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Are the sessions real in Ireland?

Fidjit 04 Jan 07 - 10:59 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 07 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Fidjit
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 10:59 AM

I was in Clare on a couple of visits 2003/4. Found the sessions in the pubs a bit, now whats the word I'm looking for. Unreal? Made up.? Not quite authentic? Do you know what I mean. Seeemingly paid musicians there to start a session feel. Very fake type. Some in Milton Malbay, on that week they have in July, were very authentic though. Even joined in with those ones. Lisdoonvarna and Doolin No way!. Dublin, Temple Bar. Forget it. Nice one in the Lighthouse at Howth though, with Barney McKenna in residence. Also at the center in Monkstown. Teaching the turists dancing and a session in the bar. Also authentic. Think I found the real ones. The others, must just be there for the turists. Now they could be a debateable point. Wotcha fink?

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 11:27 AM

I can only speak from my own experience.
in my village, Ballydehob , co cork ,there is a session that was started by my partner, Cathy Cook,16 years ago,the session used to be held in rosies pub,it is still going every friday night,no one gets paid.and it goes on throughout the year.
I play in other venues during the summer,I never compromise my music,I play a mixture of polkas, slides, hornpipes, jigs and reels and sing both irish and english folk songs, you can see me at the coachmans in kenmare, or the sailors kenmare,or Caseys in baltimore.
unfortunately if it wasnt for the tourists in rural ireland,this music would not be so common,for several reasons.
1.drink drive laws[with no alternative public transport or taxis]means that many pubs in rural ireland, have and will close.
2.some irish people prefer country and western,45 per cent is my guess.
come to Ballydehob,and remember,[ please dont take offence] you like every holiday maker are a tourist and just as there are variations in folk clubs,there will be variations in sessions,but i hope there not as fake as the irish theme pubs in England.
Whenever I play, I try to sing and play with honesty and sincerity ,please visit my website www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: JennyO
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 11:40 AM

I went to a session in Gus O'Connor's pub in Doolin, and had a great time. They were very friendly and inclusive, invited me into the group and lent me a bodhran to play. It was mostly tunes, interspersed with a song now and then. Felt very authentic to me!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: DMcG
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 11:41 AM

I've only been to Ireland for short periods, so can't really comment, beyond the fact that the only sessions I've been that did seem fake were all in Dublin.

I've spent a little while thinking what it is that seemed fake about those sessions and in most cases it seems to be more based around the banter between tunes rather than the music itself. After all, while there can be some 'unusual variations' in the tunes of the main sessions I go to, there can also be quite long periods where everyone plays as if they had been rehearsing those particular tunes together for weeks, so the accuracy of the playing itself is not a very reliable guide to whether the session is fake or not.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Sorcha
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 12:09 PM

Had a great time at erinmainden's session in Monkstown. And perhaps, a lot of the 'real' sessions are in private homes?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 12:14 PM

Sadly , what Dick said about C&W is true ! We were doing a wedding , and the brides Uncle was bemoaning the fact that in Meath , there was NO Real Irish Music , he had to come to London to find it , and the band were "All F****** English" Unquote !
Hopefully we will have some good sessions at Portaferry next month !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Carol
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 12:28 PM

Now we have a campervan we were wondering about spending some time in Ireland but as an unaccompanied singer I would appreciate any places/clubs/pubs where I might get the chance to sing and listen to other singers please?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Shaneo
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 12:47 PM

'Made up sessions', Yes there are lots around , especially in the tourists areas you mentioned, They are there to get the tourists in to buy drink.
Has anybody ever seen the American tourists who wander into an Irish pub wearing wind breakers and back packs ans sit at a table with one drink between six of them and spend the whole night there taking up space ? You will find them during the summer season in Kilkenny , Galway , Clare and Temple Bar Dublin.
I don't want to offend the American contributors to this board but this type of American visitor to Ireland is almost widespread during the summer.
They sit , appreciate the music but do not buy drink.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Sorcha
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 12:50 PM

I hate to tell you this, but I drank my share and THEN some when I was over! LOL!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 12:50 PM

