Coming out………

Coming out………

I may be paranoid but I must find out.

Since coming on to this site, only a couple of months ago, with an "in your face" "the bodhran is an instrument like any other and I’m good at it, so don’t give me any of that snooty ITM pure traditionalist nonsense of looking down your nose at me", stance, I have noticed something.

There are bodhran players appearing all over this site, bodhran threads about smell, spines, 123 and dubbin, and loads and loads of confident postings from bodhran players. The bodhran players are coming out of the closet.

Now after years spent trying to free the workers, empower women, gain acceptance for minorities, have I finally won a battle? Have I liberated the bodhran player, from years of downtrodden, abject misery, and being treated as a second class citizen?

Now Lincoln has a memorial, and O’Connell has a big statue in his own street, and they only had success in one country. Thanks to new technology, I may have liberated bodhran players worldwide.

Can I look forward to a large memorial sculpture, a massive bronze bodhran figure dominating a major city’s skyline, with the inscription:

For BODHRAN BLISS
The LIBERATOR

Is this really what the future holds for me?

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No.

*smirk* There’ve been many champeens of the humble bodhran player around here. They mainly pop up after Michael Gill’s been on a rant. hehehe

But if it makes you feel good, you can pretend it was all due to your efforts, i suppose. I’ll applaud as long as we can get back to tunes shortly after. ;)

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Michael’s been remarkably quiet the last couple of months, actually.

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Blip Blip Blip. Yeah, it all happened because of you. Without you, none of us would be here. We are all creations of your reality.

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Liberated for what? You still need the melody players and they still don’t need you.

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hey Bliss - I just read your profile.
You say Sully liked you.
Sully likes me too (mostly) I get to play a tune or two with him now and then.
But then he’s a great encourager.
I couldn’t work out from the words whether you’re in Norn Iron or Norn England now - whats the answer? Maybe we’ve met.

By the way - about being the great bodhran liberator - don’t kid yerself. I think the warm weather brings them out.

Dave

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As long as you only come out one at a time, can actually play the thing, it’s not a pizza box, has some tone, you don’t do rim shots, it’s quiet, you actually KNOW the tunes you are playing to, don’t bring out the bones, don’t have a djembe or similar north african drum, don’t use those barbecue stick thingies or any other device that makes you sound like a skiffle band, don’t go on about the three hundred tippers you have and the wonderfully different [NOT] sounds that you can create, can take the slagging from the musicians [note you are excluded from this definition] in a silent, respectful and graceful manner, know your place in the session hierarchy, dont ask for certain tunes thereby pretending that you know something about the music, go to the bar regularly to top up the musicians’ drinks, ensure order amongst the non combatants, ensure any unruly singers are gently escorted from the bar, anyone asking for the Lonesome Boatman is immediately and unceremoniously ejected into the street gutter, and play quietly and unobtrusively then I really don’t mind at all. 🙂

[I’m subbing for Michael today]

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Paul Draper: "You still need the melody players…."

Perhaps… We tunists don’t know what they get up to when we’re not there.

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I’ve experienced a bodhran orchestra at a session after they all descended there en masse from a workshop.
It wasn’t random playing and actually appeared to have been arranged but it still sounded terrible. 🙁

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But that’s not ITM , it’s a drumming circle!

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Let’s consider this. You have illusions of grandeur and feel there is a conspiracy of persecution. Your article seems to address your first sentence about paranoia. 😉

I play bodhran and do not feel like I have been in the closet or that I need liberation. I play several instruments, which allows me to experience both sides of this issue. I would recommend this for other players. I love to hear GOOD bodhran, such as John Joe Kelly with Flook, Johnny McDonagh and other skilled percussionists. However, nothing is more catastrophic for a session than a loud, beginning level bodhran player or two out of synch players.

To advance the cause of the bodhran and percussion in ITM, diplomacy is needed. Compatibility is a huge issue in sessions. Some sessions are open to percussion, others are not. I know that a few lively, fast songs with bodhran at the start of a session will draw larger crowds. However, a full, dynamic range of music helps a session, including pieces with no percussion or quiet percussion.

If you are an avid percussionist, you might want to see if there are sessions for Scottish Traditional Music (Capercaille - Old Blind Dog style) or even drum circles.

Good luck on your huge statue project. Hope the pigeons in your neighborhood are not the diarhea type. 😛 Best Wishes.

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BB, in your profile you say "….got a bodhran in mid seventies and never looked back….."

Do you mean the era of the mid-seventies, or do you mean you got a bodhran in your mid-seventies? I had to ask. 🙂

You seem to me to be an OK kinda person anyway.

Jim

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What I think is interesting, is the general public’s impression of the bodhran. In just about every ad about travel to Ireland — there’s a bodhran. In just about every photo about Irish music — there’s a bodhran. And on occasion, if only one instrument is shown — the instrument to represent Irish music will be a bodhran. (Remember, I’m talking general public and not ITM aficionados) More than a few times someone will come up and tell us at gigs about how we would sound more "Irish" with a bodhran. (The pronunciation of "bodhran" would often be unrecognizable though)

I usually bring a bodhran to the sessions I hosting at my local, and I’ll play it on the odd tune, but I’ll notice it will turn some heads when it starts up, and people will often come over and ask for "one with that drum playing again." Face it — the general public loves the bodhran.

