonial backwater of Canberra :-) don’t you have any more little islands to where you can deport these offenders?

We also have five former politicians from other traditions looking for somewhere to live! Maybe you can help? Is there still a camp at Calais?

All the best

Brian x

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It’s too soon for me to enjoy yet another question of session etiquette. We’ve has such a run of them and they make me remember why I don’t socialise. I realise that your post is tongue in cheek Juste, and I expect it will receive the appropriate responses, but my only serious thought on it is this:- Music is now wholly international and it will evolve accordingly (as indeed Irish music has been doing for centuries). No such thing as ‘pure drop’ to me.

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I suppose that session wise its all a matter of communication if you ocassionally allow in a non trad irish tune/song in. I have never seen a session (never been that fortunate yet), but if I see all those vids of them on the internet as well as listen to the music I can find many variations in playstyles of tunes (some even sound completely different depending on who plays) so music develops by what we are familiar with or get to hear in combination with geographical diversities.

As for the "dusty image" regarding the younger folks (think I can still count myself among those too as I grew up with rave and similar lol)… It’s all a matter of time before they start to appeciate or get involved with trad. I mean, I only knew lord of the dance and molly malone at best (from tv and school) :P I simply liked the relaxing airs (made me relax which I had a need for) and started to play the whistle. Got to know more about the music and started to love the jigs and reels etc too. People change over the time :)

Oh and the jungle at Calais is gone afaik :P There must still be some uninhabited island somewhere :P Or they may fit for that immigration to Mars program lol

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Remember that a hell of a lot of tunes in the Irish tradition came from other traditions. How did they get there? Buy Irish musicians listening to, and playing with, musicians from other traditions. It is traditional for a session to include any competent musicians regardless of their roots. To me the ‘Irish’ bit of ‘Irish session’ refers to the way the session works, not the tunes played. As long as the tunes played fit with the instruments available and are simple/well known enough for others to join in, then anything goes.

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Aye - I wonder if the fiction of a “pure” Irish tradition is more important to non-Irish punters than Irish punters?

Irish Music has had a mix of influences always… and I expect that Irish folks wouldn’t mind that as much as non-Irish types?

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Yes, to a large degree the concept of ‘pure drop’ is an ideal, and I suspect that you may right Choons. Got to run… the leprechauns are pinching me potatoes.

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Give those leps a good nutpunt and steal their whiskey, gobby!

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I am at a loss as to whether this is a serious query or some sort of avant garde stream of consciousness art piece.

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I play traditional Irish music. I find it very absorbing and very demanding. I have no interest in playing old-time, contra-dance, French Canadian, Scottish or Celtic music, et al. If there is a lot of music from another tradition in a session, I will stop going to that session.
On an odd night we might play Over the Waterfall or Scotland the Brave (or Jingle Bells or Rock Around the Clock) but that would only be about once every five years or so. Nothing wrong with those tunes. I just don’t want to play them on a regular basis.
This is just not true: "…the ‘Irish’ bit of ‘Irish session’ refers to the way the session works, not the tunes played. As long as the tunes played fit with the instruments available and are simple/well known enough for others to join in, then anything goes." Some people might feel this way, but to me and my pals it wouldn’t be acceptable. As an occasional diversion it’s fine. Otherwise it’s rude. People who insist on playing tunes outside the tradition would not be welcome at our sessions.

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As a Scot I don’t see any separation between ITM and Scottish - any more than regional styles.

The water that now separates us was, one time, the fastest way to travel.

I feel both culturally and musically very at home in Eire.

I see the tradition as one - and have found that Irish and Scottish tunes are often interchangeable and their origins unclear as to whether they are Scottish or Irish originally.

Tunes like Miss MacLeod’s, Jig of Slurs and Atholl Highlanders seem prime examples.

I doubt the Leprechauns would spit them out as alien!

(PS I’ve never heard scotland the brave played in a Scottish session and I doubt I ever will.)

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It doesn’t really mean anything then does it?

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David Levine: "This is just not true: "…the ‘Irish’ bit of ‘Irish session’ refers to the way the session works, not the tunes played. As long as the tunes played fit with the instruments available and are simple/well known enough for others to join in, then anything goes."

Thankfully your ancestors weren’t as picky as you, otherwise you’d have a very limited repertoir. And when someone brings a new tune to the session, do you have to research the roots and origins of that tune before you accept it as being Irish enough?

As far as I’m concerned, and Irish session refers to a type of event, and Irish traditional music refers to the style of playing, not a certain prescribed set of tunes. If someone brings along a foreign tune, and you and your pals join in in your normal Irish style, then you’re still playing Irish music.

If your group want to stay strickly pure-drop that’s fine, but it doesn’t define what and Irish session is, just what your session is.

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As an American with no provable Irish heritage other than a sister-in-law who lives there (Dutch by birth) along with a neice married to an authentic Irishman and two Irish-born great-neices, but who loves listening to and playing Irish music, I have to admit to smiling just a little bit whenever I hear the term "Irish polka." Then, we could talk about accordians and banjos. Just sayin’ … .

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The issue is what works in sessions, not necessarily whether a particular tune has found its way from one tradition to another.

"I see the tradition as one - and have found that Irish and Scottish tunes are often interchangeable and their origins unclear as to whether they are Scottish or Irish originally. Tunes like Miss MacLeod’s, Jig of Slurs and Atholl Highlanders seem prime examples."

These are not good examples of tunes of unknown origin. MacLeod’s is universally recognized as Scottish. Jig of Slurs is a classic G.S. McLennan Highland pipe tune. Atholl Highlanders is a Scottish pipe tune as well.

As to sessions, MacLeod’s is a good example of how problematic tunes of the two traditions can be in a mixed session. Scottish bellows pipers play it in A, the key of origin. Irish musicians play it G. Scottish pipers cannot easily adapt to G, if at all, as the chanter scale makes it difficult. Irish musicians would have to adapt to A. Doable, but then it loses something in translation.

Anyone deeply experienced in both traditions knows that, in a session setting, it’s hard to make it work well. Each year, some of Scotland’s very, very finest musicians gather at Cairdeas, i.e. the Vermont Bellowspipe and Fiddle School. Each year, an evening is reserved for several Irish musicians to stop in, renew old friendships, have a pint, and enjoy a tune. The Irish musicians involved are, again, of world class ability. The evening is great, great fun, and SOME tunes work really well. But, generally speaking, the evening, on a musical level, struggles to work. Most Scottish sessions now involve bellowspipes. What works in Irish music most often simply does not work on the Highland scale. Scottish pipers are forever crushing the Irish tunes to make them fit, often quite badly, on the Highland scale.

