Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I know that I’m definitely on the younger side amongst many of the posters here (early 20s), but know there are a few members close to my age. I am finding that none of my college peers are really that interested in trad, and have long ago stopped sending them videos of songs I like because I know they won’t be interested.
Recently, my college dorm hall had an event which I helped put together, and all of us organizers got to pick several songs to put on one master playlist. I chose 6 trad songs or dance sets (4 English, 2 Welsh), but towards the end of the first of my song selections, one of the other students skipped all the other songs that I contributed and moved on to the next song on the playlist. While I did find it somewhat annoying, I also understood why they would do this, as it did feel very out of place alongside the rap and rock songs that people were more familiar with, so I’d imagine they were thinking, "What IS this music?"
So I just wanted to ask if any of you have been able to convince your peers to enjoy, or even seek out, traditional music? This is one of my favorite styles of music and I have always been a nerd about learning tune names and their history, so I have always considered it a fairly big part of my life, which I wish to share with others.
Thanks.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Great idea. I’d love to hear a good going tune session in The House of Lords. :-P

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Pshaw! JJ, hae’ ye nae heard of ‘Drunk as a Lord’? Should settle nicely with some choons!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Ah, I see. So if I to were get people drunk enough, they’d feel they’d have no choice but to join in!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

To answer your original query, it’s probably best just to leave them to do their own thing.

Most of us here have experienced similar frustrations. Many will find their own way to the music by "the back door" and this is the time when you will be best placed to encourage and offer advice.
For example, you can tell them there’s much more to Irish music than the tunes on "the Titanic", or some of the tracks on Ed Sheerin’s latest album and so on. There’s plenty of other examples, of course.

Until then, try not to worry about it too much and just enjoy the music yourself.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Puttin tunes randomly in a playlist sure won’t work. Imagine if you put a classical piece in there or bebop jazz. Even though the music can be amazing, music in such a party is for a specific audience.

Generally the people that are most accepting are those that have been to - and enjoyed - a session or a ceili dance. For mainlanders pretty much anyone that has been to Ireland and enjoyed the culture there is enthusiastic when they hear I play Irish music and others generally don’t really get it unless they’re into other types of folk music like balfolk.

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

20-hour roadtrip subjected to a playlist of thousands of tracks of trad (and I have way more than 20 hours of this stuff). ‘Learned helplessness’ turns out to be so effective that one of my passengers on our drive to the Ecrins last year in the Alps started learning the whistle.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Having played music while i was younger and only getting back into it now, I wasn’t interested much at all in college. I think its a common thing, even most of my most ardent trad-playing friends they leave it for a while at that age only to pick it up later.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

It’s worth thinking about the characteristics of most music that civilians are exposed to. Most of it will be in straight 4/4 time, with a clear beat determined by bass and percussion. They will thus find it difficult to "get" music that lacks a heavy beat, even more so in other time signatures. One approach might be to expose them to some of the bands that combine traditional (-type) songs and tunes with strong bass and percussion, and try to wean them on to more authentic styles. I think a band like Run Rig might work, and I’m sure there will be many other suggestions from Session regulars.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Aye, Borderer, I have a lot of friends who are into rocked up trad bands like the Peatbogs and Manran and the Elephant Sessions, but have zero interest in the more pure drop stuff or Irish/Scottish music itself.

At a Manran gig we were at, one such acquaintance told me Ryan Murphy was playing Northumbrian pipes. I said, "Uh, no he’s not. Those are Irish pipes."

She answered, "No, no, I’m from Northumbria. I know."

I said, "Dude, I play that instrument. They’re Irish pipes." She looked sheepish.