I can already hear some of you surmising that they wanted me to play "one with that drum playing again." because of how much better it sounded when I wasn’t playing concertina or flute. And all I have to say about that is — well, maybe.

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No real guidance yet. I thought Paul Draper was right, then discovered he was with Albion Morris, Cotswold that is, and as a former North West Clog morris man, with the legendary Gorton Morris Men, I had to dismiss his post.

Next to Ceol Cairdeas who was helpful but two corrections. There is nothing illusional about my feelings of grandeur, and I am not having the statue in my area. I was sort of thinking if they knocked down the Sydney Opera House, or Arc de Triomphe or Statue of Liberty and replaced it with the bodhran edifice. I suppose to save money they could take the torch of the Statue of Liberty and replace it with a bodhran, and a new inscription.

As for Breandan, obviously you were not there when I was in Lewsley’s, or Clarkes, with Willie Brady, Seamus McKibbin and Tommy Polland. I was doing all of the things you suggested. Did a stage booking there afterwards, and I think the pub closed down a few days later. Purely coincidental, as I was playing mandolin most of that night.

And Jim Doran was right. I got the bodran in my mid-seventies, about thirty years ago.

Come to think of it, I may be immortal, thereby ruling out the need for the memorial statue.

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The other week, a lovely young lady from foreign parts(can’t remember where) came over to the session with her camera. However, it was a picture of the bodhran she wanted. So, you’re right, Jack.

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Just read Jack’s post. How could you Jack? After all that banter and ribbing about bodhrans you now tell me you play one.

Or is that just you coming out?

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I’ve never met a good bodhran player who didn’t play at least one other instrument.

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How I learned to play the bodhran: In the early days of my ITM obsession there were two activities that kept me from noodling on tunes I didn’t know; 1) rolling ciggies (I got very good at this since I knew so few tunes, I would even roll ciggies for musicians around the table that actually knew the tunes) and, 2) playing the bodhran (I got pretty good at this too for the same reason altough I think people might have preferred my ciggies)

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BB, I can’t use terms like "coming out" in the city I live in, but I have previously confessed to being a bodhranist on this board a few times now.

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Bodhran Bliss: Good to see you can take a ribbing and have a comeback. Too bad we can’t get together and have a percussion gross out. Bodhran, bones and spoons at ten paces. Got djembe?

Let’s see, the Statue of Liberty with a bodhran instead of a torch. The inscription could be "Give me your poor, your starving and your bodhran players." But then the Anti Bodhran Liberation front would have to climb up and spray paint "Bodhrans not allowed in the U.S."

Ever see the 35 foot bodhran at the 2000 Saint Patrick Day parade? There was a fella on top playing it. It would be difficult to bring to a session though. "The Arche de Bodhran Triomphe" does have a ring to it.

Best Wishes! 😉

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BB - Coming out…..and going up there…you’re welcome to put your stuff up on the Mighty Craic Online site if you wish - tune sets or solos, whatever you want. Just e-mail me.

Jim

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Oooo… you could be stirring it up a bit there ceol by drawing a parallel between US right-winger’s contradictions regarding what’s written on the Statue of Liberty and the anti-bodhranistas on this message board. Careful now. hahahaha ok… we better clear all the furniture out of the way now I suppose.

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testing

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Ignore above.

Still no sign of Michael Gill. Maybe he is like countless others who wanted to be a bodhran player because it looked easy, only to discover that looks can be deceiving. Ended up having to play a fiddle.

Come on out Michael, unburden your soul.

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Correction: the 35 foot diameter Bodhran was the New Year’s Day celebration in Dublin. Anyone know where it resides now? Maybe bodhran bliss is right and we need an enshrinement (support here bro).

Did I say something offensive in reference to the Statue of Liberty? At least I didn’t phrase it as an anti bodhranista rock climbing up through her cleavage with a pen knife to try to slice up the bodhran. Is that more politically correct Jack? 😉

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It’s not a matter of "political correctness." You wait till Michael gets here — you’ll see.

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"Maybe he is like countless others who wanted to be a bodhran player because it looked easy, only to discover that looks can be deceiving. Ended up having to play a fiddle."

Ain’t that the truth. I thought the bodhran would be easy and ended up wussing out and getting myself a set of uilleann pipes.

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Oooh this is a juicy one, where do I start …

I think that all I really need to point out is that thing about Joe Punter liking the Bodhran. Surely no body can deny that Joe Punter knows Jack sh*t.

Posted .

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I learnt the pipes yesterday, just in case.

As for Michael, I like a man who appreciates his audience.

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Oh my God, the gloves are off …………..I’m goin’ away for a while 🙂

John Joe Punter

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"Doesn’t know Jack sh*te"? If you are referring to a first and last name, it would be "Jack Sh*te." I read that capitalization discussion, and I am much smarter now. Amazing what you can learn at this website.

However, I believe you are referring to Jack Sch*tt. Try this website:
http://www.gareth.p.btinternet.co.uk/jokes/jack_schitt_joke.htm
Yes, I know him. I know his entire family.

I am happy to see that your blood pressure is down since my emoticon joke about a bodhran with a goatee smacking itself on the forehead with a tipper. Hey! We could take your inflatable bodhran idea and run with it. How about a huge, hot air ballon bodhran?

