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Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music

GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 11 Apr 04 - 04:21 PM
Ed. 11 Apr 04 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Crystal 11 Apr 04 - 04:34 PM
michaelr 11 Apr 04 - 05:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 04 - 05:22 PM
mooman 11 Apr 04 - 06:20 PM
paddymac 11 Apr 04 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Apr 04 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,honestfrankie@hotmail.com 11 Apr 04 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 12 Apr 04 - 12:05 AM
DonMeixner 12 Apr 04 - 12:28 AM
Big Mick 12 Apr 04 - 01:07 AM
InOBU 12 Apr 04 - 02:03 AM
erinmaidin 12 Apr 04 - 02:52 AM
InOBU 12 Apr 04 - 03:11 AM
Dave Hanson 12 Apr 04 - 04:58 AM
pavane 12 Apr 04 - 05:00 AM
maire-aine 12 Apr 04 - 10:05 AM
gnu 12 Apr 04 - 10:57 AM
Shanghaiceltic 12 Apr 04 - 11:15 AM
Blackcatter 12 Apr 04 - 11:33 AM
Blackcatter 12 Apr 04 - 11:34 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 04 - 11:47 AM
Big Mick 12 Apr 04 - 12:28 PM
Blackcatter 12 Apr 04 - 12:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 04 - 12:59 PM
MartinRyan 12 Apr 04 - 03:12 PM
erinmaidin 12 Apr 04 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 12 Apr 04 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,A Bodhrán and Guitar player 13 Apr 04 - 09:27 AM
Pied Piper 13 Apr 04 - 10:30 AM
MAG 13 Apr 04 - 04:08 PM
Joybell 13 Apr 04 - 08:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 04 - 08:50 PM
John P 13 Apr 04 - 11:15 PM
Blackcatter 14 Apr 04 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,guest mick 14 Apr 04 - 11:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Apr 04 - 12:13 PM
Fibula Mattock 14 Apr 04 - 12:23 PM
erinmaidin 14 Apr 04 - 01:02 PM
Fibula Mattock 14 Apr 04 - 02:14 PM
greg stephens 14 Apr 04 - 02:39 PM
Blackcatter 14 Apr 04 - 08:59 PM
mooman 15 Apr 04 - 03:51 AM
InOBU 15 Apr 04 - 07:36 AM
skarpi 15 Apr 04 - 06:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Apr 04 - 06:57 PM
Tattie Bogle 15 Apr 04 - 07:46 PM
GUEST 15 Apr 04 - 07:51 PM
Big Mick 15 Apr 04 - 11:54 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 16 Apr 04 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 16 Apr 04 - 06:09 AM
Pied Piper 16 Apr 04 - 08:15 AM
Blackcatter 16 Apr 04 - 08:37 AM
weerover 16 Apr 04 - 09:37 AM
Big Mick 16 Apr 04 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 16 Apr 04 - 04:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 04 - 05:47 PM
Big Mick 16 Apr 04 - 06:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 04 - 06:42 PM
Blackcatter 16 Apr 04 - 06:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 04 - 07:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 04 - 08:22 PM
Blackcatter 16 Apr 04 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,Joe Mullarkey 17 Apr 04 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,JTT 17 Apr 04 - 04:32 PM
mooman 17 Apr 04 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 17 Apr 04 - 06:59 PM
Pied Piper 19 Apr 04 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 29 Apr 04 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,Scott Mckeon 29 Apr 04 - 02:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Apr 04 - 05:18 PM
TS 29 Apr 04 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,7x3 29 Apr 04 - 07:54 PM
Ernest 30 Apr 04 - 02:13 AM
TS 30 Apr 04 - 03:28 PM
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Subject: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 04:21 PM

My old mate Alan O'Leary copied this to me from the 'Western People', a weekly newspaper based in Co. Mayo. As a guitar player and the secretary of a Comhaltas branch I'd certainly be interested in knowing what folk think. Personally, I think this Duffy bloke is talking through his arse but I also kind of see where he's coming from. Anyway, make up your own minds. Here goes:



Comhaltas chief blasts guitar and bodhran players as destroyers of traditional Irish music
By: Michael Commins


Guitar and bodhran players who engage in 'traditional' music should be shown the way to go home. They are a total distraction and have "no place at all" in the folk music of the land. They play instruments of "low musical quality' and are destroying the integrity of pure traditional music. These are the sentiments of Mayo Comhaltas secretary, Seamus O Dubhthaigh (Seamus Duffy), no stranger to controversy down through the years.


Seamus, who hosts the traditional music Sunday night show (9.30 p.m. - 11 p.m.) on Mid-West Radio has been highly critical of the Riverdance phenomenon in recent years. His crusade to stop those responsible for young girls wearing "wigs" and make-up in Irish dancing competitions, first 'aired' in the "Western People", became a national news story.


Now, Seamus is back on the warpath again, the Aghamore maestro firm in his convictions that the "ensemble' impact of non-traditional instruments are posing serious problems for the preservation of the true authentic sound of traditional Irish music.


