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A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play

Georgiansilver 22 Aug 09 - 03:06 AM
Dave Hanson 22 Aug 09 - 04:04 AM
The Villan 22 Aug 09 - 04:13 AM
Les in Chorlton 22 Aug 09 - 05:42 AM
Ross 22 Aug 09 - 06:00 AM
Rafflesbear 22 Aug 09 - 06:12 AM
gnu 22 Aug 09 - 06:23 AM
33 1/3 22 Aug 09 - 06:54 AM
artbrooks 22 Aug 09 - 09:27 AM
Dave Hanson 22 Aug 09 - 10:14 AM
gnu 22 Aug 09 - 10:55 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 22 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM
gnu 22 Aug 09 - 11:59 AM
gnu 22 Aug 09 - 12:01 PM
The Villan 22 Aug 09 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Aug 09 - 10:53 PM
Steve Hunt 22 Aug 09 - 11:14 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Aug 09 - 03:59 AM
Georgiansilver 23 Aug 09 - 04:08 AM
Tim Leaning 23 Aug 09 - 04:53 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Aug 09 - 05:14 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Aug 09 - 05:16 AM
gnu 23 Aug 09 - 05:26 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Aug 09 - 06:16 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Aug 09 - 06:17 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Aug 09 - 06:26 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Aug 09 - 06:47 AM
Stu 23 Aug 09 - 07:00 AM
skarpi 23 Aug 09 - 07:19 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Aug 09 - 07:27 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Aug 09 - 08:31 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Aug 09 - 09:34 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Aug 09 - 09:49 AM
The Villan 23 Aug 09 - 10:03 AM
gnu 23 Aug 09 - 10:06 AM
Tim Leaning 23 Aug 09 - 06:41 PM
Les in Chorlton 23 Aug 09 - 07:18 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Aug 09 - 07:39 PM
Barry Finn 23 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Aug 09 - 01:19 AM
Georgiansilver 24 Aug 09 - 03:33 AM
Tim Leaning 24 Aug 09 - 03:47 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Aug 09 - 05:27 AM
Mr Red 24 Aug 09 - 06:06 AM
GUEST,mauvepink 24 Aug 09 - 06:08 AM
Bryn Pugh 24 Aug 09 - 06:17 AM
Tim Leaning 24 Aug 09 - 07:37 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Aug 09 - 08:05 AM
The Villan 24 Aug 09 - 08:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Aug 09 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Aug 09 - 09:00 AM
Dave Hanson 24 Aug 09 - 09:05 AM
gnu 24 Aug 09 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Aug 09 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Aug 09 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Sugarfoot Jack out and about 24 Aug 09 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,joyce bennion 24 Aug 09 - 11:50 AM
Les in Chorlton 24 Aug 09 - 02:18 PM
gnu 24 Aug 09 - 03:28 PM
gnu 24 Aug 09 - 04:01 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Aug 09 - 04:10 PM
Leadfingers 24 Aug 09 - 06:04 PM
Richard Bridge 24 Aug 09 - 06:06 PM
Tim Leaning 24 Aug 09 - 07:37 PM
gnu 24 Aug 09 - 08:11 PM
Jack Campin 24 Aug 09 - 08:38 PM
Les in Chorlton 25 Aug 09 - 04:56 AM
Jack Campin 25 Aug 09 - 06:15 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Aug 09 - 06:28 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Aug 09 - 06:38 AM
Leadfingers 25 Aug 09 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 25 Aug 09 - 08:04 AM
Les in Chorlton 25 Aug 09 - 01:18 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM
gnu 25 Aug 09 - 09:21 PM
Commander Crabbe 25 Aug 09 - 09:23 PM
Les in Chorlton 26 Aug 09 - 05:07 AM
skarpi 26 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM
Barry Finn 26 Aug 09 - 08:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 26 Aug 09 - 08:33 AM
romanyman 26 Aug 09 - 04:41 PM
Les in Chorlton 26 Aug 09 - 05:01 PM
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Subject: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 03:06 AM

I guess I get a little fed up with threads being hi-jacked with talk of bodhrans. and now a thread about pianos has been. SOOO thought a thread about bodhrans in its own right might be appropriate.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 04:04 AM

Definition of a bodhran player, ' someone who likes to hang around with folk musicians '

Dave H


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 04:13 AM

A bodhran player was sick of the band abusing him, and decided to start his own. He walked into a music shop, planning to buy the first instruments he saw.
"Give me the red saxophone and that accordion!", he said.
The assistant said, "You play the bodhran, don't you?"
"That's right. Why?"
"Well, the fire exinguisher I can sell you - but the radiator stays.

