Unusual Instruments at sessions
I like opening cans of worms it seems, so here’s another! What do you lovely people think of unusual instruments at sessiúns? A good friend of mine once advised her clarinet playing friend to not even dare showing her clarinet at a Milltown Malbay sessiún, I thought that was a bit of a shame that she was this close-minded, but it was probably more her fear for what might happen her friend when the trad police caught her! There was a time when a bouzouki or mandolin would have been seen as a real oddity at a sessiún, but now they are commonplace, so what will be the next instruments to start breaking through?
I know it is common for English trad sessiúns to have everything from a Tuba to a kitchen sink (I don’t mean Irish sessiúns in England, I mean sessiúns of English trad music) but how do people who play ITM feel about unusual instruments in sessiúns? I’ve a few unusual instruments myself including a thing called a Turkish Banjo, which is generally a form of Banjo-Mandolin. My experience with it is that people tend to either not take it seriously or not like the sound, so I’ve kind of given up on using it and instead got a resonating mandolin, which is more mellow in tone but is more audible than a regular mandolin. I dare say it’s got quite a sweet sound and I have already had people remark that they were surprised by how nice it sounded, but I’m still a bit wary of bringing it to Milltown Malbay!
So what unusual instruments do any of you like playing and how do people tend to react to it? I’ve seen quite a few unusual instruments at sessions, everything from a Sax to an African Kora to a weird but insteresting Thai instrument a bit like a harmonica.
If you don’t play an unusual instrument but have strong opinions about them I want to hear these opinions be they positive or negative. However, I’m not really interested in your opinion if you are enlisted in the trad police who don’t like banjo’s, bodhráns, guitars, accordions, etc, so why would they like any other instrument?!