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Do folk people like the Bodhran?

GUEST,FraggleRock 18 Apr 10 - 10:21 AM
Rob Naylor 18 Apr 10 - 10:59 AM
Rob Naylor 18 Apr 10 - 11:02 AM
Crane Driver 18 Apr 10 - 11:06 AM
Leadfingers 18 Apr 10 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,guest - Jim Younger 18 Apr 10 - 12:25 PM
Dave Hanson 18 Apr 10 - 12:28 PM
Fred McCormick 18 Apr 10 - 12:31 PM
bubblyrat 18 Apr 10 - 12:43 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 10 - 01:17 PM
greg stephens 18 Apr 10 - 01:41 PM
Darowyn 18 Apr 10 - 01:44 PM
Mo the caller 18 Apr 10 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Apr 10 - 02:12 PM
JHW 18 Apr 10 - 03:04 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 10 - 03:09 PM
Howard Jones 18 Apr 10 - 03:44 PM
skarpi 18 Apr 10 - 03:53 PM
buddhuu 18 Apr 10 - 05:21 PM
Tangledwood 18 Apr 10 - 06:06 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 10 - 06:09 PM
Bat Goddess 18 Apr 10 - 06:24 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Apr 10 - 06:25 PM
buddhuu 18 Apr 10 - 06:27 PM
MartinRyan 18 Apr 10 - 06:31 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Apr 10 - 07:57 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Apr 10 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,Learaí na Láibe 18 Apr 10 - 08:46 PM
Soldier boy 18 Apr 10 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,Sceptic 18 Apr 10 - 11:29 PM
Rob Naylor 19 Apr 10 - 02:40 AM
GUEST,Fragglerock 19 Apr 10 - 03:07 AM
SteveMansfield 19 Apr 10 - 03:18 AM
OlgaJ 19 Apr 10 - 03:53 AM
katlaughing 19 Apr 10 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 19 Apr 10 - 04:46 AM
Ralphie 19 Apr 10 - 05:14 AM
Dave Hanson 19 Apr 10 - 05:39 AM
Howard Jones 19 Apr 10 - 05:50 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 10 - 05:54 AM
Morris-ey 19 Apr 10 - 06:03 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 10 - 06:25 AM
skarpi 19 Apr 10 - 06:40 AM
kendall 19 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Apr 10 - 06:49 AM
Mo the caller 19 Apr 10 - 07:20 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 10 - 07:39 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Apr 10 - 08:18 AM
Zen 19 Apr 10 - 08:24 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 19 Apr 10 - 08:45 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 19 Apr 10 - 11:53 AM
manitas_at_work 19 Apr 10 - 11:58 AM
Tim Leaning 19 Apr 10 - 11:59 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 10 - 12:05 PM
Tootler 19 Apr 10 - 02:34 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 10 - 03:17 PM
s&r 19 Apr 10 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Conor O'Brien 19 Apr 10 - 03:48 PM
ruairiobroin 19 Apr 10 - 03:53 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 10 - 04:04 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 10 - 04:48 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM
Tootler 19 Apr 10 - 07:00 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Apr 10 - 07:01 PM
Tootler 19 Apr 10 - 07:52 PM
Tim Leaning 19 Apr 10 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,mg 19 Apr 10 - 08:04 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Apr 10 - 08:39 PM
EBarnacle 19 Apr 10 - 09:41 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 10 - 02:22 AM
Howard Jones 20 Apr 10 - 03:45 AM
MartinRyan 20 Apr 10 - 04:10 AM
Tim Leaning 20 Apr 10 - 04:15 AM
Tim Leaning 20 Apr 10 - 04:19 AM
manitas_at_work 20 Apr 10 - 05:01 AM
MartinRyan 20 Apr 10 - 05:07 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 10 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,Buddhuu 20 Apr 10 - 05:36 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Apr 10 - 07:02 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Apr 10 - 07:16 AM
Bonzo3legs 20 Apr 10 - 07:21 AM
goatfell 20 Apr 10 - 07:33 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 10 - 07:43 AM
Bernard 20 Apr 10 - 07:51 AM
SteveMansfield 20 Apr 10 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 10 - 08:55 AM
Morris-ey 20 Apr 10 - 08:59 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 10 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,buddhuu 20 Apr 10 - 09:55 AM
manitas_at_work 20 Apr 10 - 10:03 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Apr 10 - 10:26 AM
buddhuu 20 Apr 10 - 10:31 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Apr 10 - 10:46 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Apr 10 - 10:49 AM
buddhuu 20 Apr 10 - 11:15 AM
Tim Leaning 20 Apr 10 - 11:19 AM
Tim Leaning 20 Apr 10 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Gary The Hut People 20 Apr 10 - 11:38 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Apr 10 - 11:43 AM
dick greenhaus 20 Apr 10 - 11:56 AM
goatfell 20 Apr 10 - 12:19 PM
GUEST,Penda 20 Apr 10 - 01:05 PM
Mavis Enderby 20 Apr 10 - 01:12 PM
Zen 20 Apr 10 - 01:34 PM
Jack Campin 20 Apr 10 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,guest - Jim Younger 20 Apr 10 - 02:42 PM
Bonzo3legs 20 Apr 10 - 03:42 PM
Mavis Enderby 20 Apr 10 - 04:36 PM
s&r 20 Apr 10 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 Apr 10 - 05:50 AM
Tim Leaning 21 Apr 10 - 07:42 AM
Mo the caller 21 Apr 10 - 09:29 AM
OlgaJ 21 Apr 10 - 10:04 AM
buddhuu 21 Apr 10 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Gary-The Hut People 21 Apr 10 - 07:01 PM
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Subject: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,FraggleRock
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 10:21 AM

I'm thinking of learning the Bodhran, but I'm wondering how it will be received.

I mainly mix in English folk circles, and don't want to be criticised every time I get an Irish instrument out.

So, my question basically is: Would it be welcomed or frowned upon?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 10:59 AM

I don't think anyone would bitch about it being an Irish instrument in an English folk setting. I don't think, in tgeneral, that we're that parochial!

It's not *that* different to a tabor, after all.

I think what upsets people is the bodhran being plpayed *badly* , as it often is. When it's over-intrusive, or not following the music (the bodhran should follow the music, not give the beat to it)then it can ruin a song or tue very quickly.

