Alternatives to listening to albums?

Alternatives to listening to albums?

Hey again all

I love a good trad album, very fond of the work of Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Tommy Peoples, Mary Bergin etc.

But my favourite way to enjoy this music, other than playing it, is to see videos of “ordinary” people playing on YouTube etc.

I love to search for different sessions, as well as archive footage from Fleadhs. There are also some fantastic YouTubers like Sarah Hale and Sarah Loughran posting regular videos exploring single tunes.

The question I come with today is, what else could I be looking up or searching, what other non commercial recordings or curios can I find, where can I see “real people” playing with all their quirks and inter-musician communications in their faces etc?

Many thanks ahead

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

Go out to sessions?
🙂
Actually, there is at least one other possibility. You could ask on here if members could post links to, or send you USB memory sticks or even CD’s, cassettes even, of “classic” sessions. There are a few of these kicking around. Worth a try….

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

I have it on good authority that Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Tommy Peoples (RIP), Mary Bergin etc. are ordinary people too.
🙂

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

If you search YouTube by tune title, you will be rewarded with a list of renditions, many if not most of which are submitted by a amateurs.

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

If there’s one phrase that drives me up the ****ing wall - especially when used by politicians - it’s “ordinary people”.

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

I prefer “commoners” or “the great unwashed.”

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

Not an improvement IMHO.
If you don’t “listen to albums”, how do you get to hear John McKenna ?

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

Invite him for a tune and a pint?

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

When I want to listen to the riffraff, the hoi polloi, the plebs, the proles, the huddled masses yearned to breathe free, etc. I just search “[town/city/county name] session” on YouTube. You can find a lot of videos like this one that are I think what you’re looking for

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqy4TIwBJ5c&ab_channel=CianODonnell


I have to say that while they can certainly be interesting, they pale in comparison to just finding a decent session nearby if at all possible. Honestly, the main reason I have looked in the past is to do a bit of a survey of what whistles people seem to be playing and how easily those whistles are heard in varying configurations, out of curiosity on my (whistleplaying) part. They might also be useful if you’re travelling and want to get a sense of some popular tunes in the area you’re going to, or if you want to scope out a particular venue’s sessions. Outside of these practical concerns, though, I’d probably rather listen to Mary Bergin if I had the choice.

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

“If you don’t “listen to albums”, how do you get to hear John McKenna?”

I hear ya’, Kenny. Recordings matter. Listen, listen & listen.

Speaking of whistle players, bigsciota, have you heard many recordings of Ellen O’Leary? I have only heard a bit of her playing & imagine there are more recordings than what I know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8bxKOrw1LQ


Also ~ Noreen O’Sullivan. This just found…
https://thesession.org/recordings/4198#comment649344

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

> how easily those whistles are heard in varying configurations,
> out of curiosity on my (whistleplaying) part.

Thread drift alert;

YouTube video is very much not a good judge of that. The phone or camera microphone, and also any compression/‘optimisation’ algorithms applied by YouTube during the video upload, may well over- or under-represent the frequencies the whistles work at, thereby distorting the perceived ‘loudness’ of the whistle compared to the other instruments; also whilst whistles aren’t as directional as some instruments*, the position of the microphone relevant to the whistle will also affect how high it appears in the sound ‘mix’.

Whistles cut through far more than you think; an observation, very much not a criticism.

*[Concertina is a bugger for that, in that the sound comes out of the ends so everyone else in the room gets to hear what I’m playing far better than I do (and yes I know and use the various strategies to alleviate that thanks). Bela Fleck also says in a recent podcast that he has the same self-hearing issue with banjo, which I’d not heard about that instrument before].

Apologies for that diversion, we now return you to the main discussion …

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

RTE Ceili House. Many of the players are not professionals, but still hold a high standard. Yes it is a performance, but so is most everything recorded-outside of session recordings.
https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/ceili-house/

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

“Full of rubbish”. This is unexpected slante, and I’m a bit put off by your comment. Yeah Youtube is full of rubbish. It’s also full of great shining moments. It’s populated by people who buy the instruments, the books, the recordings, take the lessons, and attend the concerts, sessions and festivals. It’s full of players who try, for hours a day and sometimes for years, and some who have “arrived” … really players not unlike you and me. It always helps me to remember that as high as we can rise in our endeavors is no higher than as low as we can go. Maybe the issue isn’t with the content on YouTube but the filters we use when we see it. To put something on YouTube is to expose yourself, warts and all, to the world and that alone deserves respect. No you don’t have to like it, or even watch it, just respect it.

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

I sort of take issue with the premise of the heading. Perhaps it could be expressed as ‘In addition to listening to albums … ’ since we are possibly the most fortunate generation(s) ever when it comes to the range
of opportunities for access to good music. I’ve learned a lot from my LPs and CDs (as well as from concerts, gigs, sessions, courses, written collections, evenings with pals … ) and continue to do so. I don’t see that anything is gained by putting them in order of relative value.

And I definitely take issue with slainte’s view that YouTube is ‘full of rubbish’. Certainly, like any public platform there’s plenty of stuff there to which I, for one, wouldn’t find interesting enough to revisit, but it doesn’t take a lot of searching to find material from top-flight contributors. Bit like a website forum, really.

Posted by .

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

@sfmans I’m well aware of the limitations, again it’s a sense of curiosity and not being able to go to 20 sessions in the course of half an hour like you can on a YouTube search. TBH the more important indicator rather than the sound is “what exactly are people playing?” which I’m always somewhat curious about. Despite the many, many whistle makers/brands available out there a select few tend to show up time and time again in the hands of very good players, which is one (yes, only one, and possibly also flawed) indicator.

@AB I’ve only heard what’s available online on YT and the like. Certainly quite interesting, although the tuning with the box never seems to be quite right, which can make for some difficult listening. Haven’t found her solo but would love to hear it.

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

I’ve enjoyed a lot of the music content on tg4.ie. I’m in America and don’t speak Irish so I just peruse https://www.tg4.ie/en/player/categories/irish-music-series/

Sé Mo Laoch, Hup!, Slí na mBeaglaoich, Flosc, Ceol ón Chlann, and many others have gems in them. You’ll have to turn on the captioning as a lot of it is in Irish, but it’s worth it.

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

Did anyone suggest taking lessons? You didn’t say why you were listening and looking at recordings, but if it’s to play along and learn, lessons are a good way not only to learn but to get more recordings to play along to.

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

A search on https://archive.org/ for Irish Music, limited to Movies, finds over 500 videos. A glance over them indicates that the performers in many of them are non-aristocratic entities.

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

Ferghal Scahill’s tune a day on YouTube is great, he’s done hundreds. They are often recorded in different places during his travels, with all sorts of players that he meets up with. They have that raw, unpolished, spontaneous feel to them, which is fine since he’s a great fiddle player

Re: Alternatives to listening to albums?

break out from the molloy-burke-cahill bermuda triangle and listen to more live recordings of more musicians. remember that many albums are heavily photoshopped and postprocessed, and sound very different from what you would hear if sitting next to the musicians in the same room while drinking Guinness. and not just the latest “glossy” albums. funny business has been going on since way back when, i.e. review the discussions of classic Molloy-Brady-Peoples album.