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Starting an acoustic song circle/session

JennieG 07 Feb 11 - 06:52 AM
Brakn 07 Feb 11 - 06:53 AM
Valmai Goodyear 07 Feb 11 - 07:04 AM
Will Fly 07 Feb 11 - 07:11 AM
GUEST,PeterC 07 Feb 11 - 07:54 AM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Feb 11 - 08:08 AM
Valmai Goodyear 07 Feb 11 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,sessionlass 07 Feb 11 - 08:47 AM
Leadfingers 07 Feb 11 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Doug Saum 07 Feb 11 - 12:49 PM
JennieG 07 Feb 11 - 04:56 PM
Ann N 07 Feb 11 - 05:20 PM
JennieG 07 Feb 11 - 07:20 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Feb 11 - 08:23 PM
Nick 07 Feb 11 - 08:25 PM
Jack Campin 07 Feb 11 - 08:37 PM
Rob Naylor 08 Feb 11 - 04:28 AM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Feb 11 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Desi C 08 Feb 11 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,Doug Saum 08 Feb 11 - 01:01 PM
CupOfTea 08 Feb 11 - 05:35 PM
freda underhill 08 Feb 11 - 05:44 PM
JennieG 08 Feb 11 - 10:29 PM
Mr Red 09 Feb 11 - 06:47 AM
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Subject: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 06:52 AM

The town to which Himself and I moved last year doesn't seem to have folkies in evidence but I'm sure there would be some hiding somewhere, so I have been giving thought to starting an informal session in hope of flushing them out of the woodwork. Have any 'Catters done this and lived to tell the tale? Any pitfalls to avoid?

It may be possible to place notices in both music stores, I will check with them. I don't want to go to the expense of paying for ads in the local papers. There may be a possibility of a room attached to a local club but I won't know for sure until I check up.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Brakn
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 06:53 AM

Where?


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 07:04 AM

What a splendid attitude! Good luck with it.

Putting details on Mudcat and Facebook (if you can stand using the thing) would be a good start.

There will almost certainly be a site somehwere listing clubs and session in the area. Send details to be included in the relevant section of http://www.englishfolkinfo.org.uk/folkmus.html for a start.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 07:11 AM

I did just this over two years ago. I had a chat with the landlord of my local, who agreed to have free acoustic music in the bar one Sunday evening a month. I then contacted all the musos I knew who might be interested, put an ad in the local freebie paper, spread the word in other clubs and sessions and went from there.

We don't get a huge number of people - 8 or 9 at the most - but that fills the small bar, and several local drinkers come along regularly to listen and to enjoy the music as drinking bystanders. It's very relaxed. We go round the circle, people play and/or sing what they want and we all join in if we can.

As I say, that started over two years ago - and we're still going.


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 07:54 AM

Ok, you are new(ish) to the town. Folkies are bad at advertising as they are usually convinced that "everybody" knows about their session because half a dozen mates turn up. Starting up a session in competition to the "invisible" ones could cause bad feeling and loose you potential singers.

As Valmai says do some research. There is very likely a site and/or a print magazine covering folk music in your area, google for it and check before trying to start anything.

You don't even say what country you are in. I hint about country and region would let us make some more helpful responses.


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 08:08 AM

JennieG is an Ozcatter - here is her thread Moving out of the city

She & I have advertised on the 2 national folk lists & no-one has popped up their heads, tho someone knew a female folkie who probably moved into the area 20-something years ago & then married.

Jennie lives in Country Music Land, home of the biggest Country Music Festival in Oz.


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 08:29 AM

Whoops, my apologies for assuming Jennie was in the UK. Mudcat and Farsebook should still be useful tools, though.

Good luck, Jennie, for taking the initiative. If more people would get off their fundaments and start sessions of their own instead of bleating about the shortcomings or total lack of existing ones, the world would be a sweeter place.

Valmai (Lewes , Sussex, England)


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: GUEST,sessionlass
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 08:47 AM

"Starting an acoustic song circle/session"

..just make sure which one you want - the two don't mix!!


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 10:07 AM

Sessionlass - I would disagree (Mildly) as I am aware of a few sessions that DO work as a mixed bash , though Either Song circle or tumes session ARE more common


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 12:49 PM

I've been part of a successful song circle (15 years 2nd Friday of each month) in Reno NV USA. We use the Rise Up Singing songbook, though people are welcome to bring handouts for songs not in the book. Each month we are at a different volunteer home; we usually attract about 40-60 people each month. Each person gets a numbered name tag; when that number comes up, the person calls the tune. We have several musicians. After all the numbers have been called we go into what for many is the best part of the evening, a free-form, stream of consciouness jam wherein someone will start a song and everyone joins in. This selection will then prompt another, usually related, song. It's also a place for the musicians to hold forth a bit. So we have melded session and singing in a successful formaula. We even encourage percussion (usually light, though we have enjoyed a near drum circle atmosphere at times). Egos checked at the door. Doug Saum


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 04:56 PM

Sessionlass, it can and does work very well. The club to which I belonged in Sydney ran very successfully (and is still running after goodness knows how many years) as a mixed bag, and we also had poets to mix it even more! From reading Mudcat I gather that sessions in the UK and in Oz are different. The NSW Folk Federation newsletter has no mention of anything in this part of the world except for a poetry reading group.

