Pretentious Trad

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hmm………it nearly always seems to be low whistle that’s featured on these ‘New Age’ ‘Celtic Twilight’ sort of trips, shame really cos its a lovely instrument when used properly

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It’s not really my cup of tea, but I think it’s played well, and has a creative and interesting arrangement. I can’t hear anything "pretentious" about it.

The statements accompanying the video, however… Well, aye. :-)

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The video is like a moody 80’s Duran Duran one(suit & ties and shaved heads?!), the music is tuneless noodling with a lot of prog rock arrangement, the blurb is bollox (unless they are really taking the mikk of course). The overall effect is the same old same old.
Someone’s spent a lot of pointless time and money doing it!
And whilst searching for a word that characterises the whole enterprise…I suppose, yes!, it’s the word ‘pretentious ‘!!!

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Could anybody help me in identifying at exactly which point in the video the Trad starts?

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The music is not unpleasant if not particularly traditional.
It’s the video etc which puts me off as is quite often the norm especially with rock and pop music and, too often these days, folk and trad too. What’s wrong with just filming the actual musicians playing and singing naturally?

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"particularly" traditional ? Try answering Rick Payman’s question above. Nothing particularly new or original about it - Cormac Breathnach and Davy Spillane have been doing that better for 30 years or so. Best of luck to the guys with their music - there seems to be a market for it, but it’s not for me, I’m afraid.
I prefer this :
https://youtu.be/ucpJy20_nbk

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Kenny, you’re confusing me with someone who disagrees with you. :-)

"The music is not unpleasant if not particularly traditional." I was just being kind.

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I’d guess the clue comes in the first para "both of whom are graduates from the University of Limerick".

Presumably from the music programme there and that’s the standard sort of speel you get, when you mix trad with academia.

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Basically, my comment would be that it doesn’t do what it says on the tin.. It’s not trad. Not even by extension, so I’d disagree with those likening it to davy spillane or cormac breatnach.

It’s modern dance music with whistles - overcompressed thumpy-thump music. A bit like the Sidh who do the same thing.

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Form without content is always pretentious. The missing content includes a tune - so it’s not British traditional music.

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Whether it is pretentious I would not venture, but the electric percussion provides people, who don’t really have any interest in music, with a sense that they are having a good time. It is essentially what Kenny G does with the soprano sax. It is traditional elevator musak. Don’t be polite about it.

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Clannad was doing synth elevator "Celtic" with drums 35 years ago. There will always be a market for this kind of thing on the New Age fringe of the music.

For me, "pretentious trad" would be something closer to the source, presenting the music as authentic, but with unnecessary elaboration and froofery to reach a wide audience. Like Celtic Woman shows with all the hair-twirling while fiddling, etc.

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meh! I think I’ll roll a couple and enjoy "pipes meets Bob Marley" (aka Moving Hearts - The Storm CD) much better.

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"It’s not really my cup of tea, but I think it’s played well, and has a creative and interesting arrangement. I can’t hear anything "pretentious" about it.

The statements accompanying the video, however… Well, aye…."

Yeah, Nigel. I hear you. The part that got me was when the copy said:

"We felt we needed to create a music and performance that reflects that fact and that catapults Irish and Scottish music into that age."

I wonder if Irish and Scottish music really need to be catapulted into any age.

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I don’t consider the recording to be "pretentious" enough to warrant discussion on such a vague generalisation about whether it’s trad. But it’s typical fodder for stirring up the forum. The review from TradConnect’s blog is very pretentious. Certainly there are more worthy trad music videos for 2017. But this one is apparently in more than one list of potential contenders.

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I went to see Skerryvore tonight as they were appearing "just down the road".

Good musicians all but not entirely my cup of tea. A bit of Trad here and there though and it was a good atmosphere.
I’d sooner have heard a little more of the support band though… http://www.rantfiddles.com/

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Rant are brilliant!
That video - over-long intro with a very repetitive and oft-used standard rock riff on guitar. The whistle was Ok, I suppose: but wouldn’t be rushing out to buy it.
Now tomorrow night we have - at least in Scotland - Na Trads - the Scottish Trad Awards on BBC ALBA TV station - broadcast from 9pm GMT. Wonder if there will be any "pretentious trad" in that??? Oh please forgive me for these wicked thoughts!