What's the only proper way to play a bodhrán?

With an open penknife.


How do you know when there is a bodhrán player at your front door ?

The knocking gets faster and faster and faster...

Why is a bodhran player like a foot massage?

A foot massage bucks up the feet, whereas...


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 05:42 AM

Well that's a rather surprising response I must say.

Good Bods add a lot and bad Bods do less damage than bad guitar players and people who cannot hold a tune
IMHO

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Ross
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 06:00 AM

Folkies aye

Welcome you in with open arms

And then rip out your heart & throw it out the window

I suppose it beats war


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Rafflesbear
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 06:12 AM

Bodhran ...


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 06:23 AM

Ross... they march to a different drum.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: 33 1/3
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 06:54 AM

(Red) ones sound good!but I might be deaf,pardon what did you say.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: artbrooks
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 09:27 AM

Yeah yeah yeah....

I bought a good bodhran in Ireland several years ago. It sounded fine at the shop but it was very tight and tinny-sounding when I bought it home. I live at 6000 feet/2000 meters altitude. Any thoughts on a solution other than starting over with a new head (on the drum)? I do use leather conditioner on it occasionally.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 10:14 AM

There is a conditioner suitable for bodhrans, it's called chromic acid.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 10:55 AM

Roundstone (Kearns) sell Bodhran Wax (I assume it's easy to find some or similar near you), but it's VERY tricky to get the right amount on... a wee tad too much and yer screwed. If you are getting reasonable results with the conditioner, stick with ehat you know.

Ahhh... if you search past threads, you will find a lot of comments and suggestions. Most of which I forget. >;-)


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 11:27 AM

There's a very funny song entitled "When I Grow Up", which begins:

"I am a one-year Kid,
And I'm scare worth twenty quid,
I'm the kind of beast you'ld very well look down on:
But my value will increase
At the time of my decease,
For, when I grow up, I want to be a Bodhran"

It's not in the Database (at least under that title), but if anyone has the words in full, it would be a fine addition.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 11:59 AM

Gee... I thought that was added??? The song has been discussed many times.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 12:01 PM

Try this.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 12:29 PM

Whats the correct terminology for the front and back of a Bodhran skin?

Is it

Fore Skin
Back Skin


or something else


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 10:53 PM

artbrooks, your bodhran sounds tinny because the skin is too dry.

Bodhrans are rawhide, and they absorb and lose water constantly. (I have first-hand experience because my husband plays and has had advice from a seasoned player.)

Put some water (maybe a couple tablespoons full) on a cloth or on your hand and rub it into the skin. It will take it a little while to absorb it. Be sure to moisten every millimeter of the skin, because a dry spot will be tight and might tear. Or so a professional percussion player has told me.

If the skin is floppy and sounds dead, it's too wet. debate rages on what to do then.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Steve Hunt
Date: 22 Aug 09 - 11:14 PM

If you do put water on your bodhran skin, make sure that you only apply it to the back, rather than the front surface


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 03:59 AM

I suspect that this thread came to life because of a passing remark I made on another one - for which, thanks.
I would be interested if, instead of the jokes, we got a few more responses as to why bodhrans are as unpopular as they undoubtedly are.
IMO, it is a combination of the intrusive nature of the instrument and the inability of the players to judge the situation before they invite themselves to sit down and join in.
I have seen (with boring regularity) a superb session turned into an evening of musak - musical soup - thanks to a visiting bodhranist, guitarist, mandolin or banjo player, which makes me thankful that pianos are not more portable and most pubs that host sessions don't have one.
Why are these instruments so unpopular and held in such contempt?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 04:08 AM

Jim, you said.....>>>>>>>>>IMO, it is a combination of the intrusive nature of the instrument and the inability of the players to judge the situation before they invite themselves to sit down and join in.<<<<<<<<
In some cases that is so obviously true and those people do intrude, causing mostly passive annoyance as we sit back and allow these things to happen.
Unfortunately that's life!! and it reflects on here also... there are people who intrude on threads to contribute to something they know little about and often show their ignorance of the subject by changing it.... causing thread drift... to the annoyance of others.
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 04:53 AM

:-)


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 05:14 AM

If the skin is floppy and sounds dead, it's too wet. debate rages on what to do then


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 05:16 AM

Sorry that was a Freudian slip.