So I reckon it would be welcome...IF you learn to play it properly in private before trying it out in public!!!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 11:02 AM

Apooologies fer the appaulling speeling abuve!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 11:06 AM

Depends how well you play it. The fact that you are 'thinking of learning to play' is a good sign - too many people seem to think you don't need to learn, you just hit it.

Don't try to play along with everything. And don't join in when there is already lots of percussion - I saw one festival 'session' with one fiddler and six bodhrans - not a good mix.

Of course there will be banter and insults - the bodhran is one of the instruments that is traditionally maligned, like the banjo and accordion. Played well, they can really lift the music - played badly, they can swamp it.

So it's not an English folk instrument? Neither is the guitar. It's what you do with it that counts.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 12:09 PM

Surely the Bodhran , like the Bazouki has only recently become an Irish instrument !


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,guest - Jim Younger
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 12:25 PM

No particular feelings one way or another - but I once heard a bodhran player start to join in with three women singing Babes in the Wood. At the time I thought the idea crass (and the singers soon gave him "the look") but now ... well, it's a very broad church out in folkspace, and such a combo might be thought of as innovative. Which reminds me of the Geiger Brothers (anyone remember them?) Gary on lead bodhran, Garth on rhythm bodhran, Glenn on bass bodhran and Jonathan Ague on drums. Their 'Shadows Walk" as priceless.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 12:28 PM

Frame drums have been used all over the world for a long time.

It's the bad players who make people dislike it, in the right hands it's a pretty good instrument.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 12:31 PM

Leadfingers. No, the bodhrán seems to go way back, but its use was mainly and mercifully confined to parties of wren boys until Sean O' Riada incorporated it into Ceoltóirí Chualann in the 1960s. Indeed, I may be wrong, but I think the first real public airing it got was in the sountrack of the film Playboy of the Western World, for which O' Riada arranged the music.

Crane driver. Wise words. The reason most people, me included, have come to detest the bodhrán is simply that it's all too often seen as an easy option by people who aren't capable of playing anything else. The result is that bodhráns are typically too loud, badly played and far too numerous.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 12:43 PM

Always wanted to play one,but couldn't quite get the hang of it !! So I now play Cajon instead,and am loving it !!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 01:17 PM

Yes, as long as they are not played in sessions.
Mine looks great hanging on the wall.
Suggest you look out Con 'Fada' O'Drisceoil's song, 'The Spoons Murder' and apply the sentiments to the bodhran.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 01:41 PM

They make a great tray for carrying a round of drinks for the musicians.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Darowyn
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 01:44 PM

Do folk people like the bodhran?
Of course they don't!
You will always find someone in the folk world who hates anything.
Whether it's a guitar, spoons, something electric, a banjo, a bouzouki, accompanied ballads, unaccompanied ballads, Irish songs, American songs, brass instruments... anything at all.
The reason is always the same though.
They say it's not what they call Folk.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 01:57 PM

We used to dance to a band that had an excellent one-handed Bodhran player. A real asset.
Now we go to a session that has several bodhran players, some of whom can keep time. Its interesting the different sounds they can get by using a brush thingy instead of a beater sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 02:12 PM

"I'm thinking of learning the Bodhran, but I'm wondering how it will be received."

What do you mean, "learning it"? Surely you just bang it with a little stick, don't you?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: JHW
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 03:04 PM

Mostly I would say folk people don't like the bodhran for very reason that your regular bodhran user believes "Surely you just bang it with a little stick, don't you?"
Wonderful to hear as a solo instrument played by one who can.
Bodhran players yes. Bodhran users no thanks.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 03:09 PM

"They say it's not what they call Folk."
No we don't - we hate it because it's an intrusive racket 'played' by people who haven't been able to learn a proper instrument.
Don't make statements on behalf of others.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 03:44 PM

The frame drum, with and without jingles, has a place in English dance music. However if you're going to use it for English music, learn to play English rhythms - they have a different pulse from Irish rhythms. To play for English music, don't play it like an Irish bodhran.

If you're going to play percussion, then you should do so for the right reasons. Many people seem to think it's the easy option, because they want to join in but don't want to make the effort to learn a "proper" instrument. In fact, percussion is very difficult to get right and requires just as much effort to learn as other instruments. The effect on a session when a percussionist gets it wrong is far greater than when other instrumentalists make a mistake, which is why poor players of the bodhran and other percussion receive so much criticism.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: skarpi
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 03:53 PM

I play guitars ,bass and drums and a Bodhrán in my band ...
are you playing solo , or in the band or in session´s , you have to learn it all some don´t like some does .

like in session , if you start playing in first part of a tune
its not likely to be taken well , if you start after the first then
its okei but you also have to know how to play .

all the best Skarpi


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: buddhuu
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 05:21 PM

If you're going to play bodhran you're going to have to put up with the same relentless stream of old, unimaginitive bodhran "jokes" from clueless wankers that the rest of us have had to put up with for years.

Many years ago, the legendary piper Seamus Ennis quipped that the best way to play a bodhran was with a penknife. As Ennis was a towering figure in trad music, it obviously became fashionable to affect dislike for the instrument. Many of those who slag it off don't even know why they are not supposed to like it. LOL.

The comments about people who don't bother learning to play properly before inflicting their efforts on people are fair enough, and often justified. There is, however, nothing wrong with the bodhran itself.

If you want to learn it go ahead, but please learn it.

Tell the piss-takers to feck off. Half of them are crap on their instruments too.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 06:06 PM

At a friends house-warming party a couple of years ago a solo male singer was accompanied by three bodhrans, no other instruments. I'm not sure now if they used very light tippers or brushes, or just finger tips but the overall effect made me think of the patter of rain on the roof. It was wonderful and ever since I've longed to hear it again.

Disregarding instrument types or music genres, most people will welcome an instrument played well and cringe at one played badly.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 06:09 PM

"Tell the piss-takers to feck off. Half of them are crap on their instruments too."
No, tell the no-brainers who think that adding percussion to linear music (usually uninvited) improves it, and to go off and learn some manners (and a little musical sensitivity).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 06:24 PM

It's like the old joke -- Q - "What do you call people who hang out with musicians?" A - "Drummers."

As long as you're not interfering, no one will object. If you have ANY question as to whether the bodhran (or any other instrument, rhythm or otherwise) is appropriate, don't play. Or play so quietly it can't be heard as interfering. If you don't feel you're "good enough" yet, don't stop coming to sessions, just play along VERY quietly. You can't get good if you're not playing with other musicians.

The most important lesson to learn is to learn when NOT to play.