The rules to this game is don’t take me too seriously. I don’t. Best Wishes! 😉

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I saw the monster bodhrán at the Fleadh in Enniscorthy - just friggin blew my mind away.

But I am afraid that I have to repeat my Enniscorthy bodhrán anecdote.

We were playing away in Patrick Furlong’s pub in the middle of a glorious afternoon when the announcement came over the town tannoy system. ‘CALLING ALL MUSICIANS, CALLING ALL MUSICIANS, PLEASE GO TO THE TOWN SQUARE AND DRIVE THE DRIMMERS OUT!!!’ [Capitals to indicate the volume of the announcer] I nearly wet myself laughing.

[Mind you he was referring to a group of about 40 eejits with what appeared to be a full samba band outfit supplemented by hundreds of other eejits who had bought ‘bodhráns’ [more like cardboard boxes] so they could ‘join in’ the sessions.]

🙂

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Did I just say ‘drimmers’?? ummers

mmmmmmmmm

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And I thought only drummers couldn’t spell… hahaha

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No - futle plyares aslo cnat sepll 🙂

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Perhaps it should have been rimmers?

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You were sitting to close to the drimmers and the bad spelling must be contagious. Go back to my first post about diplomacy, as I think we agree on something here.

I was in a session when a group of people showed up with cheap, painted bodhrans, spoons, bones, and clicker clackers. I hid my bodhran and mandolin, closed my eyes and braced myself. It sounded like a herd of milk cows with bells with full udders stampeding for the barn to get milked. All that was missing was a loud "Moooooooo!" I finished the evening at the bar shamelessly taking advantage of the free (good) ale on tap. I remembered the old saying Tommy Hayes has used for such occasions about not playing so loud that the goats cry (because you are beating up the skin of a lost loved one-goat ancestor). 😉

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This is starting to get stupid, after me doing my best to post a serious thread for serious discussion.

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serves you right

Posted .

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Several of us have been trying to establish middle ground. I don’t agree that middle ground is stupid and I don’t agree with "serves you right." It sounds like we are ending up where we started. We are allowed only to be for or against the bodhran. Zina was right and we probably should have left this thread with her one post.

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They’re on a world tour right now — so look out. This could be the WMDs Bush was trying to find in Iraq.

I opened the entertainment section in our local paper and found an ad about an up-coming performance by an Irish dance company and a band from Ireland that features the bodhran and other drums up front with bagpipes and guitars riding in the back seat. Here’s the copy from the ad:

"With amazing footwork and full force energy,  Trinity Irish Dance Company and The Different Drums of Ireland unite to bring to the stage an explosion of power, grace, and innovation.  While the Trinity dancers exhilarate audiences with their vigorous Irish dance, The Different Drums of Ireland combine bagpipes and guitars with the bodhran and lambeg of the Irish headlands. "

Here’s the web site for The Different Drums of Ireland: http://www.differentdrums.info

The members appear to all be from Northern Ireland.

Roy Arbuckle (Derry/Londonderry) Vocals, Guitar, Bodhran, Lambeg

Stephen Matier (Belfast) Bodhran, Lambeg, Darbuka, Bones, Vocal, Percussion

Dolores O’Hare (Mayobridge Co Down) - Uilleann pipes, Whistles, Fife, Fiddle, Box, Accordion, bodhran, Long drum, voice

Paul Marshall (Bangor Co Down) - Djembe, Pipe and set snares, Drumset, NA Flute, Bronze Horn, Vocals, Percussion

Do you know any of these guys BB?

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Ah, no, bb was horsing around with his original post, was all, and Michael is (in)famous for his silly anti-bodhran rhetoric. (I do note that jfiddlerh has not deigned to grace the original post with a comment.) Don’t worry much about it, CC — both Michael and bb are largely incorrigible. Largely, they only do it to annoy, because they know it teases. If you ignore them most of the time and only pick the good bits out of their posts, your blood pressure will thank you. ;)

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Thank you Zina. I control my blood pressure by not taking myself too seriously, and I am seriously surprised when others take me too seriously. (How’s that for serious redundancy). I may be "Joe Punter" but at least I am incorrigible too.

Jack: What the heck is a Lambeg? Is it more irritating than a Bodhran? You might be giving away secrets here to the bodhranistas. 😉

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Lambeg is the big drum they use up the north!
Associated with marching bands, and fiffe whistles.
Jack

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Oh dear. Why will they not take me seriously. This world was never meant for one as beautiful as me.

Zina, I told you, JfiddlerH has been silenced, taken out as they say here.

Jack, Different Drums are well worth a listen to, and last time I saw them they were all playing Eamon Maguire made drums.

As for Ceol, "What is a lambeg drum".
Don’t ever visit Norn Ireland, or if you do, don’t talk to anyone. That one was a cracker.

On the subject of bodhrans I saw the programme with Seamus O’Kane last night. Beautiful the way he plays, although his style is nothing like mine. He is basically playing the bass guitar on a bass drum. You would hardly notice he was there, whereas I modelled myself on "Animal" from the muppets. I think I might avoid Belfast after all.

I was horrified to see summer schools with hundreds of people playing bodhrans without music, in short learning rhythms. That teaches you not to listen to the music, and is the road to disaster. How could you possibly adapt to changes in the tunes? Maybe I should have been a jazz bodhran player.

Last but not least, Michael Gill. I enjoyed the "serves you right bit" but just to prove Zina wrong I will be in Edinburgh next week with a hit squad looking for you.