And to say the music is all interchangeable ignores subtle, nuanced and at times significant differences in ornamentation, tempo and expression. It is not all the same.

Of course, share the odd tune from another tradition. And of course both traditions share many tunes, albeit most often in different keys. But I’ve never seen an attempt at a truly mixed session work well. I’m with David, and it has nothing to do with snobbery. I’d rather go to an Irish session with my fiddle, or a Scottish session with my pipes and fiddle. But mixing the two just doesn’t work all that well. For sessions I’ve seen advertised as "Celtic, Old Time, Quebecois, Contra etc.", well, on a social level it might be really fun. But musically, I’ve never seen it work.

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Would it be OK if Musicians from other traditions were joining in Irish non-traditional sessions, Irish modern sessions and so on?

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Tervs and Tunes I’ve not seen that problem, and am a bit confused as to what you think the problem is. What are you referring to as ‘bellowspipes’? I assume you are talking about Scottish small pipes, but they don’t use the pipe scale, and fit perfectly well with Irish uillean pipes both in session and performance bands (look up Ross Ainsley and Jarlath Henderson). Travel round Scotland or Northern Ireland and you’ll quickly realize that the line between the two traditions is so blurred as to be indistinguishable, nobody knows where Scottish ends and Irish begins.

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Strooth, Juste my ole mate and much the same it is here in Amerikay where we do not countenance interlopers whacking out Cold Frosty Morning and Whiskey Before Breakfast like they was the pure drop. I’m agin it and I don’t really like that Whiskey tune anyway. Hang a half-clever name on a boring tune and everyone wants to play it — if it was named Bill’s #3 it would have sunk out of sight long ago but now you have folks who can’t wait to tell the punters the name of the tune cuz it makes them seem a bit rakish like they really DO have a knock of the craythur before their waffles, as they sit at a pub demurely sipping their bottled water what they brought with em. Fewkin ell, where are the Trad Police when you need em?

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I’m surprised to see people talking about ‘Irish’ and ‘Scottish’ traditions as if they are two monoliths, that either, a) intermingle with no problem, or, b) do not intermingle with any success whatsoever. In actuality, there are various Irish and various Scottish traditions, and various Irish/Scottish traditions. And, of course, an endless variety of individual players. If you take two inflexible players from extreme ends (whatever they are) of either ‘tradition’, they probably will not have much success if they try to play together. If you take two flexible players from just across either side of some border, they will probably to able to make beautiful music together.

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"I assume you are talking about Scottish small pipes, but they don’t use the pipe scale "

We must be having a semantics problem. The Highland pipe scale is exactly what Scottish smallpipes utilize . Nine notes, flatted 7th. The odd player might have a chanter with a key or key, but that’s very uncommn. As to the term "bellowspipes", I am referring to both Scottish smallpipes and borderpipes. Borderpipes also use the Highland scale, but most chanters permit a few accidentals and perhaps an overblown B. The great majority of smallpipe players use an A chanter, meaning tunes are played generally in A and D and the corresponding minor keys. Only the odd tune in G is doable. Some smallpipe players have interchangeable chanters, and plug in a D chanter when necessary. But the limitations are the same. Nine notes, flatted seventh. Period. Borderpipes are in A, and therefore are limited generally to A and D, and a couple of minor keys. Scottish bellowspipes simply cannot do what Irish pipes can do.

But I didn’t say that means no common ground. In my post, I made it clear that some tunes work well together with Irish pipes and Scottish bellowspipes. And many examples of this can be found on youtube. But far less commonality than you are suggesting. Again, we’re focusing in this thread on sessions, and what works in sessions, not performance.

Lastly, meself seems to suggest I am talking about absolutely no intermingling. I didn’t say that. Again, with some tunes, I’ve seen it done really well. All I am saying is that, in general, the tunes are not easily interchangeable in a session setting. As to meself suggesting rigidity, nothing at all rigid about the world class players I’ve seen finding common ground. They can, and do. I won’t name names this time (Kenny, where are you? :)), but to suggest rigidity among the folks I’m personally familiar with is simply not correct.

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It’s interesting that the "Purer than Thou" contributors here tend to be more from the Western side of the Atlantic than the Eastern. Our islands here off the north coast of France, have a large shared corpus of tunes, as well as many that have never moved from their island of origin. Customarily there has been no check of any sort to prevent any interchange of ideas, musical styles or tunes. Indeed, the Québecois dance tune La Bastringe owes its popularity, current format and about a third of its composition to Jackie Daly!
I believe in open borders, both musically and politically. To behave any other way risks the accusation of musical snobbery, which I personally detest.

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Nobody is being snobbish. Just expressing our preferences.
I agree with everything Tervs and Tunes had to say.
We generally define things from their centers rather than by their edges, if that makes sense. Nobody said "absolutely no intermingling."
Jackie Daly composed part of La Bastringue? Jean Carnignan might have had something to say about that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c1mGEWi5qQ

This clip dates from well before Jackie was born: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwDGu2SEUPY

A lot of us are refugees from the contra-dance scene and love the old dance tunes. But it’s not our first choice. Our Irish sessions are not free-for-alls where anything goes. That’s all I’m saying.

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> Atholl Highlanders is a Scottish pipe tune as well.

Actually, it was written for the London stage as a pastiche of a Scottish tune. Like all parodies that are too well executed, it suffered the fate of becoming part of the tradition.

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Evidence for that claim, please ?

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Proof:
X = √(

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Sorry, don’t know what happened there.

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"Actually, it was written for the London stage as a pastiche of a Scottish tune. Like all parodies that are too well executed, it suffered the fate of becoming part of the tradition."

That’s really interesting, Calum, given that it appears in Ross and MacKay, both 19th century collections. Presumably other early collections. Don’t know if it appeared in the 1854 MacKay edition. What London stage production was it written for?

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I’ve read - possibly here - that La Bastringue was included in the personal tune-book kept by novelist/fiddler Thomas Hardy. I was under the impression that that tune originated in France, but I don’t know why. Perhaps because the ‘bastringue’ originiated there … ?