But hey, they enjoy the music.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Thank you all for the replies.
I think I’ll just go with the idea of enjoying the music for myself, mostly. I guess, in thinking about it, a person who isn’t familiar with folk music would not have had much appreciation for the selections I chose, not all of which were 4/4 for sure. The songs on the playlist were:
1. "Shew’s the Way Medley" by Canny Fettle
2. "We’ll Soon Have Work to Dee" by Canny Fettle
3. "Adam Buckham" by the High Level Ranters
4. "Bellingham Boat/Lambskinnet" by High Level Ranters
5. "Y Dydd" by Crasdant
6. the "Gwyr Pen-Dref" jig/slip jig set by Crasdant
So probably not to the best intro to folk!
The majority of the songs chosen by others were rap, other than "Hey There Delilah." Even I had to admit mine felt a bit out of place.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@DrSilverSpear, sadly very few people here in the US know what a Northumbrian smallpipe is. I would love to eventually learn it, though, as it sounds so great.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I’m not in the younger generation anymore, so there isn’t a lot of peer pressure to like the same kinds of music, clothes, or food like there used to be when I was younger. So I don’t really try to get people interested in it. But I also don’t shy away from it either. If someone is a passenger in my car, they’re going to be subjected to it whether they like it or not ;-)

I have found that a lot of my close friends and family have gained at least some tolerance, if not downright appreciation, for Irish trad. My wife even has several trad CDs in her car! And we host a lot of parties, many of which are a combination of music friends and non-music friends, and there’s always some curiosity when we start playing.

Like Johnny Jay said, people find their own way to the music. I certainly didn’t like it much when I first heard it, since I was coming out of a different world of music (industrial, goth, and techno). But there are certainly some "gateway drug" bands out there, who can help reach people that are used to rock, country, or club music. Lunasá (and other bands) have bass, and I find that this helps some people overcome their initial distaste. Bands like Solas, Altan, Dervish, etc. have enough arrangement and fun intricate melodies that they can have a broader appeal than, say, listening to solo artists, or ceili bands.

But I wouldn’t be able to help you much with getting 20-somethings interested in it…

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

DrSilverSpear : you said "dude" put loud?

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

My very wise father had a phrase that best describes impossible tasks. He called it "pissin’ up a rope". There is probably not anybody that is more encouraging and accommodating than me when it comes to bringing new players on board the me. Over and over again I hear things like " I really want to play this". I started a tune learning, skill developing, session in my home. I encourage new players in our sessions to start the tunes they know ( no matter how many times I have to play Kesh, Morrison’s, Drowsy Maggie) and at their own tempo, and , one by one they nearly all fall by the wayside. I’ve invited players from other genre’s, from the Old Time Fiddlers group, from personal, by chance meetings, and yet the interest seems more like something to talk about rather than do something about. Those who seem most interested seem to learn a half dozen tunes or so, then run off and start another doomed "band". I’m not being egocentric here, really, and I wish this was not so, but I can’t think of anyone who has started and stuck with it since I did 14 years ago. Though ITM is my first choice and I spend most of my time at home playing it, more often than not I spend my time playing with others (people I really enjoy by the way) playing bass in String Band and Contra groups. I would find it heart-breaking to find out how hard it might be to bring in someone steeped in what gets used for music today. I understand that in other parts of the country the experience is different. At least I hope it is.

For what’s worth I’d say that if ITM is all that important the best thing to do is to get really good at it and be yourself. Set an example. There just might be someone else willing to break away from the hive and join you, but you can’t drag out the unwilling no matter what they might say.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Ah, my young friend - the sooner you accept that you’re the only one in the world who appreciates the music you appreciate, the happier you will be. Seriously - accept that it’s a lonely pursuit. If the sociability aspect of the music you play is paramount, you’re going to have to adjust to the world around you; you’re not going adjust the world to you; e.g., if the only sessions in town are Bluegrass jams, and you can’t or won’t for whatever reason start an Irish session, then you’ll have to learn to play Bluegrass - and don’t go in with the idea that you’re going to transform the Bluegrass jam into an Irish session … !

Yes, this is the weary voice of experience speaking ….

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

People generally enjoy what is relevant to them. Therefore, trad isn’t going to appeal much among the general population.

Rather than through recordings, the best way to lay some trad on the folks, I’ve found, is to grab your fiddle and box and get to it. It tends to move people (get people moving), which is after all the point to all of this. :)

I play weekly in a community setting with a fairly average age distribution. My trad, whether or not it’s particularly culturally or aesthetically relevant to them, is always well-received by at least SOME passersby every time I play. I think it becomes relevant for listeners in that it’s a shared activity, in the moment, etc.

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Sure, I have introduced Irish trad to others who now enjoy it. Before I moved to Idaho, I started a session in Los Angeles where all the other participants were students from UCLA (about two miles away).