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They’re not listening still….

Posted by .

(perhaps they never will?)

Posted by .

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You’ll have to wait M.Gill, I have to detour to Calgary.

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And then there’s Greg… ;)

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This Different Drummers thing could cause some problems. If someone shows up at the session with a lambeg… uh… could be trouble. Someone might get hurt.

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Glad to hear your concern for my well-being Zina. Having the advantage of knowing BB in a (anti)social setting i immediately determined that his post was designed to inflamme a mighty row and declined to lend it any credance. We affectionately call him the twisted pixie (go figure?). I do note however that he may be mellowing in his old age, he complimented another Bodhran player. this, I can assure you, has never happened before, he maintains the only reason he’s not in the Chieftans is because Kevin Conniff is a better singer!

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*smirk*

Well, at least I’m glad to hear the reports of your demise were a trifle hasty, jh!

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Gee whiz! I was holding my breath for that "Nornern" Ireland vacation. Such a disappointment after holding my breath so long to be freed from the closet by the King of Rhythm (the sound of that hits me rather Flatly). "As beautiful as me"? Refer back to Flatly remark. Good grief! Have we uncovered Chillin like a Villain?

Ooops! there you go again. We agree on something, Seamus O’Kane. Have you seen his single adjuster system bodhran yet? I think the bodhran player in Teada has a (beautiful) O’Kane drum and it works exceptionally well with ITM.

The "Animal" muppet? You mean the Cookie Monster? I may not know my lambeg from a hole in the ground, but I know my muppets. Nee Ner Nee Ner Nee Ner!

Aha!!!!! You had reservations about the bodhran workshops. There is hope for you yet. Maybe there is middle ground! Or maybe you are just starting to get in touch with your inner Michael Gill. Who knows what’s coming next?

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Ceol, far be it from to come to BBs aid but i would point out that your confidence in knowing the muppets far outstrips your knowledge of them, having been a child of the 80s i can confidently confirm that there was a charachter in the muppets who was a maniacal drummer called animal. The Cookie monster was from a differant show altogether, of which i was an avid fan….."Sesame Street".!!!

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The dichotomy of the beauty and subtlety of Irish diddley music existing alongside the crass simplicity and naivety (by that I meen lack of sophistication or worldliness, not cute minimalism) of that institution known as the bodrhan has confused me for some time now.

I used to think this dichotomy distilled itself into those souls who like the darn thing and the enlightened, who loath it. But life, I discover, is never that straight forward.

So let us stick to the undisputed facts:
Among none musicians, the thing is generally liked.
Among musicians, the thing is generally disliked

Why?

(And lets not have any whingeing on about being given a bad name by bad players)

Posted .

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But that’s exactly why, Michael, along with all those pesky bad fiddle players and bad flute players and…

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"Beware the Green eyed monster, he may cuckold you". I’ve lived with jealousy all my life, M.G.

Jack, if there is trouble, don’t damage any Maguire drums, or there will be trouble. Maguire fits your description, but is mean. You can tread on Superman’s cape, but don’t mess around with Maguire.

Ceol, I think I said it in the Seamus O’Kane thread, I don’t trust tunable drums, I imagine all that tuning is stretching, unstretching the skin and causing damage. It’s just me.

JfiddlerH by the way Zina does not exist, he is merely my alter-ego.

Oh and by the way, JfiddlerH, I was only being polite about Seamus. (Smiley)

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What?

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Actually, back in the early days, Will and I were both accused of being figments of Jeremy’s imagination…

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Come on guys, answer the question about the undisputed facts:
Among none musicians, the thing is generally liked.
Among musicians, the thing is generally disliked

Why?

Posted .

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I know lots of musicians who like the bodhran. I know plenty of knowledgeable non-musos who don’t like the bodhran. Just because *you* don’t dispute them doesn’t mean other people don’t. Pbbbttthhht.

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That will teach you, M.G

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Come off it Zina, I too know lots of musicians who like the bodhran, and I know plenty of knowledgeable non-musos who don’t like the bodhran. That’s why I said earlier about it not being that straight forward. But the fact remains that these people are in the minority. Why?

Posted .

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…Poor Jeremy! …..must have been a nightmare!


Only joking….

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Anyway, Michael, what facts have you got to prove your assertion? Why don’t you do a survey of the members here to see whether they like or dislike the dreaded bowrawn?

I’ll tell you my opinion right now - apart from whistle, flute and box, I play the bodhran, and I *think*, reasonably competently. Some sessioneers whom I know, and including ME, don’t like it being at certain sessions, but that’s discretion.

If you could think up a reasonable questionaire and post it as a discussion, we might be able to glean the truth.

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Unfortunatly, the members here don’t represent a reasonable cross section of diddley society, so any poll here would be squewed towards the computer geek.

Why don’t you like it in certain sessions?

Posted .

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Am I any nearer to my memorial sculptored bodhran, right at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

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I’m not sure that they are, in the minority, that is. I’ve never seen any numbers on it.

bb: the answer is still "no". *smirk*

Jimmy Troy: try and move and see where it gets you. ;)

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If I say I like the bodhrán, does it mean I’m not a musician? 😏

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Born bad — and then I studied. 😛

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Michael, you seem to be rather opinionated on this.

