Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Slow Session Wednesday, Dec. 18!

Hi, Friends,

While Tuesday was a bit frightful, Wednesday looks All Clear! and we'll be holding our Wednesday evening Slow Session on December 18 from 7:30-9:00 PM.

All the tunes we'll be working on are on the tunes page. Tomorrow night's learning tune is Mrs. Crotty's Hornpipe. I'll have a surprise tune for us to learn...

I hope to see you all out at Old Songs Community Arts Center tomorrow night!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Great Little Session Last Night!

Hiya, Friends!

Dang, I keep forgetting to take photos of us playing tunes at Old Songs! All right, maybe the photo wouldn't be so exciting (not that you're not all nice looking and everything, especially the bouzouki player), but the music is really nice! Thanks to everyone who showed up, and to those who couldn't be there but wanted to.

Our next session will be Wednesday, December 18 at 7:30 PM. The December Learning Tune is Mrs. Crotty's Hornpipe. (Of course you'll all know it by then so I'll have a surprise hornpipe to go with it. Practice your b flats, folks!)

Once again, we had a small but dedicated group of musicians. We worked our way through tunes we've worked on in September and October. Our learning tune last night was The Shaskeen, a nice reel in G. There are a few changes I need to make to the version that's up in Google Docs. There are a couple of C#s in the A part that I neglected to include, and there are some variations in the B part that need to be adjusted. That should go up soon. In the meantime, you'll still be able to grasp the tune with the sheet music that's up there.

Our tune list from last night:

Eddie Kelly's #1 & #2 (jigs) - OK, I found the sheet music for Eddie Kelly's 1, so print that out if you haven't already. This is such a great set of tunes. I think we have Joe Leathem and Amy Schoch to thank for bringing this set of tunes to the session.
Taims in Arrears / Hardiman the Fiddler / Snowy Path (slip jigs) - we messed around with the order on this a little bit, but I think this order is the final for now
Humours of Glen - this is a sweet little jig introduced by Amy Schoch (Amy strikes again!). I seem to recall hearing the Mulcahy Family play this tune. Anyone else have a recollection of who recorded it?
The Shaskeen (reel) - see the notes above about the tune. We played this for a while and had some in-depth discussion about variations and adjustments. It's such a great tune! I hope we can get this back into the repertoire - thanks to Amy Schoch for suggesting this tune as well.
Friendly Visit / The Honeysuckle (hornpipes) - great tunes, nicely played!
O'Malley Waltz - Sweet tune by Tom "Rabbit" O'Hare.
Knotted Cord (reel) - we went over this nice reel, and explored some differences in endings. I will transcribe the ending that Joe Leathem plays, which he says he learned from Planxty on their first album. He gave a different name for the tune. I'll grab that for you soon!

I wish you all happy tunes and friendly faces! Happy Thanksgiving!

See you in December!


p.s. remember the Olde English Pub session on the second Wednesday of the month (7:30 PM), and the Albany CCE (Comhaltas) session on the third Sunday of the month (slow session at 2:30 PM, regular session at 3:30 PM).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Slow Session Next THURSDAY 11/21/13!


I'm moving the November slow session from Wednesday, Nov. 20 to Thursday, Nov. 21 because Peter Jones is hosting a special Thanksgiving Ale House concert/session on our regular Wednesday evening date.

Claudine at Celtic Colours Festival 2012
Please join us to hear the always amazing Claudine Langille with special guest Triona at the Ale House, 680 River Street, Troy at 7 PM.

We'll be there for dinner, come and join us, and then hear a concert by two amazing musicians and listen to the live session that follows. Faster players are invited to join us.

Please RSVP to Peter Jones. The evening of music is FREE, so don't miss it!!!

Our Monthly Irish Slow Session will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 7:30-9:00 PM.

We'll play the tunes from the last two sessions, and I'm hoping that some of the Spotted Dogs will come and share the tunes they've been working on for the past season.

Contact me with questions. See you next THURSDAY!!!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tonight's Sessions was FUN!

Bet You Wish You Were There...

But...chances are, you weren't! There were seven of us chickens in the hen house playin' tunes. It was kickin'! There's room if you want to come next month on November 20th.

Tonight's Tune List:

We played our three learning tunes
Humours of Glen (Cuillin) (Jig)
Knotted Cord (Reel)
O'Malley Waltz.

Our Round Robin included:
Anthony Frawley's Jig
Father Kelly's Reel
Boys of Bluehill / Harvest Home Hornpipes
Limerick Lasses Reel
Out on the Ocean Jig
Whinny Hills of Leitrim Slip Jig

A good time was had by all...

See you next month!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Slow Session Wednesday 10/16

Hi, Friends!

photograph of an autumn meadow's edge with tall trees in the splendor of full autumn color

What a beautiful fall this has turned out to be! I hope you've had a chance to get out and wander in it. And perhaps even hear or play some tunes...