And don't play along with a singer unless the singer wants you to.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 06:25 PM

The best bodhran "player" in the world could turn up to any decent Irish session and be completely unable to add anything at all to the tunes. All the rhythmic and percussive drive needed to play this music is already present in the tunes. This is a point completely misunderstood by bodhran owners. You spend five minutes learning to bash the skin instead of scuffing it, you get the bodhran video and you think you're going to be an asset to a session in a trice. Get real. The people playing the tunes have spent hours, days, weeks, months, years learning their instruments and more years learning tunes, and here you are are bashing a frickin' goat skin on tunes you don't know for all its worth after a few short-cut hours. Do yourself a favour. Leave the drum at home and learn to play an instrument.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: buddhuu
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 06:27 PM

Not all bodhran players are like that, but we all have to put up with the bullshit.

Why generalise? Some of us play many other instruments too and are well aware of which contexts call for the drum and which don't.

Tell the no-brainers if you want, and I'll support you, but don't display ignorance by tarting all with the same brush.

The instrument is fine.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 06:31 PM

"Do folk people like the ----?"

Fill in the gaps to taste - the answer will alway be the same - NO!

The point is that, as a race, we're pathologically individual. Even when we do agree on something, the condition is temporary - that's why we survive from generation to generation.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 07:57 PM

FFS! It is very simple in concept. Some versions of some songs (and many tunes if not slow airs) are done in rhythm. A such thing done in rhythm is augmented by a rhythm section that is in the right place in relation to the beat - and then it is the job of the melody people to hit the beat or be wrong.

OTOH some are not so done. Then it is the job of any drum or percussion or other "rhythm section" instrument to guess in advance where the accent is coming next, or whether silence is golden.

Getting it right in context is always a separate question.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 08:30 PM

It isn't no-brainers, bullshit or generalising. There are those of us, existing in droves, who have played traditional music for decades, been blighted by enthusiastic but completely bloody useless bodhranistas who think they're the dog's danglies and who, in all that time, have not once come upon one who is even half competent, let alone an asset. Bodhran players who claim to be good at it are like dog owners who claim that their dogs never shit.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Learaí na Láibe
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 08:46 PM

The Bodhrán was first introduced to a large Irish audience, well before Seán O Riada set up Ceoltóirí Chualainn. The drama "Sive" by the Kerry playwright John B. Keane was first produced in early 1959 and went on to become a popular success. The bodhrán was used to great effect to accompany a song which was sung in seperate parts throughout the play. Perhaps Seán Ó Riada, who at that time was exploring traditional music saw that play. Of course Ó Riada's endorsement of the instrument helped greatly in the spread of its popularity.

Kohn B. Keane was from Listowel where the bodhrán was used by the Wran Boys. The Wran Boy tradition is still strong in the area.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Soldier boy
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 08:58 PM

I've heard the Bodhran played wonderfully by very skilled players where it was so good it made my hair stand on end.

Unfortunately however this is a very rare experience.

I have heard so many stories from people who are perfectly skilled at playing the guitar,violin,mandolin,accordian etc etc who then get hitched to a wife/husband/partner who wants to then learn to play an instrument so they can join them in sessions and not feel left out.
And too often (unfortunately) when they ask what they could possibly learn to play they are directed towards learning to play the Bodhran because they think that it is easy to play and also not too expensive.

Unfortunately (again), from my experience, they are usually terrible and only about 5% of Bodhran players are any good.
The rest are bordering on inept and useless and can easily completely destroy/disrupt/desecrate a session in absolute happy ignorance/oblivion/blindness to the damage they are doing.
Their ability to fail to keep and hold the correct tempo and rhythm never fails to surprise and amuse me.

So, GUEST Fragglerock, unless you put the time in to learn to play the Bodhran really really well and have an innate sense of rhythm and beat don't even think about learning the Bodhran unlesss you, like the majority of Bodhran players, want to make a complete fool of yourself!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Sceptic
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 11:29 PM

Did anyone consider the possibility that Herr Fraggle Rock was a troll? Seems like this thread was started to provoke the predictably indignant response.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 02:40 AM

But it hasn't provoked an "indignant response".

It's "provoked" a set of perfectly reasonable responses highlighing that the bodhran itself isn't disliked in folk circles, but that inept, intrusive playing of it is.

If (s)he was hoping to provoke some kind of spluttering blanket condemnation it didn't work, did it?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Fragglerock
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:07 AM

Thanks for all your answers. I take it all on board! Bought one anyway and will have fun, but whether it ever goes outside my door remains to be seen.

The only thing I play well at a session at the moment is the 568ml glass recepticle...


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:18 AM

John Jo Kelly playing bodhran in Flook or the Michael McGoldrick band, a brilliant and appropriate contribution.

Acutely dysrhythmic egomaniac, over-enthusiastically belabouring a £99 bodhran in a variable-speed approximation of the off-beat whilst someone's trying to play a slow air .... not so good.

There isn't a musical instrument in the world that can't be played extraordinarily badly and/or in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's just that a noticeable proportion of bodhran owners seem to think that the previous statement doesn't apply to them.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:53 AM

I've been running occasional bodhran workshops (by invitation so I assume some people at least like my playing)for around 15 years and have taught people ranging from those who genuinely want to learn to play the bodhran as an instrument to those who want something to do for an hour or two as they can no longer keep up with dance workshops. I always emphasise the need to play sensitively and if you can't hear the instrument next to you you are probably playing too loud.

What really annoys me is musicians (ones who can play a 'proper' instrument) who insist on bring along a bodhran to 'accompany'tunes and songs they don't know. They then proceed to bash the hell out of the skin and completely spoil someone else's turn. To an extent this also applies to cajons which seem to be creeping into sessions in considerable numbers. Like the bodhran it is a great instument in the right hands but can be ruined by over-enthusiasm. If there seems to be a lot of loud percussion I now make a point of putting my drum down so that people don't think its me!!

In response to one of the above I am the partner of a proper musician who encouraged me when I decided to learn to play the bodhran many years ago. If I was no good at it he certainly wouldn't let me play in his band- and I certainly wouldn't have been complemented on my playing in sessions in Ireland!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 04:08 AM

Love them, esp. when well-played: AS in this!:-)


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 04:46 AM

First of all, what is a folk person?

I'm one and Jim Carroll obviously isn't...

Or is he, and I'm not?

Or what about tree huggers and burnt out hippies? Or aged boozers using folk clubs as an excuse for a drink? Or sensitive people who see it as the most appropriate medium in song to express their feelings?