"I am often amazed and also annoyed by music artistes and radio presenters who introduce various recordings of Irish music as being traditional. In fact, the latter adjective must be the most abused, relative to Irish music, that exists. By its very nature, Irish traditional music is a folk music, simple and uncomplicated.
Unfortunately, in many modern recordings we get elements which are not within the tradition such as lavish attempts at arrangements, in some cases overtures, with a callithumpian concert of guitars, bodhrans and basoukis in the background - instruments of low or no musical quality which tend to obscure and distract from the central artiste. This feature of the recording business seems to worsen on an annual basis. I can assure all and sundry that this is not an Irish influence but a commercial one, and largely American."


Warming to the subject, Duffy sets the background of when these "outside' influences began to creep into traditional music. "The earliest Irish music recordings such as those of James McAuliffe, the Kerry piper, James Wheeler of Wexford, Eddie Herborn of Castlebar and Peter J. Conlon, the melodeon player from Belmont near Milltown in Co. Galway, were unaccompanied. We must remember that it was these who set the Irish American recording business in motion when their records sold out overnight.


"It was not until 1916 when Cork born Ellen O'Byrne, who managed the O'Byrne De Witt Grafonola and Victor music shop in New York, saw the commercial potential of Irish music and convinced the Columbia recording company to make a record of authentic traditional Irish music that a piano accompaniment was introduced. Hitherto, all recordings were made on the wax cylinder system.
"By 1920, the flat disc replaced the wax cylinder and the music industry was gaining momentum but, unfortunately, the accompaniment on piano was retained."



While Seamus says guitars are fine in "country music, the Beatles and pop where they have their own place", they are a 'no go' in the traditional stakes here at home.
"Today, we find ourselves in a situation where, in some instances, the accompaniment dominates to such an extinct that it drowns the central artiste but in all cases distracts attention from the artiste, all in the name of progress but aimed at commercialism.


"I believe guitar and bodhran players who operate in traditional circles are people of low esteem and undiscerning musical tastes. Noise is substituted for actual music. These instruments add nothing to our music but take a lot from it.
A pertinent question should be - can we allow conscious commercialism to destroy a most important element of a nation's culture?," asks Seamus.



Any guitar or bodhran players, or anyone with an opinion on the matters raised above, are welcome to respond to the views expressed by Seamus Duffy. Letters can be posted to Michael Commins, 'Diary Page', Western People, Claremorris, Mayo or e-mailed to mcummins@wpeople.iol.ie


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Ed.
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 04:26 PM

Yawn...


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 04:34 PM

Erm, what planet did you say the guy was from?

And will it be possible to send him back there?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: michaelr
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 05:16 PM

Duffy is obviously one of those stuck-in-the-past trad fundamentalists who would rather see the music displayed inside a museum's glass case than have it continue to be a living, evolving, vital entity.

While I'm no fan of the early 20th century piano accompaniments, and cheer a hearty "Bravo!" to Duffy's sentiments on the Riverdance phenomenon, as well as the curly wigs (not to mention the garish, neon-colored dresses) of Irish stepdancers, I must say I believe that the incredible boost in popularity Irish music has been enjoying has to be seen as a good thing. If it takes guitars, bodhrans, or even (gasp!) keyboards and electric bass to get new generations interested, so be it.

But then I'm a guitarist of low esteem, so what do I know?

Folk music is not a pickle.
It doesn't need to be preserved.


Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 05:22 PM

Not to worry. It's a broad church. I'm quite glad there are some people standing up for this way of thinking. After all, it's not as if there's any threat to the survival of guitars and bodhrans.

I'm a bit surprised he didn't have a go at that modern innovation, the banjo; and he seemed to accept that there's a place for such newcomers as melodeons.

I've got a feeling that Seamus might have been intentionally trying to stir up a few people for the hell of it...

Anyway, there'll be plenty of guitars and bodhrans and people playing in sessions together at the Fleadh Ceoil in Clonmel this summer, and Comhaltas seems to have no problem in rubbing along with all kinds of Irish music with roots in the tradition.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: mooman
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 06:20 PM

Perhaps the likes of Seamus Duffy are the real threat to Irish music....?

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: paddymac
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 08:38 PM

Preservation of original forms is a commendable contribution to history, but attempts to prevent or prohibit adaptation or evolution is simply foolhardy. In the competition element of Comhaltas, and kindred groups in other idioms, I have no problem with a "purist" strand. However, to posit purism as a bar to growth shows a significant lack of understanding of what is commonly referred to here as "the folk process." The whole thing very likely started with bone whistles and a drum of some sort, long before there was a fiddle in the mix. The apparent question then is what time frame does a purist choose as a foundation period for a "tradition?" A moving target if ever there was one.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 10:00 PM

Re: I've got a feeling that Seamus might have been intentionally trying to stir up a few people for the hell of it..."