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" Wonder if there will be any "pretentious trad" in that?"

You can bet your house on that, Trish. :-)

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Hee-hee! Naughty me!

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You lot are not so different from TradConnect’s blogger.

:-D

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There’s no reason why inventive and conceptual visual art and use of electronic music be beamed from mixing with trad music.

I’m usually up for this stuff - but I’ll be honest - the blog post was so hyped up that I wondered if it may have been parody….

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Music for a running, walking, jumping and standing still film…..

music-video-of-the-year-event-horizon

I get it, you guys hate it… the clip, the tradconnect blog, the hype.

I GET IT!

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I actually like it, compared to other pop music. It’s pop with trad style whistling and a bit of dance.
‘Celtic Pop’ maybe?

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Tastes are differing. That is a fact every adult should be able to agree on. While you might still feel the need to voice your taste related opinion on such a video in an online forum, you might also recognize eventually that there is not much point other then self indulgence in this pursuit.

When it comes to the content of the article and its proper context, there is nothing pretentious about it. The commentaries here though, are a prime example of what pretenciousness really describes.

Also for all those who don’t like low whistles or videos with more then just the same old sitting around and playing tunes, try this - it might suit your taste better: https://youtu.be/JbjQUe8srHM


Same guys ;)

Cheerio

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I certainly never said anything about ‘not liking low whistles’ I will happily listen to Michael McGoldrick, Davy Spillane, Fred Morrison et al any day of the week

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Christy Taylor, pardon my misunderstanding. :) It seemed to me you do not really like low whistle since your first post suggested you have a very limited view of whistle playing. It further seemed very pretentious to claim it is your personal definition that defines what ‘proper’ use of low whistles is… Your statememt: "shame really cos its a lovely instrument when used properly", does point to the fact that your understanding of the range of the instruments capabilities in music in general and outside of the traditional tune format is tainted by a bias towards a certain type of music being associated by tradition to the instrument. The instrument itself is independant though from any type or tradition of music. Any fixation on a ‘proper’ context of use, is nothing but bigotry and not based on a technical critique of the players abilities. If you choose to criticise the composition for reasons of taste, that’s fair enough, but to criticise technical ability in this video is critique on a very high level, which I don’t quite buy. You clearly base your judgment on a taste based bias not on a deep understanding of the instrument as such.

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Bart, no I’m not a whistle player and almost certainly don’t understand the range of the instruments capabilities - I just know what I like to listen to. To be accused of bigotry is a bit of a shocker for me as many times in these forums I have defended a more eclectic view of traditional music against the ‘session police’ who would ban guitars and bouzoukis from sessions! Anyway, I did rather like the last vid you posted [though yer man was playing flute rather than lw] Truce.

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This might sound a little controversial but you don’t really need to be a great or virtuoso musician to play traditional music well. All you have to be is good and competent although experience and background in the genre helps a lot too.

Of course, the really good musicians can add something to the music and they do. Everyone will have their own examples and favourites.

However, virtuoso musicians will often feel that they want to stretch themselves more. This may include ventures into and experimenting with other genres of music, perhaps traditional music from other countries but it could also be something different entirely. Then, inevitably, we get the "Is it Trad" or not arguments or "Is it pretentious?"

Should traditional music always follow a certain formula or format? How much innovation or variation is needed before it is no longer "trad"? I’m sure we all have our own opinions on how far you can stretch the definition… A few years back , a certain Scottish player was quite offended when it was suggested that his compositions weren’t "Scottish enough". His response was along the lines that as he was Scottish and the music was composed in Scotland then it was Scottish. In a way he had a point although many of us might disagree. ;-)

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“The age of space exploration is upon us and within our lifetimes we will see technological leaps beyond our imagination. We felt we needed to create a music and performance that reflects that fact and that catapults Irish and Scottish music into that age"


The only problem is the title, who labelled it traditional, you are not meant to catapult music, you can advance it, evolve it, experiment, but avoid using catapults, you end up with that dopler effect music, which those long whistle yokes are great at mimicking

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Christy, indeed truce. :)
Pardon my staunch stance on the matter, but I must add that while defending the use of guitars and bouzoukis in sessions is correct and only right, it is not necessarily a sign of openness to evolution. Because people who suggest that such instruments should not be used in sessions for example, have a very poor understanding of traditional or folk music in general and of Irish music in particular - despite their belief - and are only the most extreme form of pseudo purist evangelists. No need to even take them serious.