I reckon threads like this can only be answered once the "what is folk" thread has been addressed.

And in order to do that, we may have to be prepared to shoot some people......

Ok, the bodhran. I play one. Badly, but I play it. I play it to linear music (whatever that means, and I am supposed to be "classically trained.")   I have a mate who plays it wonderfully.

The difference? Err.. not much really. if you want to hear anything played really well, either go to a concert where you are aware of who is playing, or take pot luck that a good musician is doing a floor turn at a folk club.

But whatever you, do, don't get sucked in by those who have to put labels on everything, who judge the quality of spontaneous fun. After all, they are about as accurate as the iTunes genre label....


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Ralphie
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 05:14 AM

For playing Frame Drum in English music, look no further than Martin Brinsford (Old Swan Band and Brass Monkey). Plays frame drum and harmonica simultaneously. So, yes it can work, if you can play it.
(Don't get me started on shaky eggs though!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 05:39 AM

The trouble stems from players who do not know when NOT to play, this applies to all bad musicians but is particularly prevalent with bodhran and shaky egg players, Raglan Road doesn't need a bodhran accompaniement, but the local twathead bodhran player thinks it does.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 05:50 AM

There is nothing wrong with "spontaneous fun". However some people like to play music well, and hear it played well. It is perfectly possible to do this in a session, but problems arise when the two approaches try to combine in the same session.

Good percussionists can add to the music. Unfortunately they are vastly outnumbered by those who just see it as a way of joining in. Far too often good percussionists are forced to stop playing when the thumpers and bashers join in, because they can no longer make a contribution to the music.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 05:54 AM

It really isn't anything to do with good and bad players - it is the limitations of the instrument itself.
As well as it might be played, its very nature makes it intrusive in a session of good musicians and it turns an average session into muzak.
It has been around for a long time, yet it wasn't absorbed into the music in Ireland until Sean O'Riarda (a classical musician) deliberately introduced it. It was an instrument played at rituals such as 'The Wran'; the old musicians were clear on this when they were asked about it. Ennis wasn't the only one to despise it, most musicians I've talked to regard it as irriating as spoons or coins banged on tables or glasses.
See the long article on it in Fintan Vallely's 'Companion to Irish Music' (somewhere on another bodhran thread).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:03 AM

De Danann had no problem with Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh...


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:25 AM

"De Danann had no problem with Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh... "
De-Danann were concert performers doing something else with the music and not session musicians, as are The Chieftains (brainchildren of O'Riarda).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: skarpi
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:40 AM

I went to N-Ireland in County down -Newcastle in a bar
called Mha hara inn ? words may not be right :O)
and I took my drum out and there was an old man playing
bodhrán and I watch him for some tunes...and then he said now you
play ? witch I did ..and there a flute player also as fiddle player
and they told how the session was build up and how I would come into tunes when they would play ...I learned alot there , they where friendly
and liked the drumm ...but as the old said play it from your heart
and your feelings for the song , listen to chieftains , De Danann
listen to other s on cd ..learn from them ...go to sessions
ask before you play ...let them tell you if something is wrong
if you don´t do that you never can fix if somethings are not working right . and don´t listen to those good people who don´t like bodhrán
if they have a problem , then its their propblem not yours . :O)
all the best Skarpi Iceland .


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: kendall
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:46 AM

An Irish instrument? Someone should tell the Corries.

Old Maine saying: "I'd rather hear a fiddler's diddling than a diddlers fiddling."


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:49 AM

"The best bodhran "player" in the world could turn up to any decent Irish session and be completely unable to add anything at all to the tunes. All the rhythmic and percussive drive needed to play this music is already present in the tunes. This is a point completely misunderstood by bodhran owners. You spend five minutes learning to bash the skin instead of scuffing it, you get the bodhran video and you think you're going to be an asset to a session in a trice. Get real. The people playing the tunes have spent hours, days, weeks, months, years learning their instruments and more years learning tunes, and here you are are bashing a frickin' goat skin on tunes you don't know for all its worth after a few short-cut hours. Do yourself a favour. Leave the drum at home and learn to play an instrument."

Apply the above to all instruments
A lot of sessions are peopled by mediocre twats who think they are gods gift to whatever instrument they happen to have chosen to play.
They dont want anyone to join them because they want to carry on doing exactly what it is they are doing.
Nothing wrong with that and there are many exceptions.
Get your drum find some fiddlers guitarists bassoonists etc who are of a like mind,and pick a dozen tunes to play.
Play them in your own way every session for years. enjoy the craic and be obnoxious to any who dare to wish to join in unless they fit the group socially.
Thats how sessions are made and spread have fun.

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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:20 AM

Olga said
"I've been running occasional bodhran workshops (by invitation so I assume some people at least like my playing)for around 15 years and have taught people ranging from those who genuinely want to learn to play the bodhran as an instrument to those who want something to do for an hour or two as they can no longer keep up with dance workshops."
That sounds like Whitby; the chance to sample something completely unexpected when legs and brain are surfeited with dancing. I found myself with a set of pipes under my arm once, and I'd only gone into the pub to make sure I was early enough for a session.
All good fun, and a glimpse of taster of all sorts.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:39 AM

"Thats how sessions are made and spread have fun"
May be the way sessions are made, but its no way to make listenable music.
I have seen more sessions around here naused up by bodhran players than any other 'instrument' (giving it the benefit of the doubt). It's always the visitors; we have hundreds of good musicians living around here (a good percentage of them youngsters), but none of them 'play' bodhrans.
The problem is that an inexperienced fiddle player will work to improve - goat-abusers seem to think they have come into the world fully formed, so they don't bother.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 08:18 AM

SO Jim you must be the inexperienced fiddle player you speak of?
Maybe not so perhaps you have personal experience of Bodhran playing?
I guess you must have spent hours learning to play one or the other to become such a wise and wonderful arbiter on the merits of each as and instrument.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Zen
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 08:24 AM

As well as it might be played, its very nature makes it intrusive in a session of good musicians and it turns an average session into muzak.

"The best bodhran "player" in the world could turn up to any decent Irish session and be completely unable to add anything at all to the tunes.

These are opinions, not facts. I've been playing in sessions for over 40 years and, while a bad player (or worse multiple bad players) can cause problems, a good bodhran player can add a lot to a session.

