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New England Shanty Sessions

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curmudgeon 15 Dec 02 - 08:31 PM
Jeri 15 Dec 02 - 08:48 PM
Naemanson 15 Dec 02 - 08:58 PM
Jeri 15 Dec 02 - 09:28 PM
Uncle Jaque 15 Dec 02 - 10:20 PM
SINSULL 15 Dec 02 - 11:05 PM
Jeri 15 Dec 02 - 11:22 PM
Bat Goddess 16 Dec 02 - 10:41 AM
curmudgeon 16 Dec 02 - 10:43 AM
Charley Noble 16 Dec 02 - 12:55 PM
curmudgeon 16 Dec 02 - 01:19 PM
Naemanson 16 Dec 02 - 11:30 PM
SINSULL 17 Dec 02 - 05:43 PM
curmudgeon 17 Dec 02 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Tyghress 17 Dec 02 - 06:56 PM
Bat Goddess 17 Dec 02 - 07:34 PM
Naemanson 17 Dec 02 - 11:08 PM
Brían 17 Dec 02 - 11:18 PM
Naemanson 18 Dec 02 - 06:27 AM
Brían 18 Dec 02 - 07:06 AM
Charley Noble 18 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM
Charley Noble 23 Dec 02 - 11:15 AM
Charley Noble 26 Dec 02 - 03:14 PM
Bat Goddess 26 Dec 02 - 03:24 PM
curmudgeon 27 Dec 02 - 08:55 AM
GUEST 27 Dec 02 - 09:40 AM
curmudgeon 27 Dec 02 - 09:48 AM
Naemanson 27 Dec 02 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Heely 27 Dec 02 - 10:31 PM
Chanteyranger 28 Dec 02 - 12:11 AM
Chanteyranger 28 Dec 02 - 12:39 AM
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Subject: New England Shanty Sessions
From: curmudgeon
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 08:31 PM

Ahoy Mates -- The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH, has agreed to offer a portion of the premises for a monthly shanty/forebitter session. I will be meeting with the manager on Tuesday afternoon to set this up and feedback will be appreciated. I apologise for giving such short notice, but have had a very busy wekend.

My thoughts are to hold the session on the second Saturday of each month from 3:30 to 7:30 or 8:00 PM, starting in January. Unlike the Friday melees, I should like this to be more of a circle with each participant given an opportunity to lead a song, sing a solo, or play a tune. While not wishing to discourage instrumentalists, I should like to see more emphasis on singing, as this seems to appeal more to the non musical patrons of the pub.

Do remember that these are only my initial thoughts. Please post your comments and ideas here, preferably before 9:00 AM on Tuesday. But even if you can't post before that time, nothing will be cast in bronze. Flexibility is part of any good session -- Tom


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 08:48 PM

Comments and ideas: YEEHAAAA!


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Naemanson
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 08:58 PM

I second Jeri's comments and would like to pass on my own:

WAHOO!

I also suppose I should provide something more to the point. I agree we should focus this more on singing than tunes but how can we restrict an open forum? One way is to clearly state its purpose at the outset and to ask everyone present not to start or, if one gets started, encourage or join in to a set of tunes. Let it peter out. The tunester will get the message if no one joins in.

The host will also have to be clear at the beginning of the session and whenever the tunes people try to take over that the session is a SINGING session.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go learn some songs...


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 09:28 PM

I have a feeling the folks who want to only play tunes won't go near a shanty/forebitter session. I don't think a few tunes would be bad though. If there are lots of choruses, tunes would give all a chance to rest our voices. Sailors played tunes, so there!

That said, I prefer accompanying singing to playing tunes because it's more flexible and I can concentrate more on sounding good and improvising than playing the 'correct' notes as fast as humanly possible.

I checked my calendar, and I can squeeze this in between breakfast at Tiffany's and golf with my lawyer. 2nd Saturday's fine.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 10:20 PM

By "Tunes", I assume that we're referring to "instrumentals"?
Are "Songs" a capella vocals?

I have been trying to sort of alternate between the two; since it's kind of hard to sing while playing flute or whistle, I do a medley, or an instrumental (sort of expecting anyone who knows the related lyrics to pitch right in) - or as is the case with "Strike The Bell", lead off with the whistle to get things going, then sing the rest (I suppose that would be "leading") a cappella.