On another matter: Just to clarify, when I used the descriptor ‘inflexible’, I wasn’t intending to mean in attitude or musical ideology, but more ‘incapable of adapting to another style’. There are some otherwise quite proficient - and perhaps open-minded - musicians who have a tough time altering their style - or even playing with others at all.

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{*incapable of adapting to another style’. There are some otherwise quite proficient - and perhaps open-minded - musicians who have a tough time altering their style - or even playing with others at all.*}

@meself … it’s also sometimes referred to as being "pattern-locked".

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I tried to edit my spelling mistake, but I accidentally posted it. It would have made an ‘L’ of a difference!

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I think some of us have forgotten what sessions are all about. They’re about people coming together to make music just for the fun of it. And on that basis, if you like a tune you play it. Simple.

I respect those who want to academically preserve the old styles and tunes, but that isn’t the stuff of a session, it belongs in the lecture theatre and concert hall. Music is a creative art, and the creative bit comes from taking bits from here, there and everywhere and making them into music. If An Irishman, a Scot, a Welshman and an American all land up in a pub together, you don’t say ‘I’m not playing with you because you don’t play the right sort of music’, You mix it up and see what comes out. It might work, it might not. But what you can be sure of is that it will be more challenging and a lot more fun than just trotting out the same old chestnuts week after week.

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I was in a pub in Kinvara about 10 years ago and there were two musicians "from the North" playing tunes. I didn’t recognize one. It was a revelationary experience. I thought I knew "Irish" tunes. I realized it’s a very big world.

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"And on that basis, if you like a tune you play it". I could not disagree more with that statement. It totally contradicts the sentence before it.
"Music is a creative art, …" I have never gone to a session in a pub with the purpose of being "creative", I go to spend some enjoyable time with like-minded friends and the occasional stranger. It’s a social occasion, it may sometimes be creative, but that’s certainly not its’ purpose.

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So at any given point is not each session an entity unto itself? Every session is different and that is what is great and unique imho.

It is all regional and evolutionary and that is what different sessions are.

I sort of doubt that each and every session has a set of rules that one has to abide by to preserve a tradition.

Prior to the internet ( and really even going much further back to say more rudimentary forms of communication like actually living in a certain province and attending said session) one would go to a session and accept (and perhaps play) the tunes of the locale.

To me, a session is a conversation unto the locale, and I look forward to new conversations, even if I am ignorant as to the subject.

One sits and listens and learns and asks questions and that is how we grow is it not?

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I’m with Choons and Mark M here, perhaps because I have never been to a "pure drop" session: those that I do go to (mainly in Scotland), people just play tunes they enjoy playing: you may well find a mix of Scottish and Irish tunes in the same set. And you may well hear French, English, Klezmer and Scandinavian tunes all in the same session. And you may have people who don’t know where the tunes they are playing came from either, but they are just enjoying playing them. Of course, these sessions are not advertised as being exclusively ITM sessions. I love Irish music as much as anyone, but don’t feel the need to be quite so prescriptive as some.

And btw, Atholl Highlanders is usually played as a DOTTED 6/8 march by pipe bands, including those at Blair Castle in Perthshire: considerably slower than the usual session jig version. (and slower even than the "slow" version in that clip above). Gives a whole different feel to the tune!

And yes, we do play Scotland the Brave in sessions: only you have to check beforehand whether folk will be playing as per the song or as per the pipe march, as the B section is different in the 2 versions, and you could end up with a horrible clash if some play one and some the other! We did play this with a Scottish smallpipes player: he started solo in A playing the pipe march, and we followed on in D, playing the song version.

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I think the claim that Jacky Daly partly composed La Bastringue might have originated with the ‘Buttons and Bows’ album from the early 80s , with the McGuire brothers Seamus and Manus. They added a 3rd part in G
that i never heard in the Quebecois originals. A wonderful album which also included Norwegian and Shetland tunes - don’t know how well it would go down with the ITM thought police………………….

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I don’t get this. When does it stop being an Irish traditional session?

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"only you have to check beforehand whether folk will be playing as per the song or as per the pipe march"

Or if it was supposed to be "The John Maclean March". Whenever musicians play some of the pipe tunes which Hamish Henderson appropriated… e.g. the above, Farewell to the Creeks, and "Bloody fields of Flanders", the daft singers often try to join in and accuse the musicians of "no daing it recht…".
:-)

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Kenny: "I have never gone to a session in a pub with the purpose of being "creative"

Assuming you’re a musician not a CD player, then every time you make music you are being creative - you are MAKING music. And all the time you are doing it you should be thinking ‘How can I make this better?’. Better is subjective, there are times when better might mean ‘more like Michael Coleman’, but in a session ‘better’ normally means ‘more enjoyable for the people around me’. So if there are musicians from other traditions present, then making it better means cutting a little slack and letting them make their contribution. Transatlantic Sessions wouldn’t have run to six series if all the musicians from different countries had huddled in their own corners saying ‘I’m not playing with him because that isn’t my tradition’.

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Mark,

I think what Kenny means is that a session isn’t the same thing as a musical project or workshop. It’s for musical enjoyment and is usually a sociable occasion although some sessions may not appear that way. Mind you, serious faces doesn’t necessarily mean that the players aren’t enjoying themselves in their own way.

Of course, we should all strive to do our best and get better too. Also, we have to adapt to what’s going on around us to a certain extent and pay attention to other players. This may involve being "creative" to a certain extent but I don’t see this as a deliberate on conscious thing. It’s usually something which just happens.

As for ‘I’m not playing with him because that isn’t my tradition’, I think it’s a question of judgement.
As has been already mentioned, there are all manner of sessions out there. If the musicians are playing the same genre of music all night, then it’s probably safe to assume that this is what they want. I’d be cautious about introducing something else unless I was invited to do so.

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David50: "I don’t get this. When does it stop being an Irish traditional session?"

When did it start being an Irish traditional session? I remember a holiday in Ennis in the ’70s when my father had a great time playing English morris tunes with the local musicians.

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When I used to visit Ireland some years ago, I found that most of the local musicians were very encouraging about music from other countries. They even allowed songs. ;-)

The exception was the organised tune sessions with "paid musicians" which were specifically geared towards the tourists and filling the pubs…. Doolin seemed the worst in this respect, although it happened elsewhere too. I suppose these were "Irish Sessions" but only for those and such as those.

