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English tunes session - good news

Valmai Goodyear 08 Dec 10 - 04:41 AM
Will Fly 08 Dec 10 - 05:30 AM
treewind 08 Dec 10 - 05:32 AM
Old Grizzly 08 Dec 10 - 07:08 AM
treewind 08 Dec 10 - 07:12 AM
Anne Neilson 08 Dec 10 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Chris B. 08 Dec 10 - 08:45 AM
Valmai Goodyear 08 Dec 10 - 09:03 AM
Will Fly 08 Dec 10 - 09:42 AM
Tootler 08 Dec 10 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Chris B. 09 Dec 10 - 02:15 AM
treewind 09 Dec 10 - 04:52 AM
Will Fly 09 Dec 10 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,LDT 09 Dec 10 - 05:02 AM
GUEST 12 Dec 10 - 11:40 AM
Pibydd 12 Dec 10 - 02:18 PM
Rob Naylor 12 Dec 10 - 02:42 PM
TheSnail 12 Dec 10 - 02:50 PM
Mo the caller 12 Dec 10 - 04:40 PM
Tootler 12 Dec 10 - 04:43 PM
GUEST,FloraG 13 Dec 10 - 04:03 AM
Wolfhound person 13 Dec 10 - 04:10 AM
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Subject: English tunes session - good news
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:41 AM

At the monthly English tunes session at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes last night we had five young people listening. There were two chaps who clapped and thanked us when they had to leave early. There was a Japanese student who had discreetly placed a fiddle next to her and was gently persuaded to get it out and join in with some dots provided. There was another young couple who listened intently and were fascinated by the history and origins of the tunes. When they left, they said they were proud to discover this part of their heritage and culture which they hadn't encountered before.

Needless to say, they staggered off bowed down under the weight of a Sussex Folk Diary and half a pound of Lewes Saturday Folk Club workshop leaflets.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 05:30 AM

Where tunes sessions are held in a public bar and the general public are present, some of it is bound to rub off - even on people who would profess to know nothing about, or have no interest in, traditional tunes. As you've proved.

The locals who attend my monthly session - listening, non-folkies on the whole - always give an extra special round of applause when we bring off a good jig or reel or hornpipe. And my session's an open one - we have blues and jazz and ragtime as well as traditional stuff. Mind you - we also get some good local musicians in as well.

There's no accounting for music - it gets in where no-one expects it to. Anyway - more strength to the John Harvey session!


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: treewind
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 05:32 AM

"they said they were proud to discover this part of their heritage and culture which they hadn't encountered before. "

Oooh, isn't it nice when that happens!


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Old Grizzly
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 07:08 AM

Well done Valmai, cheers the cockles don't it ?

Is it my lack of persuasive powers or do other folks have trouble convincing pub punters that the tunes are not all Irish ??

Dave


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: treewind
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 07:12 AM

That's one of the consequences of people not knowing or recognising their own culture - they assume it's something foreign, and Irish is usually the first candidate that comes to mind.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 08:07 AM

What a lovely feeling that must have been -- and how rewarding!

I remember the passion with which my English teacher, the late Norman Buchan MP, described the moment of his almost-Pauline conversion to traditional music. He was involved with an alternative to the Edinburgh Festival -- the People's Festival -- in 1951, and his main input was political and polemical; but Hamish Henderson had organised a ceilidh. With no notion of what to expect Norman went along, and was totally bowled over! The absolute clincher was the performance by Jessie Murray (a Banffshire fishwife) of what Norman described as "that most fragile of tunes, 'Skippin' Barfit through the Heather' ".
And decades later his eyes still shone when he remembered it.

Let's hope that you've managed such a conversion!


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: GUEST,Chris B.
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 08:45 AM

And it would have been even more wonderful to have had a bit of step dancing there, and maybe a jig doll or two at the session(s). Sadly 'step dancing' in most English pubs is now illegal; and jig dolls are rarely seen (they can only be 'danced' if the pub is licensed for live music - otherwise they too are illegal). Interestingly many sessions in pubs and bars in Eire always seem to be able to conjure up a step dancer (in the traditional style) or more, although jig dolls are even rarer seen over there.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 09:03 AM

We do occasionally get some step dancing at the John Harvey, courtesy of a lady of approaching 80 called Valerie (alas, I can't recall her surname, perhaps someone else can) who has a family tradition of stepping and comes with Kerry Fletcher and friends. One of our greatest fans is a local character known as Incredible Dancing Man who is greatly attracted to buskers, dances to our music and always thanks us for playing.

Steppers need to bring their own board as the floor of the JHT is Cornish slate.

Jig dolls would certainly be welcome, too.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 09:42 AM

Jig dolls would certainly be welcome, too.

Really? I might have to bring Beaky along...


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Dec 10 - 04:35 PM

Will, I like your Beaky, especially the yellow wellies. My granddaughter would call it "Doodle". In fact I have emailed my daughter a link to the clip.