Is this why so many Bodhran players carry hair dryers.

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 05:26 AM

Especiaslly the bald ones, Les.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 06:16 AM

There can be no doubt that a well played Irish drum is an asset to a huge range of acoustic music. There can also be no doubt that there is a body of skilled exponents.

Unfortunately, many who cannot play a musical instrument decide that a drum is the easiest to start with (this affects not only bodhrans but also djembes and bongos) and so, the self-selected group of those unable to play a musical instrument start on a noisy one. Bad mixture.

I wince every time (and it is often) when I see some twerp (and some have been doing it for years) pick up the tipper at one end as if it were a hammer and whack leadelnly (usually missing the beat). A limited number of those who hold the tipper in the middle, palm facing the bodhran skin can do the "heartbeat" which is the only thing I have ever seen Irish players use that grip for - but most of the users of that grip produce a random flapping noise.

Not of course that I am any good, but I can hear who is worse!


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 06:17 AM

"Unfortunately that's life!!"
Mike, no it isn't - it's folk.
You wouldn't get audiences clapping along and stamping their feet to a classical orchestra, or singing along with the tenor at an opera. In my jazz days anyone bringing a set of bongos to the session and trying to sit in would limp away with a clarinet inserted into a very painful part of the anatomy.
"to contribute to something they know little about"
I've been listening to Irish music for something like 35 years; a good part of that period has been spent interviewing some of the veteran players on their traditions.
One of the universal truths is that bodhrans are considered a menace.
I would very much like to hear the players take on the subject rather than being told that I don't know what I'm talking about.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 06:26 AM

The problem for all 'public events' is that we wish to encourage people to join in and play in the hope that things will get better. Having offered the hand of friendship it is then very difficult to exclude people who aren't very good and don't seem to be getting any better.

I witnessed an amazing singer at Chorlton FC last Thursday, Mark by name , who changed the rhythm of his song quite drastically to shake off the foot tappers and thigh slappers.

Such is the joy of live music

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 06:47 AM

"I bought a good bodhran in Ireland several years ago. It sounded fine at the shop but it was very tight and tinny-sounding when I bought it home. I live at 6000 feet/2000 meters altitude."

One or two minor modifications and you'd have an excellent small toboggan.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Stu
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 07:00 AM

"Why are these instruments so unpopular and held in such contempt?"

Because the tune is the key and everything the music is is in the tune, and in it's purest form anything else is superfluous. Guitars and bouzoukis follow the harmonic structure of the tune, reflect the pulse and rhythm of the tune and (if played well, a caveat with any instrument of course) can add a depth and colour to a tune.

The bodhran can't do this, and although some accomplished players (like Eoin O'Neill) can sort of play a tune on it, it strikes me as being more tonal shades rather than colourful notes. The gurgling water brigade attempt to get some of the subtly in, but you can count on one hand those that really can do this. Get more than one bodhran player in a session and it becomes a monotone racket. Good in bands, but never more than one at a session unless played well and sensitively.

All instruments are awful if they're in the wrong hands, however the bodhran is worse than most because it seems such an easy way to get into the session scene. I have stopped going to my local session as last time there were five bodhran players thumping away, one of whom is excellent but can't be heard, one is very good but can't be heard whilst the rest are mediocre (though learning to be fair) or plain terrible.

All of that said, I'm beginning to really like the old open skin type of playing (think Jack Cooley), and Seamus O'Kanes playing on Marcus O'Murchó's albums is sublime - not cluttering the tune with pops and flash, fussy ornamentation but giving the tune the space it needs and not distracting from it in the slightest.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: skarpi
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 07:19 AM

then get drum in tune , use your ear ,,,, and your thumps


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 07:27 AM

I suspect that this is one area in which the mixed session may be going on one direction but the Irish session in another - and in which the mixed session is evolving to incorporate the rhythmic patterns of modern music more rapidly than the Irish session.

None of which helps the non-musician with a cloth ear and a random goatskin.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 08:31 AM

I guess I am a bit more sympathetic to Bods since we only have one and he sticks close to the spoons and shakers.

A lot of the above posts sound like all the tune players are a bit good and all the Bods crap. is this really true?