Theirlandais, yes I would totally agree, the title is clumsy and it is not totally right to label the video as "traditional" as such. It is to me though clearly visible what is meant. Also the passage with reflecting the age of space exploration in the music is quite clear to me… Art seeks to reflect developments that are not yet graspable for the large majority of society. That’s what art does. I don’t know if you have read the descriptions of what the project is about in previous Tradconnect articles, but it is about composing music inspired by cosmology and based on electronic, Irish and Scottish music. The compositions and performances try to reflect something particular which has not yet served as inspiration for new composition within Irish or Scottish trad. I think it is quite fitting in that case to be speaking of "catapulting", since that is what is happening in technology right now too… Would you not agree? In its entire scope that project does not seem like something anyone has done yet - despite ill informed allegations and comparisons made further up in this thread. There is a difference, which many have problems to identify, between just superimposing some drumkit and dodgy synthetic sounds over otherwise perfectly traditional melody formats and taking inspiration from a scientific topic and creating very well informed music (remember those lads are not amateurs and have other more traditional projects too) with a fusion format which I have not yet encountered in that exact typology.

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I have wasted enough time already, no more discussion is required

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Sorry that you consider elaborating on your opinion a waste of time. Or is it irony? ;)

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‘Pardon my staunch stance on the matter, but I must add that while defending the use of guitars and bouzoukis in sessions is correct and only right, it is not necessarily a sign of openness to evolution. Because people who suggest that such instruments should not be used in sessions for example, have a very poor understanding of traditional or folk music in general and of Irish music in particular - despite their belief - and are only the most extreme form of pseudo purist evangelists. No need to even take them serious.’

What is your evidence for asserting that ‘people who suggest that such instruments should not be used in sessions for example, have a very poor understanding of traditional or folk music in general and of Irish music in particular’?

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I am glad to see that the performers and arrangers of this music are doing something and gaining experience.
I heartily support them in that. And, there is an audience for this kind of stuff. I don’t understand it, but have learned to accept it.

However, to my tastes, their music (and their comments about it) sound like pretentious university intellectuals with musical skills borrowing from various cultures because they haven’t experienced life enough to have much to express. That is my opinion, I don’t claim it as truth. And I don’t claim to know anything about the musicians. They just sound like "pretentious university intellectuals" to me.

In ten years, they may have something great to share.
The danger is that if they achieve some financial success doing this kind of stuff, they may miss opportunities to living a fuller life and developing some real musical expression and soul.
Personally my advice to young musicians is to copy great traditional music or great contemporary music until the magic of expression takes over and they develop their own style and artistry (if that is their desire).
Trying to be original and expressive before you get the inspiration from life experience (or the God(s)) always sounds pretentious to me. But it is better to do something (even if it is premature, pretentious, or just shitty fusion) than doing nothing.
Keep on truckin’

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Why are catapults being used in the age of space exploration?

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If they slingshot spacecraft using gravity wells, why not catapults?

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@Will Evans
Wow. I am almost speechless.
I am going to line up 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 stiff drinks and drown my sorrows.
I wish I had never seen it.
It’s people like them that make people like them look bad.

@Theirlandais
Thanks. The Clangers helped a bit to erase the previous experience.
Alcohol, hopefully will erase the memory entirely.

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"…the traditional music video of the year…
…creative force…
…graduates from the University…
…Event Horizon…
…gathering momentum to evolve into a futuristic dance and light show, all inspired by cosmology and space exploration…
…Those involved in the project (are) well-known names…
…currently being scored for orchestra (in order) to paint a fuller and more vibrant musical picture…"

If the music isn’t pretentious, this copy sure is. Wow. It’s all there, buzz-words like "inspired" and shameless name-dropping. Not interested, personally, in their imagining of the sunset on Proxima Centauri, or whatever.

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"I think it is quite fitting in that case to be speaking of "catapulting", since that is what is happening in technology right now too… "

I think you’re stretching it a bit here.

How should "what is happening in technology right now" have any relevance here, unless the suggestion is that somehow tech is going to make trad "better?" More accessible, maybe, but not better. Does trad need to be better? In what way?