I'm primarily a tune player and session organiser by the way... not a bodhran player.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 08:45 AM

Here is something I did in way back 1995

http://www.ceolas.org/instruments/bodhran/cheesecake.shtml

bodhran cheesecake

When one day a bodhrani was playing very fast his thumb started to bleed
blood shot out......

The crowd yelled out......

TIPPER GORE!

(the name of the then vice president al gore's wife)

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 11:53 AM

Good Bodhran playing can be great, poor Bodhran playing can be.. perplexing!

Otherwise unaccompanied vocals can sound pretty striking with a solid drummed accompaniment.

Christie Moore singing and drumming 'the well below the valley' here, remembering that the Bodhran was originally a war drum, I think the drumming adds a great deal of stress and tension to the already challenging lyrics lyrics: Well below the valley (a similar rendering my be found on the Magdalene Sisters soundtrack)


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 11:58 AM

War drum? I thought it was for winnowing!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 11:59 AM

I am sure there was a version of Patrick was a gentleman on vinyl from one of the bands Mr Moore was part of.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 12:05 PM

No Tim, just been listening to the music for thirty odd years and interviewing traditional musicians talking about it.
Surely you're not one of these divas who believe that only musicians have a right to an opinion on music (and then only offer favourable ones)- are you ?
As I said, we are surrounded by excellent musicians here and one thing they have in common is an antipathy of bodhrans.
Why are you people so negatively defensive - come on let's hear how the music would have died without you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 02:34 PM

No Tim, just been listening to the music for thirty odd years and interviewing traditional musicians talking about it.
Surely you're not one of these divas who believe that only musicians have a right to an opinion on music (and then only offer favourable ones)- are you?


Of course you are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but I would take a great deal more notice of an opinion from someone who plays an instrument than from someone who does not.

Learning to play an instrument gives you a totally different perspective on that instrument and on playing instruments in general.

By commenting the way you do in this thread, I would suggest you are stepping outside your area of expertise.

I ended up briefly in an ad hoc percussion section at a recorder playing day (no part for contrabass in the piece they were playing at that time) and it gave me a great deal more respect for percussionists generally. As to trying to read a percussion part from notation - definitely interesting. Most of those playing in the main recorder group seemed to think we were OK, I thought we were dreadful - it was fun though :-)

Well played, percussion can add to any musical session, badly played it can destroy the session. Those who say that you need to learn to play the Bodrhan properly before you attempt to play in sessions are spot on. It has to be treated like any other instrument in that respect and you need to at least learn the basics. However once you are confident you have a decent feel for rhythm, then playing in a session is one way in which you can improve. You can only get so far playing on your own. Playing with others is a whole different game and the only way to learn to play effectively with others is.....















to play with others.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:17 PM

"Learning to play an instrument gives you a totally different perspective on that instrument and on playing instruments in general."
Then why do bodhran players...?
Sorry Tootler - your attitude smacks of elitism.
Just ask yourself - why are bodhrans so universally hated?
"Jimmy the Brit"
I see we've acquired a skulker in the shadows!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: s&r
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:42 PM

Last time I was in Clare we joined in a session in the local pub: the cook was from somewhere in India, and joined in the sessions with everyone on an Indian drum (not tabla.)

He was well received and welcomed, as were we all. One of the highlights was a duet between the Indian chap and our bodhran player.

No problems, just a good session. The Clare musicians were as welcoming as any we've found.

Good memories

Stu


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Conor O'Brien
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:48 PM

In 1963 I won the all Ireland bodhran cup, presented by the great singer Fergus McNulty, who was visiting from Glasgow. Since then I've toured the world - I imagine most of you here know my music very well - playing the bodhran and sporadically - the mouth harmonica - or God's Harp, as I prefer to call it. In Connaught, we have a saying - Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat - which basically means may the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat - and that's what I'd say to all you bodhran doubters. The bottom line is that played well, like when I play it, or the great Harvey Munn, it's as sweet as an egg - but played badly - like 99.9% of players, it's as welcome as a wet fart in a small lift. Leave it out. Learn something else. Learn the pipes, or get a job in the bank and get the drinks in at every session you go to - that way you'll be more popular than as a bad / ok / novice / good bodhran player. Only the very best need apply, I'm afraid. Remember - Is deas an rud an beagán ach é a dhéanamh go maith.
If you can't understand that you shouldn't be any where near the sacred goats tum anyhow.
Jim Carrol - I salute you - Nár laga Dia do lámh.

Conor "Bruiser" O'Brien


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: ruairiobroin
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:53 PM

In a good Irish Trad session, whatever a bodhran player adds, it will not be rhythm . Good sessions can make the pauses sound as loud as kettle drums and whatever fancy techniques and contortions are performed on the drum will do little to enhance the quality of the tunes. Sadly the good bodhran player (there are some) often does music a disservice, by making what they do look easy, thereby encouraging every clotheared hangeron to think they should join in too.
If you're going to play spend your first few years listening and watching the good ones Not the potwalloping gobshites with a mechanics kit to set themselves up and a toolbox of peculiarities to assault the goat. Good players recognise the importance of silence, sublety and simplicity. players like young Robbie Walsh or Colm Phelan know the whens, wheres and hows you'll find them on youtube. Also if you intend to accompany yourself singing , on your head be it but if you intend to accompany somebody else singing, for your own sake ASK. All the best R


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 04:04 PM

"The Clare musicians were as welcoming as any we've found."
Let me guess - you were in Doolin!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 04:48 PM

"By commenting the way you do in this thread, I would suggest you are stepping outside your area of expertise."

Yes Jim. What are you thinking of, commenting about Irish music? Perhaps you should stick to your areas of expertise...


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 06:59 PM

Tootler, the bodhran can't add anything at all to a session because everything that a bodhran can do is already there in the tunes. The rhythmic and percussive drive is intrinsic in dance tunes, and every bodhran player I've ever heard, even those with at least a semblance of rhythmic sense, has done no more than add a repressive and dulling layer of noise. They all overpower the little nuances of articulation that decent melody players can bring. One of the biggest problems is that even those few bodhran players who rise slightly above the execrable still think that all they need to know is what kind of tune is and then they're away. I contend that you should know the tune pretty well before you even ~think~ about joining in. Well enough to play it on a melody instrument. That stricture applies to melody players, so why should aspiring bodhranistas be exempt?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:00 PM

As you were clearly having a dig at me Ruth Archer, let me set things straight. I was not commenting on Jim Carroll's knowledge of Irish music, but on his attitude to the Bodhran.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:01 PM

what kind of tune it is


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:52 PM

Something on where the Bohdran came from and its origins in Irish music here


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:55 PM

"Tootler, the bodhran can't add anything at all to a session because everything that a bodhran can do is already there in the tunes. The rhythmic and percussive drive is intrinsic in dance tunes, and every bodhran player I've ever heard, even those with at least a semblance of rhythmic sense, has done no more than add a repressive and dulling layer of noise. They all overpower the little nuances of articulation that decent melody players can bring. One of the biggest problems is that even those few bodhran players who rise slightly above the execrable still think that all they need to know is what kind of tune is and then they're away. I contend that you should know the tune pretty well before you even ~think~ about joining in. Well enough to play it on a melody instrument. That stricture applies to melody players, so why should aspiring bodhranistas be exempt?"

