Cullen’s on Tuesday Evening
This is a very enjoyable session located not far from wrigley field/wrigleyville area. Takes place every tuesday evening starting at 9:00 p.m. and ending *promptly* at 11:00. It is usually lead by fiddle player Sean Cleland and piano according player Jimmy Keane. I would characterize the session as being on the beginner side of the spectrum—Sean Cleland tends to cater to his beginner fiddle students who go regularly. Sean and Jimmy, though, call all the shots at this session; so there is usually no opportunity to start your own tunes. But chances are you’ll probably know most of ‘em anyway.
I would agree this is a very enjoyable session. I have been going to it pretty regularly for years. Yes, it is lead by Sean and Jimmy, with them starting most of the tunes. The tunes are also played more than twice or three times through, this is a choice that they made to help everyone to get in the groove of the tunes. They feel that at tune is just getting fun at twice through, more at three times, let’s do it again, and why not?
Sean and Jimmy wanted to do a different type of session, where more tunes get played and there were not struggles with tune starts. They wanted to make it welcome to everyone who wanted to sit in and and get a chance to play the music!
The tunes are played at a good clip and not slower, so I don’t agree this is a "beginnner or slow session". I have found that for me, this session is one of the best in Chicago for sheer number of tunes played and how there is two steady hours of music, sometimes 20 to 30 minute sets. This enables one to work on stamina, variations and relaxation while playing for a long time, rather than worry about who starts what tune. You can steady yourself up, not rush and just relax and play, play play.. !!
BTW, Sean does not so much cater to the beginning fiddle students as he tries to make sure they get to play at some point in the session. If that means we play a polka or slide set that they can join in on, all the better!
A Good Session
I attended this session with my whistle while I was in town on business recently. Sean was leading it that night. It is not a slow session, but it is a good learning session, because they tend to repeat the tunes a number of times (not the usual three times through and on to the next). It was very down to business, with the tunes being played at a regular clip and little time to socialize until the session was over. I was warmly received, and had a good time—I would recommend this session to others.
RIP Cullen’s session
Was in town for a couple nights, made the trek uptown with my whistles, only to be told the session had shut down a couple weeks ago. That’s what I get for not calling beforehand!
Until further notice I guess, this session is DEAD.
It may be dead at cullen’s, but Sean and Jimmy have begun Tuesday night sessions at Chief O’Niell’s. Check out that listing.