McGrath, I believe you have hit the nail right on the head.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,honestfrankie@hotmail.com
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 10:07 PM

Gee, I'm glad that traditional Irish music wasn't first played on a piece of catgut stretched across a pig's arse! I see folk-naziism is alive and well in your part of the globe.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:05 AM

Having stood outside a pub and listened to the general effect of several violins being sawn in half to the acompanyment of battered bhorans and over plecked guitars, I have to agree with the man that it is a low form of music.

Mind you anyone spelling Duffy as Dubhthaig marks himself out as being akin to a Hyacinthe Bucket.

I have no real dislike of things Irish, but do feel that a little more effort might make an improvement to what is usually a general noise, with each player trying to out volume their neighbour.

I once heard a rather elderly lady with a harp who sang half the time in Gaelic and the effect was like standing beside a fountain of music and just remembering makes my eyes flood, it was so beautiful.

Now if there was just one drop of that music in all the deedleedling twenty times round because no one knows how to stop - that would be something to travel to hear.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:28 AM

Ah Anne,

Onslow Lives!

I recently read where some one locally, Central New York State, was playing bozouki in the traditional Irish manner.

Don


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 01:07 AM

Sure it is a good thing to have folks that have a purist view. But I tire of pompous arses who think they understand what traditional music is. One thing that is a tradition in Irish music is that it will change, the instrumentation will change, and folks will change the music to what they hear or feel in it. I am a madman who is attempting to master the Uilleann pipes and I am very sure that I will be a long time dead before I get close. But one thing I have learned is that if 10 pipers listened to the same recording of a tune, they would play it ten different ways and rarely would any of them play it the same way twice. And in the history of Irish Music, the UP's are fairly recent.

Do I think there are too many bodhran players? I think there are too many that haven't attempted to master the instrument. But is there any instrument more trad than the bodhran? I don't think so. It is like the penny whistle in that it easy to play, but very difficult to play well. I wonder what your man thinks of Kevin Conniff?

Just rambling, but I agree with the born again scouser. This man wants it to stay a certain way, but the music of our people has never been static and never will be. The nature of the Irish is to continually tinker with it, all the while tipping their hat to the past.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: InOBU
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 02:03 AM

Geezeloueeeze, It must be getting tight in that box he built around himself. Cheers Larry
PS I'd hate to ask him what he thinks of the bazooki!


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: erinmaidin
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 02:52 AM

As a regularly paid session musician in the Dublin area and also a member of the local Comhaltas branch (where, in fact, traditional guitar backing is not only supported but taught) I have to straddle the fence a bit on this one. There are times, at the sessions I am hosting, that the guitars and bodhrans can become overwhelming. I've managed to institute an "unspoken"(and it should NEVER have to be spoken) that one guitar backing at a time is adequate. The same with bodhrans. The truly good bodhran players will put their instrument down when they see another one being played. There is a space in all sessions for all instruments...the secret is finding the space and making it work..and making sure no one else is in that space at the same time. Pretty much the same as lining up at the check-out in the supermarket.
I am pleased to say that I am often requested...sometimes during the tunes by seasoned players...to pick up my guitar and come along. There is a percussive excitement that a truly good backer can add to a tune...and I consider myself now, thanks to the graciousness and warm reception of trad.players...to be a truly good backer.
Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that I may be a myopic guitar player with a vivid imagination..I haste to add that I also play mandolin, whistle and a bit of concertina.
I will add that it has been my experience in learning trad. backing accompaniment...I had to learn entirely different methods than the standard rhythm of mainstreet guitar playing. The accents are in entirely different places...the spaces to be filled and the spaces to vacate are difficult to find at first..but once found become as natural as breathing.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: InOBU
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 03:11 AM

Erinmaiden, a chara, agus everyone else, a cairde:
Frankly, I invite you to see the latest photo of my interim band as I am rehercing the new band... (for those who are going to get out of sorts... before you even take a look... it is not serrious... ) but, frankly it shows what I concider to be the ultimate Ceili and ballad band's make up... it is a photo of my band last year at the Lower East Side festival, where we are playing as a trio this year with Flute Uilleann Pipes and Chello... but do go to members photo and look at the photo from last years gig... and have a chuckle.

Is mise, le meas,
Lorcan Otway
(InOBU the photo is under...)


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 04:58 AM

The only thing Mr Duff illustrates is his remarkable lack of understanding of the folk process.
eric


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: pavane
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 05:00 AM

Now, when exactly were the Uillean Pipes perfected? The Violin is not that old, either. Penny whistles, everyone?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: maire-aine
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 10:05 AM

If he wants to keep HIS music pure and pristine, let him record it and let it sit on a shelf. That way the purists can have it frozen for all time. On the other hand, people who want to PLAY music, want to have fun with it. They're not handling museum pieces, they're entertaining themselves (and others) by tossing it around, bouncing it off the walls and letting it rebound back at them. It's for people to dance to, clap along with and sing to. It's alive, d*mm*t.

Maryanne
(Comhaltas member in Detroit for 10 years)


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: gnu
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 10:57 AM

Sounds like he's got a tipper up his ass.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 11:15 AM

Surely it is the manner in which an instrument is played not just the instrument itself that dictates whether it sounds right or not.