Where are you getting your facts? I love it, and all the musicians I play with like it, we have resident players in all our sessions, and every gig I play, I play with the same player.

The Bodhrán has been around longer then you have and therefore has as much reason being in the music as you have.
so there.

**********
On a ramble……

I hate why people have to fall into loops…
Seamus Ennis said…."Penknife" and Kevin Burke said "banjos suck…" so what?
I reckon a huge percentage of people think these things about bodhráns etc, because they think they should.

People in fact did give it a bad name.Heads strolling into a pub joining in a session, and playing along badly - thats it - no great mystery.

The bodhrán is easier to approach then any other instrument - its true. But its just as hard to perfect, and play tastefully….Isn’t that guy from Flook something great?

My mother said for years "I can play the spoons" to us as kids - but she couldn’t - she clapped them over her knuckles a few times when my grandad would play and accompanied out of time, even at an early age id think - "stop it ma"

But if the player is good, the bodhran has as much place in Irish music as any other instrument.

My 2 Cents.

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Why don’t you like it in certain sessions?

More like certain *people’s* sessions - or certain bodhránists. And I don’t like any more than 2 in a session of eg 10 players - so a 20% max.

Just my view.

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Bodhrán Bliss, glad to tell you the plans for a bodhrán monument in your honour are already in motion. All they need to do is find a goatskin big enough to cover one side of the London Eye.

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PS most musicians I know (and I know a few) like the bodhrán provided it’s played well. End of story. People who say they hate the bodhrán may well be speaking the truth, but they are just as likely being snobbish "I may be cack on the fiddle/flute/ocarina but at least I hate bodhráns". In-crowd bullshhhh

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I admit that I may be "cack" on the fiddle, mandolin etc too but, at least, I don’t insist on playing these instruments on every set when I don’t know the tune. Unfortunately, many bodhran players and, sadly, even melody players are inclined to do this. Now, I don’t want to start the "noodling" discussion/argument again and I’m certainly not as strict as Jack here. However, unless I feel that I can make a half decent attempt at a tune, I prefer to sit it out. I’ve also noticed some melody players who, if they haven’t learned a tune on their instrument, will revert to playing the bodhran or strumming a few chords just so that they can continue to play. I think this sort of thing is also unhelpful and unecessary. Why not just sit back and listen?

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I should also add that I like the bodhran too when it’s played well.

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I agree. In general bodhrán players shouldn’t play along with tunes they don’t know. That’s all part of playing a bodhrán well. You can have all the technique in the world and still be regarded as a duff player.

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Well Put JohnJ
I know people that do this alot.
To a certain extent I am one, and I can admit this which is good!- However I do sit tunes out -I love listening.

But otherwise I cant help it sometimes, as I just want to play, and sometimes Im the only one to accompany, and as Id love to sit through and just listen, I dont get no dough if i do this!

When accompaniying, I’m not a hardcore strummy strummy fella unless i know the tune and players well (or unless im scuttered) Otherwise its actually all very soft and subtle! (Id like to think this!).

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OK, so you play the bodhran well, you know the techniques, you’re not too loud, you are 20% in the minority. Most importantly, you know the tune, heck, you’re even a nice guy and you are mates with the musicians and you’ve been banging away with them you years.

What are you actually doing? Are you playing the tune but without the notes. Are you playing repetative drum paterns that fit the tune? Are you making the music more punter freindly?

I’m trying to be possitive here, but none of the above reasons are good enough for you not to learn an instrument and play the tunes. And if you do both, why? Why would you want to bang a drum when you can play the tune?

Now I’m fully aware that I have a downer on the thing, but this downer genuinly comes fron not understand why you would ever want to hit one. I just don’t get it

Posted .

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You do have a downer on it.

Your cynisism is preventing you from making any sense and you sound anal and narrowminded.

"but none of the above reasons are good enough for you not to learn an instrument and play the tunes. And if you do both, why? Why would you want to bang a drum when you can play the tune?"

This is your opinion and thats all it is.

I’m out of here, to talk about a proper biggot - Seamus Tansey.

PS im only jesting here MG, but I still believe what I wrote!

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Help me out then, explain why you do it

Posted .

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Did somebody say noodle!?!? 😀

Here I am! Actually, I didn’t read most of this conversation. I just took a random sampling of about 5 or 10 posts since I left off last time.

All I have to say is: if you’re going to play the bodhrán you should try not to have an expression of utter, morbid concentration, especially if all the other musicians are smiling and winking at one another.

I like bodhráns (I would, wouldn’t I). Any instrument on earth, played well, gives me some enjoyment. (Although I admit I struggle with the accordion). I even own one. I use it almost exclusively for gigs, because audiences are mad for it, especially as accompaniment for a ripping good song.

Besides which, a good friend of mine makes them, so expressing my love of the bodhrán is also a roundabout way of expressing my love for Dave. It’s the feel-good instrument of the year.

Of course I also know fiddle / mandolin and guitar makers, but they’re not HALF as nice as Dave. Much more anal retentive.

Remember: Drums don’t kill deedle, PEOPLE kill deedle.

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OK, there’s a reason, "my mate makes ‘em". Any more?

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MG.
Sorry about that, I read over it, and I came across the wrong way!
No offence intended! - ok?

OK back to the topic I don’t even play the bodhrán (well), but I feel you are not accepting the instrument for what it is.