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Ross, I’m like you - I encourage everyone. One of my weekly things is teaching music at our local homeless shelter. This solves some of this dilemma for me.

Re tech. I just got my son his first synthesizer. He dabbles with my instruments (and I dabble with the synths), but what he and 90% of his peers enjoy is making beats and grooving in HIS way … No one in the homeless community occupies themself with hand-held synths (although some have cellphones). Many people in this community are inclined to pick up an acoustic instrument, sit and listen to trad, and experience music in an "old fashioned" way. By reason of necessity (material limitation) people are able to resist the seduction through media.

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I second Reverend’s comments about "gateway groups" - those bands who employ more modern sounding production values and arrangements, coupled with traditional tunes to make this music more accessible to mainstream ears. In fact I have recently hooked my oldest son, aged 20, on Lunasa and Solas and he has now started learning the whistle as a result. This is no small feat considering his normal musical preference leans towards Kendrick Lamar and other contemporary rap artists. The biggest aid for me was just having him exposed to the small sessions I’ve hosted in my kitchen. There is something magical about a musical community and the free flow of tunes by a group of people who know each other’s material really well. Between the infectious melodies and the camaraderie of a session, my son has decided he wants to be part of something like that someday. Needless to say, I’m delighted. Jaysus I’m almost getting weepy just typing this!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Many of you seem like you would be great company for a road trip (and I really do mean that!)
I think, amongst my peers, this will just have to be my hobby. I’m still very glad I posted though. I actually prefer trad groups that do not choose to "modernize" their music by adding rock or jazz elements, but can see how many may find it necessary in order to reach an audience.
As for modern music of my generatnot, I never really liked rap and always dismissed it. But now that I think about it, the fact that so many young people feel they can relate to it must mean that it has some significance.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad the

There are some people have such entrenched views, that you’d be wasting your breath on them. "Don’t want any of that finger in rhe ear stuff round here" was one friend’s reaction.
But there are also some who are a bit more open-minded in their attitudes to, and choices of music, and you might just provide that "lightbulb moment".
People have tried to make me like modern jazz: sorry, I just can’t. (Nor rap, heavy metal, etc, etc)

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Yes, the pure awfulness that is rap. How people can stand it is beyond me!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

The thing is, you can’t impose your taste in music on people and expect to win them over. Maybe I misunderstand the nature of the event you were part of, but I imagine it was a party of some sort and music was intended to provide mood and background. So it was unrealistic for you to think “I know you’re all here to socialize but instead I want you to pay attention to this demanding, anachronistic music that’s very different from anything you normally enjoy.”

Like most music, trad is best experienced live. You might have better luck dragging some friends to a concert or a session.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I’ve got no kick against modern jazz - unless they try to play it too darn fast! You lose the beauty of the melody, until it sounds just like a symphony.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

And so much of it has to do with listeners’ early experiences. For example, most folks encounter Highland pipes via street bands. No wonder the jokes about bagpipes. Or Scottish Traditional Music introduced only via Marie’s Wedding and/or Scotland the Brave complete with frilly blouses and kilts.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I understand where you’re coming from, Joe. It was a party for people to de-stress, eat pizza, decorate cupcakes, make things out of Play-Doh etc.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

20 hr. road trip seems like the best approach. You can drive up the Pacific Coast to the Olympic Penisula, south to Cabo, or cross country to Boulder or Santa Fe. Just have plenty of trad tracks. Happy trails! Lots of music is essential. I remember a last minute road trip & I cannot tell you how many times we listened to "Smoke on the Water." [It’s an ancient song from another century, Wanderer.]

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

These rap songs are actually pretty good!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

The road trip idea is more likely to end up with your captives hating both the music and you. … But then, there’s always Stockholm syndrome ….

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

> Yes, the pure awfulness that is rap. How people can stand it is beyond me!

Funny, the same has been said about trad by many, many people. Horses for courses.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Dang, meself, I think you’re being too dismissive. The way I was envisioning it was not subjecting anyone to something they might end up *hating*. Also I don’t think Dr. Silver Spear is the sort to force her music on anyone. Mostly I was considering that the OP is in college and I vaguely remember what I did in college. Granted it was in another century but there were road trips, music and finding out about all that stuff with lots of different people I was meeting at the time.