Am I violating any traditions or protocols by doing that?

For all intents an puposes, these Chanty Sings have been my first significant exposure to the "Folk Session" experience, and I'm probably guessing at what most participants consider second nature.
If I step on anybodys' toes in one, I hope you know that it's not intentional, and I'm open to discrete, corrective feedback.

Is a song accompanied by a guitar, banjo, concertina etc. considered a "song" or a "tune"?

If we are supposed to be concentrating on a capella vocals, would it be best if I were to just leave the instruments home?

The implication here seems to be that factions have evolved around respective presentations - sort of like Street gangs.
Instead of "Blood" or "Cryps", we have the "Tuners" and "Singers", eh? Did I miss any?
Are we supposed to join one and eschew the other, or is a certain modicum of crossover tolerated?

When it comes to this social etiquitte stuff, my New Hampshire hillbilly upbringing sure shows up, and I rarely seem to have a clue.

Has anyone ever published a standard list of rules for the Folk Session for rubes like me? Is it somewhere here in the MC Archives or any other web site?

whatever gaffes I have committed (and I'm sure that there have been legions of them) folks at the Chanty Hoots have been most gracious in forgiving me, and I do appreciate that!

Our life is in a bit of a state of flux right now, so I can't say how many Sat.s I will be able to go to Portsmouth. Hopefully, there will be at least a few.
During the Summer I am often involved in Civil-war Reenacting on the weekends if I'm able.

Anyone coming South through Yarmouth and open to ride-sharing do let me know, as I'm not only all for being reasonably kind to the Environment and optimizing urban parking spaces, but would love such an opportunity to get to know a fellow 'Catter a little better, and perhaps noodle around with some vocal harmony enroute.

We'll stay tuned for furthur developments.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 11:05 PM

I have unpacked my cat-o-nine-tails and am ready. I wouldn't try an instrumental if I were you mate...


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 11:22 PM

Hey SINS, it's Brett that's being the anti-diddley grouch. Tom said tunes are ok, but the session was to be primarily singing.

Standard list of rules for sessions, regardless of music genre:
1) Be Polite

(Jaque, I haven't noticed you gaffing at all!)


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:41 AM

"Tunes" are strictly instrumentals -- "Songs" have words AND a tune (otherwise it's a recitation or story).

There's definitely no problem with accompaniment to a song -- or an instrumental lead-in (even a medley) to an a capella song. Also no problems with stories or recitations, of course.

Linn


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:43 AM

Jeri's got it quite right An occasional tune/instrumental piece is fine, but sometimes, on Fridays, they have a tendency to predominate over the songs. What we are looking for is a singing session.

Songs can be a cappella or accompanied; it's the singers choice. There's nothing at all wrong with a lead in , or an interlude on a whistle as part of the presentation.

As Jeri said, Be Polite and Pay Attention -- Tom


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 12:55 PM

Thanks, Tom, for organizing this!

I'm looking forward to coming in January. I'm assuming that stuffed animals and other tasteful visual aids are also acceptable as long as they are clearly appropriate to the song.

I do about half my songs unaccompanied, and the others I accompany with the banjo. I'm generally happy with others accompanying me with their instruments if they do so in the same key (or close to it) and don't drown out my quiet voice.

Uncle Jaque, I don't think you need to worry about your manners; your parents taught you well!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:19 PM

Stuffed critters, buckets, et al. are welcome as long as they do not occupy space where a singer should be; same for instruments, bass, bang box, large harp, etc.

I'll post more details tomorrow evening -- Tom


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 11:30 PM

"...anti-diddley grouch."? Hmm, if the shoe fits, I guess I'd better wear it.

Last summer I went to a party where the hosts purposely separated the tunes people from the singing people. And they had to keep (politely) pulling people out of the singing session and sending them over to the tunes session.

When I say tunes people I mean those people who think the voice is only used to order another beer and subvocalize instructions to the other people playing tunes; I mean the people who look offended when you dare to raise your voice in song; I mean those who work very hard to learn music without words and seem to look down on those who learn music with words.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tunes. Unfortunately they tend to spill over one after another leaving no room for the singers. A good tunes session is one where the music never stops. My first time at Mystic I was amazed to see two people, who professed to each other that it had been six months since their last meeting, sit down pull out instruments and play tunes non-stop for two hours. They were quickly joined by a crowd of others. That was also my first Barry Finn experience as he was playing bodhran in that session.

