Playing this music and social life

Playing this music and social life

My wife and I are avid players - several sessions per month and hours per day practicing. It’s notable that, other than our kids and associated in-laws, our entire social world is made up of other musicians. Our closest friends are players - even when we’re doing non-musical things, such as hiking, cooking, and gardening - we don’t have many other significant social contacts. Is this the usual situation, or are we just outliers and weirdos? Which would be okay with us…

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Re: Playing this music and social life

"Is this the usual situation, or are we just outliers and weirdos?"

Yes to both. In the world of musicians, I think you’re perfectly normal…

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I think I know what you’re saying. I’ve spent much boring time in dreadful remote places or ‘in the country’.
Perhaps you could make more friends if you moved out of the sticks into civilisation.
Urban life absolutely trumps the tedium of a rural drudgery. There’s 24 hour, seven day a week action, people, diversity, convenience, restaurants, buses, underground trains, pubs, bars, temples, mosques, churches, shops and all manner of lovely stuff right on your doorstep.
Where you are there’s mud, farm animals, scary conservatives/ rednecks, one bus a week, relatives and the smell of silage.

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splendid, Yhall - spoken like a true Londoner - you fall off the edge of the planet outside the M25.

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‘Outside the M25’ or ‘England’ as it known.

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There are lots of very good "rural areas" where various forms of traditional music seem to flourish.

In Whitby and surrounding area, for example, there seems to be something happening every night of the week and that’s not even during their festival. The people are friendly enough too although I’m sure might be a wee bit "Brexity" there but we can’t have it all ways.

There are some "good spots" in Scotland too. e.g. Moniaive, Ullapool etc and various small towns and villages on The West Coast. The North East is strong in tradition too although it’s more traditional singing and F & A style as opposed to trad tune sessions but there some. Also, don’t forget Orkney and Shetland etc.

Then there’s the ‘ould country itelf, of course, where the best music arguably happens outside Dublin.

I’m sure you’ll all know other examples.

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I have made many friends through music, not just in my own locality, but through attending festivals, etc up and down the country. I have friends who are not musicians, and maybe think I am a bit of a weirdo for liking this sort of music and spending so much time on it - even my grown-up kids and husband do!

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A commonly asked question by well meaning, sometimes concerned, individuals…

"Have you just been to "your music" "?
:-)

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Trish, I’m sure your husband takes full advantage of visiting all these lovely localities and enjoys a bit of walking and sight seeing too. I’ve even met him at the occasional concert too. :-)

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"The North East is strong in tradition too although it’s more traditional singing and F & A style as opposed to trad tune sessions but there some."
What’s that based on ?

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Re: Playing this music and social life

Yes, Johnny Jay, my husband enjoys going to Sidmouth as it’s where he was born and bred, and he can look up some old pals, go for long coastal walks and drives to Dartmoor etc: he maybe attends one or 2 concerts in the whole week! But he’d prefer to be there out of festival week! Too far to go too often.
And Stonehaven: plenty to see and do around there, and he joins us for the evening concerts.

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The ‘North East’. Is that Vladivostok, Tyneside, the Ards peninsula, New England or Tottenham?

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Does it matter ? It’s "outside London".

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From experience in visiting these areas, Kenny. Especially around Keith, Elgin, Dufftown and so on.

I know there’s more tune sessions as we know them here around Aberdeen area itself but I’m sure you’ll be much more familiar with those than me.

For instance,

https://tmsakeithfestival.blogspot.com/p/guests.html

I’m not saying there’s anything necessarily wrong with the lineup and Rura are not typical(I agree).

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The ‘North East’?

Yhaal House, I was referring to Scotland as I had also referenced other parts in that paragraph.

However, I believe there’s quite a lot going on in the NE of England too and I already mentioned Whitby. I was quite surprised when I visited there on a "random week" out of season a few months back.

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Tottenham is in London!
NorthLondon though.

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Hi Johnny Jay

Interesting you should mention those places…

I stayed and played many times at Moniaive
Also played at Ullapool, The Céilidh Place I think it was called?

And many other little places dotted everywhere.

Then, when I moved to the NE played often at Whitby and surrounding villages; Loftus, Skinningrove, Skelton, Guisborough etc, let alone some fabulous sessions around Newcastle, Sunderland, etc

Later, down Somerset way, between Taunton, Bridgwater, Minehead everywhere, to Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, music everywhere!

Not big, not commercial, just loads of music!

Maybe the M25 has kept everywhere else safe; after all it’s supposed to be the largest car park in Europe isn’t it?

All the best
Brian x

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One question for Yhall - where do you think it originates, this music that we all play and listen to and write about? Donegal fiddling, the songs of Robbie Burns, Highland piping, Fermanagh fluting - why in the countryside you despise so much.

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"The ‘North East’. Is that Vladivostok, Tyneside, the Ards peninsula, New England or Tottenham?"

To me it’s anything North East of West Virginia (like Pennsylvania!)

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Re stuff originating in the sticks.
Yes of course!
A. Until a hundred years ago or so nearly everywhere was the horrid primitive countryside.
B. Conurbations draw in culture so one can cherry pick what music, food, dance, wottafah one wants!

