Thursday, April 21, 2016

Megaband Starting Up on May 1!

Below is a message that Nancy forwarded to me about Megaband that a friend of hers in the Contra Tunes old songs group sent her.  It gives the rehearsal schedule, fee, etc. Past members have said the music instruction and experience they get is very good. It is basically contra tunes music, out of the Portland I and II books, Fiddlers Fakebook, etc.  Some are Irish, some are old-time, etc.  


Welcome to the Megaband!
We had a great info and jam session on April 2 and we’re raring to go.
Future rehearsals are scheduled at the Old Songs building in Voorheesville as follows:
Sunday May 13-6 pm
Monday May 237-9 pm
Sunday June 53-6 pm
Sunday July 33-6 pm
Sunday July 173-6 pm
Sunday July 313-6 pm
Sunday August 73-6 pm
Sunday August 213-6 pm
Other rehearsals may be scheduled. Try to attend as many as you can.
George Wilson and David Kaynor will be leading rehearsals. 
The May 1 rehearsal is open to all, without commitment, so if you are undecided about joining Megaband, feel free to attend and try it out. Bring friends!
Dues for the band are $40, which should be paid before or at the May 23 rehearsal. Checks payable to Dance Flurry Organization. This money will go towards payment for the rehearsal space and stipends for the leaders (George and David). The Dance Flurry Organization will make up any shortfall.
Our first gig is September 11 at the Buhrmaster Barn dance in Colonie. Dance starts at 6, and there is a potluck preceding.
We are hoping to have other gigs in the 2016-2017 season. Maybe even at the Flurry!
A preliminary list of Megaband tunes will be sent out shortly.

Free Reading/Screening of hit Irish film BROOKLYN 4/29

Mark Koplik of UAlbany Writers Institute, on behalf of William Kennedy, would like to invite you and all members of the Capital Region’s Irish American community to their TWO free events with Colm Toibin,  author of Brooklyn, the basis of the hit film.

Colm ToibinColm Tóibín, Irish fiction and nonfiction writer and journalist
April 29 (Friday) Reading — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center,  UAlbany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany

April 29 (Friday) Film screening followed by Author Q&A — 7 p.m., Page Hall, UAlbany Downtown Campus, 135 Western Ave.

Colm Tóibín is one of Ireland’s foremost living novelists and journalists. His novels include The Master (2004), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and The Blackwater Lightship (1999) and The Testament of Mary (2012), both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His newest novel is Nora Webster (2014), which Darin Strauss in the Los Angeles Times said “may actually be a perfect work of fiction...There is no pyrotechny in the writing – just compassion and shrewd insight…which is where Tóibín’s brilliance lies.”

BrooklynFilm screening of BROOKLYN with commentary by Colm Tóibín — Directed by John Crowley (Ireland/UK, 2015, 111 minutes, color) Starring Saoirse Ronan, 
Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson

BROOKLYN, a hit independent film based on Colm Tóibín’s 2009 same-titled novel, tells the tale of a young Irish woman who emigrates to Brooklyn, where she must choose between two countries and her life in each. The Hollywood Reporter said, “Tóibín’s superior novel...has  been turned into a beautiful and moving film.” The film stars Saoirse Ronan, whose performance in BROOKLYN earned her a 2016 Screen Actors Guild nomination for best female actor in a leading role.

Sponsored in association with Albany Pro Musica’s City of Immigrants Concert, a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Capital Region. See for additional information.

More about Colm Toibin:

For more information contact the Writers Institute at 518 442 5620 or visit us online at

Digging in with the Gang

Once again, you remain anonymous...

gravatar image We were having so much fun working on our tunes that I forgot to take a photo of you! Thank you so much for coming out to work on the tunes. Welcome to our new friend Charlotte and her mom Jeanmarie! We enjoyed having you there - hope to see you in May!

As to last night's fun? We played Gentle Maiden. I guess I ought to put a sound clip of that up, eh? Then we went over Joe Bane's Barndance. I think we need to pick that one apart a bit. We'll plan on that for next month. Then we went over our set of jigs and our reels (thank you Paul for demonstration the difference between hornpipes and reels!). Patrick sent these YouTube links for the set of jigs: this by Martin Hayes:; and this link I sent you before by the Tulla Ceili Band:

Don't you  think it really  helped to dig deep into Joe Bane's Reel last night? It's such a fun tune, but it doesn't sound anything like it looks on the page, does it?

Even though Gentle Maiden isn't really a new tune to the session repertoire, it's new to almost all of us at the session these days. I'm glad we went over it - if you're curious, you can find the sheet music in the dropbox/google drive folders. We didn't get to our new tunes, so we'll be working on those for next month: the Miller of Dronagh and Anne Walshe's Reel. I'll be posting the sheet music and sound clips later today. 
Speaking of the mysterious Anne Walshe, I did a little more poking around, and I found this about herself: Apparently the tune was recorded on a 1960 Leitrim Ceili Band album that includes Joe Burke on accordion and the amazing Paddy Carty on flute (I'll try to find a clip of Paddy - his playing is just lovely). ( Of course, no one has posted the tune yet - I will be doing that over the weekend in the hopes that someone will be able to shed some light on its origins.

Some of you have expressed interest in scheduling an additional monthly session to get together to play tunes and keep the momentum going. I'll be sending out a survey shortly to gather information - join the Email List if you are interested in being a part of the extra session group. And always remember that the Comhaltas Slow Session on the third Sunday is a great option for getting new tunes, having fun playing together and meeting great people. ( for info.)

Keep on playing the tunes! Enjoy the sunshine! See you soon,


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Who is Anne Walshe?

I'm pretty sure she's not St. Anne...
The Red Fox and the Grey Goose All Across His Back...
(from The Bestiary of Anne Walshe (Copenhagen, Kongelige
Bibliotek Gl. kgl. Saml. 1633 4˚) circle 1400-25)
And she probably isn't the Anne Walshe of the medieval "Bestiary of Anne Walshe", but maybe...? I looked high and low for information on where the tune came from, but can't find anything. Do you know? Let me know in the comments below,

or come tonight and tell us in person!

That's right - it's Slow Session time again at Old Songs. Wednesday evening, April 20th, from 7:30-9:00 p.m., Old Songs will be transformed into a little Irish community hall. We'll be sharing tunes and chat.  I look forward to hearing about what you've been up to since last month, and to playing our  Spring tunes we've been working on.

If we have new visitors tonight, we'll pick tunes off of the CCE lists (see the tunes pages for info) to start the evening, and then (or if you'd rather), we'll get right into working on our learning tunes for Spring 2016.

See you tonight!