There are some incredible bodhran players around today who have got fantastic rythms and technique.

May he forgets he too was a beginner/learner/journeyman at some time and that he may have sounded crappy too, or was he born a genius?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 11:33 AM

Like Big Mick - I am having trouble with his ire of the Bodhran as being not traditional. I am certainly no expert, but isn't it a rather old instrument?

I agree with the general concensus above. I've been in too many groups where there are 5 guitars all playing the same chord structure, few of the guitarists could even pick the tune on their instrument, yet they all thought themselves as accomplished guitarists. At the same time they often thought little of me because "all" I could play was the bodhran, spoons and jews harp (And I work very hard at fitting in and laying back when the music called for it).

But then again 4 fiddles sawing away at a tune is sometimes no better.

I guess that the biggest thing is that those who think they're playing traditional Irish music, when usung guitars and playing songs that were actually written within the past 50 years really need to learn about their music.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 11:34 AM

Here's a question that has probably been answered at Mudcat before, but:

How "old" are the various "folk" instruments in Ireland and elsewhere?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 11:47 AM

There is a space in all sessions for all instruments...the secret is finding the space and making it work..and making sure no one else is in that space at the same time.

That says it all. How is it some people know this by instinct, and some people never seem to pick it up or apply it?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:28 PM

erinmaiden has the right of it. I am reminded of a local "celtic" band that wants to take the next step. I was talking to the leader, who plays rhythm. I was trying to get him to understand that the problem he is having is that he doesn't understand that it is the rhythm that makes our music unique. He was looking at every part of his band except himself. He was just playing rock 'n roll, or folk rhythms, when the thing that makes Irish music distinct, aside from instrumentation, is the percussive "in the gap" style that we play. He is still struggling along, playing the same stuff you can hear on most "folk rock" style of music.

The rhythms developed by our modern players, when done appropriately, have added a dimension to this exciting music that takes it to the next level. The same can be said of the bodhran. Done properly, and in support of the tune, makes this an exciting musical form.   But it must be done to enhance the tune, not to stand out.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:32 PM

I think part of it is being considerate. When I'm in a session, I constantly am thinking about how (if at all) I can contribute to the current song. A lot of people don't - either they get lost in the moment, or they're just there to play, I don't know, but it's often very frustrating.

Once thing that annoys me is that if I happen to be singing a song without accompaniment (something I now rarely do in song circles because of the problems) sometimes someone trys to follow along - oddly enough it's often times a banjo player - but since I am probnably not right on a key, they sort of play around me, out of tune from my song. Yet none of them have ever talked to me about working out the song and performing it together.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 12:59 PM

You really need to tell them - politely, as it can be done - to shut up, Blackcatter.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 03:12 PM

The gentleman wrote, as far as I remember, "McAlpine's Crew", which is a fine song. Despite that, his splenetic ramblings have long since exhausted his credit, in my view! The fact that, lurking under the rhodomontade (nice word that - wonder if I spelled it right?!) there is a germ of truth, doesn't increase the chance of getting his point across. And I'm afraid it's too much to hope that he was deliberately "stirring it".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: erinmaidin
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 08:42 PM

Blackcatter...I'm not sure about the usage of profanity on this site...but if some f***in' banjo player started to play behind one of my sean nos songs...out of tune...and irreverently (or irrelevantly..whatever be the case)...I would stop singin immediately (by that time it's useless anyway) and tell him to F off....not quietly but loudly and succinctly so everyone in the room is called to attention and realizes there is an a**hole alert.
Mille pardons to those who think this could be better said without pseudo profanity.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 12 Apr 04 - 08:55 PM

This topic is discussed on The Chiff&Fipple from Tony Mc Mahons rant about sessions.

Twenty guitars sounds to me like a real party ...bring that on .. zouks ok no problem, bodhrawns only if they are in tune, and please don't have some flute player slobbering drunk upon my Martin!

So play it your own way - to hell with the dry boring shlop that often poses as the real Mc-Coy, if in doubt go listen again to Cooley, Collins, Coleman, Dennis Murphy & Julia Clifford, Willie Clancy, Noel Hill, - then apply yourself to playing tunes.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,A Bodhrán and Guitar player
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 09:27 AM

Greetings All,

I suspect that if what this chap has to say is correct that all the tunes and instrumental arrangements were created at precisely the same moment in time. It would seem to me that unless this occurred the tradition would be considered evolutionary.

My understanding of the Irish music tradition is that it brings the community together and entertains them. Camaraderie, celebration, and political statement seem to be the foundation of any folk music tradition. I've witnessed this phenomenon with many different instrumental configurations.

To me the Irish folk music tradition, just like other folk music traditions, is more a matter of honest music created from a passion and inner voice solely for the sake of the music. If it is presented on a guitar rather than a violin is it any less impassioned?

It has been most astutely asked previously in this thread; What time segment do we isolate and call traditional in a music genre that has, and will continue to be, evolving?