It’s a drum thats how it is played. Would you ask John Bonham of Led Zepplin the same thing about his drums?

So what if you only whack it - that floats some peoples boat, while a Dulcimer would be for another person…

Yes its a primitive instrument, but its the backbone of rythm.

I think this is bizarre, you are asking percussionists why they like playing the drum rather then playing a tune on another instrument.

for me thats like asking the fiddler runner why doesn’t he just learn it on the accordian…..cause you can hit certain notes…

IIts what the drum is used for and thats how its played - now- SIN é

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Perhaps I could get M.Gill to officially open the memorial.

Asking why one plays a bodhran instead of a flute or whatever, is like asking Michael Jordan why he didn’t play soccer.

I play the bodhran because I took to it. Used to play tunes on a Hero harmonica, that’s a feat in itself, and slow airs on the mandolin. No point in learning fast tunes when you could play the drum so well, although I suppose there was a certain amount of laziness there. But remember how all this started. I was too busy trying to liberate the workers, women and the downtrodden.

Yes it can be an easy way into sessions, but if played well can enhance.

I am reluctant to ask this, but somebody must. Why would anyone want to play a viola, as distinct from a fiddle, at a session?

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Micheal, why did you skip over my other reason "the audience is mad for it at gigs". I think that’s a pretty damn good reason, for somebody who enjoys doing gigs.

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Sorry, I did "the audience is mad for it at gigs" in Joe Punter knows Jack sh*t. And anyweay, a session is not a gig.

The viola is for when there are plenty of other fiddles. It’s about space and harmony, not repetition.

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I’d argue that liking liking and respecting the audience that (occasionally) puts food on my plate is a perfectly valid reason for owning and wanting to beat on a bodhrán. That’s a direct answer to your question, Michael: "Why would you want to bang a drum when you can play a tune?"

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

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Impressive: real dialogue and (generally) middle ground being developed. Thank you.
I still disagree with Michael Gill, but respect his effort here to fully articulate his position. However, it still isn’t as simple as different tastes in ITM, and bodhran players bypassing an anti percussion session for a percussion accepting session down the street.
I suppose the element that I am still not comfortable with is different tastes in music get quickly put in the context that anti percussion people are the only "real" ITM musicians, and percussionists are not or that the bodhran isn’t even an ITM instrument.
My inspiration for the bodhran initially was Mary Bergin and Johnny McDonagh, the Chieftains and Kevin Conneff. Arcady, Dervish, Danu and Teada have been more recent ITM inspirations. Flook may not strictly fit ITM, but has been an inspiration. This is all excellent music that includes excellent bodhran.
If you disagree, just call it a disagreement. Everyone is welcome to have their own opinion or form their own compatible sessions.

Best Wishes!

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Well, you know, I’m perfectly happy to let the people who are intensely concerned about being "real ITM musicians" have that terminology all to themselves. Personally, I’m just a musician. I can play whatever I want, including bodhrans, didgeridoos, djembes and shakey eggs. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!

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If you outlaw bodhráns — only outlaws will have bodhráns.

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Kerri: play anything except lambegs. Conan: my only concern about getting a huge skin to fit over a bodhran shaped monument is that most people don’t know about bodhrans and it will look like a giant condom. 😉

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Could be worse things to look at.

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Michael Gill, a reason for playing the bodhran. I suppose if I was totally honest it’s because I’m f###c###g brilliant at it. Never heard of Jon Bonham or John Joe Kelly, but I imagine they are brilliant as well on drums. There are thousands of brilliant bodhran players, but not all of them can sing as well as Kevin Conniff.

I was only taking it easy on poor M.G because he seems to have riled a lot of people, serves you right.

The "London Eye" you say Conan. Now that would fit in with the Olympics in 2012 if London got them, seeing that the Olympic movement have five bodhrans as their symbol. I’m not sure why, something about Zeus thinking that a viola was a bit pretentious.

The viola sounds lovely, and does make a nice contrast. So M.G has a valid reason for playing one, which I accept and understand. So why is no-one allowed to play a bodhran?

I played in Manchester with a bloke who played the recorder, ITM. No-one asked him why, probably because he was s##t hot on it.

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Kerri is right ofcourse in that you can play anything you want. It’s not laws I’m looking to make here, I’m actually looking to make people think more clearly about what they do and why.

Some people are traditionalists and so justify the bodhran, some are traditionalists and use that to diss it. Kerri is right in that neither of these are good reasons.

But then Kerri falls into the trap of "liking and respecting the audience". This is a whole different argument about the difference between sessions and gigs. You see where I’m going, its the differene between liking the respect of the audience and playing for yourself. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not dissing gigging, I’m not dissing the craving of respect of audiences, I’m merely pointing out that this site is thesession.org. not thegig.org

And then we have poor bodhran bliss who obviously also craves the respect of the audience (remember I’m not dissing that) but seems so culturally inept , "Bonham who?" that she sadly misses how sad is the reason "I’m f###c###g brilliant at it" is. Come on Bliss, think it through: "I’m in the guiness book of records for sticking more peas up my nose that anyone else. Why? I’m fecking good at it".

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The old explanation for why a bodhran should play is that it "adds lift" to the music. If it does, that’s a perfectly valid reason for it’s being there, and also an incentive for someone to want to play it.