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Hi,
I can see what all of are saying about not forcing a genre on someone, and I can understand that. I can accept the fact that most of my peers would never choose trad as a style to enjoy. But I still think that people should give it more of a chance than they did in the event I helped organize. I think that if I in their position, if someone had a group of songs unfamiliar to me and everyone else, I would still give the songs a chance. That’s just me, though.
I can see what people are saying about rap, though.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

"I would still give the songs a chance. That’s just me, though."

Exactly - that’s the point: they aren’t like you.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

On the other hand I have never been able to win over any of my fellow sessioneers to my deep and abiding passion for the music of Don Van Vliet. No one ever wants to play my slip jig version of Woe Is Me Bop ,Oh Drop A Re Bop.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@5stringfool
I like slip jigs. Perhaps I would enjoy yours. I also think the title of it is quite appropriate for this thread.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@5stringfool - I was particularly fond of ‘Gimme dat Harp Boy’ many years ago when I was learning to play the gob iron - never tried playing it at a trad session though!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

It was much easier in my day as there was much more "cross over" between trad/folk and other genres of mainstream popular music.

For instance, this one even made the UK Top 10

https://youtu.be/Werj37eQt9o?list=PLEd0GD3IhSUpqAu3HfheggaADgtpFuOze


:-)
E of E weren’t really a trad band, of course, but the likes of Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and so on were popular at the time too. Even The Dubliners had Top Twenty hits back in the day!

Of course, there still is cross over, experimentation, and lots of very imaginative ideas in music but it doesn’t seem to trouble the mainstream these days.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Of course I force it on people when they’re getting a lift in my car. My car, my music. That’s how it works.

Those who’ve been in my car on Alps trips are still talking to me, and one of them is now learning the whistle!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

You’ve done them a favour.
Otherwise, they might have returned from The Alps having learned to "yodel".. :-)

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@DrSilver Spear:
I hope you got your whistling passenger to learn "Crossing the Alps"!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Well, I think it was very discourteous for someone to skip your selections if people had agreed to share. But I got to thinking about me playing trad albums when I was a student.

The reaction of my friends was similar but more polite. Except back then some of the stuff The Wanderer likes was fresh in the record shops. The High Level Ranters was a young (ish) band. The Chieftains hadn’t started playing with rock musicians. I still like (even prefer) that sort of treatment but if that was what the Wanderer was playing his dorm mates then it was a very old presentation.

Back then it was possible to sneak some trad tunes in. I remember this being played at a disco. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsmRYm-1rcg



What is the modern equivalent, do you like it and could it be used as ‘the thin end of the wedge’. Or maybe try something from a young band like Calan.

But I go with ‘why try?’ opinions expressed above. And if you must try maybe find something live that already has a young audience.


(Edit - I only just listened to that Mike Oldfield track - play that almost anywhere now and it would probably be regarded as joke against, or maybe by, morris dancers.)

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

i haven’t heard that tune since I was a kid! It’s english right?

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I think people’s musical tastes have become more compartmentalised.

I’m a child of the 1960s and back then you might have just a couple radio stations in an area, so the music they played went out to all audiences, the Top 40 list. At any given time the Top 40 might include rock songs, jazz songs, sentimental oldfashioned ballads, country songs, folk songs, and instrumental pieces played by orchestras or jazz groups.

Nowadays people have their own list they created on their phone that they listen to endlessly, or radio stations dedicated to narrowly specific genres, or they listen to Pandora which tailors itself to your individual tastes.

So people aren’t regularly exposed to the variety of genres they used to be.

Somebody did computer analysis and found that indeed the popular music of the 1960s had a much greater timbral variety than the popular music of today. It was also shown that song-texts had a considerably larger lexicon.

People nowadays are hearing the same few timbres, the same limited vocabulary, over and over.

All of this doesn’t bode well for trying to covert people to ITM.

Musical taste is like religion and politics: people feel strongly about it, and you can’t convince people to change their opinions. People’s views on all these matters do sometimes evolve, but it’s generally a gradual process.