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 09:34 AM

Because it appears to be a simple instrument, people with no knowledge and no aptitude think they will be able to play it immediately, they can't, but it doesn't stop them, a few years ago it was even in the Hobgoblin catalogue, ' get a bodhran, and you too can join in. '

It's a complex thing to play well and good players certainly enhance most types of music, unfortunately most players don't understand the instrument or the music and they NEVER know when NOT to play.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 09:49 AM

"A lot of the above posts sound like all the tune players are a bit good and all the Bods crap. is this really true?"
Yes; it is in this area; I think most melody players have come to terms with the fact that it is necessary to reach a certain standard beforehand; whereas....... unfortunately it doesn't deter them.
I think Sugarfoot Jack's last offering is the most articulate analysis I have ever come across.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: The Villan
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 10:03 AM

I like the Bodhran in the hands of the expert.

AS was the case with Last Nights Fun as pictured here when I put them on at Faldingworth, 2 year ago, before they split up.

http://www.faldingworthlive.co.uk/faldingworth_music_weekend_june_2007.htm
Scroll down until you come to Last Nights Fun.

I suppose the worst thing about having a bodhran in the wrong hands, is their inability to get the rythme correct, which I would assume, throws both singer and musician off what they are trying to do.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 10:06 AM

S-Jack certainly does offer excellent thoughts on the matter.

I especially agree with "pops and flash, fussy ornamentation". Simple rythyms SUPPORTING the music are much more enjoyable. The only time I ever used to do it was when I was featured... whistle and Hran duets, once in a while, are very enjoyable and give ample opportunity to demonstrate one's "abilities". The ability to support the music is lost on many beginners.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 06:41 PM

"A lot of the above posts sound like all the tune players are a bit good and all the Bods crap. is this really true?"

Well in the opinion of tune players yes.
I used to play bodrhan quite well and it is a pleasure to get in a session with some decent players and support the rhythm.
Then of course there are some very good players
whose ability matches their opinion of it, are not so up themselves and capable of playing the rhythm themselves so the Bodrhan gets a chance to play around.
More advanced playing is lost on the average session cos they are not up to it themselves.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 07:18 PM

He he

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 07:39 PM

"with some decent players and support the rhythm."
Always assuming that the music 'needs' supporting it seems to me that a certain amount of arrogance goes along with this statement.
Most proficient musicians do not need a rythmic prop - they are quite capable of playing in rythm unassisted.
All that a bodhran does (always assuming that they are capable of playing in rythm, which quite often they are not) is to accentuate the rythm to the detriment of the melody.
In a multi-instrumental session an average melody player can merge into the general sound - the nature of the instrument prevents this from happening with the bodhran - the words 'stick out' and sore thumb' spring to mind. In a session it is far easier to spot a poor goat basher than it is say, a flute or fiddle player, and there certainly seem to be a lot of them about.
As I said on an earlier thread, the presence of the bodhran changes the nature of the music; it is up to the drummer to judge whether this is acceptible to both the other musicians and the listeners before they take part - in other words, to wait until they are invited, and even then, act with a little discretion.
Last summer I witnessed one clown attempt to join in with a singer!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM

Here's my old roommate, friend & maker of the only bodhrans I own & play

Mance Grady, bodhran solo

The bodhran's name & it's players do take a bad beating from many other musicians, but all I can say is "fuck off"! Would you let a beginner accordian or fiddle player sit in your sessions. NO! You'd take them kindly aside (hopefull), show them where they can find a slow session or ask them to practice at home or play on the far side
of the room but you wouldn't let them come in by the half dozen every night. So why do you let drummers get away with it? I've been playing near 30 yrs & did my practicing at home or at least in private. When there are other bodhran players at a session I sit out & wait for the other drummers to have there spin which is more than I can say for a lot of the lead instrument players. I accompany myself when singing & don't have many that walk out or ask me not to play or sing again.
It's not the bodhran it's the player that makes or breaks it, it's the same as any instrument

To Sugar Jack above who says;
"Because the tune is the key and everything the music is is in the tune, and in it's purest form anything else is superfluous. Guitars and bouzoukis follow the harmonic structure of the tune, reflect the pulse and rhythm of the tune and (if played well, a caveat with any instrument of course) can add a depth and colour to a tune."

"The bodhran can't do this, and although some accomplished players (like Eoin O'Neill) can sort of play a tune on it, it strikes me as being more tonal shades rather than colourful notes. The gurgling water brigade attempt to get some of the subtly in, but you can count on one hand those that really can do this. Get more than one bodhran player in a session and it becomes a monotone racket. Good in bands, but never more than one at a session unless played well and sensitively."

