Lucky to hear

Lucky to hear

I was lucky enough to hear Paddy Fahy and Paddy Carty playing live on several occasions in loads of house sessions. I just reveled at the tightness of the music they played together, unfortunately Irish music has changed a lot since those days!

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In what unfortunate ways would you say it has changed?

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Most of the music is played far to fast, it has lost its purity, to many bad bodhran guitar and bouzouki players. Tunes should be learned from the older players and worked on in private practice.

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Día dhaoibh! Greetings all!

Dear GITN
A very interesting post indeed, as always, and I think I get a bit of what you imply.
Like you, I have been blessed to sit and play with, not just to listen to, some wonderful exponents of The Pure Drop, from a certain era.
For many years, I went everywhere for a tune when I had the chance, and not just hear these great players live at sessions everywhere (gig, some in London were ‘paid’ sessions) but was invited back afterwards and witnessed some amazingly gifted seamless playing, all at that easy listening pace AND treated with the highest respect and hospitality. Those house sessions are in my treasure chest.
But…
… I would venture that there are many succeeding players over many years who have that same intimacy, understanding and feel for the music out there right now.
There are certainly many modern guardians and keepers of the Tradition who don’t play with undue expediency, and allow the Music to breathe and have a pulse, and I’m sure that in years to come there will be those who say "You should have heard X play with Y and Z back at someone’s house one night" and so on.
I think many of us have been blessed with some of those special moments as you described.

Beir bua!
All the best
Brian x

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"Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires’. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt."
Horace, c. 20BC.
The world has always been going downhill, and things have never been as good as they used to be. But somehow we struggle on…

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I agree with Brian, I think there will always be players who don’t get carried away with fast or halfhearted way of playing (not that those are the same thing). But I am a Young Person so I’m possibly not the best judge of that.

Interesting though how "back in my day…" can either lead to how everything used to be better, or to how we young whippersnappers don’t appreciate how good we have it ;)

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I’m very fond of the Pure Drop, as I see it.

There are so many factors other than tempo but one could guess how a graph of preferred beats per minute against age might go. But one might be wrong…..

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I don’t see it as a binary choice. I’m able to enjoy both the Pure Drop and some of the more exuberant interpretations by more recent players.

I do lean more towards the relaxed tempos, like the flute playing of Mike Rafferty for example. But I can still enjoy Sylvain Barou blasting through a tune. I wouldn’t want to hear that in a session, but I can enjoy it as an enthusiastic take on the music, while still appreciating and even preferring more relaxed tempos.

One other thing… I haven’t been playing this music all my life, so I have to be wary of thinking tempos are too fast simply because I can’t play that fast, or think that fast myself. I have heard newcomers to ITM bemoaning the fact that the tunes are "played so fast," when they’re talking about tunes played at what more advanced players would consider a fairly relaxed tempo.

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Great to have heard the Pure Drop from Fionn McCumhail himself 🙂

I’d be very favourably disposed to the wonderful sound of the many modern players - I think, on average, we are fortunate in having many very modern accomplished players for all the various instruments. For flute you’d have to say that Kevin Crawford, Brian Finnegan, Louise Mulcahy, Steph Geremia, John Wynne, Harry Bradley, Sylvain Barou (and many, many others) would put it up to the superstars of the 1900-1950’s period. Time moves along, change is good and healthy. The ability to absorb influences and ideas is positive. There was no "perfect time" never to be surpassed.

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Lucky to hear….capable of many interpretations, including that you just happened to be there at that magical time, some intended/forecasted, others not.
Liam O’Flynn - Sidmouth Folk Week - 1980s sometime - in a marquee with rain drumming on the roof: accompanied by a cello player whose name escapes me: just so much beautiful music.
Liam O’Flynn again - Glasgow Celtic Connections concert - early 2000s? - in the front row, I was right under his nose! - "The Brendan Voyage".
Segovia at The Royal Festival Hall, London in the 1960s - a man who didn’t understand the word "encore" (well he spoke Spanish!) or when to stop - played at least as long again as his original "set list"!
Jacqueline du Pre playing the Elgar Cello Concerto, also at the Royal Festival Hall in the ’60s - such ferocity, but musicality too!

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Where were the house sessions, gooseinthenettles?

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"There was no "perfect time" never to be surpassed." gbyrne.

I agree with Byrne. Much has changed in the world of Irish traditional music over the years, but I think there are many fine traditional players today and there is no need to despair. We have young musicians such as Sorcha Costello, Claire Egan, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Cormac Begley, Colm Broderick, Caoimhín Ó Fearghail, Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Órlaith McAuliffe, Tara Breen, Louise Mulcahy, Michelle Mulcahy, Sorcha Ni Scolai, just to name a few. I’m an auld wan these days but I am inspired by the music of the above named musicians.

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I appreciate hearing the recording, Kenny. It truly gives me a sound perspective of the topic ("Lucky to hear").

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Fine music there! Who is the piper in the photo?

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As a young lad, I used to listen to Paddy Carty in Moylan’s in Loughrea in the early 80’s in between the packets of Taytos and red lemonade, I do think nowadays there are a lot of young players playing too hurried, but there are a lot that are playing great music, and today there seems to be more young good/exceptional players (musically speaking rather than technically speaking) than there used to be 40 years ago, so all told the net result is positive.

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@Steamwilkes - The piper was Peter Forbes from Dundee [ RIP ]. Peter was a fine Highland piper as well, before taking up the uilleann pipes.

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"The piper was Peter Forbes from Dundee [ RIP ]. "

Thanks Kenny. A new name for me.