Peace,
Ed


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Pied Piper
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 10:30 AM

As usual the singers have tried to hijack this thread which is about INSTRUMENTAL sessions hence the mentioning of Guitars and Bodhrans.

This space thing is very important. When I play the Bodhran I try to occupy the really low bass end of things and not clutter up the space occupied by tune players.
I think the one at a time is best for Guitars and Bodhrans and if there are other players at the session something gets worked out, usually without a word being spoken.
I will sometimes play while some one else is playing at large (long) sessions to help people stay together but then I keep it very simple.

TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: MAG
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 04:08 PM

this reminds me of a (science) professor at my undergrad college who played classical guitar on the side. He constantly derided all us folkies who contributed to the bastardization of the music. Yeah, he was a dry old stick. He happened to be married to my very favorite English prof who had us over a lot, so I got to listen to this speech much more than I wanted to.

I compare and contrast that to Davie Rea's lecture workshop called "The music don't mind." In it he describes how Slave banjo players in their involuntary new country adapted their technique to this guitar thing, and blues/folk guitar was born. I love that speech, have heard it several times, and, goddess willin' will hear it several more.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Joybell
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 08:05 PM

I'm with McGrath. There's room for it all surely. I personally avoid the World Music Soup where every thing gets simmered together into a mush, and it IS getting a bit difficult to get away from it. I'm grateful to the people who preserve old styles.
The combinations of folk styles has sometimes worked magic in the past - notably in North America. Whatever you may say about other aspects of American culture, something very special happened there when Hillbillies met Cajuns, when Africans met Europeans. It hasn't happened yet with the "folk music" combinations we are hearing today I don't think, but maybe I'm getting old and cranky. It was also in America that Engish ballads got isolated in the mountains and were preserved and saved for us in their old style. Both preservation and change are important. Joy


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 08:50 PM

The genius of Irish music has been to take and use and adapt, but without losing its difference. An Irish bazouki doesn't sound like a Greek Bazouki, an Irish Banjo doesn't sound like an American Banjo. And in fact with the different tunings and all, they are different instruments. The same way with the songs. They start sounding Irish. Even stuff that starts out as American Country ends up sounding distinctively Irish. (Leaving aside the fact that a lot of its roots in America are Irish anyway.)

This isn't peculiar to Irish music - it's what any live music culture which is still attached to its roots will do. But nurturing those roots is important. If it sometimes involves a bit of fanaticism and the kind of lack of balance shown in Seamus Duffy's piece at the start of this thread, so be it. There's plenty of people with a different way of seeing it to balance him out.

And if he wrote McAlpine's Crew, as Martin Ryan says he did, he's earned the right to be a bit obstreparous.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: John P
Date: 13 Apr 04 - 11:15 PM

I think there is a tendancy to confuse the concepts of traditional and historical.

JP


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 12:06 AM

As usual the singers have tried to hijack this thread which is about INSTRUMENTAL sessions hence the mentioning of Guitars and Bodhrans.

Wow Pied Piper - sorry to offend you. By the way - the thread was initially about Irish music recordings as in the following instance: "I am often amazed and also annoyed by music artistes and radio presenters who introduce various recordings of Irish music as being traditional.

The discussion didn't move towards sessions until the 5th poster. But don't take my word for it - feel free to read it above. Now, as one of the hijackers - I'll be quiet.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,guest mick
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 11:12 AM

Thanks for the reminder Blackcatter. Actually, in what sense can a recording be considered traditional anyway?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 12:13 PM

Cylinders?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 12:23 PM

wooooh! Is this the same comhaltas that provides certificates, courses and organised concerts? Aye, very traditional!


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: erinmaidin
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 01:02 PM

Since when is an organized concert not traditional? Since when can one not learn from other players, how to play traditionally? An organization founded by Irish traditional players FOR Irish traditional players! I suggest you may want to read up on the origins of the club.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 02:14 PM

I know all about the origins of the club. Of course people learn from other players. What I was trying to suggest was that for a member of comhaltas to propose that guitars and bodhrans were not traditional, one can also argue that providing formal-type exams in Irish music is also non-traditional.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: greg stephens
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 02:39 PM

I'm with McGrath on this. All traditional or "folk" music involves a creative balance between more conservative "traditionalists" who like it pretty much as it was last year, and the "modernists" who are busy trying to figure out what it ought to sound like next year. I have no problem with a guy who likes his jigs and reels played on fiddle and melodeon. Why shouldnt he like it like that? And if other want to insert guitars and bodhrans, fine for them too. We dont need to fight.
   Well, sometimes we do, I suppose, if a group of people are sitting in the pub playing a few tunes and get invaded by by a group of tourists with bodhrans with Celtic knotwork patterns painted on them.
    What is the tradition, anyway? there is nothing in the history of Irish music pre-1950 that sounds remotely like the Chieftains, the Dubliners or Planxty, but their very different styles soon got accepted and admired. But not by everybody. The "tradition" has got to involve the right not to like something, as well as the right to do what you want.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 14 Apr 04 - 08:59 PM

I'd like to repeat my question:

How "old" are the various "folk" instruments in Ireland and elsewhere?

Anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: mooman
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 03:51 AM

"I believe guitar and bodhran players who operate in traditional circles are people of low esteem and undiscerning musical tastes. Noise is substituted for actual music. These instruments add nothing to our music but take a lot from it."

Our man Duffy has clearly not heard Arty McGlynn, Chris Newman, Tony McManus, Ed Boyd, John Joe Kelly and others...

I refrain from further comment lest I utter a rude word...

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: InOBU
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 07:36 AM

Hi Blackcatter:
This is not from research but from memory. The Uilleann pipes began to evolve into the present state about 300 years ago, becoming the modern instrument in the 18th century. Bellows pumped pipes are common in France and Scotland, the Uilleann pipes being unique by way of the regulators, or keyed pipes for harmony. The bodhran - as a frame drum, is common to most cultures and was made of old grain sieves for years, but in the 1930s I believe it began to be used in Irish Ceili bands. Guitars likely go pretty far back in Ireland, as they developed hundreds of years ago... the tin whistle is as old as God, the Bazooki came into Irish music in the 1970's, the Oboe was intorduced by the band Sorcha Dorcha (Sarah "the gammon" Bell) in the early 21st century, the fiddle has yet to be perfected as an Irish instrument - though Paddy Reynolds and Michael Coleman could scrape out a tune fairly well, and the flute like the Whistle was invented by God and perfected by either Mat Mulloy or Cathal McConnel depending on your religious persuation.
I hope this helps...
if not the latest Lorcan Otway CD, (The best of Lorcan Otway is yet to come) will be available soon.
Is mise, le meas
Lorcan.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: skarpi
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:51 PM

Jammm, so i´ll have learn how to play somthing else ?
All the best Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 06:57 PM

The digeridoo is still finding its feet in Irish music.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 07:46 PM

Quite hard to play at the same time as a bodhran methinks.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 07:51 PM

There must be a story out there somewhere...

Bill Naughton Short Story Competition 2004.
------------------------

                        First Prize:         € 200.00
                        Second Prize:            € 130.00
                        Third Prize:        €   65.00        
Rules/conditions for this year's competition:

        1 Stories can be written on any topic chosen by the entrant.
        2 Typed scripts only.
        3 Maximum length of stories 2,500 words.
        4 Name and address must not appear on stories.
        5 All work must be unpublished.

        Entry fee: £5.00 (Sterling) or €6.00 (Euro) per story.
        Three stories may be submitted for the price of two.
        No entry form required.

Entries to:         
                        Bill Naughton Short Story Competition
                        Box No 2004
                        Aghamore
                        Ballyhaunis        
                        Co Mayo
                        Ireland        

Closing date: Friday 3rd September 2004
                              
[More details: http://www.aghamoregaa.com/society/shortstory.htm]


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 11:54 PM

And this has what to do with this thread?

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 05:15 AM

Didgeridoo? Now there I'm with Duffy...


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 06:09 AM

I once had a pint with a guy who had for years played baritone sax in a céilí band!

The point, of course, is that the "tradition" makes up its own mind, in the long run. Some of us make it more difficult by playing/singing in ways that seem to grate at the edges of what is currently recognised as part of the tradition while others instinctively stretch the boundaries into new and rewarding musical areas.

A few years ago I was driving along the main Dublin to Galway road near Ballinasloe when I was flagged down by one of two men who were stopping all traffic. Turned out a duck was leading her family of very tiny ducklings across the road (there was a little stream with good cover on that side!). There were a good dozen ducklings and , all huddled together, they looked like one weird organism flowing across the road. Some would shoot ahead, others drop behind, some shoot off to one side etc. - but they all got across the road eventually. A "tradition" is a bit like that!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Pied Piper
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 08:15 AM

There was and probably still is a Irish (as in born there) Guy here in Manchester that plays Trad tunes on a C Melody Sax, though I can't remember his name.
The Uillean Pipes Evolved from an instrument called the Pastoral Pipes invented around about 1700.
They only reached their present form in American vaudeville in the late 19th century.
None of this matters a jot; the music is always now and always ancient in that it lives, and occasionally takes us with it back to the dreamtime.
The worst thing you can do to any piece of music is, not play it.
TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 08:37 AM

And music is entirely subjective. Just because I like something doesn't make it good - it just makes it enjoyable to me.

What should be important is that those people who perform music should at least know a bit about it's history - not to be hide bound by it, but to be able to understand somewhat of where it's been and maybe a bit aabout where it's going.

One thing that is never good is ignorance.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: weerover
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 09:37 AM

The instrument is surely not as important as what is done with it. I may have mentioned this here before, but I am reminded of the response by Chinua Achebe when criticised for writing in English rather than one of the many languages of his native Nigeria. He pointed to the fact that African slaves and their descendants in America took Western instruments and created a new musical form, i.e. jazz.

wr.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 10:26 AM

Martin Ryan, as usual, is spot on. Would that folks with his kind of wisdom were in charge.