(Happily my own kids, in their 20s, were raised listening to a wide variety of music, and their phone tune-lists include Limelighters, Doors, Andrew Sisters, Benny Goodman, Paddy Keenan, Silly Wizard, Dervish, Bach, Geminiani, Joan Baez, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Taj Mahal, Kostadin Varimezov, Ivo Papasov, Roland Kirk, La Bottine Souriante, Vent du Nord, and I don’t know what all.)

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Here’s a video that talks about the studies done showing the continual lessening in pop music of variety in timbres, harmonic and melodic complexity, and vocabulary.

He also brings up that many of the hit songs of the last decade were written by one of only two different songwriters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVME_l4IwII

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Dr., I know you are hardcore. But you are good.

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Día dhaoibh! Greetings all!

The Mike Oldfield recording posted brought back some memories. He’d had an album ‘Hergest Ridge’ (about ‘74 I think) following ‘Tubular Bells’

Back in about ‘81(?) after a Chieftains’ concert at Wembley I was invited to a party; Paddy introduced me to Mike and we had a bit of a chat

I asked him about ‘Ommadawn’, in which Paddy had collaborated. It’s a fairly close phonetic pronunciation of the Irish ‘amadán’ which means ‘fool’ or ‘idiot’

They roared laughing; apparently not too many people had picked up on the pun!

All the best
Brian x

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Awesome, more videos!
@David50, this is the first time I’d heard of Mike Oldfield too. It sounded great, and more like something others are accustomed to. (And yes, Richard, the tune is English).
@Johnny Jay, I liked the East of Eden video, although the title they gave the track seems a little misleading because it sounds to me more like a reel than a jig.
@Richard, I’ll listen to your video later today but it sounds fascinating.
Also, since I last posted on this thread, I found out that on the app we were using for our event (Spotify, which I personally do not have), you can see the entire queue of songs on a playlist. So, therefore, if one were to listen to a playlist and really want to hear the song 5 songs ahead, they can potentially skip forward to it without even thinking about it.
I’m going to have to check out some more Oldfield for sure.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@The Wanderer. I am not sure what genre Mike Oldfield is; not trad. Back then most people my age were familiar with his albums and with that track, but many would not know it was trad and potentially uncool.

Am not sure how many trad tunes he used. Here is one from a 2003 remake:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEc2ENuMP5Y


However, if you find the ‘original’ of that (with Vivian Stanshill) on youtube you will hear something different and ‘of its time’ in trendy England.

English trad that your friends may be familiar with, without realising what it is, is on Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLHfeVVtkcU

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Wanderer, yes Jig a Jig was a medley of reels, i think one of them was ‘Jenny’s Chickens.’ I played in a band around the Canterbury area with East of Eden’s fiddler, Dave Arbus for a time after the record, but he lost interest in trad and went on to play gypsy swing and then jazz fusion - such is the transient nature of the music biz.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@David50, wow! I had no idea that these two jigs were actually on the Spongebob sound track!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@The Wanderer. Another one - see last comment. https://thesession.org/tunes/3319

(you see folks, this stuff is in the database here :-D)

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

I love the tune The Oyster Girl.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

@JJ, yes Dave Arbus was a founder member of Fiddlers Dram but he didnt stay very long!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

And yet, perhaps Dave Arbus was eminently influential due his appearance with the mods. For me and my cohort, he certainly was - being into rock as we were. Due those English pop stars, there was no dearth of some rocking stuff…and a dash of tradish here and there. My entree was dadgad acoustic guitar I copped from Page’s LZ records when I was a young lad..

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Just a thought … you’re a musician? Why not play them a set of tunes?

This is what folk music is, personal and communal. No-one can click "skip" on you, and if they start mucking around with some funny dancing, what better compliment? They’re dance tunes after all!

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Hi Andrew,
That’s a great point. Alas, I’m not much of a player yet, but am just really into listening to different types of trad music and instruments. My creativity is usually spent writing short stories, during which playlists (created by me out of a random selection of music I like) are on.
And thanks to all of you who posted videos.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Play them this:

https://youtu.be/SrR9QPXXX-o


If they don’t like it then they are not worth keeping.

Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

> Play them this

I wondered how long it would take for Boydie and co to show up here :D

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Re: Has anyone succesfully gotten their peers interested in enjoying trad music?

Yes, I think that most recent video would appeal to lots of modern ears. Thanks for that link.