Wednesday night session at The Tass
Largely populated by ALP students, this is a good session for anybody new to the session scene. Mainly Scottish, Irish, American traditional-style instrumental, but odd things do happen.
They also have other sessions there on Thurs, Friday and Sunday afternoons. I’m not sure about Saturday. The Friday night session with Adam, George and co is usually good but I haven’t been the other days though I’ve looked in on a Wednesday.
I popped by last month. Not over-friendly - As well as ALP, most fiddlers (and a cellist) all seem to have made their own instruments at night school.
They played mostly contemporary Scottish so I didn’t know a lot but managed to play along fine. I was told by a regular, the repertoire doesn’t change much.
Enjoyed it as a one-off though.
Geoff, "not over friendly" could apply to many sessions in Edinburgh and I don’t think this one is any worse than most. They do tend to play mostly an "ALP" repertoire and it doesn’t tend to change that much. I only go there on rare occasion as The Edinburgh Folk Club usually clashes.
Sandy Bells has a good session on a Wednesday too and it tends to be more Scottish than on other nights where the music is mostly Irish.
I revisited The Tass - much friendlier - got into conversation with various people (more room in the bar than on stage)
The tunes were different to last time and I contributed a few (alleged) Scottish ones this time!!
Had a good time - it now stops open till 11.30 wow.
The pub has agreed to take on a session on Monday nights, too. Andrew & I run it - it’s the same session that you might have seen in the White Hart (2002 - 2005) or Greyfriars Bobby’s (2006). We’ve moved to The Tass now and are enjoying the great acoustics and friendly bar staff. Come along and join us some time, every Monday night 8.30 - 11.30. All musicians and/or singers welcome.
Forgive my ignorance but …
What’re "ALP students" and "ALP repertoire"?
I have not been to any of the sessions on other nights yet, but the Weds session is definitely a peach. The regular musicians are very friendly, the staff are very friendly, and it’s a great night out., There is no hierarchy - anybody can start off a tune and anyone there who knows it will join in. There is a fair bit of off the cuff comedy, which can at times be rolling on the floor type hilarity, but the music is great . There are usually 5 or 6 fiddlers, a couple of guitarists, banjo, cello, mandola and an unusually broad range of wind instruments. Highly recommended+++
Forgot to mention…
Usually two great accordianists - my apologies, gentlemen.
For info on ALP, go to:
ALP Students and Repertoire
"ALP" is "Adult Learning Project", but is now properly called "ALP Scots Music Group". They run a great range of evening classes (and some daytime too) for many abilities from beginners up, with some excellent tutors. Students at these classes are encouraged to take their music out of the classroom, and there are sessions they can go to, a regular folk club-type evening, "stramashes" where classes play for each other, and so on. So that should explain "ALP students". Although let’s now call them "SMG students" !
As for the repertoire, there’s an arrangement across the classes that many tunes are learned by students of different instruments, so that they have a common knowledge, and can play with each other. However, many of these tunes are the ones you would commonly hear at sessions in any case.
The most important point is that although there are many Tass regulars, and we get some fine musicians taking part, we are pleased whenever someone chooses The Tass as the place to lose their session virginity. We hope the enjoy the experience !
I was there just this week - great session, very friendly, good mix of instruments, good mix of speeds from slow to pretty fast.
Most Edinburgh sessions seem to be listed in the Gig Guide (http://www.gigguide.co.uk/Edinburgh%20Listings/edinburghmonday.htm), scroll down to Folk & World.