And by the way, I’m a fan of Moshen Amini, the concertina player in Fourth Moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjcKiLRCtOw

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2017 Trad

The promo is pretentious. Regardless of that simple fact I think this well established site needs to consider current events; new releases, young artists, experimental trends, the most recent audio and video recordings. It’s too limiting if The Mustard fails to look beyond the horizon we were discussing 10-20 years ago. If not the above recording then which one(s) from 2017 are worth posting on thesession.org?

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Gonzo, because Irish music has constantly undergone change and always mirrored its times, the abilities and availabilities as well as the tastes of the people engaging with it. It has never been a static thing and whoever tries to make it out to be that way or to exclude development, fusion or certain instruments from it, has little academic knowledge of the principles and history of Irish music. He might know aspects of it very well, but is ultimately unable to contextualise them correctly. Sorry to sound so posh about it, but that is a well established fact in Irish music academia whether some people like it or not. It is further widely known that this forum in particular attracks un- or half informed debate about this precise topic at times.

Steve, if you read up a bit about it, it seems your attestation of having little life experience does not stand on great ground: a firefighter and an officer in the army. Besides that, in terms of music analysis, that would have been the poorest argument I have ever heard. Also it seems to me that the old "pretentious university intellectuals" is more of an excuse to voice criticism of something one does not like or understand, than a funded argument…isn’t it? :) People around here always seem to have an easy time picking on the university of Limerick for instance, while knowing next to nothing about it’s students, it’s courses and what is taught there about Irish music. That is quite bad argumentation to be just fair. Now any one can have his taste, but just be fair and state "I don’t like it, because it’s not my taste", rather then "I don’t like it - because it actually triggers my dislike based on clishes about academia in Irish music". Just because you don’t understand or like something - like the concept here for instance - it is not inherently pretentious. Stating that though would actually make you pretentious. Your own pretentiousness seems further confirmed by your reaction to the videos posted above. Quite disqualifying, isn’t it? ;) I appologise for these words and I don’t mean it too personal, but that is what it is.

Theirlandais, nice. Is that video one of your sources of information about space exploration? :D

Richard, I fail to see what is pretentious about stating those things? Name dropping? Let’s say someone makes an album with the mentioned Tyler Duncan, Joe Dart, Mike Shimmin, Sean O’Meara, and Woody Goss (all famous in their own right but maybe not known to all in the trad world) and names them….would that be pretentious? No. That would be John McSherry. And the band would be The Olllam. Not pretentious, just naming the ones that are in it.
Also; what’s wrong with inspiration?
Finally, if you are not interested in the imagination of a sunset on Proxima, why are you going to the length to comment here? Cause we should be interested in you not being interested? ^^ I’m just trying to understand all the logic and fuss here. ^^

Ergo, technology is a non linear development, but an exponential one….ergo: catapult seem fitting. ;) Also no one seemed to be talking about making trad better….that came entirely out of your own brain.
Good that you are a fan of Mohsen Amini. Some people are fans and others not and both is fine. :)

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Hello Bart @Bart Sego

I will let your criticism of me stand (there is validity in it, and I will ruminate on it), except for where you quote me incorrectly.

I know you were paraphrasing, but in the future, maybe a direct quote would represent the target more accurately. It is not the paraphrasing that is the problem. My gripe is that your paraphrasing does not represent what I said.

I did NOT say or infere:
"I don’t like it - because it actually triggers my dislike based on clishes about academia in Irish music"
[[[ I double majored in music and math at the University of California Santa Cruz, but I completely unaware of "clishes about academia in Irish music"; that may be a regional thing, or I just haven’t come in contact with it. ]]]

What I did say was:
"However, to my tastes, their music (and their comments about it) sound like pretentious university intellectuals with musical skills borrowing from various cultures because they haven’t experienced life enough to have much to express. That is my opinion, I don’t claim it as truth. And I don’t claim to know anything about the musicians. They just sound like "pretentious university intellectuals" to me."