Well Jack, how's it feel to have been sitting on your ears all these years, is your ass tired of listening to that same shit?

Percussion has been a part of near every genere of music from the beginning & some of the better player wouldn't have it with out the beat.
I was pushed to play along & join in by some very respected players. Players that during the 40's & 50's lead the Irish Dance Halls days in the Dudley St section of Boston & they're still playing trad sessions today in Boston. They'd no more look down on a drummer than a fiddle. You bunch of musical snobs. If a dr=ummer's just starting don't allow them in the session, treat them as a beginning fiddle player.

Rant over

Barry
y place with sax player & drummers with full kits







http://revver.com/video/289429/trouz-bras-courtship-bourree/


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 01:19 AM

"Always assuming that the music 'needs' supporting it seems to me that a certain amount of arrogance goes along with this statement"
Well Jim I am willing to concede that you are an expert on arrogance as
any who have followed your postings will be all too aware.
I am not an expert on anything so will leave it to you to explain the world to the rest of us.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 03:33 AM

I so agree Tim... us poor ignorant backwoods Folk are supposed to look up to such 'experts'... but then again, maybe we should just carry on in our old sweet ways... doing the things we know and love. On the lighter side... I guess I never actually saw a 'clown' in a Folk Club....at the circus maybe.... but sounds like they get everywhere these days.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 03:47 AM

LOL Shame though innit?


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 05:27 AM

Up come the barricades; pity - it was going quite well.
I am not an expert - just a long-time listener who has taken the trouble to ask the opinion of others (as I am doing on this thread, and which is a far cry from what many visiting bodhran players do when they sit in on our local sessions).
I have yet to hear anybody deny that the bodhran changes the nature of Irish music (does anybody bring a bodhran into a Scottish session?).
If it does, should that not be the decision of everybody concerned?
Yours in arrogance
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 06:06 AM

Why "33 1/3" ....

That is most kind of you.

As with all instruments, there are those that are lucky and those that are hopeful. Being a dancer certainly helps with rhythm.

And we all know the difference between a gynaecologist and a drummer. Don't we?


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,mauvepink
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 06:08 AM

Perhaps I have been lucky but of the several clubs I regularly attend the bodhran players I have encountered have always added more than they ever could detract from the sessions. I have a bodhran myself which I will not use until I get some proper instruction/tuition on as I rapidly became aware how invasive it can be to the simplest singaround. But that is in my hands. In the hands of someone who can play it I find it a remarkable instrument. I find no reason to deride it, or its players, abilities more than any other instrument.

Any instrument that is not played correctly will sound bad and detract from a session. I do not think the bodhran is unique in that and certainly deserves no 'singling out'. I do not believe I am that lucky to have experienced only good players. I do believe it can be easy to blame the bodhran for all sorts of mishaps but it would be lovely to see some reports here of what it adds to music and songs by it's presence.

Who can imagine all of folk music without the bodhran? I find it quite unthinkable!

Best wishes

mp


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 06:17 AM

There were two fine bodhran players at the "Ducie" sessions (Manchester) about thirty years ago. One was Vinny - I never knew his surname - and the other, Mo Green.

These two knew what not one bodhran player in twenty knows - that the bodhran plays TO THE MUSIC _ IT DOES NOT SET A SO-CALLED "RHYTHM" FOR IT.

There was one eejit who came to the Ducie who had a square bodhran.

'Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 07:37 AM

"that the bodhran plays TO THE MUSIC _ IT DOES NOT SET A SO-CALLED "RHYTHM" FOR IT."
Thank you for noticing that.
the bodrhan should dance,sing,follow and lead the same as any instrument played well in the context of a session.
If you get in a decent session with players who are accomplished enough to be unafraid of allowing that it sounds great and is great fun to play.
Of course some sessions are just a competition and the music comes a poor second to the ego's of all concerned.
Trouble is its more likely in the average session that all the instruments capable of playing the melody will all be doing just that, all at the same time, all the time.
Step back and let it flow?
Not very likely.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:05 AM

I think the question of whether a rhythm is set depends on what music is being played and how it is being played. Our ears have become steadily more accustomed to the (usually) 4/4 timing of most pop music (etc) and it is of the nature of folk music that it changes.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: The Villan
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:12 AM

Eat yer hearts out with this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB2tskWTyi8&feature=related


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:51 AM

Quite extraordinary.

