Eighty-seven comments

Crystal palace nearby session

weekly open session 6-10 pm

tunes with a bit of song, everyone welcome, great acoustics at frank (and teds) re-vamp of this fine pub

on the hill of the ancient Great North Wood, now musicians come forth out of the woodwork

beside gypsy hill station (national rail / south central)

How "open" is "open"? I ask because I once ventrued to wangle an invitation to anoyther South London session and I’m afroaid I ended up receiving some thinly-veiled abuse. I am a guitar player and, although I dont know a grate deal about Irish music, I know the main chords used (G, C and D - D, G and A, voila as my old French teacher - oo la la! - used to say) and would like to contribute on my old guit-box. WOud you guise have any objection?

Anyone from adam …

… is the ‘open’ answer and is really meant _ bring your guitar down and don’t be worrying

hosted by sean mc’donagh (box), the mullens family (banjo, box, whistle) and john gaughan (guitar) we had 18 players down for a lovely start (including piano box, fiddle, mandolin and bodhran)

this sunday 16th november we welcome an inspiring ‘london sligo fiddler’ down from luton, Aidan Burke (Comas) who will join in with us

”we’re so lucky to be here right now”

south london session with Aidan Burke (Comas)

this sunday gypsey hill tavern se19 near crystal palace

come down you skinheads …

2nd week

nice and relaxed series of tunes and a song from maggie, jo and john

with 5 fiddles, whistle, mandolin, 2 guitars and 2 bodhrons _ we’re a friendly bunch that warms to beginners and this sunday welcomes back the mullens family (banjo, box, fiddle, whistle) and sean mc’donagh (box)

To Beardyman

The person that wasn’t very nice (an understatement) is nasty to everyone, and is widely disliked, so don’t take it personally. He has actually been banned from posting on here for a few weeks due to his abuse of other session members.

I went along to the first week’s session and it was great! I didn’t go last week due to not having a babysitter, but I can highly recommend it!

My spies have been out and last week it was dire apparently - me widely disliked? speaking personally are you? don’t come to the blythe again then. ever.

3rd week

fair play to frank for giving this one a go as yet low on the punter front but it will grow … rainy old night too

but an impressive throughput of friendly players (16) with combinations of 5 fiddles, 3 boxes, whistle, 3 banjos, 5-string banjo, mandolin, guitar, bodhron and wooden spoons with jo, john and brian giving a few songs

next sunday the mullins family are back (fiddle, whistle, box, banjo, mandolin)

with aidan burke (fiddle with Comas) the following one december 7th

Hungry, I hope it does grow and become a regular quality session. Just that its a shame your spot on this site has been used to attack me; not that I care about such attacks, but this thread for your session shouldn’t be used for that. And it IS me they’re having a go at. Good luck for the future and hoping you attract a regular core of competent players and good respectful people.

your grand Maniac _ life is too short for mucking around with this kind of * * * *

And the 4th week …

best ”buzz” so far according to some of the regulars in the pub and i thought so too

with 20 players through the evening, the combinations varied between 7 fiddles, 3 boxes, whistle, 2 tenor banjos, 5-string banjo, 2 mandolins, 3 guitars, 3 bodhrons and wooden spoons _ what a pick ‘n’ mix

but the growing numbers exceed comfort capacity on the raised ‘wooden floor’ area in the big corner windows so we’re switching down to the ‘stone tiled’ floor next week _ either way this house was made for acoustics (it’s a naturally loud house)

so Frank Hennelly’s open ‘oak fire’, aidan and i again welcome everyone to :

‘The Gypsy Hill Tavern’
79 Gypsy Hill
Upper Norwood
London SE19 1QH
t : 020 8761 6533
e : hungrygrass @ yahoo.co.uk
w : www.myspace.com / hungrygrass

next to Gypsy Hill Station (National Rail / South Central)

every Sunday night 6-10pm or so and so be it


bit of a cold night milder by midnight but

11 heads came out to play with 4 fiddles, 5-string banjo, tenor banjo, mandolin, baritone ukulele, 2 guitars, bodhron and wooden spoons

and fair play to Roger who sang a couple of songs

a gentleman at the bar is to bring his box down next week when we have the Mullens family back (on 2 boxes, 2 banjos, fiddle, whistle and mandolin)


sorry this is getting a bit boring but for the record …

12 players on 3 fiddles, 3 boxes, 3 banjos, whistle, guitar, bodhron and wooden / metal spoons with jo doing a couple of songs

the gentleman at the bar didn’t make it ( _ useless information) and we have a NEW START TIME 3-7 PM NEXT WEEK _ so beware

with Sean McDonagh (legendary box player from connemara) and the Mullens family (serious youngsters with a trad mission in life) _ easily the finest music this side of the thames and if you don’t believe me …