I think there is a world (at least a small world) of difference in your paraphrase and what I actually said.
I have witnessed music in/from academia that was wonderful and inspired. But also, in academia, I have experienced a lot of browsing, borrowing, fusioning, intellectualizing of traditional musics in rather soulless ways. That is why I expressed my dislike in a long rambling sentence rather than accusing it of being academic. I have no problem music in academia. Look, we are communicating in written words not pure thoughts. I have run into what I can only describe as "like pretentious university intellectuals … blah, blah". That is a lot different from labeling "academia" in a certain way.

I am expressing my opinion of public performances. I would be a lot more gentle if it was a novice learning a new genre. I guess we could avoid these discussions if we limited our comments to a binary like/dislike. But that would be rather boring.

Thanks for listening to another rant,
Steve

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Well … there were a number of moments that I liked in that recording - and a number that I didn’t. All that concerns me about that sort of experimentation is that if someone has a big hit with it, then that becomes the public perception of ‘Irish trad’ (or whatever). So then you find yourself explaining over and over, "Yes I play Irish trad; no not like those guys." And then, all of a sudden, the pubs are full of bands playing like that ……. Okay, you’re right - it’s all going to hell in a handbasket.

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Steve, that is a good and very valid answer. I will also let it stand like that - bar the one thing: I still do not quite see the difference between what your words did infere and what I made them out to infere.

@meself; Absolutely fair enough. Yet would you really call it "experimentation"? To me it seems not very "experimental". Not more or less then O’Carloan snugging up to Handel and Bach for instance or the Bothy Band taking up on the demand for actual "Bands". Those things now seem like ancient and a natural part of Irish music, but in their days they were not and were largely influenced by trends of the days.

My point all along being: Irish traditional musci practice has significantly changed since the 1950’s and before that it had significantly changed since the 1890’s and even then it had significantly changed since the 1790’s and so on and so on…. The first sessions where a new phenomenon in the 20th century and so were accordeons and concertinas just a few decades before that (ironically both were invented in Austria). The omnipresent flute was new in the early 1800’s and the hyped up tin whistle was litteraly a byproduct of the industrial revolution. In an age of electronic music and greater global networking then ever, how "experimetal" is it really to make electronic music and play the whistle in it? It is not. It is normal.

Fusion and taking up on foreign influences is not alien to Irish music - or stop playing Jigs and Reels. ;) They are just an add on to an otherwise totally multifacetted form of traditional music culture. :)
In relation to the piece dabated here, you don’t have to like it at all, in order to see it’s actual quality. There are technically as well as musically much worse and less informed electronic fusion examples out there.

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Thx for posting the youtube clips.

Those I like - though they are very flook-ish, which i can’t criticise too much because i definitely had a phase of that myself!

It’s quite clearly a taste thing. Good musicians can do horrible albums and projects. This is one - i can see why they did it. I’d guess the reasons are exposure & money and ‘trying to do something different’.

To me it’s just a pity… if you can play proper stuff, why play what i term ‘music for morons’ - dumbed down stuff of the ilk that is pumped out in clubs? But they’re young. I have made my share of tasteless music. Not like that, but still, tasteless.

That review does them no favours though. The review has nothing to do with this genre whilst simultaneously patronising it.

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TheHappyCamper: "though they are very Flookish"….why "though"? Is there really need for a "though"?
I personally also don’t think it sounds like Flook at all….yes Flook has a whistle player and also a guitar player, but they sound and play very differently if you listen carefully and know the instruments a bit more in depth.

"I had a phase of that myself"….what? A Phase of fantastically aranged and played music? Aye not too bad… ;) Sounds almost like a dirty secret ;)

Alright, the tradconnect article seemed to have triggered you the same as a few others here. It does not trigger me at all and I still have not heard a single intelligible or well funded argument here on why it is anything else but informative…

No, no, no, HappyCamper, you were doing so well with: " It’s quite clearly a taste thing", just to ruin it all again with: "To me it’s just a pity… if you can play proper stuff, why play what i term ‘music for morons’"…..

Seriously, you are not really that arrogant to lable this music and everyone who enjoys it morons? I certainly do also believe that there is "moronic" music. But that one is certainly not moronic just because it has beats to it and a catchy pop hook. Whether you like it or not, the quality of the piece and the electronic production behind it is musically quite a bit more demanding then your average radio pop or electronic track. The failiure of most people commenting here, is to recognise that, for either age and/or taste differences.