And, no Jaque, I do not include accompanied song in the tunes list. Bring your banjo and flutes and guitar and whatever else you want. I will not be offended. (Wouldn't make any difference if I was anyway.) I'm planning to accompany myself one of these days.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 05:43 PM

I am bringing my cat-o-nine tails just the same. If I can't use it on the instrumentalists (and I am always painfully polite. Besides, I like the diddly diddly stuff) maybe I can interest somone at the bar in a little something.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: curmudgeon
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 06:12 PM

Mark your calendars for the Second Saturday Shanty Session at the Press Room, beginning on 11 January 2003. Times will be from 3:30 to 7:30 PM.

I'll start a new thread sometime tomorrow, but for the nonce, post comments here -- Tom


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: GUEST,Tyghress
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 06:56 PM

As a tune-type, I think I want to interject here. . .a song-based session is fine. . .but when there is a regular session (meaning every week), and the same 2 or three people sing the same songs, over and over. . .not necessarily any particular key propagated through the rendition. . .musicians of all varieties tend to want to tear hair.

When a tune player starts a tune, and a singer decides that it was a personal invitation. . .

When a singer steps to the mike, and the accordion player decides that a little oom-pah to set the mood is in order. . .

When a singer starts a melody, and the bodhran player thinks that it should be done a little faster. . .

The best sessions I've been to are lead firmly by someone who has social skills above the mere mortal, and can direct inappropriate behavior, subtlely if possible, sternly if necessary, and rudely if none of the above work. Best of luck! Too bad Portsmouth is too far for this Cat.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 07:34 PM

A) of all: No mike. Song circle (for the shanty sing).

We already have an English/Scots/Irish, etc. session at The Press Room every Friday which has been going on for the past 19 years -- led by Curmudgeon. It's a mixed session: both songs and tunes. As a singer, I try to sing songs that have good choruses to bring in other singers, and good instrumental breaks to bring in the instrumentalists. There is a LOT of material I don't do at The Press Room. I save it for performances.

Singers have just as large (and in my experience, much larger) repertoires as instrumentalists. It certainly won't be the same songs every month.

Again, in my experience, the instrumentalists are more guilty than singers (although singers get in ruts, too) of playing the same tunes over and over and over every week. Quite honestly, if I never hear another O'Carolan tune again, I will not cry myself to sleep. (And I LIKE O'Carolan -- I'm just really bored.)

Wish you could join us sometime, Tyghress. We've had 'Catters from as far away and England, Scotland, Canada, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, etcet etcet etcet. Next time you're in New Hampshire, try to schedule a Friday afternoon/evening at The Press Room!

Linn


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Naemanson
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 11:08 PM

I agree, Tyghress. If I ever went to a session where there were only one or two singers repeating the same material session after session I too would want to tear my hair.

Luckily, I have never experienced that.

Unfortunately, many tune sessions sound like...

But we won't go there. [Grin]


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Brían
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 11:18 PM

Ah sure, the tunes only sound all the same if ya don' play along :-). That's why I sing and play. Now if you sing in Gaelic, they either sound like the same tune, or they really are, usually THE STASR OF THE COUNTY DOWN.

Brían


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Naemanson
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 06:27 AM

Sure Brian, and if they aren't THE STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN then they are one of many O'Carolan tunes. Why couldn't that man write words too?

You know, we might want to start working out rides and riders for those of us coming from aways off. I know Jaque is looking for a ride and Charley and I will probably come down together. I'm driving a pickup so if I drive I will only have room for Charley. However Charley drives a van so we could pick people up on the way down if he wants to drive.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Brían
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 07:06 AM

If we're looking tward January, count me in!

Brían


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM

Sure, we can load up the van. It holds 7 inside and the rest can be tied to the roof with bungee chords, or towed behind.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 11:15 AM

Time to refresh this for the holiday visitors,

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 03:14 PM

This drinking song is based on a fragment, the first verse, recollected from a song party in the 1960's off Stonington, Maine.