I hope you'll come out and play some tunes with me on Wednesday evening, October 16 from 7:30-9:00 PM. We'll work on some of our "Learning Tunes" and then go around the table and pick tunes/sets - you can use the list below and the Sets Lists on the Set Lists Page to choose if that helps. 

I encourage you to print that page out - I've linked to a PDF. I also encourage you to bring a recording device so you can capture pieces of a tune you don't know.

I've put some recordings of some of the tunes below on our Tunes page from last month's session.

As we sat around the tables last month, we discussed what tunes we might like to learn for the season. Below is the suggested list. Links to printable PDFs of these tunes are (or will be) on the Tunes page.

Learning Tunes for October/November 2013 - Beginner/Intermediate Tunes, Advanced Tunes

Last month we went over the tunes in the learning list (see the Tunes page for printable PDFs). I also handed out a bonus tune, O'Malley Waltz, by a Massachusetts composer, Tom O'Hare (known to his friends as "Rabbit"). Eric and I had the pleasure and challenge of playing his compositions for a one-woman story-play by Marni Gillard a couple of years ago. (Marni's really good people - and an awesome story-teller!) I really liked this piece and thought it might be a nice little brain twister for us to try.

You won't be surprised when I tell you that last month's stuff got all shuffled in with a pile of papers. In my case, they happen to be campaign materials. You see, I'm doing my civic duty (not without a firm push from friends, of course), and my campaign letters and voter lists are all over my desk! So, this morning I woke up and realized that HOLY CANNOLI! Tomorrow is Slow Session and I'd better get the tunes up on the blog. And then I ran off to work and didn't get back here until about 8:30 pm.

Well, hey! Better late than never, and you should always bring your suggestions (and sheet music if you have it) to the session.




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall 2013 Season Starts TONIGHT!

Hiya, Friends! What a spring and summer I had. All is well and I'm ready to start up with tunes and fun with you all.

Each month, we'll focus on a couple of tunes that are either classics the world around or are being played locally at sessions (or both). Once we firm up the repertoire this week, the tunes for the season will be posted. Sets will be adjusted as we go, because we're going to find out what people like and don't like and how best to arrange the tunes.
This season's dates are:
September 18
October 16
November 20
December 18
All evenings are from 7:30 - 9:00 pm. We may be downstairs or up, depending on what classes are being held in the building this fall. Tonight we are upstairs.

We'll start tonight at 7:30 with tunes from last year's repertoire and some new tunes from Amy Schoch's Thursday night medium session. Bring a recording device to capture tunes you don't know yet. Bring your tune lists.

If we have new people, tonight's Learning Tunes will be:
Moon Coin Jig - jig
The Flax in Bloom - reel
Taims in Arrears - slip jig

If everyone knows the above tunes,then here's tonight's list of tunes to get us started:
Friendly Visit/Honeysuckle (hornpipes)
Garrett Barry's/East of Glendart/Behind the Haystack (Munster Buttermilk)  (jigs)
Trip to Birmingham/Torn Jacket/Earl's Chair (reels)
The Butterfly/Snowy Path (slip jigs)
Christie Barry's 1 & 2 (jigs)
Belles of Tipperary/Limerick Lasses (reels)
The Cameronian/The Shaskeen (reels)
Off to California/The Harvest Home (hornpipes)

and we'll fill in tunes as we go around the circle.
See you tonight at Old Songs!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Slow Session on Hiatus til Fall 2013

Hey, Gang,

Sorry for the short notice, but due to personal reasons, I'm going to postpone the Slow Session until the fall of this year. I hope you'll take the opportunity to listen to lots of great live music as well as play some yourself.

Check out the Old Songs website for information about this summer's Old Songs Festival (www.OldSongs.org). I'm really excited that fiddler Oisin Mac Diarmada and accordionist Seamus Begley will be at the festival this year! This is a not-to-be-missed duo of high energy and consummate talent and skill. Besides, they're really nice guys. Go have some tunes with them!

And I hope you've got The Catskills Irish Arts Week on your schedule as well (www.catskillsirishartsweek.org) for this July. Our own Tom Wadsworth is involved, and there will be plenty of great people and music!

If you're interested in playing Irish music on a more regular basis - or getting your feet wet with a friendly group - consider joining Amy Schoch and friends on Thursday evenings for a house gathering of learning new tunes, practicing old ones, and getting sets together. You can reach Amy at amyschoch@me.com.

I wish you all the best for a fantastic summer and hope to see you again in the fall, if not sooner!

All the Best,


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April Slow Session Cancelled

The Wednesday, April 17 session has been cancelled due to a family issue. We hope to see you in May!

All the best,


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thinking about tunes...