Ballydehob co cork,or any place that i,m playing your welcome,usually cork or south kerry,please p m me,nearer the time.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 01:07 PM

Some are, some aren't. If a real session consists of a bunch of people meeting together to make music for the fun of it, and open to all comers, rather than a programmed gig, I rather suspect you might be more likely to find that away from the tourist traps.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: oombanjo
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 01:26 PM

Try Peppers Bar in Feakle County Clare The 85 year olds are still joining in and playing, and the young 14/15 year olds are producing new tunes, as well as the old ones, picked up and taught in the local pubs and school. In August last year I stayed over for 5 weeks and agree with a lot of what you say, but there are many exceptions. Liona's bar played a good mix of Irish,and when I took out my five string I was joined by Liona herself and we played some Old time Appalachion tunes,I found out this was much appreciated by the locals and ended up being invited to play at places like the Muckross hotel as well as many other venues. Carol, the two best sessions I found for un accompanied singers were at the Feakle festival where they have a pub dedicated to just that and many a song is sung in Irish, Peppers bar also appreciated single singers, in fact when a singer was on the floor the pub fell silent,very unusual for an Irish bar, the other place was a pub on the Wexford harbour (at the far end on the corner of the the last road of to the right before you turn the corner. If you go over the bridge at Wexford heading north there is an unadvertised council site, the session starts about half one on sundays, if you go give my best to all. Get the other cambing site book by ringing the Irish tourist info office its free with lots of other usfull info. Also most of the camp sites welcome musicians, and there is usually a lounge with on or two instruments hanging om the walls. best see you soon John AKA oombanjo


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 02:33 PM

I really have no idea what an "Unreal? Made up.? Not quite authentic" or "fake" session is!
This attitude smacks of musical snobbism. A session (in Ireland--I'm Irish) is a session in my book, whether it's an "open"
session or not (yes, we have those too!), whether the musicians are paid or not.
Every session is different--there are singing sessions and tunes sessions, or half'n'half,
hectic sessions with practically no breaks and laid back chatty sessions.
It's up to the musicians to decide the kind of session they want, and in that sense every session is "real".      

Many session musicians make a living out of playing, and you can't blame them for trying to get some reward
for the effort they put into learning their trade,
and they'll keep the music going no matter what--in the olden days, before Ireland got so affluent,
they would have been found busking or playing at fairs, etc., and they kept the traditional music going through the hard times.

Although certain Mudcat purists may look down on the Temple Bar-type sessions, a lot of people,
Irish and visitors, still enjoy them, and there's nothing wrong with people enjoying themselves and singing along to a few come-all-yes!      

Carol, if you're coming through Dublin I can provide some info on singing sessions--just don't ask me whether they're real or fake :)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 02:36 PM

Who goes to Ireland and doesn't drink?

Come on!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 02:57 PM

Fidjit,
There are around 6 or 7 sessions a week in Miltown Malbay and they are of both types; those where a couple of musicians are booked in advance and those where whoever turns up sits in.
In the former, it is possible for a visiting musician to sit in, but as we have a number of excellent local players, visitors tend to defer to them. This can occasionally backfire - we've just had two potentially good sessions over the Christmas ruined by a virulent dose of spoons (don't get me started on bodhrans).
The most musically satisfying are those with regular, skilful musicians; if you want to hear the lower end of the scale, try Doolin where musicians (sic), just like Ladies Day at Ascot, go to be seen (or heard) and, just like the horses, good music takes a very second place.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: vectis
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 04:50 PM

If you are there in the winter try and find a rambling house if you want a taste of rural Ireland. It won't necessarily be traditional but it will be welcoming and great fun. Be warned though most of them are 'dry' but you get a lovely cup of tea at midnight.
PM me for more details if you're interested.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: CET
Date: 04 Jan 07 - 09:06 PM

I'm intrigued. What is a rambling house?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 02:53 AM

The old 'rambling houses' were the places were music, song and dancing (or just conversation) took place regularly before the advent of playing in pubs; they were the homes of people who played, danced and sang or those where such activities were welcomed. The Dictionary of Hiberno-English gives the definition as 'visiting from house to house for gossip and entertainment'. They were also known as ceili houses. Here in Clare, a visit to such was known as going on ones 'coor' (from the Irish 'cuairt' or 'cuaird' - circuit, round, course). The tradition pretty well died out and several attempts to revive it locally met with little success.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 06:05 AM

True, 'who comes to Ireland and doesn't drink?' - but there are plenty of people who *live* in Ireland who don't drink, and plenty more who drink moderately!