From Sunday 21st December new time 3-7 pm

you’ve been warned

and i love the whole lot of ye

From Sunday 28th december 5-9 pm

last week the mullens family and sean mc’donagh were joined by clare egan (fiddle) and mark conyard (guitar)

please note NEW START TIME 5 PM and bare with us if you will _ franks giving this a go and fair play to him …

Being late and hot chocolate…

Re: Sunday 21 Dec 08
I was there…
But too late.
Forgot the early start.
Caught thirty seconds of the Mullenseses’ last tune!
But had nice chat to groovy lady with fiddle (Sorry! I’ve forgotten your name) who also turned up too late.
I had a pint or two and the lady with a fiddle had a hot chocolate.

Krick sorry about that but i’m pleased to know that one of the fiddle players is exceptional as i already know they all are

last week we had 10 players down with 5 boxes, 2 banjos, 2 fiddles, whistle and guitar and Harry (the mystery box man at the bar) gave a song this time

9th week

the quitest yet and a cold old night with music 5.30-11.30pm

yet another healthy throughput of a girl vocalist and 20 players variously on 3 boxes, 2 piano boxes, 4 banjos, 4 fiddles, whistle, baritone ukulele / spoons, mouthorgan, 3 guitars, bodhron and wooden spoons

6 of us gave a song or two and next week sees the return of Sean McDonagh on the box _ START TIME NOW 5.00 PM

10 and out for a birdie

ta for those updates lisaniska but i’ll do the last one as i started it

as yet another quitish night finally nailed it …

but 11 came out to play on 3 boxes, 4 fiddles, whistle, 2 banjos, ukulele banjo, 2 guitars and 2 bodhrons with jo, kate and john giving a couple of songs

thanks to Frank for trying it out and a big THANKS to all the 35-odd musicians that came down not forgetting the few that came but didn’t play _ i’ll post up again the next adventure in this neck of the woods …

‘Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.’

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) English theologian & writer

Switched now to every MONDAY 9.00PM

the answer to Cosmic Ray this morning was YES, but this evening it’s NO as it appears to of switched to a Monday night now with an uillean piper, fiddle and guitarist down last night

watch this space …

Monday night session

Been going several weeks now - fiddles, whistle, bodhran and an uillean piper - more welcome! Check out the new Session submitted for Monday

Monday Night Session

Some of us who used to go on Sunday have been joined by a piper and a fiddler. Usually start at 9:30 pm and play late. The punters seem to like it (and so does Frank!) More musicians would be most welcome. Come and share your tunes.

Gypsy Hill Tavern, London - Mondays

This session has been going every Monday since early February.
Last night - five fiddles, one mandolin and two bodhrans.
It’s on again next Monday. Other instruments/musicians are most welcome.

Monday 16th March

Seven of us down tonight - fiddles, whistle, mandolin, guitar and bodhran. Played 10 til midnight.
We were joined by a visitor from Armagh who gave us a couple of Christy Moore songs - Thank you, whoever you were.
Thanks also to the appreciative punter who recorded us on his camera/phone and insisted on immediately playing it back to us, whilst raving about one player’s virtuoso bowing. LOL

Monday 30th March

erm…….bit quiet tonight. Just two fiddles. Should be back to normal next week.

Not tonight

Bank Holiday here so will resume next Monday 20th April when the piper may be back

Last week saw 5 fiddles, 2 guitars and a bodhron / mandolin, and local singer songwriter Sashia gave a couple of songs

20th April

Good session tonight. Got through loads of good tunes. There were five of us on fiddles, mandolin, whistle and bodhran. Played from 9:30 to midnight. Just to remind everyone in south east London, we do this every Monday and you are very welcome to come and join us.

We have been reliably informed that The Piper will return next week. (This is starting to sound like "Waiting for Godot")

Ah, just an Order of Magnitude out sashiko _ the ‘drone’ sound of the uilleanne pipes is infinitely the best man-made sound on earth

27th April

and last night the pub was filled again with the wonderful sound of the pipes and fiddles

May 4th

May Bank Holiday here so some people away. At last minute decided to have the session anyway. Glad we did. Pub was lively and appreciative.