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Johnny Jay, that sessions aren’t the same thing as projects or workshops is exactly the point I am trying to make. If you want to keep something pure you have to put a barrier around it to keep the pollution out. You can do that in a project or workshop, but in a session, which is by definition inclusive, you can’t. Trying to keep your tradition pure in an open session is like standing in the ocean hoping your feet will stay dry. Preserve your tradition in your projects and workshops, but when it comes to sessions, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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@ Mark M "When did it start being an Irish traditional session?" For the current context, in the OP and the discussion subject line.

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Hello again!
As ever, it seems some people are more interested in the Irish-ness of the tradition than the actual music! So-called Irish music doesn’t exist in a funny little sealed box! No culture does! I have run into the occasional po-faced misery that seem to live out their mawkish Hibernian fantasy via a blinkered, studied indifference to absolutely anything that isn’t Irish. I’ve been lucky, here in South London to have regularly play with some of the great anf famous of this tiny musical genre we all love. 99% of these players have had an interest and repetoire from outside the tradition. The snooty, amateur, humourless, self-styled defenders of the tradition (the ‘no drums or guitars or funny stuff at our perfect session’ brigade) are wrong. And it does seem that the geographically further one goes from Ireland, the more defensive they get. This is because they’re only usng the music to emphasize how Irish they think they are. I play Irish music (as well as anything else I want to) because of the music, I do not harbour a sentimental desire to be or appear Irish, thank you very much!!!

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"And it does seem that the geographically further one goes from Ireland, the more defensive they get." Of course it does. If you are going to use the adjectives "Irish" and "traditional" then Ireland is where it became what it is by taking in whatever influences suited the players there. The next step out would be the centres of the diaspora.

Is the argument is that just because a session on Ireland might welcome a bit of klezmer and the occassional morris tune or something from Playford then anyone else anywhere can do that and call it an Irish session?

Do I recall correctly a documentary about Johnny Doherty described him playing Amercian music for money? How much does that come through in his ‘Irish’ fiddle style?

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Isn’t the whole point of Irish sessions in far flung places to replicate the Sessions of Ireland? And if sessions in Ireland are happy to welcome strangers…

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For some people the point is to - mainly - play music from the ‘traditional’ Irish repertoire in a characteristically Irish style.

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If people in Ireland put chilli peppers in a stew that is up to them. If I chose Irish stew from a menu in England I don’t expect to find chilli peppers in it.

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If I put chilli peppers in a stew I won’t call it Irish stew. If I make a stew from a recipe for Irish Stew and someone from Ireland suggests changes to make it more like their grandmother made in Clare then I might give it a go.

If there granny used chilli peppers I will be circumspect about calling the result Irish Stew until I learn more about Irish Stew in Ireland.

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And I guess the Irish just call it stew and it is much more varied than what your would read in a recipe book.

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At the risk of speaking for other musicians such as David Levine, I think the operative point is that a session is not an entity unto itself. It is a group of musicians who gather in a specific place at a specific time to play a specific music together. It follows then that those people will choose what kind of music they want to play, at what tempo, with what instrumentation, with how many musicians playing etc etc. The list could go on forever.

And if those musicians get together each week to play Irish tunes that they like playing, in a style that they all find mutually pleasant and acceptable, then that is the session. If someone walks into that session, open or not, and wants to play music that the core group of musicians dislike or aren’t interested in playing they are under no obligation to allow that music to be played. It’s as simple as that.

These are people. Their time is valuable, and in my experience they are coming out to play music for their own enjoyment, not as some sort of public service.If they are being paid to play, or to host a session even, then they are there to provide quality music or at least assure a certain standard. They are under no obligation to welcome newcomers or beginners(I have never seen beginning players turned away, so long as they are reasonable and respectful) simply because the pub owner puts up a sign that says "Live Music Tonight, 7-10."

That all being said, to touch on the OP, non Irish style music just comes down to the interest of the core group of musicians. If people want to get together to play Irish music, and also Quebecois and some Swedish tunes, that shouldn’t bother anyone so long as that is part of the express goals of the group. If a musician shows up and wants to have space made for them to play music that the group doesn’t like or want to play, then that is unacceptable.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

@Ebor_fiddler Jackie Daly merely copied Philippe Bruneau’s recording that paired "La Bastringue" with "Vive la canadienne". This was brought to light in a thread that you started on melodeon.net, but apparently don’t remember… ;-)

http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=13946.msg171804#msg171804

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Hear hear, Wesley Mann….

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My memory is not what it was Stiamh - mind, it never was! Ta!

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so it was the great Phillipe Bruneau who added the 3rd part of La Bastringue - we live and learn. thanks Stiamh

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Vive la canadienne is a well-known song in Quebec; I don’t think any Quebecois would hear the Bruneau recording and think of VLC as a third part, rather, they’d think of it as VLC! Not that it matters …..

************************

I don’t believe anyone’s mentioned one of the main reasons musicians may be tetchy about keeping their session ‘pure’: if you live in a community that has only a few ITM players, but is full of, for example, Bluegrass guitarists, your sessions will in all likelihood turn into Bluegrass jams if you aren’t defensive. It’s one thing to welcome the odd outsider; it’s another thing to have your session taken over by musicians who aren’t interested in the music the session was originally about.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

As has been pointed out several times in other threads, a session is not a "jam". Some of what folks are
describing here as being all-inclusive sound suspiciously like jams to me.

Also, has anyone noticed that David, myself, Wesley and others have not used any words like "pure", or "authentic", "academic" etc.? We’re just trying to keep some reasonable boundaries, that’s all. Lots of folks are trying to read content into statements that just isn’t there.

One last thing. I’ve played serious clawhammer off and on through the years. If I want to play OT, I go to OT gatherings/sessions. I would never bring my pipes to an OT gathering and expect to be embraced with great enthusiasm, nor would I accuse the OT players of snobbery or purity if they didn’t want pipes in their session.

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My take on this is that if you want to have an exclusive group event and do not wish it to be "polluted" don’t do it in public, where it may well be corrupted. Go back to the original tradition of house music and make it invitation only, possibly by audition if you are worried about beginners ruining your music. If you must do it in a pub hire the back room and put bouncers on the door. That way you will not inflict your narrow-minded attitude on the general musical public and unwelcome musicians will not intrude.

I am mainly a singer and attend and run general sessions (both song and tunes are welcome). When the door is open to anyone you have to put up with what you get; sometimes it is total c**p, it may not be what I prefer to hear but that is how it goes. Part of the idea of an public session is that beginners can hear and join in with better performers and learn and improve. That way you can give back to the music what it has given you; you all began at the bottom didn’t you, or did you spring fully-formed from the loins of an ITM god?