Not noticed anyone saying here that they should.
I have found that the melody players are often as good as the Bodrhan players,unless of course they are regulars to the session who have spent the last few years playing exactly the same set of tunes,they are then often at least predictable.
Jim, a diva?
Moi?
You can be surrounded by the best musicians in the world mate it doesnt make you one. However is you played something and were surrounded by the best musicians in the world or any I suppose it does give you a chnace to improve by association.
Maybe a slightly less judgmental attitude and a little encouragement would work wonders even for a bodrhan basher?

Now who didn't read my rider properly why are there no blue smarties in my post bash bath?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 08:04 PM

I love them. Maybe I should get one. mg


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 08:39 PM

OK Tim, next time you have a bodhran player round your way ask 'em to give you the names of the tunes they're playing on. Ask 'em if they know whether a given tune they're thumping away on is a jig, reel, hornpipe or polka. Ask 'em to play the tune they're "accompanying" on a melody instrument, or even if they can just whistle it. I think you'll end up a disappointed man.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 09:41 PM

At our chantey session last Sat nite, I led Ted Egan's "Taking you back to Broome." As the rhythm of the song was somewhat similar to that of the song which preceded mine, I found myself wishing I had Bloodwood's Bodhran player to help me keep the rhythm straight. Regrettably, there were no bodhran players present.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 02:22 AM

"....stepping outside your area of expertise."
Thanks for the reminder Tim, and for a peep into the head of a bodhran player. Will remember to give up my seat next time a bodhran player graces our presence at one of the half dozen weekly sessions over here.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 03:45 AM

The role of percussion for folk music is quite different from its role in rock. In rock music, the drums lay down a base for the other musicians. In folk music, the rhythm is inherent in the melody and percussion is not necessary, but if it is there its role is to accompany and support the melody. A skilful bodhran player will play quietly, to underpin the melody rather than try to lead it. They will also know when not to play.

A good percussionist needs to know the tune, the key (drums, even bodhrans, can be tuned) and the ability to listen to and respond to the rhythmic nuances introduced by the melody musicians. In short, they need the same qualities of musicianship as the melody players. Some percussionists have this, most don't - worse, most don't even realise they need it.

I have no problem at all with percussion played well and appropriately. However it's not the easy option which so many people (including, unfortunately, so many percussionists) think it is.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 04:10 AM

Howard

That's as elegant and succinct an analysis of the contribution of percussion to Irish music as I've ever read. Well put, sir!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 04:15 AM

"OK Tim, next time you have a bodhran player round your way ask 'em to give you the names of the tunes they're playing on. Ask 'em if they know whether a given tune they're thumping away on is a jig, reel, hornpipe or polka. Ask 'em to play the tune they're "accompanying" on a melody instrument, or even if they can just whistle it. I think you'll end up a disappointed man."

Maybe so Steve, maybe so. I think its just as likely with any one new to the music or the particular session what ever instrument they are playing.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 04:19 AM

"....stepping outside your area of expertise."

What ho James!
I don't think that was mine,;-]

Thanks for the seat though.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 05:01 AM

"ask 'em to give you the names of the tunes they're playing on. "

C'mon, most melody players don't know the names of the tunes themselves.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 05:07 AM

C'mon, most melody players don't know the names of the tunes themselves.

Heard a nice jokey claim recently that there are really only four tunes in the whole of the Irish music world - and the true function of festivals, fleadhs, summer schools etc. is to keep thinking up new names for them!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 05:11 AM

"I don't think that was mine.."
Sorry Tim - didn't think it sounded like you; all these trips round the minds of bodhran players have brought on the agorophobia again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Buddhuu
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 05:36 AM

The OP's question was about whether "folk people" like the bodhran, not just tune session people.

Nevertheless, the gobby, Trad bully boys as always seem unwilling even to let people at other kinds of folk get-togethers choose which instruments they want to include and welcome.

Maybe one of them claims the absolute authority to rigidly define "folk", and therefore to prescribe or proscribe the instruments we may use in ballad sessions and singarounds.

I would never play a drum in a tune session where it was unwanted, nor without asking first, as I know the hostility is widespread.

Some people will claim that guitars shouldn't be allowed in sessions, that banjos should be banned, that free reeds - especially harmonicas and piano accordians should be kept out.

The origins of the bodhran are not terribly important. Sessions are full of johnny-come-lately, "non-Trad" instruments. There are people who would ban everything except pipes, fiddles, flute and harp (and maybe whistle). What is important is whether the instrument can add to the proceedings, or at least not detract or ruin.

I endured a lecture once in a pub in Kerry from a bloke who claimed to be a fiddle player, although he didn't have a fiddle with him... I had sat in on a session with my mandolin, which was fine until he heard my English accent. Upon sussing my nationality he decided to tell me all about the music and its origins. He was a pain in the arse, but he did make a point...

Much of session music is dance music, or adapted from dance music.

That said, I pity the dancer who would try to dance along with 'Maid Behind the Bar' at the speed some session wankers play it (I know it's on many people's sneered-at, cliche tune list, but if you're that desperate to get it over with, why play it at all?).

I digress. Dance music. A lot of it is basically dance music. When it was danced to, more widely than it is now, it was often customary for dancers to wear footwear that would make a racket when battered against stone flags. Or to dance upon a wooden floor that would make a noise. This Kerry geezer reckoned that you'd get people trying to dance louder than each other.

Now, I don't know if that's true or not. Strikes me as plausible.

In the absence of dancers, I see nothing inappropriate in percussion filling the sonic space that might otherwise be occupied by feet.

