This isn’t FOLK!

This isn’t FOLK!

Our Thursday sessions have been very ‘eclectic’ to say the least.

I just felt that ‘gospel’, ‘skiffle, ‘country’, ‘Cat Stevens’ numbers and Steeleye Span revivalists didn’t fit the bill of traditional music, folk and certainly ITM.

In fairness, four of us did try ITM/ trad English but we were looked on with some pity I feel.

I know. I can hear you all say, GO SOMEWHERE else.

Sadly, there is no where else, and I don’t think that changing the other leopard’s spots is likely.

I’m just whinging really. Letting off frustrated steam.

So on a slightly different tack, listening to a young teenage lad who DID play ITM last night, but who played rather too fast, I wonder if anyone feels that there is a move to playing those heady fast ITM tunes more slowly?

Sue

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Last para- yes I agree-its nice to hear the tune and not to feel it rushing by in an instant. There’s so many lovely reels that sound much more expressive slowed own by varying degrees. Oh well. Pity you are so far down south we could start our own "sedate session".

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Susie - you wouldn’t be referring to the Eel’s Foot would you?

I’ve heard a couple of rumours that one of the (2) pubs in Westleton and also the Ship in Dunwich had sessions but that’s all they turned out to be - rumours. I’ve never managed to get to a proper session up there yet, except house sessions with people I know in Woodbridge. Is it anything to do with the fact that Suffolk is geographically the furthest county away in the UK from Ireland?

:~}

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I try to play not too fast. If I ever do become an ITM recording artist I have often thought of trying to slow things down to how they used to be played.

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A more accomplished player turned up to our session the other month, and, after hearing my SO lead off a tune on her flute, remarked " I see you like letting a tune breathe".
Yes, exactly.
Just because the Bothy Band/insert your favourites here rattle it off at 250bpm, doesn’t mean you have to.

Oh, Suzie-Lee, don’t despair, but do find somewhere else where you can just do your choice, and if a skiffler or whatever comes in to join, just say "Oh, you can play that stuff at The Crown", or wherever, or "Why don’t you learn some of this stuff , so you can join in ?"
Or try another night.

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Sad Susie sez: :…four of us did try ITM/ trad English but we were looked on with some pity I feel.

I know. I can hear you all say, GO SOMEWHERE else.

Sadly, there is no where else, and I don’t think that changing the other leopard’s spots is likely."

Let’s see… four people, only one pub… seven nights. The math looks favorable for another night, IF this is indeed the only place…

Or… someone’s home… a nice garden, porch, deck, terrace?
I do hope you can find somewhere else. that other stuff would drive me nuts.

Yes, playing more slowly than more fast is most satisfying. Especially Kerry polkas.

best,

stv

http://cdbaby.com/Culchies

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"phew", we sometimes say, "that was quite fast."
"Indeed", comes the reply. "but not too fast".

This is a common conversation in my neck of the woods. The important point being that the definition of "too fast" is "too fast for the company". You can’t measure it in bpm

Posted .

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If the tunes aren’t fast enough here, the step dancers get bored and hang out in the smoker’s lounge all night, and eventually stop coming.

I went to dance once where the band played so slow you could grab a smoke between the "do-si-do" and "swing your partner" and still come in ahead of the beat. I thought it was a tragic display.

(It is dance music, isn’t it?)

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Well, I feel cheered up having some ITM ‘compatriots’ to boost my flagging faith in some of our sessions up here.

To be fair, as I said most of our sessions are eclectic, but last Thurs really took the biscuit!

Pingu, to find sessions in Suffolk, go to the ‘Mardles’ web site. When I find it I’ll pst it in the links. We’ve turned up for sessions only to find they’ve moved or the new landlord has ‘evicted’ us!

And yes Kerri I agree it is dance music, and I have a very clear picture of how fast the dancers need the music to be.
Even so, when fingers trip and snare so the timing is all over the place, that is no good either. And we had a lot of that last Thursday, just to be ‘showy’.

I feel that as a session is a time where usually there are no dancers, we can slow down and just enjoy the ‘lost melodies’.

Sue

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Sue,

You really have our sympathy. We’ve been through this all over the place, including in festival sessions. Often there are some instrumentalists with a feel for traditional music and you can get some good playing (though possibly too fast - and I would define too fast as being faster than is comfortable to maintain the rhythm and feeling of control) but singing tradions seem now to be generally absent right across the country. A lot of the songs being sung are not just untraditional, they’re dismal tuneless rubbish.

The only solution we’ve found - and it’s very difficult to do - is to outplay them in their own territory and wangle in the traditional music. Every alternate tune needs to be something they might know - so you follow a good bouncy hornpipe with the Trumpet Hornpipe (Pugwash) and then another good hornpipe. You play a really good jig and the The Liberty Bell (Monty python) and then another jig.

Good luck!

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Oh - and you need some loud instruments so that they can’t speed you up - melodions are good.

As for the songs - you have to join lustily in the terrible choruses and then sing just what you like yourself, but you bridge the gap in the introduction. I was at a singing session in Scotland recently where someone stood up and said "As we’ve got into American songs, here’s a cotton picking song for you" and sang "Jock O’ Hazeldean. He didn’t care whether anyone felt sorry for him!

If you believe in your own music then you believe it can carry the day. It just has to win a lot of battles - and lose some - on the way.

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my grandma said that when she was young, her mother thought she was crazy because everyone played all the tunes so slow. and now everyone plays fast again. it mightl go slow eventually, it has before. and then people will get tired of that too.

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playing too fast is simply showing off - especially when it’s done insensitively. And what is this thing about twiddly endings; the ‘I-must-finish-last’ syndrome. I know it’s showing off too…..

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The usual speed for the music is dance speed. I’ve had a few run-ins with people from a local session because I call it a beginner’s session by which I mean they play slower than dance speed. I still go the that session once in a while because even as a professional I’ve learned if you can play the tune perfectly really slow then you have the rhythm well and you should be able to play it at any speed. I have to admit to the average Joe in the audience the faster you play the more they feel it is exciting and the tendency for the young kids to play fast is almost impossible to resist. It’s only with maturity that they realise the difference between a tune played well and a tune played fast.

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By the way, I perhaps should mention if you elect someone to assume the role of leader a lot of the problems could be resolved. There are basic session rules and a leader should address each problem. For instance I have been to a session where someone was told to play their tunes straight rather than add their own improvisation to it. It defeats the purpose of the session if others can’t join in. I suppose the speed issue would be the same. If you are used to playing let’s say a little slower than dance speed and everyone likes it at that speed then your leader should make it the standard. Anyone playing too fast or too slow should be taken aside and told to diplomatically to comply or they will not be welcome at the session.

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I get it,
Missfire an’ Dice (furry?)

Pocket rocket!