I wish not to offend anyone by my comments but if you want your idea of purity (a curious concept) make sure it is in private. Exclusive sessions do nothing for the music, they are for the self-indulgence of the participants.

Rant over.

Dick.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

In reality you’ll hear much better music at a session with ground rules than you ever will at a free for all. Generally because the people who gladly accept some parameters care much more about the music than the participation. Free for alls are generally the total opposite.

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"I wish not to offend anyone by my comments ….".
Then don’t go calling them the "Gestapo". There’s not that many more offensive terms you could use, and I doubt very much that you’d say that to someone’s face rather than posting behind the anonymity of a website.

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I can guarantee that anyone who tries to argue that all sessions should be open to every musician will always capitulate that there is *something* they won’t allow.

I’ve never yet met anyone who truly believes all sessions or jams should be completely and utterly open.

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Point taken Kenny but it does underline how strongly I feel about this. Check my location on my profile, you will know who I am and know that my stance on this has been long held. I am not hiding behind website anonymity.

Bogman, yes I agree but the OPs point, put with some humour, was on the subject of purity and consequent exclusivity. My attitude is that if you wish to have an exclusive session to preserve "purity" don’t hold it in a public space.

Nico, I did not really enjoy someone singing hymns at a recent Sunday folk session!

Dick.

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Here is a story for OP.

Some years ago there was a new regulation for buskers working in Moscow Metro. Local authorities wanted them to play ‘authentic’ and ‘national’ music. Seeing a german folk band wearing german national costumes being forced by filtering committee to play russian folk was absolutely surreal. That’s for application of law to music.

Music is about joining people. Borders are artificial here. Once I got brave enough to sing a Russian song in an Irish session. It was not in place, sure. Thanks session leader, who let me sing. AFAIK, there was an old Irish tradition of performings on evening gatherings (which predate sessions of nowadays) in rural areas, where strangers were allowed, even welcome, to perform, as they brought something new to the locals. It’s all different with Internet these days, sure, but getting in contact with some other music occasionally enriches enormously.

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Wow, this thread got heavy!

If a session is advertised or explained to others as an ITM session, then I would expect it to be mostly ITM tunes.

However someone may consider a tune as ITM which perhaps most of the other people in that session don’t consider to be ITM.

That’s ok.

And it’s ok to throw something a bit different and unusual in to the mix now and then.

I’m guessing that what we now mostly see as ITM was new and exciting at one time, and not traditional for quite a few years.

Like it or not people, styles and cultures are organic and changing all the time.

That said if I went to a session that I expected to be ITM mostly and heard tunes that I consider to be English all night, I would be disappointed.

And BTW I don’t consider a paid session to be a session, Even if it looks informal, the people are being paid to be there and play, so I think of that as more like a gig.

They don’t really figure in my impression of what a session is.

Cheers,
Jen!

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

I think I’m going to have to learn "Homage a Phillipe Bruneau" as an Irish Reel!

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

If a darts match is scheduled to take place in a bar, it would be bad form for punters to set up a pool table in the midst of the firing line. Or start playing dominos on the pool table when a game is in progress.

If it is specifically advertised or "agreed" by the participants that this is an Irish session then that is what it should be.

Likewise, I’ve visited sessions where the predominant genre has indeed been bluegrass or Americana music and this was the expectation of the regulars there. I’ve actually "joined in" some of these…. although I’ve usually found this fairly boring for me but I don’t expect there to be Scottish or Irish tunes involved.

Depending on where I am, I *might* be invited to play a traditional set or something of my own choice. However, I’m very well aware that this is to be a "one off" and not a change in format for the whole evening even if it is respectfully received.

Even in traditional music sessions, it doesn’t usually take long to know what is welcome or the norm with a particular group of musicians. For instance, if I visited a session where a bunch of whizz kids were playing loads of "modern fancy tunes" (Many of which I actually enjoy), I’d probably think twice about introducing tunes from the "old repertoire" or from my Felix Burns anthology :-) (Good as they are).

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How about this: you go to some kind of a session, you find everyone playing some kind of stuff you’re not proficient at. You lay back, until, eventually, someone turns to you and says something like, What kind of stuff do you play? You say, ITM (or whatever). They say, Why don’t you play some of that? So you do. Then they say, That’s great, play some more! Or they say, That’s great - then go back to their own stuff. Or maybe they never ask you to play at all. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all cool; and I’ve been in all those situations. (Spent a couple of hours playing fiddle tunes with some jazz guys once, because they kept wanting more … )

However, if you just sit down and start playing your stuff all over theirs, or, given half a chance, you start playing and never stop, you’re clearly not contributing, you’re taking over, uninvited. And not everyone is going to be happy about it ……..

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In a sort of parallel, a monthly "Scandi session" has recently started in Edinburgh, and very lovely it is too! Only one rule: all tunes should be Scandinavian, and we have plenty of them to fill 3 hours. There was some debate about "The Lounge Bar" as it refers to the bar of the same name in Lerwick, Shetland, BUT of course, it was written by a Norwegian, so it passes the test!

At one session, we had an onlooker who requested "Highland Cathedral": the session leader politely refused it, but we did play it at the very end, after the session had been officially closed: everyone happy with our German conclusion then!

But as per my previous post, all other sessions I go to include a mix of tunes, styles and songs.

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I think that people who play Irish music should be allowed to gather in public to play Irish music together. Apparently this makes me some sort of fascist.

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Elf, I personally wouldn’t use offensive terms like fascist, Nazi or Gestapo to describe people i disagree with [though I did use the term ITM Thought Police in an earlier post] but I do find a narrowness of vision in so many of the threads that i read here on the Session that I find quite dispiriting. Irish music blends into so many parallel traditions, Scots, Shetland, Cape Breton, Old Timey, Quebecois [even English sometimes] yet
theres a mindset that wants to define what is or is not Irish Music and build a barbed wire fence around it.
Any tradition that cannot accept change and adapt to different influences will eventually decay and die.

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That’s a bit of a strawman Christy. Irish traditional music isn’t dieing and as a whole is not rejecting new influences. The point under discussion is whether or not musicians from other musical traditions, who want to play music from those traditions, should be welcomed at sessions where the goal is to play mainly Irish traditional music. And as Cheeky Elf said, people who want to gather together in public to play a specific kind of music should be allowed to. An event taking place in public does not an public event make.

