Low-profile gods

Low-profile gods

It’s just something that was hanging around my mind recently since I came back from the last festival (no more stories of cultural clashes nor references to 80’s TV series, I promise). Every now and then there is a "Name Yer God" discussion on the Session, and people come up with plenty of names from celebrity bands and of touring musicians.

Now during this passing year I was lucky enough to meet and play with some musicians whose skill and feel for the music changed my perception altogether. They were session musicians, never (as far as I know) recorded anything and were just doing it for pleasure, fun and good music. And some of them were better than whatever I’ve seen or heard from famous musicmakers. Or maybe it’s just their style that I liked more.

Therefore, even though I admire all the mighty heroes of guitar, with Donough Hennessy and John Doyle etc. etc., my god at the moment is a certain Parisian guitar player, whom I met in two festivals and both times his freestyle and effortless playing knocked me off my feet.

Also, my hero of the last festival is a certain middle-aged mandola player, who pushed Dervish into a distant second place.

Anyone else met a god in a humble, low-profile avatar?

Re: Low-profile gods

Oh, there are so many, Janek! And they would scoff at being on the list. So I won’t name them. Mostly though the gods and goddesses are those who have encouraged and challanged and pushed me. That along with wonderful musicianship, is what inspires me to keep on learning and trying to do my best.

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Re: Low-profile gods

Andee! Long time, etc. how are you? Hope you’re well.
But I agree with you, there are a lot of musicians like that. As good as or better than Pro touring musicians, the difference being that the unsung ones have day jobs, kids and so on. This brings me back to a thread I started recently, but didn’t get much joy out of:

https://thesession.org/discussions/8333

Re: Low-profile gods

Hi Danny! Doing pretty well, thanks! I checked out that thread—I think Helen has *2* cd’s if I’m not mistaken—nevertheless, we still want more from our local heroes, I agree.

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Re: Low-profile gods

hmmm. David Power and Tommy Martin are two lower-profile pipers who are just brilliant. Mikie Smyth, too. Martin Nolan, Pat Broderick, Leo Rickard, Mick Coyne, Mickey Dunn, Peter Laban…fine pipers all. Highly encourage anyone who has the chance to see them perform on stage or see them play in a session to go and do it.

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Oh and Benedict Koehler, too. Lovely piper.

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For low profile fiddlers, I nominate Kevin Crehan, Randal Bays and Willie Kelly.

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I am my own god, but I do admire some other musicians who nobody seems to know.

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My friend Steve Brown is truly low profile, but one of the finest fiddlers I’ve ever heard, recorded or otherwise. His only brief period of low profileness was filling in for Yvonne Casey with the Ceili bandits a ways back.

Another friend of mine, Sean Sutherland, is a fantastic DADGAD and Zouk player. He’s not recorded really, but he has played with Liz Carroll a few times when John D was unavailable. I think he’s better than most of the recorded ones. Becoming a great tenor banjo player as well.

Finally, another buddy of mine who probably will not be low-pro someday, oncve he gets out of college is Chris Stevens, box and concertina player extradordinare. Jackie Daly thinks he’s great…need I say more.

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On guitar, add Pat Egan to the list.

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Someone gave me a tiny ceramic gnome apparently playing a cello - actually, it looks more like a viola da gamba. I stuck the little fella well under a bush in the garden and sometimes late at night I might place an offering of meat scraps before him. The offering is invariably gone by morning - so who knows.

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At the summer workshop I went to there were a bunch of 17 to 23 year old kids who had more chops then the rest of the attendees combined. Granted, they played in a very modern style which some don’t care for, but they were great musicians and nice people to boot. I imagine this occurs often at similar events.

THey all played about four different instruments too.

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Someone mentioned Willie Kelly as a favorite low profile fiddler, he’s also a pretty good piper!

How low can you go?

like McGregor, i’m my own high energy, low-profile demigod when the moon’s in a certain phase

Re: Low-profile gods

Had a few tunes at Derrygonnelly with my hero Cathal McConnell and was delighted BUT he’s not the sort of person I’d want to be sessioning with all the time. It turned into a masterclass with him away off at tangents doing funny variants of tunes.

On the other hand, I find Seamus Tansey, a delight to play with. Mad as a hatter but happy to play along with anybody, anywhere, anytime.

The list of unsung heroes would be too long for this discussion but there are truly great musicians all over Ireland who have no need or desire to do anything other than play for fun and the enjoyment of others.