I am happy to have the courtesy not to play my bodhran in your session. Fair's fair, and I'd hope that even a pure-drop big mouth would find the same manners and not slag off my drum in my local pub where all are welcome.

If they did, they would be inviting a lesson in a different kind of percussion.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:02 AM

QUOTE manitas: "ask 'em to give you the names of the tunes they're playing on. "

C'mon, most melody players don't know the names of the tunes themselves. UNQUOTE

I did give you several alternative challenges to put to them!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:16 AM

Buddhuu: "There are people who would ban everything except pipes, fiddles, flute and harp (and maybe whistle). What is important is whether the instrument can add to the proceedings, or at least not detract or ruin."

Exactly. All the other bannable instruments you mentioned are melody instruments. In diddley music at least all the essence of the music is in the tunes, and that includes the rhythmic drive. There is nothing a bodhran can add because it is not a melody instrument. At its very best in sessions a bodhran adds nothing but noise. Unfortunately, it is seldom at its very best. This is not theoretical claptrap emanating from the mouths of theoretical purists, you know. It's the bitter fruit of many years' experience of putting up with talentless and tasteless thumpers. In decades of going to sessions they are the only kind of bodhran player a lot of us have ever encountered. It's a shame that most traditional melody players have such sweet natures. We can be our own worst enemies at times.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:21 AM

If I'm going to listen to drums of any sort in folk music, I prefer to listen to Dave Mattacks.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: goatfell
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:33 AM

I like the Bodhran because I sometimes play it.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:43 AM

I like the football because I sometimes play it.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 07:51 AM

I like the fool because I sometimes play it.

This is getting silly...!


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 08:38 AM

When it was danced to, more widely than it is now, it was often customary for dancers to wear footwear that would make a racket when battered against stone flags. Or to dance upon a wooden floor that would make a noise. This Kerry geezer reckoned that you'd get people trying to dance louder than each other.

Now, I don't know if that's true or not. Strikes me as plausible.

In the absence of dancers, I see nothing inappropriate in percussion filling the sonic space that might otherwise be occupied by feet.


I find nothing inappropriate in that either.

However if the hard-shoe-shod dancers get as across, and out of time with, the music as the type of bodhran-thumper we're talking about, there's a whole lot of 'sonic space' which gets filled with hopeless mush - and that is what we're talking about here. Nothing to do with banning instruments or enforcing The Pure Drop or whatever, just trying to take a stand against the tunes getting buried under a relentless tide of badly battered goatskin.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 08:55 AM

"Nevertheless, the gobby, Trad bully boys"
Now there's a piece of bullying for you! Works both ways folks - I've seen more good sessions ruined by insensitive arseholes who sit down and play unasked, whether they are able to or not. That is as much being a bully boy' as being asked not to play, which, in thirty-odd years I've never seen happen.
I did notice that nobody ventured an answer as to why bodhrans are universally hated - is it really just the rest of the world?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 08:59 AM

"I did notice that nobody ventured an answer as to why bodhrans are universally hated.."

They are not, that's why.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 09:24 AM

No you're probably right - it's the arrogant twats who have given themselves the right to play them wherever they choose.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,buddhuu
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 09:55 AM

Steve S said: "It's a shame that most traditional melody players have such sweet natures. We can be our own worst enemies at times."

You have a point, Steve. For as long as I've "known" you I've always thought you should try to be more direct and assertive! ;-)


@Jim: I would never join any session (on any instrument) without asking first. Never have done. I usually go along first with no instrument and have a chat to see if any of my instruments (at my level of playing) would be welcome, rather than arriving tooled-up and putting people on the spot.

Most people I know, even bodhran batterers and banjo players, do similar.

I have seen and heard many bad bodhran players - Certainly more bad than good - but I certainly don't think that justifies condemnation of all, especially outside the dance tune session context.

Many bodhran sceptics are conveniently ignoring the fact that the OP was not talking specifically about IrTrad sessions.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 10:03 AM

In fact, I read it that he was talking specifically about "English folk circles".


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 10:26 AM

I didn't realise you were the same buddhu, buddhuu, what with that extra vowel an' all. Still, this isn't really about u is it? :-)


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: buddhuu
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 10:31 AM

"Still, this isn't really about u is it?"

I don't follow, Steve...


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 10:46 AM

"In the absence of dancers, I see nothing inappropriate in percussion filling the sonic space that might otherwise be occupied by feet."

Well I just might. This is an interesting new concept in music, that tunes are provided with "sonic spaces" begging to be filled. Especially by some skin-bashing dolt. However, tunes ~are~ provided, gladly, for people to dance to. If they happen to clatter their feet whilst so doing they are (a) not consciously doing it as a contribution to the music and (b) doing it with the blessing of the musicians. So comparing what dancers do with what goat-whankers do (that was on purpose) is hardly valid.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 10:49 AM

Yes you do get it. Please tell me that yes you do get it...


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: buddhuu
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 11:15 AM

Yes, Steve, I do get it but, I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't cotton on until after I'd posted to say I didn't follow. *Groan*

Anyway...

Well you see, that fiddle fella was adamant that the dancer in the old days did clatter deliberately. As I said, I've no idea if that's true, or if it's a heap.

I have been to sessions where, as far as I could tell, the bodhran was clattering in a way that a) contributed to the music and b) was with the blessing of the musicians. :-P

The concept of sonic spaces in music is not new at all. It's not even my idea. Sound engineers and producers use the concept in mixing recordings.

That said, I accept that sonic space doesn't always have to be filled. I wasn't saying it did. My point way that percussion could occupy the space otherwise occupied by dancing feet. Not that it had to, or that a drum is as good as a floorful of happy dancers. It was just a thought.

Personally, I think it was a valid one, so I'll stand by it.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 11:19 AM

Thats ok Jim I am sure I have said things and gotten away with it before.
LOL


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 11:28 AM

"I'm thinking of learning the Bodhran, but I'm wondering how it will be received.

I mainly mix in English folk circles, and don't want to be criticized every time I get an Irish instrument out.

So, my question basically is: Would it be welcomed or frowned upon?"