Holiday drinking is a lot of what you see in Ireland. In Temple Bar in Dublin, for instance, it's crawling with shamefully drunk people every weekend, most of them on stag parties from England.

As for 'fake sessions' and 'real sessions' - yes, there are touristy pubs where musicians are hired in to provide the noisy sound that will get the visitors partying; but there are other pubs - in Dublin too! where the music is genuine: Hughes, An Goilin and so on.

(Incidentally, I don't think the drink-drive laws are necessarily going to shut down pubs; some local entrepreneurs will undoubtedly start a minibus service where people can be run home from the pub in batches every hour from 9pm.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 08:34 AM

In my experience , where local musicians are paid to 'run' a session
they are only too pleased if visiting musicians join in , as it means they can have a go at something OTHER than the same boring stuff they do for money week after week !
And I know this is NOT always the case , but seems to be fairly common


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 08:50 AM

Jim, my townland is coor agurteen[the curve of the little fields].I AGREE LEADFINGERS,however to syop getting bored I put in afew different twiddles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 12:41 PM

I've encountered both. However I'v never been refused when I'v asked to join a session. Funny enough, I have more than one story of, after politely asking, then being invited in, Playing feverishly all night, thinking I'm really making a contribution, then noticing at the end of the night everyone but me is getting payed, and I have a bar tab.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 05:55 PM

That's always a debatable thing, but there's some justice in the notion that the pay is for having turned up as agreed, specifically to make sure the session takes place, rather than just for being there uncommitted, but ready to play.

Nothing wrong with a bit of cash to be shared out at the end of a session. But that shouldn't be what it's all about, and I think that's what's meant by the distinction people have been making here between real sessions and non-real. Musicians playing stuff they don't particularly want to play, purely as a commercial transaction, when they'd really sooner be back home watching the telly, or drinking without playing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: My guru always said
Date: 05 Jan 07 - 06:24 PM

Peppers in Feakle is definitely a good one, and I recall that Lena's in Feakle was good too when I visited some years ago. Bradshaws in Castleconnell is a fine place for unaccomanied singing, and another good session is at Murrays in Upperchurch. Drumshanbo is a good place for music & there's an Inn in the hills which is also good for a session. Though IMHO you can't beat Jim o' the Mills for a good mixture, but to find it you'll need a guide.

There has been some excellent advice on the MudCat over the years about places for music and singing in Ireland and I for one am glad of the help given here. Prior to finding this fund of knowledge I spent my holidays in Ireland pottering around looking for the real music while the guys were fishing up & down the Shannon. Found a few good places, but it took a lot of looking....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 01:01 AM

Shaneo, I'll respectfully disagree with you.
I'm an Irish performer living here in the States, but I bring a busload of tourists to Ireland - 10 days in the summer, and 2 one-week trips in November. Usually between 40 and 50 people.

I bring them into pubs with sessions where I'll sit in with the lads (and lassies), and I have a network of trad musical friends who are only too delighted to see me bring in a group of Yanks.

For instance, Hoban's in Westport, Co. Mayo, where I have become fast friends with John Hoban (great songwriter, fiddler and banjoist) and the session band, Tommie Lyons on the button-box, T.P. Lynn on the piano accordion, and Liam Grealis on the fiddle.

My tourists are respectful of the music (I usually explain the format to them ahead of time, so they don't embarrass themselves), they drink up a storm, they'll buy the musicians' CDs.

A good time is always had by all.

Oh, and the pub owners just love to see me come in with a group, especially on a slow night.

If there's no session going on in town, I usually organize one in our hotel. I've engaged the services of some Mudcatters to come in and perform, and once again everyone has a blast.