Has anyone started anything like this? I don't really need peoples' experiences about joining something already running, I've done that myself - it's getting something started up that I really want to know about.

Cheersd
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Ann N
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 05:20 PM

Quote "Starting an acoustic song circle/session"

..just make sure which one you want - the two don't mix!!

   The FILO sessions in Whitby work fine :) A lovely mix of everything   :D


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: JennieG
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 07:20 PM

Thanks, Ann....of course they do! Variety is the spice of life, and all that crap stuff.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 08:23 PM

Sigh! Don't! You'll regret it!

Now I've got THAT off my chest ....




I'll get me hat ....


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Nick
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 08:25 PM

Much of my experience was posted here back in 2004. It still exists and has met every week since Sept 2002. Apart from mudcat and word of mouth it has never had any promotion. Has had as many as 50 people and as few as a handful.


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Feb 11 - 08:37 PM

Jennie lives in Country Music Land, home of the biggest Country Music Festival in Oz.

In which case it should be quite easy to start a country music session, and not much harder to start a session for people who want to get away from country music, but getting the two groups to share the same room might be tough.


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 04:28 AM

"Starting an acoustic song circle/session"

..just make sure which one you want - the two don't mix!!


I disagree strongly. The 4 main sessions I go to locally are all mixed bags, with "play along tunes" mixed with unaccompanied singers, and individual instrumentalists/ accompanied singers, plus "all join in" songs and the odd bit of poetry.

They're much more lively and well-attended than a "song only" thing I went to a while back where what could be performed seemed to be extremely circumscribed.


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 05:49 AM

The regulars at my local singing sessions include unaccompanied solo singers, choir members who sing alone & sometimes together, singers with guitar or guitars, & an unaccompanied singer who also plays tunes on his concertina. We also get occasional poems.

And always wonderful harmonies.

It's a great mix.

They sound just like your local sessions, Rob.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 07:28 AM

Excellent idea, and with pubs and clubs closing down in droves, many will welcome something that brings in extra revenue. I run a club here in Coseley West mids, which originally sprang up in an otherwise seeingly muscical desolate area, not only did it work but the then host opened a second club within a year and both still thriving under new hosts. One good Fol Mag I reccomend is Folk Monthly, loads of info on clubs all over the country, you can have a half page ad for just £8, or look up their site where you may be able to post a free listing. it's www.tradartsteam.co.uk, not too sure I put that right but just put a search in for Traditional Arts Team and you'll get it. There's usually lots of musicians around just hoping for va club to open, so get the word out there. Music shops ideal to advertise, try your local radio as well and many local newspapers have a free 'what's on' listing section. All good luck to you

Desi C
The Circle Folk Club
Coseley West Mids
WV14 8PA
Every Wed open mike
Just mail me to subscribe to our free twice weekly Newsletter at crc778@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 01:01 PM

Here's how the Reno Song Circle started: A representative from the already existant Sacramento Song Circle (Bob Fitch - personal photographer for Martin L King, Jr., among his other credits)suggested the idea of a monthly song circle in Reno. We decided not to advertize publicly, but rather to invite our musical friends. Since several of these folks were involved in the Sierra Club, Contra Dance society, and other environmental organizations there was already an organization of friends. Over time musical friends invited other friends. We chose not to have the event in public places, but rather in private homes. This approach may require a sufficiently large community population in order to work. Over the years I estimate that 500-1,000 different people have attended.
Doug Saum


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: CupOfTea
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 05:35 PM

A grand way for getting folks to try a new song circle is having one or more strong singers/performers willing to anchor it, whose name alone will create interest. Instrumental and singing teachers likewise have a ready made entourage.

I've been involved in several song circles in Cleveland Ohio - midwestern area with a no-so-great traditional music attitude these days. In years past, the best song circle was led by a couple of very strong traditional singers who were performing, playing for dances (Dick Swain & Dermot Sommerville). Though both were deft instrumentalists, but they ran this as a traditional acapella sort of session. I don't think there were ever any more than a dozen people there, but those sessions were incredible. 20 years on, I still remember parts of them. Most of the folks were there by word of mouth from concerts and dances, and some folk newsletter announcements.