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I apologise for comparing fellow musicians to the Gestapo; it was unwarranted.

Christy Taylor puts it much better than me and I agree wholeheartedly with all his comments.

I feel that this exclusivity is a modern attitude. Thomas Hardy was mentioned in an earlier post; he collected many tunes from Irish migrant workers in Dorset and noted them down so presumably he played them as well. It would seem that he did not regard them as polluting his pure English tradition but recognised that they were good tunes worthy of playing and preserving. I expect that the trade was two way as well with English tunes being taken back to Ireland.

There is a parallel in song here in Scotland. Teaching a singing class some time ago I had expected to teach technique, interpretation and presentation. The class, however, only wanted repertoire and exclusively Scottish at that. Not only did they not wish to improve their performance skills but they were unaware that the Greig-Duncan collection of 3500 songs, collated in Aberdeenshire in the early 20th century, contains many English songs that were popular locally at that time. It would seem that our antecedents were interested in the quality of a song rather than with its provenance.

John Jay, re a pool table at a darts match; that would never happen, they are too heavy to move. However, when the match is over other punters can get a game. Perhaps a more apt analogy would be card games. You could have several tables playing different types of card games and any individual or group might detest the others but they could all enjoy their preferred activity without compromising the rest. That does not happen at a session. Rather that occupying a separate section of the bar that does not interfere with other activities a session dominates acoustically and continues until closing time or beyond. Other musicians do not get a look in. A further consideration is that when we are filling a bar with our music there are probably others who resent having our tastes foisted on them. Of course they could go elsewhere but they could well be annoyed at being forced out of "their" bar. The point that I am making is that if you play in public you must consider the people around you, audience and musicians. To do otherwise is selfish.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

I’m not from an ITM background, and I’m just getting into playing the music. And as a working musician I have not yet had time to make it to a session. But when I get out to one I’d be pretty disappointed if people were playing blues or tango or something. There are plenty of open mics for that.

I think it would show a lack of humility. People forget what it’s like to be a beginner, or maybe they don’t want to go back there.

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"I feel that this exclusivity is a modern attitude."
It’s not. Read Francis O’Neill - he enjoyed and hung out with highland pipers, but he made sure to be exclusive about irish music in his collections and in his writings. There are other examples, too. I think people in the past were very concerned about the ethnicity of the music they were playing (ads and promo going to great lengths to stress authentic Irish [insert musical thing here]). My own personal attitude now is far less exclusive, and yet I would still be in agreement with C. Elf and W. Mann.

"Perhaps a more apt analogy would be card games"
The way you described your analogy is a bit lopsided - if you were to use your analogy appropriately, it would be more like: There’s a Euchre tournament going on at the local Lion’s Club, and someone comes in and says "I’m want to play Hearts now" - maybe some of euchre players would be happy to do that instead, or more likely they’d be annoyed that someone is trying to force a different game into their night that’s dedicated specifically to euchre.

This analogy is better because it’s more realistic - many people detest tournaments and competition and find that whole type of event pointless. They’d rather there just be an open game night where anyone can play what they want. Other people are really happy to go to a night for just euchre, to play with other players they haven’t before, to experience how other people approach it, to get to play with expert players. Still others would prefer Calvinball, with no hard-coded rules at all (except that any previous rule can’t be used again). That’s all fine - find the game night best suited to you, and don’t begrudge people who want to only play euchre.

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(In retrospect, it was the Royal Canadian Legion that always had Friday night Irish Traditi….. er, I mean euchre tournaments)

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I’ve been having a look at Trish’s Scandi session. Sheet music seems to be allowed! And I see that Jack has found it. I’d recognise that bass recorder anywhere……. :-P

There’s a list of tunes on their website https://edinburghscandisession.wordpress.com/ some of which I know and others not. Mind you, I also know quite a few which haven’t been listed.

For some reason, I was expecting a younger crowd but I’ll try to get along myself to see if I can bring the average age down a bit.

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Henry Ford once said about buying his Model T "you can have any color you want as long as it’s black." I kinda feel the same way about our session - you can play any music you like as long as it’s from this tradition we are gathered there to play. Will we welcome the occasional country singer who wants to belt out a few songs? Sure. The conga player who wants to drop some Gloria Estafan rhythms behind our slip jigs? Maybe for a tune or two. The kid with the didjeridoo who wants to drone through a set of reels irrespective of keys? Ok, why not for a single set. The bluegrass fiddler who expects a solo break at the end of the 1st B-part? Um, ok - I guess…but just once please. The middle-school music teacher who brought her plastic recorder and wants to play "Greensleeves?" Yes I guess so, but don’t you have some papers to grade? Look - I’m not trying to be a dick to anybody - but fur fux sakes, me and my friends spend hours of our lives trying to play Irish music that doesn’t sound entirely shitty. So yes - when some one from outside that style wants to join us and play their music, we will of course be respectful and humor them for a bit, but then we will ask to get on with our session. Sorry if that ruffles feathers, or sounds snobby - but that is just how we feel.

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Nico, you have more knowledge of O’Neill than I have so I will bend a bit on that point.

If I go into a pub and there is a euchre tournament going on I would not try to make them play whatever game I prefer ("Gotcha", I hear you cry) But, I could find a free table and play any other card game with my friends without spoiling the tournament, or even play dominos, pool, darts etc. When we play in a bar we dominate; the piped muzak goes off as does the jukebox , no other music can be performed. So, when we play in public it does become a public event since we have taken over the venue without consulting anyone else (save for the landlord). If you are distracted by non ITM players and want a closed, pure session don’t do it in a public space.

JNE, you seem to be quite tolerant of other musicians which is nice. I do, however,refer back to my last sentence to Nico, if you don’t wish to have your music polluted or to have to take cognisance of other players take yourselves away from the public arena.

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What if the landlord prefers a mainly Irish session? What if the non-playing customers prefer mainly Irish session?

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I go to a session where whoever turns up plays. There are rules. It is a (largely) instrumental session. Most of the players at the session for some time have been fairly English players playing fairly English music (in England, so that’s pretty reasonable) but Scottish and Irish players come too and are welcome. It’s a public bar, after all. The average speed increases slightly if Irish players attend - OK, not to Manchester Irish level,s but it increases - and the complexity of the average tune played decreases. We try to find tunes we all know for some of the time which means we are sometimes down to a handful of common tunes for that proportion of the session - but that can happen anyway. We make efforts to learn each other’s tunes.