It's unfair to tar all Yanks with the same brush.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 04:30 AM

Marc,
On the other hand, there was the case of 'the silent fiddler' who appeared at least three years running in the early days of the Willie Clancy Summer School. In those days, when the sessions were smaller, most publicans would put up rounds of drinks for the musicians.
This feller would walk into a session with his fiddle case, take out the fiddle, rosin the bow, and sit there all night without playing a note, but would be included in every round. This went on for two years running - everybody knew, but were too polite to mention it.
On the third year he turned up with a a different instrument and did the same, until somebody tapped him on the shoulder and said, "I see you've changed your instrument and are not playing the flute this year". We never saw him again - god loves a trier, as they say round here.
Jim Carroll
PS Visiting musicians are welcome here - as long as they remember that they are visitors and that the music goes on during the rest of the time they are not here. They need to fit in with what's happening rather than try to dominate the sessions - no matter how good they are. I get hacked off when I see sessions ruined by JCB driving chancers with 12 string Kalashnikovs and ******* bodhrans nausing up sessions because the locals are too polite to tell them to sling their hook - it happens on a regular basis.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 04:47 AM

ach sure cluin i'll come tae Ireland and drink. Tea Fruit juice and lemonade! Anybody want to say onything aboot it EH EH cum oan then clear the room an mak a ring an all fecht yes aw. :p


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Shaneo
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:20 AM

Seamus I dont want to tarnish a whole nation for the antics of a minority , but you must admit it still goes on, the sitting at a table with no drink in front of them . and yes they do enjoy the sessions and some can even tell a jig from a reel which is more that a lot of the Irish.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: bbc
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:42 AM

Shaneo,

Part of the "problem" w/ Americans not drinking may be that it's simply not a part of our culture to expect to combine music & drinking (I realize I don't speak for all of us here.). I'd be much more comfortable w/ a cover charge, so that I could enjoy the music & not be expected to drink. It's not a matter of being cheap or unappreciative. Americans may just not understand the custom or be heavy drinkers. We don't have pubs in our country in the same way you have them in England & Ireland. The most common place I hear folk music at home is at a twice-a-month concert series held in a church hall.

best,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:13 AM

Bear in mind the possiblility that at least some of these Americans, apart from perhaps not being habitual drinkers, do not have much coin to throw around. Contrary to popular belief, not all Americans are rich. I'm not familiar with the scene in Ireland, but I think it possible that those Americans "wearing wind breakers and back packs ans sit[ting] at a table with one drink between six of them" are travelling on the cheap, maybe because that's the only way they can afford to travel. They should, of course, be afforded the kind of respectful treatment generally shown the poor the world over.

And then there are those who are able to afford to travel because they didn't throw away all their money at the boozer ... What is it the song says - "Pity the poor landlord"?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: bbc
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:37 AM

True--both rich & less rich Americans choose to travel, but part of it is cultural, I think. Bill Sables was surprised that, at contra dances in the U.S. (similar to barn dances), drink is usually not allowed & folks come ready to just dance. It seems that, in the UK, some people feel the need to have a few drinks before they're willing to get up. I find that, if I have only 1 drink, my balance is off for the evening & I *can't* dance well!

best,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:49 AM

What about the country music, what's the best place to find out who's playing what where in Ireland? I've always found that Johnny MacEvoy sort of Irish/country vibe a very attractive blend.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 10:04 AM

Contrarily, I find that the more I drink, the better a dancer I become. I also become a better lover, fighter, comedian, dare-devil, conversationalist, singer, companion, acrobat, alms-giver, letter-writer, holy man, wit, bard, shenachie, defender of the downtrodden, poet, actor, advocate of worthy causes, host, guest, after-dinner speaker, handyman, sage, raconteur, social co-ordinator, diplomat, critic - in short, a far more impressive and appealing personage altogether. (Not just my opinion; my ex-wife thought so too!).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: bbc
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 10:25 AM

meself, more power to you! ;)