One get a lot of fantastic fiddle playing in Donegal but not much Pakistani halal food, reggae clubs, pie and eel shops, punk clothes shops, Nigerian restaurants, Bhangra dancing, Morris dancing, proper Cantonese roast duck and rice, swimming pools, black metal gigs et cetera. But, at the same time, one can also go out every night and find very good Trad Irish sessions.

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Whitby also has a Goth Festival :-) and as much fish and chips as you can eat.

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Last sentence should be:
But in London for instance one can all the above including trad Irish seshes every night.

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Edinburgh is very cosmopolitan these days too and has lots of sessions even although they don’t always suit everyone.

No "pie and eel" shops that I know about but I’ll not lose too much sleep over that.
:-)

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I had a friend who moved out to the country. There was a fabulous view including hills, the estuary, the sea, the coastline, trees, grass, cows and stuff. When I first visited I was shown the vista and it was lovely. I probably looked at it for two or three minutes. But once I had we sat inside and talked and had a cup of tea the outside was irrelevant. And later we couldn’t just walk down to the pub. There was a whole logistics operation. On the following days I occasionally gazed at the view but it still looked the same and we were still four miles from the nearest pint ( of beer or milk!).

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And there were no Trad Irish sessions!!!!
(Nearest Exeter about hour away to be fair)

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Yhall, here in East Kent we have all that stuff too, but there’s also easy access to Canterbury with its its cafes, restaurants, museums, art galleries, cathedral, world class theatres, cosmopolitan student population - it doesnt have to be one or t’other. No cultural deprivation here. ok its not 24/7 like London but evidence rather shows that just makes some people crazy and psychotic………………

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ps maybe thats why so many DFL’s come flocking down the Thanet Way every weekend………….

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The nearest session to Kent I can think of is the Greyhound in Peckham ( Sun ~3pm). Thank you!
Let’s make sure this stays a Trad Irish Music discussion.

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Peckham? All sounds a bit "Dell Boy" to me.

Uncle Albert on bodhran and Trigger on

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Nice thread hijack, Yhaal House. Very quick and efficient! :-P

Back to the the OP, I don’t necessarily think music is all that much different than other obsessions - sports, hobbies, even professions in some cases. Our friends are people who share similar interests, so the majority of our close friends that we spend time with like to do the same things as we do, which is why we like to spend time with them…

In my case, my wife doesn’t play (she started down the concertina path for a while, but it was stressing her out). But she has learned to like the music, and has become good friends with many of my musician friends. And she also loves to entertain, which makes for some great house sessions, parties, and house concerts. But she also has her own interests and friends, so I get some nice variety in my social activities (because, let’s face it, Irish musicians are a weird bunch, and her friends give me at least some semblance of normalcy ;-))

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dfost: you and your missus sound beautiful! Do what you want and I’ll be in front of the queue to make sure you can. But if you come to London come and visit similar weirdos and outliers ( albeit ‘internal outliers’!). London is just a big conglomeration of villages anyway (except in the horrid tourist trap centre!). And play some good Trad Irish Music you weirdos.

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Are we really going to resolve the Country Mouse vs City Mouse opposition here? I look forward to it!

Anyway, about all one’s friends being musicians: in most places now, country or city, trad. music serves no social function to non-musicians - they don’t dance to it; they don’t sing to it; they don’t want it as background music; it interferes with TV, etc. - so if you want to play music and you want to be around other people, you are pretty much limited to musicians. It can make for an odd social circle - on the other hand, it can bring together people from otherwise very different backgrounds, skills and interests.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve seen flute players in the North East.

Across the street from the Reggae Club.

Strange bunch.

Does your pub in London still close at 11pm?

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Ha-ha, reminds me of when I said "I am now going to sing a song from the North-East" - "North-East of where?" they all said - me with an English accent. Could have been Cromer or Sheringham, but no. ‘Twas the North East of that Aberdeenshire/Morayshire bit.
As for where I go for sessions - the Wild West! (Aka West Lothian.) Takes less time to get there than to go into Edinburgh, and no parking problems, less traffic, etc.

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When we were still actively performing, our circle of friends consisted of musicians and close family. After we retired in 2006/7 from public performance, our circle of friends widened back up. Part of it comes from the dedication to playing you’re putting in. It’s easier to be around people with similar interests because they know the ups and downs of a performance musician’s life, and all the factors which feed into it, than non-musicians (normal, non obsessed folks). As performers, we’re constantly looking at expansion and revision, as well as increasing your repertoire. My opinion is that we gravitate towards other musicians simply as a defense mechanism against distraction by the non-musical world. Hanging with other musicians we have a common language together, so we don’t have to put as much effort into maintaining the friendships. Just my two cents on the subject, and based on the experiences of our time immersed in the performance world.

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Yes, a large majority of my friends are through music. As someone else wrote, if I had had another hobby, eg mountaineering, most of my friends would probably have the same

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The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

I think you’re hanging around with the right crowd - and the Bard of Avon is rarely wrong on such matters.

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I when playing music didn’t have much of a social life. Was working at home on the family piano (almost 100 years old now). When I lived in Orkney my crude attempt at joining in on piano at a session was not appreciated by Jennifer Wrigley (the wonderful fiddler and teacher). Maybe the pint or two consumed wasn’t helpful…… Hazel, Jenny’s twin teaches piano and guitar and her "vamping" is very much her own style and she so much enjoys it - skips out onto the stage.