There is a problem, but it is not such a bad problem that we can’t have a session - and we are all desperate for a session!

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David50, I notice that you qualify "irish" session with "mainly" twice.

Point 1. If he did not like your music you would not be there so that is a given.

Point 2. Most average punters probably prefer Blues or C&W. Irish is OK but its is just acoustic wallpaper to chat against in most places I have been. I hope that you have encountered more respectful audiences.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

So do I. It is not an Irish traditional session.

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The landord may like people playing music on most nights, but not want the same style every night.

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In the analogy about a euchre tournament, the tables where it’s taking place are equivalent to the entire pub when music happens. In other words, in the analogy, someone wanting to play hearts would be encroaching on the space and freedom of the euchre players to do as they wish. We’re not talking about euchre in a pub, we’re making an analogy.

I don’t agree with your last sentence because a pub or bar is not a truly open public arena.

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I agree with David and Nico - I think the analogy doesn’t ring true and I think its also a random assumption to presume what music the punters would prefer to listen to. Remarkably, many punters show up on Sunday afternoons at our local pub specifically to hear our group attempt to play Irish music, and have done so for nearly 12 years now. I personally would never attempt to drop in at a bluegrass jam and expect them to let me play set after set of Irish jigs and reels. I would never drop into a blues club open mic night and ask to sing sets of my favorite ska songs from the 80s. If I’m in a country bar, I’m not demanding the band play Motorhead or The Carpenter’s Greatest hits. With all due respect, I don’t understand why this is so hard to follow.

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Agreed with JNE. I think it’s disingenuous to say the least.

Especially since you obviously get the point: "If I go into a pub and there is a euchre tournament going on I would not try to make them play whatever game I prefer"

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"If you are distracted by non ITM players and want a closed, pure session don’t do it in a public space."
Well public house is a bit of misnomer. The pub belongs to the publican. If he says folk can have an Irish session or a Scottish session or whatever then they can. He can insist on it being a free for all but in my experience that’s not what most publicans want. They know that type of session in mainly only popular with some of the participants. That’s certainly the case in my part of the world.

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This endless thread is instructive, as Uncle Noam would say. It’s pretty clear who the people are with whom I’d like to play tunes and who the better players are on this thread. I don’t know whether people advocating here for open, "anything goes" sessions are clueless, ill-equipped to play Irish tunes at dance tempo, obtuse, or just plain contrary. They’re the kind of new-age, "everybody’s beautiful" people who’d bring hot-dogs and burgers to a vegan cook-out, or a six-pack to an AA meeting, and wonder why the welcome was luke-warm despite their best intentions.
I know what the late Robin Williams would have said to some of these folks ( WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE. PLEASE DON’T WATCH IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB1JlHWvRxc

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How are the sessions for real, Danny? "We here in South East London try to - and in general succeed in - keeping the music very strictly Irish…" I don’t actually know how you’re describing your regular sessions. Recently I thought another Mustard member was joking and he was not.

Cheers!

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OK, I have stated my case, I now gracefully bow out. I have found the conversation enlightening and it has challenged my preconceptions.

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AB, down here in our one of many villages in the South Eastern sector of our Brexit-bound metropolis, the session at The Blythe Hill Tavern still maintains a solidly Irish trad music profile.

So solid and robust and still within the confines of *The* premier Irish pub in SE London (and I mean old-style Irish, not Irish theme, pub) that it has kept going almost every Thursday night for over 14 years, and had intermittent Irish sessions for probably another decade and a bit before that.

So solid and robust and proud is the session in its repertoire of possibly hundreds of Irish reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas and whatever else - that these effortlessly flow through the lifeblood of the resident sessioneers, spontaneously venting expression.

So solid and robust and resilient is the repertoire of Irish tunes that it can happily absorb the occasional foray into tunes from the English, Scottish, French and even other traditions. In fact these departures are relished. We neither look down nor are we disinterested in other traditions.

There have been some analogies presented here as to why contributors will or won’t play other traditional forms at their sessions. Mine comes from my time back in the day as an athlete (not a patricularly outstanding one, but quite dedicated and loved and I still love, the sport), and is hypothetical:

If I want to specialise as a 5,000 metre track runner, then I will train for that, and aspire to get a good PB at that distance. But most likely I will also compete at 800, 1500…and also 10,000m on the track but also road races such as 10 miles and maybe the odd half marathon, possibly even marathon. And also cross-country, which is the winter life-blood of the summer track runner.

As well as doing all that hard training I may also go on long mountain hikes or do rock climbing, cycling, or some other endurance activity, maybe a Tri. Because I specialise in 5000m doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy competing at the other distances or doing the other activities. Nor would I disrespect specialists in those other disciplines.
It’s just that I specialise in 5000m. But I have equal respect for a 1500m or 10,000m runner.
Just an analogy. Try to encompass it all.

I felt some of the comments towards the end of this discussion, which I started off and intended as a bit of late Saturday night alcohol-induced light-heartedness, were becoming needlessly nasty and confrontational.

Forums like this are candles to the moths of egotism - the trouble is you can fly too close and get burned. Because other members aren’t stoopid and will call you out, all the more so if they meet you in real life and realise that the poor old cranky keyboard warrior is just as vulnerable, if not more so, as the rest of us.

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Cheers, Danny. I appreciate your response very much.

86 - 45! If you catch my drift. I like your persistence; alot. Message me if you don’t quite catch mine.

Ben

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God I am so slow!… I wish you wouldn’t keep changing your name Danny!

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You’re still a day ahead of me, Gobby.

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yes some aspects of this discussion has got quite unpleasant, and I’ve said pretty much everything I need to say - David Levine, the only hot dogs and burgers I would take to a vegan cookout would be Linda McCartney’s………………
Juste, your Lewisham session sounds like a lot of fun, I’m in East Kent about 1 hours drive down the M20,
will try to visit sometime

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For most of us there is no tradition. We are simply hobbyist, genre musicians playing our own thing. Often without the skill or the time to be adaptable to the other hobbyists with their own particular limits we meet along the way. Feeling excluded or defensive about our own limitations when encountering people with different ones is a relatively normal ego based response to the situation. Sometimes adaptability, humor and skill will carry the day, other times it won’t and all sorts of reasons will be invented to justify why the experience was as it was.