For this to work, it should be in a session that needs "lift added." Sometimes the job is done very well already by one or two musicians in the group, a particularly talented fiddler, for example, who has the "nyaah" in abundance. It would be a terrible pity if the bodhran player’s efforts were to derail that - and that’s something that happens, unfortunately.

But there are occasions when a session is in need of a "lift", and a tasteful player of the ilk of Ringo McDonagh or Kevin Coniff can provide just that. And they’re very welcome, in my book.

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"I’m in the guiness book of records for sticking more peas up my nose that anyone else. Why? I’m fecking good at it".

As an audience member I might be able to see myself respecting that. 🙂

I’ll say this though, I don’t see "liking and respecting the audience" at a gig as either a trap or a craving, any more than I see liking my dinner guests as a trap or a craving. I don’t "crave" their respect, I give them mine, as their host.

KFG

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But Grego, just imagine that instead of a talented bodran player coming in to "lift" the session, the talented fiddler with nyaah comes in instead. What would you prefer?

And KFG, remember I’m not dissing performance, I’m dissing the requirement of the respect of an audience as a reason to play.

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The dynamics of accompaniment instruments like guitars, bodhráns etc. is interesting. I was working out a tune arrangement with the guitar player I play with where we went from the Travelers reel into Stenson’s. The way it worked was that the guitar, playing in G, drops out for the last 2 bars of the Travelers and comes back in strong in the key of A for Stenson’s. We were trying to decide between two different ways for the fiddle and flute to come in, and we experimented with it both ways at gigs we were doing. Each time it received lots of whoops from the crowd, so we couldn’t use crowd reaction as a determining factor. But what we did realize is that the whoops were all about what the guitar did and had far less to do with what the fiddle and flute were doing. This also is true with the bodhrán. I’ve had it out at sessions and I would make a dramatic entrance into the music and the crowd would react with whoops and such.

Now if you don’t keep things in the proper perspective this evidence can lead to false conclusions and errant value judgments. It doesn’t take away from the value of the melody instruments just because the guitar and bodhrán get spectacular reactions like that. The truth is that if you remove the melody players the back-up instruments are ho-hum. But it’s easy for melody players to become jealous and resentful of the reaction that the back-up players get at moments like that.

And back-up players as well can acquire an enlarged head. I remember a bouzouki player we worked with who put a foot switch on his instrument (for when we played amplified) that would suddenly make his bouzouki as loud as a bazooka. The fiddler and I would be playing a tune like the Oak Tree and feeling good about the balance, and the when we switched to the Fox Hunter the bouzouki would drown us out all of a sudden — and we’d be pantomiming the rest of the set. We asked the bouzouki player what was up after the gig was over, and he said, "The crowd gets excited when I come in like that; that’s what they want to hear." I would agree that they like dynamic changes, but it had obviously gone to his head and distorted his better judgment and musical sensitivity.

So to conclude, I’d just like to say — keep it all in perspective whether you’re playing melody or back-up and it will all work out fine.

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You never get around to the audience, the audience gets around to you.

Audiences, like most things, cannot be generalised. If someone tells me that I am a great tin whistle player, I know that they are not conneisseurs, I only play one tune. If they tell me that I am F####ing brilliant on the bodhran, I simply say I know. They may still not be conneisseurs.

I know what I can do. I like audiences, but I am not unduly concerned with what they think about me.

But what would I know. I have been sneeringly dismissed for not having heard of Lead Zepplin. I am deflating like a lead balloon.

But methinks M.G doth protest too much. Perhaps he craves recognition from an audience? Perhaps he suffers from the old "why do people think Robbie Williams is great" and he can’t play anything, unlike me, syndrome.

I must go now and see if I have had a sex change that I did not know about, or is Jon Bonham female?

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Oh, as for sticking peas up your nose, does it give you a buzz?

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"just imagine that instead of a talented bodran player coming in to "lift" the session, the talented fiddler with nyaah comes in instead. What would you prefer?"

Why, the one whose company I enjoy the most, of course, both for a session and a gig.

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And Kevin, brilliant perspective on audience respect. I never really knew how to express the way I see the audience / performer relationship until you wrote that. I only know from experience that if you love the audience and have a bit of humility they can feel it and will have a great time no matter how much you suck.

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Michael, sure: I’d prefer listening to the "nyaah"-endowed fiddler than to the talented bodhran player. I’ll appreciate either if they show up. I’ll be even happier if a good uileann piper arrives.

They all potentially have their place. So, the bottom line, I don’t dislike good bodhran playing.

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Shame you don’t extend that humility to here, KB.

But never mind. I have the greatest of respect for any member of an audience who would have the patience to turn up and listen to me!

Yep , Grego, that’s also my bottom line - neither do I dislike good bodhránification..in fact I don’t even dislike reasonable bodhráning (if the player is my standard, above, or even a bit below, I’m happy….it’s donkeys who can’t keep the beat, who use it as a passport into a session that I don’t enjoy.

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I think my kind of humility is not the same monster as your kind of humility, Danny.

(Post scriptum: this is because my idea of humility applies only to me and your idea of humility applies to everybody *but* you).

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So, just too recap: reasons for playing/ liking the bodhran … (in no particular order)

The audience loves it, and I love the audience.

My mate makes ‘em / my mate plays it.

It can lift a crap session, but not as well as a good musician.

Because I have humility / respect.