May 11th

Nine of us tonight - fiddles, whistles, flute, mandolin and bodhran. Up on the punter front too. Was it us or was there an important football match on? Great night anyway and the landlord bought us a final round.

i’m really pleased to hear that …

Pleased your pleased lisaniska….and I’ll be even more pleased when you and your lovely guitar show up and play!

Likewise all you Blythers and Old Dispensary Tappers. You know who you are. You’ll be very welcome.

May 18th

I meant to say "Pleased you’re pleased, lisaniska".

Last night was great. Ten of us in all on pipes, fiddles (6), whistles, flutes, mandolin and bodhrans. We were making so much noise that we did bring in a passerby who thought it was a recording. Hopefully he’ll be back to listen next week.

May 25th

Yet another Bank Holiday Session. Fiddles, pipes, whistles, flute, bodhran and, for the first time, a banjo.

Andy Murray Night

Turned up for our regular session to find Murray’s vital match in the final set. Didn’t get playing till 11 pm. Pipes, whistles, bodhran, fiddle and great backing from John on guitar….. and some songs too from George and John.

July and August

Monday 17th August.

Pipes, fiddles, whistle, bodhran and guitar.

Great tunes complemented by a workman well-lubricated with Guinness. He insisted on dancing a jig to most tunes we started. His very enthusiastic stamping had us in serious fear for the Georgian tiled floor.

nice little session last night with a visiting whistler from lincolnshire (some interesting tunes plus a great one his mate wrote), a local first-timer on banjo, plus a guitar and four fiddlers

sorry sashiko … and you were right beside me

Monday 12th October

Six of us to start the evening on pipes, fiddles, whistles, bodhran, mandola, mandolin. John joined us with his guitar at just gone midnight. We shiifted up a gear and played for another hour and a half. That put paid to Frank’s early night.

hit post and realised I’d forgotten to mention the banjo. Sorry Billy.

Monday 19th October

Pipes, whistle, fiddles, bodhran, mandola and guitar. We were joined by a local passerby, Mike, who went off to fetch his bodhran and played with us for the rest of the evening. For anyone else who fancies participating…. next week we will be attempting to start at 9:00 pm.

3 fiddles with the uilleann pipes, banjo and guitar with some whistle, mandola and bodhron, plus a few songs to close a grand little session we’re lucky enough to have in this neck of the woods

usual suspects there last week plus a couple of visitors on fiddle and flute, one of them up from West Sussex

unfortunately it’s NOT ON TONIGHT as we have North of Ireland rock band ‘Ash’ appearing plus support, sold out in 20 mins when tickets went on line (through The Croydon Advertiser) weeks ago

in the mid-90’s, Ash charted for 34 weeks with nine hits, three of which were top 10’s with Goldfinger reaching no. 5 _ now that’s quite an achievement and i thought i’d flag all this up as i’ve heard that the lads have great time for Trad too

i’m in love

Posted by .

i know the feeling billy and sashiko calico reported 11 players last week so this one is on the map and growing, can’t make tonight but can’t wait ‘til next week … i’ve had a long ‘love’ relationship with the pipes and can’t help it _ this is a lovely open session and we’re proud to be part of it

Gipsy Hill Tavern

Last week was indeed special - pipes, whistles, flutes, mandolin, banjo, mandola, guitar, bodhran. (hope I haven’t forgotten anyone) Plenty of fresh tunes and some great sets, I even managed to record some of them. And yes billy I think I know what you mean.

the way the music was played last week made me realise why i fell in love with itm in the first place.unfortunately i have no car or banjo ,so i am going to turn up with a conways lorry and play the jackhammer tonight.see you about 9.30.

Posted by .


Must get over to you and do a bit of trouser changing. It’s been too long…

Another great night on Monday. Eleven musicians over the course of the evening - pipes, fiddles, banjo, mandolin, mandola, whistle, bodhran, box, harmonica. Thank you to our visitors.

Shame you couldn’t make it Billy, would’ve been good to hear your jigs on the jackhammer.

The competition!!

go on then,tell us who turned up on the banjwagon?

Posted by .

Not a competition 🙂

It was Aidan, Billy

No competition !

you’re right there’s no competition,aidan’s way better !!!