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OK! I get this thread but what the doo-dah is ‘euchre’?

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Euchre is an old card game which I believe developed into whist. It is still popular in parts of the UK and it seems it is in Canada as well.

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Steve: "For most of us there is no tradition. "

Well, for many of us there was although the music and song we learned or experienced while growing up isn’t exactly the same as we play now.
When I was a child, I heard lots of Scottish dance music, pipe bands, and Scots song etc. Much of it was rather kitsch and tartanised but by no means all of it. After all, you can’t fault the likes of Bobby Macleod, Jimmy Shand, Iain Powrie and so on or the old bothy ballads etc. The Gaels had their own tradition too, of course, but the rest of us also enjoyed much of their music and song too.

Of course, I wasn’t quite as "au fait" with Irish music although I was aware of songs such as "If you’re Irish, come into the parlour" etc plus some of the old Ceili music. I used to listen to Radio Éireann from time to time and Radio Luxembourg used to have an "Irish requests" programme(And Scottish too).

While much of the so called "traditional music" we play these days is quite different whether it be "purer" on one end of the scale or "modern and trendy" on the other, my formative years have still influenced me to a great extent in terms of taste and choice of repertoire.

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Juste O’Curran-Twomey…….

Nice to hear from you again, Danny. I hadn’t realised you were still active on the site. I’ve had a few "recent challenges" too but doing OK considering. Take care of yourself and keep the ould music going. :-)

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Hi Danny! Love the name … :)

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Johnny Jay - I go along with your refuting the "no tradition" statement. Seems I’d had a similar experience to you wrt the kitsch Scottish music. It was kind of Marmite music - love it or hate it….but it was always there. Now having reinvented itself to be more palatable.
Yes, I’ve been hibernating a bit from here, but still battering away at the sessions.
And Jim, yes the name did just occur to me one day.
To the rest of ye, sorry for all the name changes, but variation is the splice of life, as a geneticist once told me. And anyway, it keeps you all guessing, warding off the plaques and tangles.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Hello Danny - I understand your running analogy - but at the end of the day, you’re still competing in track, yes? You’re not attempting blend the 800 meters with cricket or rugby. If a fiddler player came into our session and only knew Scottish fiddle tunes, we’d be delighted and they’d be free to play as much as they liked. But if a rock-n-roller with a six string came in and wanted to do multiple tributes to Bon Jovi, we’d be far less inclined to accommodate. I hope that better clarifies my take on the issue.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

and when discussions like this break out I’m always reminded of the saying of a dear friend of mine "shut up and play".

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Except - we don’t come to thesession.org to play: we come to discuss. And unlike in a real session - no one has to listen.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

JNE - I agree with you, wrt Bon Jovi! Heaven forfend!
But it hasn’t ever really happened - down here certainly.
We traddies are far too un-cool for heavy metallers to bother with….I hope!

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

This question isn’t limited to ITM sessions; I’ve heard it across the musical spectrum.
There is something called "session etiquette," and when I’m playing at an Irish session, then it runs against session etiquette for me to start a set of, say, Náhuatl or Norteño music of my Mexican heritage… just as it would be lack of etiquette for me to play too loudly, not heed the other musicians, interfere with the rhythm and so on.
If I want Náhuatl, Norteño, OT, country-western, Johnny Cash, doo-wop, jam, or the like, it’s up to me to find sessions where those are being played. Attending an Irish session, to me, means that that particular gathering’s "sense-of-the-meeting" is that they came together to play Irish music as well as be a social group, so for me to bring in other genres that they don’t know or disinterested, means that I’m in effect hijacking that session for my own ends.
I’d say that if a sit-in guest knows the tune or a set, then join in; otherwise sit out and listen. But listen to the group as a whole when playing!
As far as "purity" is concerned, that ‘concept’ varies from group to group, and even minimal listening ought to show what "kind" of Irish music is playing in a particular session. And pay heed to that, guests.
And as for the oft-repeated "what about Scottish tunes?"
Well, what about them? A tune can be played in various manners - Scottish dance, contra, bluegrassy, or using Irish mannerisms and so on. Strathspeys haven’t appeared in any Irish session I ever attended; they are too culturally Scottish… and not to mention the fact that Irish and Scots appropriated each other’s music. So. I have no complaint about Scottish or the odd Breton tune, when played in what a group sees as an Irish "manner."
I sit out tunes that I don’t know, and I admit that there are a couple on my own "no-fly list." So I sit them out, too.
My own take is that guests should be mindful of the direction and manner of any given Irish session group, and play accordingly—politely following session etiquette.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

"they are too culturally Scottish…" Nit-picking, maybe, but I would say "too MUSICALLY Scottish".

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Thanks, meself, for the improvement in term.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

"My own take is that guests should be mindful of the direction and manner of any given Irish session group, and play accordingly—politely following session etiquette".
There you have it, in a nutshell, but it applies equally if you remove the word "Irish".
I might also add :
"….. - politely following THE LOCAL session etiquette", as apart from basic common sense and good manners, "session etiquette" is by no means a universal constant.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

The Pure Drop? pshaw! as we said out in Inja. Only people who have seen every episode of Father Ted should be allowed into your sessions.

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Father Ted? A pure drop of tax avoidance! - if not, evasion.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Down with that sort of thing!

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Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

And indeed, this sort of thing.

Re: Musicians from other traditions joining in Irish traditional sessions.

Being Scirish myself brought up in Glasgow, Scotland of Irish parents, I would argue that the Scots and Irish have borrowed from each other in traditional music, one just needs to wander up to the North and North West of Ireland, especially Donegal, Leitrim, Fermanagh and the rest of the North to see the Scottish influences in Irish music. The Donegal mountains similar to the Highlands, jagged staccato tunes as opposed to the smooth legato of the South of Ireland, the single fiddle stroke reels of Johnny Doherty to the legato style of Paddy Canny or Tony Linnane. When I used to frequent Sandy Bells in Edinburgh, I found some of the fine musicians there could effortlessly play Scottish with Irish reels and jigs too, in fact some argue that the jig originally came from Scotland and others reckon the reel came from there. Someone mentioned Quebecois music, which would have influenced John Kimmel, well the melodeon anyway and there is some similarities between Irish tunes and the French Canadian counterparts, I heard a Quebecois version of the Five Mile Chase reel which was pretty amazing. Don’t forget Cape Breton has its share also of Irish and Scottish immigrants. Anyways there’s my two cents.:)