I’m fecking brilliant at it and it gives "me" a buzz


Now correct me if I’m wrong (and I mean that, please do correct me) but every one of those reasons suck

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Michael, reasons for playing the drum and reasons for liking the drum don’t necesarily amount to the same thing. I like to hear the drum (well played) in a session. As a flute player I like playing with just a drummer (that fife and drum thing, I guess - it just sounds right). But, like you, I wonder why someone would ‘just’ be a drummer, when they could play tunes. But as I said above, most drummers I know play melody instruments as well. And I think that BB’s ‘I’m fecking brilliant at it and it gives "me" a buzz ’ reason is possibly one of the most valid and honest reasons for playing it. If you’re good at it and creative with it, you’ll be welcome at most sessions.
Most of the other reasons quoted (to which should probably be added ‘because I don’t know/can’t be arsed to learn any tunes, but still want to be part of the session), do indeed, ‘suck’…..

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Good man Ottery, but this is the thing that gets me:

If think you are "fecking brilliant at it and it gives "you" a buzz ", just imagine the buzz you’d get if you actually played the tunes instead. Please come in from the sidelines of this great tradition and enjoy the heart of it.
And I’m sorry, I really am, but if you think that banging the drum is enough for you, then your reason for playing it must be one of the other reasons mentioned above, including can’t be arsed.

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…or if he’d heard John Joe Kelly playing!

:~}

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There were two bodhran players at a session last night who hadn’t even mastered the art of being "harmless". They used exactly the same (very basic) rhythm for every tune even slow airs and waltzes. Amazingly, they kept on going even when the rest of us stopped!
Unfortunately, this is a very easy going session(too much so sometimes) so I (and others probably)had to grin and bear it otherwise I would have been the "bad one". 🙁

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John, I’ve seen that as well, when they keep going after everyone has stopped. Hilarious. Maybe they work themselves into some kind of shamanic trance, or something, and become oblivious to reality.

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that’s their way to get to play a solo …
their only way !
(recognise the situation, pauwke?)
mm

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Oooh…remember the drum solo in The Mule off Deep Purple’s Live in Japan album? That was amazing… once upon a time when I still listened to 70s rock.

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I didn’t say it gave me a buzz. I asked if sticking peas up your nose gave you a buzz, you know like sniffin’ stuff up your nose.

And all the reasons for playing a drum suck. Assuming someone is female because they claimed to have spent years trying to liberate women sucks as well, and is perhaps indicative of someone set in their ways. You know, bodhran = sucks,
feminist = woman, or was it the name "Bliss".

Anyway, I am genuinely sorry for the beating you have taken on this thread M.Gill, and to show you what a good guy I am, I have decided to abandon the memorial statue idea.

Instead henceforth around the world December 26th will be known as "Bodhran Bliss" Day, bodhran players will know the significance of the date. I know tomorrow is also named after me, Paddy’s Day, but what the hell.

Why would anyone want to play a violin instead of a flute, or pipes, or a harp, or a whistle? Does it all come down to laziness, as M.G. suggests, or is it a matter of preference?

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Incidently, playing well and adding to the "musicians" does give me a buzz.

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Funny, that list of reasons looks not unlike the list of reasons you might get if you asked someone why they play a melody instrument. Although I suppose you, Michael, might add, "because it’s not a bodhran" to his list… ;)

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OK broaden it out, any of those reasons on the list are not good enough to play any instrument.

And there is a kind of higherarchy in diddley instuments that people may find eletist for elitist sake. but there are good reasons for these ratings. And give or take the arguments for the odd instrument jumping from one group to another, I would be surprised if there is not general agreement in this:

top three (in no particular order):
pipes, fiddle and flute

second tier (in no particular order):
Tenor banjo, mandolin, button box (B/C), whistle, concertina.

next:
Piano accordian, harp, anything stummy, piano

next:
bodhran.


Infact, I’m gonna start a new thread with this

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I was writing to say that I actually agree with M.G about people ONLY playing because they crave attention from an audience, you know the type, want to learn a couple of songs to impress girls at parties. I know a flute player who wants to play the guitar for this reason, now he is the sort of guy who would really screw up your head, M.G.

Then I read your thread above. I’m sorry, but that’s sad. An instrument hierarchy? Catch yourself on.

I must also say that 124 posts about a memorial monster statue to myself has humbled me. Really.

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Why do I doubt that?! :-p

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Oh ye of little faith.

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You know what, Zina, i’m really happy I read your second last post. That was very insightful. I thought about responding to that list myself but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, simply because three of the five things on it (in a thread with over a hundred replies) came directly from me and I didn’t want to come over all defensive.

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Oh, I have immense amounts of faith, dahlink.

Kerr, why let that stop you? I never do. ;)

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It’s music, folks. There don’t have to be rational reasons for preferring a certain instrument over others.

It’s called "subjectivity."

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Dear Blissperson,

I play the bodhrán for the same reasons you explained before. Contibuting to the music.

But I had my first go on a bodhrán at a Gorton Morris Rushcart weekend!

\())

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I followed your websites and discovered Gorton Morris Men site, which I have never seen before. That’s me, in the middle of the front row, in the black coat because strangely enough I was the fool. I think 1986 was my last year, it must have been, I wouldn’t have invited any of those Cotswold groups.

I hope you didn’t learn the bodhran from Billy Wizz.