Posted by .

That was a great competition …

nice complement of players down last night on bodhron, banjo (billy), whistles, fiddles, pipes, mandola, ukalele, guitar and someone touched the piano

and a lone punter enquired about bookig us for his weddind in 2011

Using your Oyster on trains (not tubes) in South London…

I had a great time going off and changing my trousers with the Gypsy Hillbillies.
Lots a great playing and even plenty of time to discuss in depth their hot water bottle collection and
frank exchanges regarding the appropriate wig glue for a chilly, blustery December evening in London.
I did tickle the ivories but the special modal tuning of the pianoforte there rendered the simplest diads
in D mixolydian into a rhapsody of Thelonius Monk flavoured harmonic complexity and free dissonance. Also
some of the black notes are not actually glued down!
I’d like to thank John who thought he recognised me when he arrived but then decided it wasn’t me and then did!
I knew it was him all the time.

Everyone’s a winner and all must have prizes

Have you got a code John?

Yes, great night was had by all and thanks to yhaalhouse for unveiling the mysteries of advanced trouser changing within a session context. The GHT will never be the same (and the piano is having counselling.)

Oh dear…

Having recently arrived in South London, I decided to give the tunes a listen at this pub. Some great playing, in particular from the piper, the fiddler, the guitarist and a banjo player I recognised from the Old Dispensary session in nearby Camberwell. But ruined for me by someone playing an unnecessary, untraditional instrument like a wee guitar. (A very knowledgeable lady at the bar told me it was a bass ukelele and that it’s a very popular instrument in the North of England, made famous by a singer/comedian called George Foreman. Not the boxer, who makes indoor barbecues.) I would like to join in this session, but I think the "yook" (as players of this instrument call them) might put me off. It’s just simply not the sort of sound that I expect to hear in a session. But then, maybe I’m a bit too much of a purist, having rgown up all my life with the good stuff all around me.

Oh dearie me …..

Aw … galteemountainboy….. don’t be mean to our first time visitor 🙂

We’ve had a lot of visiting musicians the last few weeks, which has been fantastic and has brought a different "flavour" to every week. Bring your instrument next time and join us.

Oh dearie dearie me

Well galteemountainboy you’ll certainly be popular at plenty of sessions if you visit them once and then go on an internet forum like this and make negative comments about players/instruments which dont fit perfectly with your tastes. I think the sort of session that would suit you is where you make mad passionate love to your right hand.

not to worry, i was at both sessions,
i’m pretty sure who this is.
i’ll have a word with some of the walworth boys 😉

Galtee is correct. The eegit on the ukelele has no idea about Irish music, and to be honest gets away with murdering every session he goes to. I’ve seen him around at other sessions and he is put up with, because Irish people and their English families are generally kind and welcoming. And also many musicians are a bit shy. But that fella is an absolute boll ox. Just as well he stays in tame South London because he wouldn’t last a minute north of the Thames in Kilburn, Maybe he knows that and never strays out of his little patch.

Posted by .

Plunka, plunka, plunka…

Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!


I was just about to write a note here to say that I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s session in this pub and to thank the boys and girls for their tunes. But on seeing some of the things written above. In particular the one by "ncy". You wouldn’t need to be a genius (and I’m not one) to work out who wrote that. And when I next bump into him, I’ll be having words. To think that I bought him a pint in The Golden Lion a few months back … last pint the big Northern backstabber ever gets from me.

And one more thing… it was thanks to the person who I thought was "ncy" that I was directed to this session, one in Camberwell (closest where I’m now holed up) and to one in Catford, which I have yet to get across to. When I mentioned to him at a session after a Return to Camden Town gig that I was moving south of the river, he seemed very very welcoming and interested to see me get myself established in a few sessions. I can’t understand the change of attitude, particularly since he said he doesn’t use this website anyomre because he doesnt have internet access after moving house. So now I’m not actually so sure any more that it is the person I thought it was. Maybe somebody’s got a grudge against him?

Just got this text from the person who I thought was "ncy". Glad t hear that not the person I thought it was, but now some myestery. "Seamie. Not got internet access. No BT line. So cant look up the link to the session. Don’t really spend much time in SE London these days. More likely to bump into you in Camden again. Best."