Depending on the times one is living in, many instruments are used to play "traditional" music. For years it was played by show bands, years before that it was played by fiddlers, or pipers. Most of the time it was solo. In fact, that is part of the problem today, trying to play the Uilleann Pipes ensemble. They were not developed to be an ensemble instrument. Tuning was important only insomuch as they were in tune relative to themselves. But having said that, there are not many out there who wouldn't appreciate what the UP's have added to many styles of music, and to the scores of countless movies.

The only two "traditional" instruments in our music that I know of are the harp and the bodhran. In both cases there is discussion about origin, but no dispute that they have the longest history in the stories of our people. But the real question is, "At what point in the history do we put up the fence that divides traditional from non traditional?". My opinion is that one of the things that is traditional in the music of my folks is that it will change, it will borrow from other cultures, and it will continue to evolve in fantastic ways. And in the stew of our music, it will always be uniquely Irish.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 04:49 PM

Me again.

I'm glad I kicked this off because I've read a lot of common sense in it. Not that I expected anything else, but it's nice to be reassured. Slightly disappointed that Mooman didn't mention that wonderful guitarist from Whitton he used to play with at the Red Cow but I guess that's old age for you.

I think our friend Duffy tells us more about himself and about Comhaltas than he tells us about music. The Comhaltas Congress is on in Dublin over the May bank holiday. As a branch secretary and a guitarist I'm tempted to pop over and table a motion asking for him to be kicked out for bringing the organisation into disrepute (you can do that apparently) but quite honestly I can't be arsed.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 05:47 PM

"The only two "traditional" instruments in our music that I know of are the harp and the bodhran. In both cases there is discussion about origin, but no dispute that they have the longest history in the stories of our people.

I think you'd find a fair bit of dispute about the bodhran, and it'll probably show up in this thread. The idea of stretching a bit of hide across a frame and hitting it is old enough - I suspect it goes back to Cro-Magnon times or before. (Maybe they picked it up from the Neanderthalers...)

In Ireland it was used on particular occasions in particular places, notably as part of the "hunting the wren" tradition. But as an instrument played together with other instruments to provide the percusssion, as I understand it, that's no more than 40 years old, and was a Sean O Riada innovation.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 06:08 PM

I would love to hear more on this, Kevin. To say that it is only about 40 years old as a form of accompaniment surprises me. Are you sure that it wasn't used in some earlier time, fell out of usage, and then was re-introduced by the venerated Mr. O'Riada?

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 06:42 PM

That might be so - I'm sure one way and another people have always played frame drums, and probably re-invented them any time they felt a need to make a bit of noise. I suspect that if you hunt around you'd found pictures in mediaeval manuscripts that look like bodhrans. But I think you'd be pretty hard put to find any evidence of them being used in ensemble music before the '60s.

And from the way Duffy lumps "guitars, bodhrans and basoukis" together I'd imagine he's seeing them all the same way, as innovations from around that time.

Myself I see them as good innovations, and part of a developing tradition - as a percussion instrument when you need one, a bodhran is a great thing to have available, and far better than the snare drum which tended to be used previously.

I have a suspicion that the way the bodhran is played - which is where it differs from the way frame drums are used in, for example North Africa or (native) North America, owes a lot to the influence of the way guitarists strum their instruments.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 06:48 PM

Why would people have instruments lying around and NOT use them to play music with? That doesn't sound quite right. Irish music is quite rhythmic - even the old stuff, I can't imagine that people wouldn't use a drum if they had one.

Also - what about the whistle and flute? As earlier stated, they are really old instruments. Actually, they are probably the first "noted" instruments created by mandkind.

Also - violins/fiddles have been around for over 300 years - I realize the poor didn't have much access to them, but not all "folk" music is music of the poor.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 07:35 PM

"..Actually, they are probably the first "noted" instruments created by mankind."

NEANDERTHAL FLUTE - Oldest Musical Instrument's 4 Notes Matches 4 of Do, Re, Mi Scale at least 42,000, using the bone of a Cave Bear. (But the contemporary Bodhran has not survived...)


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 08:22 PM

Howevever the basic percussion is body percussion, notably clapping and stamping. That goes back to pre-human times, I imagine. After all, gorillas still go in for chest beating.

I'm sure Seamus Duffy would class that as part of the tradition, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Apr 04 - 11:29 PM

And what about spoons and the earlier bones - they must have been part of Neanderthal skiffle groups.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Joe Mullarkey
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 04:00 PM

Sax player in Manchester is Tony Howley


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 04:32 PM

According to my favourite English-Irish dictionary, O'Neill Lane, a bodhrán is a dildurn, an agricultural implement used for winnowing grain. (In other words, you put a load of grain into it and shake it up and down in a wind, and the chaff blows away, while the heavier grain drops back into the bowl of the dildurn.)

As I understand it, Seán Ó Riada revived the use of the bodhran, traditionally used as an ad hoc drum in the southwest of Ireland, and brought it into the music he performed and wrote.