I went from there to a well established song circle in Illinois that gave me my idea of what a session should ideally be (everyone gets a turn, some solo, some requesting sing alongs, most playing without book or lead sheet). (Fox Valley Illinois, where Mudcatter Phil Cooper is a regular).

I missed those sessions for years, and started up a folk oriented song circle for about 8 years, co-hosting with a couple singers who played guitar, Deborah VanKleef for most of those years. We didn't have the following that Dick & Dermot had and by being "nice" we endured some pretty wretched stuff. We got some folks from advertising at festivals, in the folk society newsletter and for awhile at the coffee house that hosted it the first year or so. Again, never got very big.

A group of folks doing a retro/reunion/nostalgia thing over a long gone venue that had been critical to our local folk scene in the 60s/70s, put together a song session for awhile that was drawing a good crowd. It wasn't democratic, though - the local name folks who were the draw did most of the song leading.

Years after I folded the session we'd started, the folk society started one that was consciously based on using "Rise Up Singing." I tried it a few times, but it was a dreadful experience: total ignorance of any sort of session politeness. The strongest instrumentalist who'd come would barge into everyone's song. "Acapella" was an unknown concept: "but I can figure out the chords!" No strong personality there to say "NO" and I felt it would be impolite for me to be the heavy, so I just left. They never got too many people, either.

Some of the best sessions (mixed singing and tunes) that I remember have been the "after the concert" party sessions. There have been a couple REALLY fine Irish sessions at a local college where a visiting folk luminary was brought in to anchor the session (Liz Carroll, Mick Maloney). The sessions in the same place still brought in good crowds when it was just the locals. Mostly tunes, but some amazing singing, particularly from some of the older instrumentalists, who nobody knew sang!

A very new session, just a couple months old, holds some serious promise if we don't get overrun/outnumbered by the bluegrass guys who will politely steamroller you. It's got Irish, blues, old time, bluegrass, folk and oldtime jazz so far. It hasn't found it's personality yet, but it does get a dozen strong tune players, some great singers, and a few tentatives players (strong singer) like m'self.

Having a strong personality in charge who can be kind, but firm surely helps.
Trying to be all things to all people just gets you nowhere (sigh).

It's felt to me much better to have a small, regular song circle than something too large or diverse to handle. Larger groups need a single focus and lots of common repertoire (Irish, bluegrass, blues) A small group of people who love singing together is it's own blissful reward.

I wish you much joy, pleasure and success in this endeavor

Joanne in Cleveland (the one in Ohio that's full of snow, single digit temps and cranky people)


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: freda underhill
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 05:44 PM

JennieG, you have such a beautiful voice, why not try busking downtown? you might reach out to some kindred souls that way.. (Himself could be on hand to manage the crowds) Any folkie in Tamworth will be craving connections, just as you are.

Another way would be to write a small article in the local rag - have you seen John Thompson's thread, an Australian Folk Song a day? this could be a good thing to write about, finishing off with an email contact for anyone interested in a local folk get together.

good luck

freda


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: JennieG
Date: 08 Feb 11 - 10:29 PM

Freda, there is no way on this earth I would be game enough to busk, it usually takes me so long to pluck up courage to sing in a session among friends that the opportunity has gone before it even arises!

I am thinking of an article for one of the weekly rags - we have three, two of which are free - I like the idea of the song a day. Late last year we met a local bloke who came here and we played a few songs together; while he sings country music (told you it's big round here) we found some common ground in the songs of Hank Williams and others of that vintage which I quite like. It was the pop music of its day when I was a wee little thing. I sang him Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds"....he had never heard it before, loved it, and went off armed with the words and chords courtesy of the interwebz to add it to his repertoire.

Since we moved here we have really come to enjoy life in the country.....but by gosh I miss my folk music.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Starting an acoustic song circle/session
From: Mr Red
Date: 09 Feb 11 - 06:47 AM

1) use all the free publicity you can muster. Music Shops, Radio, Tourism Offices, Libraries, Newspapers, music venues, music clubs (eg guitar). You may only get one shot at some so make them count.

2) start at the appoint time regardless of the assemblage. People will poke their heads in and if nothing is happening assume nothing will. And then the word spreads.

3) make a point of talking to new faces, be inviting.

4) smile as you perform - it makes the place feel friendly.

5) good luck.

Oh and for the Upton Folk Festival (and my radio programme) I slipped a small flyer into the sleeve of CD's and Books of a similar genre while I was at the local library(s).

For Stroud Ceilidhs I print-off a list of all the places that will take our posters and tick them as and when (each month) and update the list every time I find another friendly shop etc.


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