The simple question is: Do you like it? It doesn't matter what other people think.

Isn't it the case that when more than one instrument is playing sympathetic notes are generated? The Bod can add to this.

Do you like it? It doesn't matter what other people think.

Two questions seem to arise:

1. Can the Bod player play well?
2. Do you like Bod players in your session?

I bet most of the people who follow this post won't read what the others have already posted.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:00 AM

Thanks for the link, Villan. It demonstrates the variety and the sonority to be found in good playing. It's interesting to note how deep (in measurement, not in pitch) Kelly's drum is.

In recent decades Irish (and similar) bands have taken two instruments and turned their roles around. They have turned the guitar into a rhythm instrument and have turned a simple drum into a solo instrument. Listen to the best solos on youtube, where the audience becomes totally silent, listening intently for each new variation, and you will see what I mean.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:05 AM

The bodhran is a simple frame drum Bryn, lots of square ones in other cultures.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:13 AM

Let's not forget the very first instrument, the stick.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:23 AM

'I bet most of the people who follow this post won't read what the others have already posted.'

That's not necessarily bad. Some threads are like a large room, where small groups have broken apart and are carrying on separate conversations. Right now there are two groups on this thread, those that are discussing bodhran care and technique, and those that are discussing (if you can call it that) how they feel about bodhrans in their own sessions.

It takes only a second or two to skim a post and see which group it's in.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 09:28 AM

Barry Finn, thanks for the link. Very fine playing.

What does the black tape around the perimeter of the drum do?


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,Sugarfoot Jack out and about
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 11:29 AM

Well Jack, how's it feel to have been sitting on your ears all these years, is your ass tired of listening to that same shit?

Nice. I'm not even anti-bodhran, as you will realise if you actually read my post. I make my own drums and have played for years.I'm learning flute at the moment and I don't take it to the session because I'm crap and it wouldn't be fair to inflict my playing on musicians I like and respect.

Like it or not as far as Irish tradtional music the tune is all you need, and any accompaniment is surplus to requirements so if it is present it should be tasteful and be taken as seriously as playing melody should.

Bryn - the bodhran player you saw at the Ducie was Vinnie Short, an excellent player and All-Ireland champion and a very nice guy who is an assset to any session he plays in.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,joyce bennion
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 11:50 AM

I have been going to sessions since the late 60's and I have experience of hearing many bodhran players.I can honestly say, in all that time that there were only half a dozen or so who could actually play well and enhance a session.I remember at one festival someone seling bodhrans and every session at that festival was ruined by people thinking that they could play bodhrans.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 02:18 PM

Guest Leeneia,

'I bet most of the people who follow this post won't read what the others have already posted.'

That's not necessarily bad.

Maybe not be people who don't set up a cycle of the same points over and over again.

What does it matter anyway?

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 03:28 PM

I often do not have time to read all of the posts of a thread thread but feel I would like to quickly comment on the first post (I always read the first post) or some post that caught my eye. In such cases, I usually start by saying, "I haven't read the whole thread..." Hopefully, this gives some insight as to why my post MIGHT be off in some manner.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 04:01 PM

Re that vid with John Joe Kelly...

Please forgive me Oh Great Hran, but I must speak the truth.

I was really into it! Great stuff until into his solo about three minutes. I had to turn it off because I was getting bored and rather annoyed that so much talent was being wasted, besides beginning to feel the drum in my head even tho I set the volume as LOW as it would go. I think he's great, but I believe he needed a lesson in "less is more" before he got on stage for that show.

Those three minutes before I turned it off could have easily been cut to 30 to 45 seconds and made far more impact than the monotony I witnessed.

And here's what really bothered me. When a performance repeats and repeats and... the performer(s) assume(s) that the entire audience is appreciative of the repetition. Now, I have never met anyone who would appreciate the amount of it in the three minutes I watched. And I used to practice and play for hours every day. But that was so I could do 30 to 60 seconds alone, whenever I was called upon, without pissing off the audience.

I can easily understand why even some of the finest Hran players are looked upon with trepidation by some peeps when they take the stage. And he is not the only one whose skills I admire but would not want to see live. Another Hranner of note mentioned on this thread was revered by me until I saw him perform live. I left the show halfway thru. He was much better on his tapes... maybe because the studio gets paid by the hour?

So, I believe Hran is good, but subject to all the same pitfalls as any other instrument, even when masters fall in the pit.

Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 04:10 PM

Something I try and bear in mind when I play is that although I am may be putting a lot of work into the skin what comes out is obviously joining the mix of other players and a lot of the fine detail is lost .
This is not the case when the drum is recorded or even(Gasp!) amplified.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 06:04 PM

Any instrument can add to OR detract from a session ! I dabble at Guitar , Banjo , Mandolin and Whistle and REALLY enjoy playing with other musicians ! However , I DONT know ALL the tunes that may be played at asession , so I keep the Volume RIGHT down while I am finding my way , and the same is true of a LOT of 'rahn players I know !
Once I feel comfortable that I wont blow either the Chords or the melody , I get a bit louder , but only play at full chat IF Its MY tune and I am lead instrument .
Its called basic Ettiquette , and all musos should spend as much effort LISTENING at a session as playing , wether they are Fiddle . flute , Guitar OR Bodhran !


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 06:06 PM

Particularly if they are the nominal session leader.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 07:37 PM

Leadfingers
All spot on advice and common courtesy .


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:11 PM

Terry... wise words indeed. A voice of reason, a gentleman, as always.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Aug 09 - 08:38 PM

This guy holds the attention for more than a minute, no?

Abbas Bakhtiari on the daf

The daf has a few millenia of collective experience more than the bodhran behind it, and it shows.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 04:56 AM

Isn't most of the music played in Sessions essentially dance music? In that most of it, especially the old stuff was created and played for social dance?

The Session then is a development or evolution of that dance tradition? Did Dance Bands have drummers? Well not always and probably not in small social occasions in peoples houses but drums of all sorts seem to be a regular part of dance music.

This doesn't mean that Sessions need drummers - they can do what they like - but it does suggest that drummers have been part of the tradition of social dance music even when only spoons etc were used.
Cheers

L in C
Last Tuesday of the month Tunes in the Beech tonight


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 06:15 AM

Thing is, bodhran playing in the normal modern style is not dance-friendly. In a practical dance band in just about any genre, from Chinese lion dancing to Bulgarian horas to rock and roll to Scottish country dance, the drummer is providing the sound the dancers are really listening to, and so the drum accentuates the primary beats of the tune, HARD. If they have to cue in to the melody instruments against a percussion part that doesn't exactly track the tune, they will often get lost. In most dance music genres you could work out what the tune was just by listening to the percussion part. For almost all dance tunes of the British Isles, you will have to batter out recognizable 8-bar phrases to tell the dancers exactly where they are in each successive figure. If the tune repeats, so must the rhythmic pattern you play.

Very, very few bodhran players can play like that. Usually they think only at the level of a single generic bar - beating out a 6/8 or 2/2 metre, with no thought of coordinating it to specific phrases of specific melodies. It's quite common for bodhran players to not even know when the tune stops, and carry on beating after the end. If you don't even know how long the tune is, what do you think you can add to it?

The percussion instrument I went for is the washboard, because I could see straight off how to reproduce the drum patterns of a Scottish country dance band on it - it's the world's most portable drumkit. I taught myself by listening very damn carefully to country dance, ceilidh band and pipe band snare drummers. There are very few tunes I accompany on it that I couldn't also play on a melody instrument - I know exactly how the rhythmic phrasing of each tune goes. But there's no reason why a bodhran couldn't be played in a similarly precise style - Middle Eastern and Basque players manage it all the time on tambourines and frame drums. The problem isn't the bodhran in itself, it's the toxically stupid style that's evolved in the Irish music scene in the last 40 years, which does nothing for Irish music and even less for other idioms it's applied to.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 06:28 AM

"Isn't most of the music played in Sessions essentially dance music?"
Thereby hangs the problem. It was at one time; it no longer is.
People who choose to go to sessions now do so to listen not to dance and the music that gets the most attention (around here) is invariably the unnaccompanied playing.
According to the long article on the bodhran in Fintan Vallely's 'Companion To Irish Traditional Music' it "has become a phenomenal irish music icon since the 1960s.

"The bodhran was played artistically in Irish music only in certain areas prior to the 1960s. As Micheal O Suilleabhain said in his address to the 1996 Crossroads Conference: 'If you just go back a small bit, the bodhran was played one day a year. All the old lads I talked to around 1970/71 told me "you take out the bodhran any day of the year other tlian 26 December and you're mad. Its like wearing shamrock on the First of June"."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 06:38 AM

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm,

Thanks jack and Jim, thoughtful and to the point.