Hiya, gang! What a great session last night! Sorry for any confusion - I forgot that the Blogger posts take a day to go out, so please nobody show up at Old Songs tonight looking for tunes! :-)

We had a great old chat about bands to listen to when you're first starting out playing the music (this is a post for another day), and we also talked about a tune that was on our list from last month: The Old Bush. I have a CD of uilleann piper Willie Clancy's music, and on the first CD in the set, there's a lovely rendition of The Old Bush. In contrast, I have a lovely CD by my friend Pat O'Connor, The Humours of Derrybeha, that features a gorgeous track of Sporting Moll and The Old Bush. Pat's version is the closest to what I hear played around this area these days. I encourage you to buy the CDs, but if you want to hear the contrast between the two versions, you can listen here:

Willie Clancy  - The Old Bush is listed as the third track, and if you roll your cursor just to the left of the number, a little play arrow icon will show up. Click it and you can hear a sample.   

Pat O'Connor  - This version is a bit smoother and less piper-y (for obvious reasons). It's very obviously the same tune, but the pacing and the phrasing is a little different.

I want to give a shout out to Colleen O'Sullivan's Comhaltas Slow Session! Clayton mentioned that you guys had played Eddie Kelly's #2 on Sunday. Joe and Amy remembered it and played it along with Eddie Kelly's #1 for us. Then Clayton dug out the sheet music for #2 and we played that a bunch of times. What a great tune! We're going to work on Eddie Kelly's #1 for next month.

After a bit of a delay (the photocopier was being cranky), we finally got around to playing Tonra's jig (dmix)/Anthony Frawley's (gmaj)/Kerfunten (dmaj); Shoe the Donkey (thank you Gary Mehlum for straightening me out on how to play the b part!), and Fermoy Lasses/Sporting Paddy. We had some nice discussion about tunes and a few variations, and made plans for next month.

Regarding The Kerfunten, I understand from notes on TheSession.org that the tune was composed by flute player Hammy Hamilton, who apparently wrote the tune in G, not D. Anyway, I originally learned it in D, and it just fit the set well in that key, so....we're just gonna do it that way for now. You can access both versions on the Tunes page. It just seemed right to mention the composer and the proper key, out of respect for the man and his wonderful music.

On the list for April 17*
Jigs: Eddie Kelly's #1 and #2
Polkas: As I Went Out on the Ice and Forde's Polka
Reels: Crooked Road to Dublin and Man of the House
Gary Mehlum will be giving us a Scandinavian Schottische, and I'll be digging up an Irish one to share.

*I'll post these tunes as soon as I have them.

Thanks again for a lovely evening! Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day weekend...



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Slow Session Tonight!

Hi, gang! I hope you had a fantastic St. Patrick's Day, and that you're ready to play some tunes yourself, if you didn't get to anywhere else...

Tonight is Slow Session! Hope to see you at Old Songs at 7:30 PM.

I know it's short notice, but we're going to learn/work on three jigs tonight:
Brendan Tonra's - Dmaj
Anthony Frawley's - Gmaj
Kerfunten Jig  (by Hammy Hamilton) - Dmaj - although I accidentally sent out the Gmaj version. We can try both.

And one hornpipe - Off to California - Gmaj

We'll also go over the reels we had from last month: Fermoy Lasses and Sporting Paddy, as well as some other older tunes.

See you later!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Great Session Tonight!

What a fantastic little session we had tonight! Welcome to new friends Clayton, Doug, and Steve!

We played most of the tunes on the list (Fermoy Lasses, Toss the Feathers in Dmix, Spotted Dog, and Shoe the Donkey), plus we dipped back into the past with Sally Gardens Reel, and the Christie Barrys Jigs 1 & 2.

We won't have a slow session on the 6th of March, because I've got something going on, but we will have a session on the 20th of March!

We'll go over the tunes we did this month, plus the few we didn't get to (Old Bush, Sporting Paddy) and some new ones.

Happy Paddy's Day, everybody. Hope you find yourself right where you want to be - with tunes, songs, friends, drinks or no...

All the Best,


Slow Sesh Tonight!

Come one, come all! Tunes played slow! Lots of learning goin' on. See ya later.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Next Slow Session on Feb. 20th

This was our second First Wednesday slow session. I'm sorry to have to cancel, but Eric has been sick since last week, and I'm feeling really awful. I just don't want to share with anyone if I don't have to.

So...we'll meet on the Third Wednesday at our regular time of 7:30 PM at the Old Songs building.

Here's tunes for this month:

Reel: Toss the Feathers (Dmix) - look for Version 3

Jig: Spotted Dog (Amaj)

and just for fun: Mazurka: Shoe the Donkey.

Remember last month's tunes as well -

The Old Bush, Sporting Paddy, and Fermoy Lasses.

See you soon!