I don't think you will be criticized for getting it out matey.
amongst all the comments above are some that make sense even if ,as in J.Cs and S.S it takes some sorting out.
Play it gentle and low and only on appropriate tunes that you can deal with,and only after you ask if its ok.
Most of the time I just ask nicely and promise to be quiet.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Gary The Hut People
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 11:38 AM

I don't usually get involved in these threads but I had to come on to this one. I can't believe some of the dogma, arrogance and downright rudeness of some people. Bodhrans can be played well and sensibly with great subletly but the reverse can occur as well. So what! I don't play one I found it too difficult, technically it's not an easy instrument to play, certainly to a high standard. However, everyone is entitled to play on any tune they wish, I have played with so many artists over the years and the musicians who struggle playing with percussionists are usually those with appalling timing.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 11:43 AM

I always look forward to a Bodhran solo in 100 Pipers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 11:56 AM

the real question is Do Bodhran people like folk?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: goatfell
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 12:19 PM

yes! and why shouldn't we?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Penda
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 01:05 PM

The bodhran makes a great sound when played with a red hot poker. Do us all a favour, don't learn or attempt to learn it - if you've already got one don't give it away - it might spread the contagion - it is far better to burn it where it might do some good.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 01:12 PM

"I've seen more good sessions ruined by insensitive arseholes who sit down and play unasked"

I've had a bout of that myself recently. I recommend a combination of Preparation H and Deflatine.

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Zen
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 01:34 PM

I can't believe some of the dogma, arrogance and downright rudeness of some people.

An excellent summary of what this thread has become... and increasingly the state of discussion on this forum, involving the usual intolerant types.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 02:13 PM

I tend to the opposite conclusion about playing for dance - these days, in a typical ceilidh, there are very few moments when the sound of the dancers' feet contributes anything. But the dancers *do* listen to percussion, if there is any, more than they do to the melody. So drums have a useful role when playing for dancing.

Which has consequences for the *style* of percussion playing you use. Scottish ceilidh bands use a percussion style mainly derived from the military, with some jazz and rock influences. It places strong emphasis on the downbeats, and the patterns used reflect the phrasing of the tune (i.e. you'll beat out exactly the same eight-bar phrase twice if the tune repeats that way). The tune will often give precise cues for figures in the dance, and the percussionist's role is to emphasize those (no matter what the instrument - when I play percussion it's the washboard). This is equally true for English dance. For some tunes, the percussion beating alone would identify them to an average dancer ("Petronella" or "The High Road to Linton", say), if the percussionist was playing in a sensible way.

But that way of playing is NOTHING like what you get in Irish tune sessions, where the beat pattern is in the same time signature as the tune, but beyond that, does nothing at all to emphasize its structure. I don't do Irish tune sessions so I don't have an opinion about what ought to happen at them - but neither do opinions based on that setting have much to contribute to the direction the OP was going in. I have seen advice like "don't track the rhythm of the tune or you're kill it for the melody players" in Irish bodhran tutors - when trying to give the beat to a large hall full of ceilidh dancers, that advice could not be more wrong.

I would suggest that a tipper is not the easiest way to get the precise phrasing you want for dance, though. Frame drums are used for dance all over the world, but nearly always played with the fingers for anything complicated.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,guest - Jim Younger
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 02:42 PM

Oh dear - it's really a question of musicianship ... to me anyway. If a good percussionist came with a frame drum and played along with me - even if it was on an Appalachian tune - I would be happy. What's the problem? I'm thinking of the guy in Cordelia's Dad ... can't remember his name just now, but he was very nifty. And there was a guy down in Collier's Wood once who played blindingly well on a frame drum. If you're shit, you're shit, if you're good you're good, whatever you play. There's a photo I saw of some outfit in New York from maybe the 30/40s with a drum proudly displayed.

Why can't we get together and attack the mandolin-banjo players for a change? They truly are the spawn of Satan. (Oh, that includes me, never mind.)


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 03:42 PM

What's the problem? I'm thinking of the guy in Cordelia's Dad

You took the words right out of my mouth, he was very good and so was Steve Tilston's ex.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 04:36 PM

"I can't believe some of the dogma, arrogance and downright rudeness of some people"

I couldn't agree more. Narrow minds and long faces....

"It really isn't anything to do with good and bad players - it is the limitations of the instrument itself"

I don't claim to know much about Irish music but, to keep it polite, I disagree profoundly with that statement

"Frame drums are used for dance all over the world, but nearly always played with the fingers for anything complicated"

Yes, and can be very effective with linear music too: Ahmad Al Khatib and David Kuckhermann


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: s&r
Date: 20 Apr 10 - 04:48 PM

Wasn't Doolin on that occasion; we did and do visit Doolin from time to time. We have family in Ireland and visit regularly, sometimes with the band sometimes without. Always been welcome.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 05:50 AM

"I can't believe some of the dogma, arrogance and downright rudeness of some people."

What statements like that usually mean in threads like this, GHT is that people who make them can't cope with differences of opinion, unorthodox views and 'straight talking'.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 07:42 AM

"people who make them can't cope with differences of opinion, unorthodox views and 'straight talking'."

Please I really cant tell on here who is straight or not.
Does it have any bearing on the subject of the argument?
errr Discussion.


Hows the repairs to the castle coming along Pete?


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 09:29 AM

Their are various kinds of dancing in these islands, danced in various sorts of shoes.
At least one sort uses 'battering' as a deliberate rythmic part of the dance. I have been to workshops in Irish Set dance where I learnt that in the past (c1950s) these dances were danced in kitchens in everyday shoes. The dances are danced in a square, with each couple taking the lead in turn. In those days only the men 'battered', they didn't batter all the time. Mostly one man would do a bit, sometimes two would set up a 'question and answer'. For some dances a specific pattern of step and rythm have been collected, but it was also improvised according to the skill of the dancers.
In modern Set Dance circles there are 2 strands, those who dance with steps close to the ground and sparing use of battering, and those who dance in a more springy fashion (like other forms of Irish Step dance) and everyone batters all the time.

Please excuse the probably incomplete and erroneous Englishwoman's summary.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: OlgaJ
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 10:04 AM

I play the bodhran for dance bands AND music sessions and adapt my style to suit the music being played, I sometimes also accompany singers on my own, after asking first if it is OK of course.

As far as dance music is concerned I was once playing with a large scratch band when the band leader got completely lost and as a result everyone stopped playing except me. The dance carried on to the drum beat until the leader was able to come back in at an appropriate point in the dance, it wasn't ideal but at least the dance could continue.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: buddhuu
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 11:57 AM

@Mo the caller: Thanks, that was very interesting info.


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Subject: RE: Do folk people like the Bodhran?
From: GUEST,Gary-The Hut People
Date: 21 Apr 10 - 07:01 PM

Thanks for telling me what I mean Shimrod, now where did I leave that article on arrogance


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