"The problem isn't the bodhran in itself, it's the toxically stupid style that's evolved in the Irish music scene in the last 40 years, which does nothing for Irish music and even less for other idioms it's applied to."

I'd never expect experience on the washboard to be used in a discussion about Bods but your argument is convincing Jack.

I run a Beginners Session at which between 10 and 20 people turn up some the same and some not. I found any decent percussion, and we do get good and not so good, most reassuring as be play through the usual mixture of country dance tunes.

We went to Cuba last year and were mesmerized by the music, not least by the part played by percussion.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Leadfingers
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 07:21 AM

Irish Music in sessions has 'progressed' in the last twenty years or so from being dance tunes to effectively being a competition to see who can play fastest and flashest , in the same way that Commercial Bluegrass has lost all connection to the Old Time music it evolved from , with the result that all the nuances of most of the music is completely lost !


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 08:04 AM

Isn't most of the music played in Sessions essentially dance music? In that most of it, especially the old stuff was created and played for social dance?

when tunes that are not danceable start, they usually don't get many followers. The non-rhytmical tunes are harder to follow and usually the leader is alone because his rubato runs to a different candence. And as a result they seem to be less popular, thank goodness.

There are those who dance at sessions! Take the Cajun night with the Boat Band at Sidmouth. The dancing was positively encouraged and tunes were all danceable if you could two-step or Mamou.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 01:18 PM

Mr Fingers, your comparison of the evolution of Irish sessions with that of Bluegrass is a very interesting one.

I enjoy Irish tunes but I don't think I will ever be able to play at that speed and so as with Bluegrass some of us are excluded.

I plug my Tunes Session as Beginners and we play some Irish and alot of English very slowly. I guess some of us may collect together and play a bit quicker but the main aim is to be as inclusive as we can

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM

Paraphrased from what I wrote in another thread:
It is a myth that (at least some) bodhranistas play bodhrans because they can't play anything else.
Sorry to disappoint you: I play a lot of other instruments. I just happen to LIKE drums, and CHOOSE to play them. I DON'T insist on playing along with everything, and I DO listen to the tunes, probably know them better than some of the off-tune fiddle scrapers! And I can keep time as well as the Speaking clock.
Of the various musicians (on a variety of instruments)that I play with, some are good at listening to what's going on around them, some are not: just get their heads down and play whatever it is at whatever speed they like. I have been known to stop playing because it was like time lapse photography, all doing their own thing!
The bodhran can be and do so many different things too, depending on the type of music played:
Apart from the usual jigs and reels,with a bit of practice and knowledge of rhythms you can play jazz, rock (with backbeat), calypso, "Big bass drum" as per some Morris bands, Latin American, pipe band rhythms, etc.
And it CAN be used to good effect with certain songs, but be sure it's either yourself that's singing or someone's asked you to play!
Yes, and most of all, know when not to play. (And if I hear one more boring old chestnut joke about that - OMG, how many more times do we have to have them thrown at us? - ..................polite words fail me! I shall start throwing Stanley knives about!


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: gnu
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 09:21 PM

Thanks for the thread and the discussion. I have been messing with my Hrans, slightly because of my ganglion, for the first time in months. Kinda fun. Brings back memories.


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 25 Aug 09 - 09:23 PM

There are good guitar/fiddle/mandolin/bodhran etc. etc. players and there are those who are not so good.

Therefore; It's not the instrument!

CC


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:07 AM

And rained stopped play. Or maybe not?

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: skarpi
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM

how many threads are about Bodhrán ?

if you got the rythm in you heart and soul , respect the other s
who are playin with you on that session , and you know that the bodhrán
is not the lead instrument in the session , you ´ll be fine .


there are rules to follow , and thats what I do , and I never get into trouble , and this I learned in session in a pub called "
Mahara inn " in Newcastle co.down N-Ireland when I played
few yers ago in a big session .

all the best Skarpi Iceland


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:24 AM

Hi Leeneia
"What does the black tape around the perimeter of the drum do?"

I beleive it's decorative and doubles as a personnal trademark

Barry


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 08:33 AM

It's also used to mend electrical faults in the amplifier that is obviously, but very careful, attached to Bods

L in C


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: romanyman
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 04:41 PM

IM with the band, and other lies told by bodhran players


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Subject: RE: A thread about Bodhrans and Bodhran play
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:01 PM

Glasnost?


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