Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Reels seem to be most popular at sessions, followed by jigs. But how popular are polkas and/or mazurkas at your sessions? Do you ever hear them at your sessions? How often?

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Polkas more than Mazurkas (probably because there are more common polkas). Both get a regular and fair playing at sessions around here.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Polkas seem to still be very popular, but really need a longnote instrument to do them justice. Mazurkas are another kettle of fish altogether. Outside of half a dozen tunes they are scarce enough in Ireland. In the seventies around Fintown in Donegal was one of the few places where people still danced them, a couple dance, and there were a few old musicians who played them occasionly but they are long since departed. Here in France there is a thriving tradition of Mazurkas and Schottisches, but most of them don’t have the same kind of flavour.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

These tune types are very much part of the tradition and polkas will always get played at our sessions although maybe only once or twice during the night (reels and jigs are predominant in most sessions). Mazurkas make a nice change from the dance tunes and although there aren’t many of them, the ones in circulation (Vincent Campbell’s, Johnny Doherty’s, Sonny’s, etc) are very tuneful and are always very welcome.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

At my weekly session, polkas get played a good deal. Then again, the reason behind this is that my session is frequented by just-learning type people, and polkas are taught first, before anything else.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

It could simply be that the polkas are (mostly) too easy for advanced session players to bother with. But beginning sessioneers should definitely play them because they can be fun. And isn’t that what a beginner needs, some real fun?

WB

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Too easy? Can I have some of your confidence?

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

I don’t find polkas easy. Dots *look* easy but getting them to sound and feel like polkas …

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Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

I think polkas are the hardest, especially to back. I hate backing pokas.

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We play polkas to annoy the goatwhackers.

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heh, yeah. And just when they think they’ve got a handle on the rhythm, you blindside ‘em again with the Tolka polka :-D

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Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Polkas are found more in winter …. look around the fireplace.

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Red Hot around the court of Edward II……

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Killarney hold-em. Two down, five up shared and eights are wild. Winner takes all. Ante’s up 50p minimum first bet, call raise or fold your Uncle. Gentlemen, ladies… your cards.

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Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

No kidding. I’m an accompanist, and my best friend Geoff-who plays mandolin, fiddle, tenor banjo and bouzouki-loves polkas. It’s torture, I tell you, torture.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

There aren’t a lot of polkas at the session I’ve been attending, but if I suggest Denis Murphy’s, it’s warmly received and lively played (I’m one o’ those polka-playing beginners (mandolin, octave mandolin)). One night, after a round of Murphy’s, a banjo player started John Ryan’s Polka, a tune well-known, but never before played (in my experience) at this session. Everyone seemed to enjoy the change, and it probably got us the most applause from the bar patrons than for any other tune played that night.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

We get the odd polka now and then, but no mazurkas yet. Two of our regulars play a lot for folk dancers of all sorts, though, so it wouldn’t surprise me to have mazurkas eventually creep in. We’ve even been known to do a frailach or two during the breaks.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

We do about two polka sets a night in this neck of the woods. They really do get the energy up. They tend to be longer sets as well with about 5 tunes played 4 or 5 times (or more) each.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

I love polkas, but I don’t find them all that easy to play on guitar. The ones I play are harder than the hornpipes I play, probably because they don’t have a steady square rhythm. I don’t think I’ve ever played a polka on the fiddle.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Interesting rereading of English history from Ian Stevenson. But perhaps he’s onto something. Maybe what really happened in 1327 was the king was playing a polka badly and someone said stuff that up your a**e.? And somebody did (or perhaps it was a sackbut or crumhorn or something, because it’s not easy to anally insert an abstract concept such as a polka) and it turned out to be fatal. But when the news got out, someone misheard and thought it was a poker. Hmm…

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

A red-hot Crumhorn?
It’s said that his screams could be heard three miles away. Maybe it was the Crumhorn that could be heard. Maybe that’s where the tern ‘Sack-Butt’ came from?
There are worse ways to die than to be disembowelled with a red-hot Crumhorn. One is to be disembowelled with a red-hot Piano Accordion, so it’s probably a small mercy that they hadn’t been invented then.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

Of course, ‘Sack-Butt’ would actually be a ‘term’ - not a small seabird.

Re: Polkas/Mazurkas at Sessions?

We usually have a set or two of polkas in the course of an evening (and I am usually guilty of starting at least one of them). They are lots of fun. There are quite a few set dancers around, so polkas are in demand at the ceilidhe club. I like Mazurkas, but only know Sonny’s, John Doherty’s and Shoe the Donkey, but since those are the only ones others around here know, that seems to work. They come up once in a while at the session, and again, I am usually the one to start them. The only mazurka dance anyone ever does is Shoe the Donkey, although many of our more versatile dancers tend to look down their noses at it.