As for the guitar, it was a Spanish instrument when I was a sprog, and then became popular in folk music of all nationalities. That's how music changes and grows.

Dunno about the uileán pipes; I'd distrust all authorities who claim it's not an ancient instrument - it seems such a likely invention for any shepherd with a shepherd's pipe, the belly of a sheep and an hour or two to kill!


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: mooman
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 05:48 PM

OK, OK mea maxima culpa....

Our man Duffy has clearly not heard Arty McGlynn, Chris Newman, Tony McManus, Ed BoydChis B****d (Born Again Scouser) (who owes me a pint of Ordinary by the way), John Joe Kelly and others...

Apologies for any offence inadvertantly caused!

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 17 Apr 04 - 06:59 PM

Humph - this thread just evaporated off the screen - playing SB's.

well I just found that I have been using something with a name to clean the chaff from the bird seed ( my family have kept psittacine birds since before I was born).

The basic concept is to collect the scattered seed from the shelves and pots, putting it into a bowl, then take a large wide bowl, put it on the ground and pour the seed into it letting the chaff blow away.

On the subject of playing music -

Whatever instrument is being played in whatever company basically it should not sound like something being tortured or that you have stumbled on an all night session about dawn.

If it is something people will remember with good feelings then it is OK by me (this is not at all the same thing as listening to a recording two weeks later when the atmosphere/alcohol has worn off)

Anne


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Pied Piper
Date: 19 Apr 04 - 05:13 AM

Thanks for that Joe, is Tony still playing?
TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 06:13 AM

I just got this from Joe Mullarkey (Ta, Joe!). It was written by
Brian Prior, Comhaltas Projects Officer.


Traditional Music Instruments – The Comhaltas Position

The debate about what is and what's not an authentic traditional music instrument is once again in full spate. By the nature of traditional music it's neither possible, nor would it be desirable, for anyone or any organisation to legislate on a matter such as this.

Comhaltas would not normally engage in this type of debate were it not for the fact that the movement is being misrepresented in some of the recent discussion on the merits or otherwise of guitars and bodhráns – the innuendo being that these instruments are not considered to be part of the tradition.

One of the Comhaltas Aims and Objectives is "to promote Irish Traditional Music in all its forms" and this is reflected in its vast programme of musical activities. Hundreds of music classes are held each week by the 400 branches of Comhaltas throughout Ireland and around the world covering all instruments such as uilleann pipes, harp, fiddle, flute, whistle, accordion, concertina, banjo and also including the guitar and bodhrán. Equally there are bodhrán competitions at all Fleadhanna Cheoil and the guitar is included, along with piano, harp and bouzouki in the accompaniment competition.

As can be seen from the recent debate, many traditionalists have their own personal strongly held views on what constitutes an authentic traditional instrument. However, it's very important that where these views are expressed by a Comhaltas member that they're not misconstrued as policy for the movement as a whole. Hopefully this statement will clarify the position and we can all get back to playing the music which it's surely what it's all about!!


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,Scott Mckeon
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 02:14 PM

what a plonker this man is
and i would agree saying he is talking out of his arse
bodrhans and guitars are essential in sessions and irish music in general
they are the beat keepers, and they are needed badly alot of the time
looking into it the only instruments that are traditional to irish music are the harp and the ulean pipes
kinda restricted on different sounds with two instruments
this man wants to become more open minded and just shut his mout now and again.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 05:18 PM

"bodrhans and guitars are essential in sessions and irish music in general"

Not true. It's perfectly possible to have great sessions, and great Irish music, without either a bodhtran or a guitar in sight. And of course it's possible to have great music with them.   

But saying they "are essential" is just as much an oversimplification as saying they don't belong. The music is wider than either of those limitations.


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: TS
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 06:41 PM

Maybe Mr.Duffy should fwd this little essay off to the Chieftains and Danu and some of the other top bodhran players of our time and see what they have to say. Then again, a tipper up his arse couldnt hurt matters any, either.....Slainte!


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: GUEST,7x3
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 07:54 PM

"Hi Blackcatter:
This is not from research but from memory. The Uilleann pipes began to evolve into the present state about 300 years ago, becoming the modern instrument in the 18th century. Bellows pumped pipes are common in France and Scotland, the Uilleann pipes being unique by way of the regulators, or keyed pipes for harmony. The bodhran - as a frame drum, is common to most cultures and was made of old grain sieves for years, but in the 1930s I believe it began to be used in Irish Ceili bands."\



Jazus - you cant be serious! The noise them Scotsmen make with the Warpipes is bad enough, pulease don't say they can play the Uilleann as well!


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: Ernest
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 02:13 AM

ReelBrew:
"A tipper up his arse couldn`t hurt matters any, either"?

Are you going to use that tipper afterwards?

Regar(d)se
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Guitars, Bodhrans and Irish Music
From: TS
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 03:28 PM

Ernest:

Nah..I'll hold off..wouldnt waste a good one...I'll use a "shitty" tipper..no pun intended!.....Slainte!


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