Thanks, Sashiko

Many thanks for the email erlier today. Meant everything about the fineness of the session generally and relise I was a bit outspoken, perhaps, about the non-trad instrument. Hell if you people like it, then none of my business. Doubt if I’ll be able to make any more sessions for a while. Back in Tipp for a while and having serious thoughts about moving back. Retired last year and never thought in my 30s, 40s or 50s that I’d have any notion to move back to Ireland, but now I’m in my mid-60s I have a hankering to go home (and hopefully get some fresh air to take the edge of my late-onset asthma). so it’s make or break time, I think. Good luck to yiz all, whether or not I get to hear any of your tunes or not any more. God bless and keep the jigs and reels coming.

Monday 28th December

No session tonight but back to normal next Monday. See you all there.

Where were you ruth and george?

one of the best nights yet.3 banjos,me seamie and can’t remember your name but your’e very good,,matt on the pipes,4 fiddles,one of which was played by another ruth,a whistle,concertina flute and guitar.if i wasn’t up early it would have been a sleepover.we all left before we turned to pumpkins otherwise it would have been difficult to get out .great night.

Posted by .

I am in Chamonix, France on holiday with the husband and kids. Great to hear it’s going well.

Determined to survive

glad to here that billy, i had a gig in harrow that night, but went down the previous week (feb 8th) knowing ruth and george couldn’t make that one but in case anyone else showed, which they didn’t … bar a punter who came in for the music who i chatted to all evening

i’d like to see this sesh survive here as so many have folded so easily over the years and this is a big old rambling pub with good acoustics run by sympathetic governor Frank, who has supported live music for decades now in london and a list of named artists and bands respect him for that to this day

That’s a real shame. I know my coments were a bit misunderstood at first. But I felt that this was a great session and sad to hear that people not turning out. I have some mates who live nearby (box, banjo, flute/whistle, fiddle), and I’ll get in touch with them to see if they can make it along in the next few weeks to show their support. Too right that this session can, and must, survive. Precious little music in this corner of London and need to do all we can to help it along. Good luck and God bless.

is this session still going????

Sadly, this sesh is no more (for now)

hey, so no-one replied to me in time, so i spent an hour on the train down to gypsy hill, only to find an empty bar, thought i’d give it a while as i got there at 9 and the window said session from 10. but no. i sat there till half 10, no session. so… i went to brixton…. no music, then a £55 cab ride later, i found a session in slough. thanks for the info guys!

£55 cab ride? Just to get to a session? More money than sense.

Posted by .

also, could n’t u have phioned the pub first to check if it was on?

Posted by .

Ignore the map, but a sneaky one . .

tonight from 8.30pm …

The sneaky one…

I quite like the map that implies Gypsy Hill is somewhere near the Severn Bridge…
Might show up myself!

Crab and squid curry, two veechu roti and a bottle of Necto…

Well, myself and my son Outsidevenus (22 and a half) went to the Kilkenny had a pint, got the tube to Balham and the train to Gypsy Hill (Hooray for Oyster card!). The Gypsy Hill Tav is next to the station.
We arrived and there were three blokes, whose names I can’t recall, playing flute, fiddle and pipes. Two of them (the fiddler and flautist) had come down from Cambridge. I introduced myself and joined in. The friendly piper chatted and bought me a pint. Presently the familiar faces of Billy the Banjo and Mr McKay with his flute and box turned up. The Cambridge two chaps knew an awful lot of clever tunes us South Londoners didn’t know! But when Billy started a set off we were back in good old habitual South London repertoire territory!
I had a lot of tuning problems and frankly played like a charlie.
We left early to facilitate the journey back to civilization.
And I was also expecting to see Lisaniska but didn’t!

It was a pleasant enough evening though Yhaal. Many clever and obscure (to me, anyway, boring old phart traddie that I am) tunes were indeed played. I did start up a couple of sets - and completed one almost solo - that which I was heartened to see was being recorded - meaning the young wizz-kid whippersnappers at least didn’t know ALL the tunes on the planet. Joking, lads, if you read this. Enjoyed playing with you guys and would be happy to pick up more of your repertoire. And this ould fella might have a few you don’t know.

still up?

I’ll be around on Sunday and a few days next week, I was wondering if this still goes on 🙂

I think it finished a few years ago, but not my session, so best to phone the pub first. The Ivy House is on tonight though.

No. Kaput.
On a Sunday ina South London go to either the Hop Pole, Putney Bridge Rd, Wandsworth or the Ramble, Amen Corner, Tooting.

Thank you for the great info!!