Valmai, that's great to hear. I have been at sessions where people in the bar have come and thanked us, but the response of the young couple must have been especially gratifying.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: GUEST,Chris B.
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 02:15 AM

OOh - I would love to come down to Lewes and see all that - wonderful!!! Thank you for responding. I can never dance my jig dolls out (I have about 50) 'cos I've not been vetted to work with or for kids. I used to do the jig dolls in the interval when calling at barn dances, but the draconian licensing laws have diminished that scene for me too.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: treewind
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 04:52 AM

"Sadly 'step dancing' in most English pubs is now illegal; and jig dolls are rarely seen"

Plenty of it in Suffolk if you go to the right place at the right time.
Obviously as it's apparently illegal I can't tell you where or when.

This isn't in a pub, but here's a recent sample of both (as it happens) at
The Regal Theatre, Stowmarket last Sunday.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 04:55 AM

I basically ignore the licensing laws and dance Beaky wherever I want to - and certainly at sessions if it's appropriate. You can't keep a good jig doll down.

Chris - are you far from Sussex? A collection of 50 dolls sounds great. I'm contemplating getting another one from the craftsman who made Beaky - Chris Harvey in Suffolk.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 09 Dec 10 - 05:02 AM

Jig doll. I don't understand how it can be illegal? So if a kid had a toy and made it dance to the music would that be against the rules too?

yours
*confused*


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 11:40 AM

Illegal in that jig dolls are deemed to be musical instruments and if the venue ain't licensed then ... The same as jingling coins in a pocket is deemed to be music. Crazy?!! But there have been issues about such situations especially in pubs. Similarly as sitting swaying to music German style is deemed to be dancing and is illegal unless the venue has been licensed for dancing. And as for doing jig dolls for kids - no way - if you've not been vetted to work with kids then that too is illegal. We're all paedos aren't we? 'YES' according to the Govt.; even if its a resounding 'NO' in actual fact. So my dolls might dance out for adults - only - but not for kids - its not worth the risk.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Pibydd
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:18 PM

Tidy :-)

It's great when that happens. Mind you, we often get people saying 'Oh, I love that Irish music!' when we've been playing Welsh tunes all night...


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:42 PM

It seems that anything the Chieftains, Dubliners or Clancy Brothers ever recorded automatically becomes "Irish".

I recently had a hell of a job convincing a young Irish mandolin player that "Fiddler's Green" isn't "Trad Irish" (he'd announced that he only ever played Trad Irish tunes before he launched into it) but was written by a bloke in Grimsby who's still very much alive.

I'm trying hard to get some "crossover" going locally ...the pub and club sessions are dominated by "more mature" players/ singers whereas there's a very vibrant "young indie folk" scene around here, playing in entirely different venues. The two "sides" hardly ever meet, but I have some committment from some of the youngsters I know to come along to some of the long-established local sessions in the new year.

I'm also putting Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts on at Sevenoaks in April 2011. Although young they tend to attract a fairly mature audience. But as support I'm putting on Zoe Nicol who is very much part of the local "youth scene", which will hopefully ensure a really good spread across the age range.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 02:50 PM

we often get people saying 'Oh, I love that Irish music!' when we've been playing Welsh tunes all night...

Yes, we've had that happen here in Sussex. We were playing in the back room of a country pub while the locals were watching the wide screen telly in the front bar where England were getting comprehensively stuffed by the Irish in some sporting event or other. The cry went up "And they're playing *&@%£^ Irish music in the back" despite the fact that some of the tunes we were playing had been collected within a few miles of the pub.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Mo the caller
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:40 PM

Much the same as the reaction you get when you tell people that you enjoy Folk Dancing
"Oh, you mean Scottish dancing"
"No English"
"er......Morris dancing"
"No"


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Tootler
Date: 12 Dec 10 - 04:43 PM

we often get people saying 'Oh, I love that Irish music!' when we've been playing Welsh tunes all night...

Had the same experience here in a session in Durham when we had been playing mostly Northumbrian tunes.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:03 AM

To Rob
Well done for putting on youngsters. I hope that they bring with them a group of friends to lower the average age.

There were some youngsters as paid acts at Broadstairs this year who seemed to think that playing clever was a substitute for playing entertainingly. There seeem to be a group of them that think they deserve the fees, before they have really learned the craft of entertaining. Most of the current band of paid ( somewhat older) folk artists learned their craft in the pubs and clubs, had the courtesey to audience as much as play, and join in sessions at festivals.

However,there was an ace group of young rapper dancers at Broadstairs, so perhaps its not all gloom and doom.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: English tunes session - good news
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 04:10 AM

And it happens in Northumberland, playing local tunes. Doesn't help that some local musicians don't seem to be able to tell the difference either.
Only place I've ever been asked what my pipes were as they went through the airport scanner is .....Newcastle.

In Ulster (North Antrim!) was congratulated on playing "Scottish music" by parts of the previous act - the local Lambeg drummers (they were scary)

Paws


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