The session at O’Reilly’s has been, in one form or another, going on for some years now and has quite a few seasoned players with the odd beginner thrown in for good measure. The pace can get a little fast, especially for the novice, but most of the players are quite patient with people just starting out and the session leaders are very supportive of new players. Things don’t usually get under way until about 7:45pm and continue until the band starts at 11:00pm.
This is a note I first posted to a Session discussion thread about my first session (ever) at O’Reilly’s. Someone suggested that it be reposted here. So for Ceolachan, the kind celtic heart, and for those that think they "cannot" here’s my experience. Thanks to all the session musicians there that night!
Well it happened. I did it and I’m still grinning about it this morning. Wow! What a time! We arrived a little early and got invited to sit in very quickly by a very nice bodhran player so my first worry was over (no need to call in the Irish bandana-ed posse- thanks guys!). By the time things started, there was quite a collection of musicians and instruments including uilleann pipes, small pipes and whistle, flute, accordion, concertina, a couple of bodhrans, 4 fiddles, a harmonica player and four guitars (really 3 and a fraction if you include me 🙂. Wow, wow, wow!
I did a lot of listening and watching, took a few notes, and I asked a few questions about tune names. And then I did what I didn’t think I would do, or could do- I JOINED IN! I did what I could and played what I thought was right and finally understood why there is no sheet music or tab available, its really about what you hear and what you feel (there are many right notes and you immediately recognize those that are wrong). I even felt pretty good about a couple of tunes. Through all my worry going into the session, the irony was my guitar was quite inaudible, almost even to me (no worries about this one playing too loudly in sessions- somehow I have a silent guitar!). A blessing in disguise as I get accustomed to playing in this forum. Will worry more about recognizing keys and tempo before I worry too much about volume. If anyone even noticed that I was slow on the changes or played the wrong chord, they were very, very kind and didn’t say a word. We were in fairly tight quarters, some in danger of being skewered in the eye by their neighbours’ bow, but when I offered to give up my seat for one of the pipe players who sat on some stairs, he told me to stay and that it was the best seat he had had in a while. So that is, no one asked me to leave, even when I gave them the chance, no dirty looks or comments on lack of skill or experience. There wasn’t even the notice of the many eyes from the crowd of pub patrons- there was only a wonderful, amazing opus of sound and a lot of very happy faces.
I did it, had a wonderful time and will hopefully get to do it again. And so very glad I didn’t stay home to watch the hockey game 🙂
This session is discontinued
The session at O’Reilly’s on George Street, St. John’s , 709 722 3735 which was dormant for a while has been going strong again since last July(2012)
Please note the change in day of the week and times.
Every Sunday 3 - 6pm
A session of traditional Newfoundland and Irish music led by Fergus Brown-O’Byrne and Danny Mills, two fine young traditional players. All are welcome to bring instruments, join in, or sit by and listen.Where it’s a restaurant/pub all ages are welcome.
This activity is wheelchair accessible.
Just an update on the O"Reilly’s Sunday session. It’s now being hosted by Fergus Brown-O’Byrne (concertina, accordion & Fiddle) and Tony O’Brien (fiddle). It runs from 1:30 to 4:30 and all are welcome, young and old. It’s primarily tunes but every now and then a song will be shared.
During the winter and spring this session has been running from 3:30 to 6:30. It’s still hosted by Fergus Brown O’Byrne (concertina, accordion, fiddle) and Tony O’Brien (fiddle). All are welcome. O’Reilly’s is a Pub/Restaurant so all ages are welcome to play and/or just sit back and enjoy the music.
O’Reily’s Irish Newfoundland Pub
3 hours session on Sunday afternoon. Normal time is 3-6pm, sometimes an hour earlier in the Spring and Summer.
Check the calendar for session time to be certain: http://www.oreillyspub.com/calendar/