What I mean is: I can’t stand Death Metal or free Jazz, but I can still differentiate between a good act and a bad one and know that the good acts from that genre are due all the same credit then the good acts of genres I do like. Simple as that.

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Bart dubh, why would you go and drag jazz and metal down? You like space trucking trad but you don’t like jazz or metal? All jazz is free please don’t differentiate with your sorting. Now, let me go look at OP.

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Beid…..I litterally did not drag them down. That’s in your own head.

I just stated I don’t like the subgenres of Death Metal and free Jazz. Not Metal or Jazz as a whole.

And no, Jazz is not always free.

Pagan Metal is not Melodic Metal is not Black Metal is not Death Metal. I just don’t like Death Metal. But that’s taste. That is not disrespecting good Death Metal or good free Jazz. I can recognise the difference between an informed and educated as well as technical and emotional performance despite not liking the genre for taste reasons. That is not a very hard concept to understand. Not hard.
#offtopic

Re: Pretentious Trad

I wouldn’t call it pretentious, perhaps some things were misinterpreted through language misappropriation. Many of the technical things they say would not sound pretentious in other language culture so their intentions were not misplaced but due to lack of ignorance on all parties involved the mustard flow has been compromised. Cultural bias and assumptions within English language culture is the culprit although;

The music is not futuristic. The technical aspect or electric music is more antiquated than the trad. I thought I was listening to my midi files from 92.

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@Bart Sego and @Beid and @TheHappyCamper and the rest of you
You are beginning to show your souls.
And it is a wonderful thing.
The wise have opinions.
The fools have knowledge.

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"Pardon my staunch stance on the matter, but I must add that while defending the use of guitars and bouzoukis in sessions is correct and only right, it is not necessarily a sign of openness to evolution. Because people who suggest that such instruments should not be used in sessions for example, have a very poor understanding of traditional or folk music in general and of Irish music in particular - despite their belief - and are only the most extreme form of pseudo purist evangelists. No need to even take them serious."

A point of clarification. For one very highly respected session I am very familiar with, the rule against back-up instruments has nothing at all to do with authenticity, tradition or purity. It’s much more simple than that. It’s the effect of back-up musicians on the music. You may not approve of such a rule, but please take care when making assumptions about why the rule exists.

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@ Beid: I would totally agree with you there. Also on the music side.

@Steve Wiley…..I object. Fools have opinions and wise people have knowledge - actually. Wise people may phrase their funded knowledge, resting on solid deduction or evidence, cautiously so it appears like opinionating, (in order not to seem arrogant and to get points across with higher chances of succes) to less educated spirits. Fools on the other hand… buy that.

@Tervs and Tunes. Fair enough, but again - if it’s purely a taste thing between a bunch of people that agree on that, no bother at all. If it’s an antiquated extreme purist view and misunderstanding of ‘what Irish music should be’ on the other hand, then - …… :/

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There was a fair amount of English language culture that permeated this thread not on purpose by anyone’s intentions but through language culture.

Let the kids experiment, who gives a shamrock? They might be better off including a DJ to dial up a shamrock storm. Lack of dials and modulations was my main concern after all that descriptive language build up.

I’m still sitting in the catapult. Try enhancing data backup on sound and get Christ’s sake, put some bass

All English language subcontexts and subcultures are pretentious. The thread is pretentiousness and we all need to be pretentious to survive. We could all learn something from these two Wisenheimers.

Listen to the mound by beid #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/scrapyrecords/the-mound


This is a simple tune done badly. Is it pretentious or just damned foolish? Who gives a shamrock?

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Tervs and Tunes - ‘It’s the effect of back-up musicians on the music’ . What effect is that? I ‘ve played sessions [and gigs] with crap guitarists who’s wrong chords and out of time strumming has virtually destroyed the music - probably many session members have had similar experiences. So that’s one possible effect. But then there’s Arty McGlynn, and Steve Cooney, and Donal Lunny , and John Doyle - so that’s another possible effect…………….

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It is not uncommon for a session to play without backup players, or to limit the number of non-melody players on certain instruments. In my experience those sessions have not been overly strict about enforcing unwritten customs. Most often it has been because the regular players are primarily interested in the tunes (their melodies) and backup players are rarely dis-invited except when one exhibits a blatant disregard for the regular session players’ desire to play (and vary) the tunes as they wish.

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