MERCHANT'S ISLAND

(New words by Charlie Ipcar © 1999
Tune: "She's but a Lassie yet")

G--C-G--------D-------G
Oh, the wind blew up 'bout nor'nor'east,
---------C-G--D7
Blew right up on Monty's beach;
---G------D7---------G-------D7
The men got drunk and the women too ?
--------------------------G
'Round the pub the rum jug flew!


Chorus:

G
We'll shove around the grog, me boys,
------------------------------D7
Raise our mugs and make some noise;
------G------------------------C
We'll shove around the grog, me boys ?
D7-----------------G
Down on Merchant's Island!


One thing that we know is true,
There's nothing like ol' Stan's home brew,
For on our toots we're pissed as newts ?
Down on Merchant's Island...

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 03:24 PM

Ooh, everybody -- you should see the squid netsuke I got for Christmas! (Actually, you WILL see it at the first shanty session because by that time I'll have found a cord for it and will be wearing it as a necklace. Hmmm . . . goes nicely with my silver squid earrings.)

Linn (and you thought I just liked bats . . .)


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: curmudgeon
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 08:55 AM

Thanks for the refresh Charley. I did the same for the Shanty Sessions at the Press Room thread -- Tom


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 09:40 AM

wish I had a car! I would come up from Boston for this... our singing session on Wednesdays is now defunct.


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: curmudgeon
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 09:48 AM

Guest, PM me with your email, and if there is someone coming from Boston, I'll try to arrange a ride for you -- Tom


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 11:24 AM

New England Shanty Sessions vs Shanty Sessions at the Press Room

Hmmm, which one shall win the most posts for the same event. The line for the bookies forms on the left!


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: GUEST,Heely
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 10:31 PM

HeyGuys! It's great to hear that you all are keeping the shanty singing going up there. We have been having regular sessions here in Portsmouth/Norfolk Virginia for years. Our regular meeting is on the second Thursday of the month at 7 PM at Rebel Marine in Ocean View, Norfolk, No instruments please. Also, we have held a sailors evening every year during the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race in Oct. This sing is held from 9 -UNTIL at the Nauticus pier at the Waterside festival park. It is a circle sing - but with well over 100 voices. Put your beer can on your head to take a verse.If you are ever in the area. . . Give us a shout. One rule that we have is that you try to bring a new shantey to teach each time. Heely


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 12:11 AM

Al the best for this new chantey sing! At the San Francisco chantey sing I host, though there are usually 100+ attendees, we do it singer circle style. Everyone can either lead a song, say "pass," or request a song. The request feature assures that those who want to sing more usually don't need to wait 'til it gets to their turn again.

We hadn't always run the sings as a circle. It used to be just "who's got a song?" Over the years, the session had morphed into a performers/audience affair, with less people willing to take the plunge and sing in public for maybe their first time. Efforts to widen the number of people leading songs we'ren't working very well. Since last January it's been run as a singers circle. One caveat here, one you probably already know: No system is perfect, nor will it please everyone, but, be that as it may, I feel passionately that the basic premise, the singers circle w/ request feature, is for the greatest good. Since we've enacted that way a year ago, magic has happened: people who never sang in public before, and were exclusively listeners are now encouraged and are learning chanteys and immersing themselves in this music. Parents are bringing their kids, who are starting to listen to chantey CD's and reading Hugill, and beginning to sing, thus bringing some hope that this music will be passed on to the next generation. It's a whole different dynamic when the circle goes around to everyone. Everyone knows that it will eventually get around to them, so they are more likely to come out of the woodwork. Hey, and some really good singers have emerged from this as well - a bonus.

The few rules we have are designed to make the evening low stress - not to constrict. If it's a forebitter or shore song, it must have a chorus, so everyone can sing along. We relax that rule late at night when there's a smaller group remaining and things are more laid back. Whoever's leading a song has the say in whether instrumental accompaniment is desired or not. Observe common courtesy by not having conversations when someone is singing. X-rated sea songs after 11pm.

Whatever rules (or no rules) you choose, I must again praise the singers circle route, and wish you're sing the best. PM me if you'd like to trade info/good stuff/war stories from your chantey sing.

Best,

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: New England Shanty Sessions
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 12:39 AM

Oy, I meant "I wish your sing the best," not "you're sing."


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