bbc


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 10:43 AM

Cover charge my arse!
We have music in at least five pubs in our town throughout the year and our tourist season lasts from March to October - which means us locals will be paying for the privelege of paying for our pints - and listening to our local musicians.
It's a sad fact - lamented by the older musicians - that the music moved into the pubs a long time ago, which at least gives the visitors a chance to hear it. The least they can be expected to do is buy a drink if they go into a pub (alchoholic or non, as the taste dictates).
It's not just Americans who have a bad reputation - we once watched a bunch of French tourists crowd out a session in Kerry, then proceed to open their own bottle of whiskey and packets of sandwiches - all looked somewhat puzzled and hurt when they were shown the door.
Too many visitors seem to think the world stops turning here after they go home (speaking as an ex-visitor who is now a resident).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: bbc
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 11:10 AM

No offense intended. How about a minimum charge or drinks? I have no problem w/ ordering a drink or 2, but the pubs I went to in England seemed to expect one to have several & I'm just not up to that--in hard or soft drinks.

bbc

bbc


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 12:22 PM

Jim, your story of the bow-rosiner struck a chord with me. A few weeks ago, our ceilidh band did a cowboy and Indian themed barn dance for a company Christmas party in a local pub (you know the story - the Cumberland Square Eight is announced as coming from Cumberland County, Ohio), and it was a free bar. All the locals went home and donned Stetsons, cowboy boots, anything that they could get back to the bar correctly dressed for free drink.

I have to disagree with your specific comment about Doolin, on the one occasion I played in O'Connor's, in that the band (and they were a band, to be fair) were very welcoming and let me sit in with them. I didn't find out I had reached the zenith of my playing career until later, when I was told the bloke playing the fiddle was Tommy Peoples.

The chowder was to die for, too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 12:38 PM

Ha! Cumberland Co., Ohio, where the cowboys and Indians are! Ouch. What is it about company Christmas parties... ?!?

~ Becky in Tucson, Arizona
where there are cowboys and Indians (and they don't fit the stereotypes, either!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 03:11 PM

Skipjack K8
I have to say that even though I live about 20 miles away, it is a long time since I visited Doolin, but I understand nothing much has changed. The last time we passed through on our way home from The Aran Islands, there was a coach drawing up outside O'Connor's full of be-Stetsoned guitar toting visitors all rarin' to go - not my scene I'm afraid.
I prefer to live with my memories of the three Russell brothers playing to an attentive audience - though even this is tainted by the latter days of Packie, a very fine traditional concertina player, being frozen out of the music by "musicians" who had come to listen to themselves, banging away at anything from Hank Williams to the Beatles.
I'm glad your experiences were better than ours.
Jim Carroll
Up to the time Tommy Peoples went to the States for a long period, while he was living in Clare, we used to sit in the kitchen in Friel's (Miltown) on Wednesday nights in the winter, along with about a dozen others, listening to him play solo all night.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 03:59 PM

I've (nearly) always been made to feel welcome at sessions and gigs in Ireland, but you have to understand what's going on, who's getting paid (or not), and say a nice please and thank you as any guest in another country should do.

The point that bbc makes about not wanting to drink is a good one, but the most times I've heard negative comments it has been something of the nature of 'them feckers there sitting all night over one drink'. There is no cover charge so that the only way the publican can recover any expenses is by increased sales (alcohol or non-alcohol). And the profits on non-alcoholic drinks are probably higher anyway. So expect to have a glass of something in front of you, even if it's just bottled water, or buy a bag of crisps.

Les


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Girl Friday without cookie
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 04:50 PM

I have not been to Ireland for a few years now. When I first went I stayed only a few miles from Rosslare, and there was a definite lack of traditional Irish music, and the locals preferred C and W. On later visits, there was music in pubs, but it was organized, and one needed a leaflet to find out what was on where. This was often out of date. Found a reasonable session in Captain Birdseye's neck of the woods, but had to find out about it from Jim Bainbridge. The very best one was in a pub called Crotty's in the Galway area. That had someone running it as a singaround.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 10:47 AM

packie russell, was an excellent concertina player.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Noel Hill's Back Pocket
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 12:41 PM

I'm not sure why Guest Jim Carroll feels he is able to provide decent information about sessions in Clare since he does not play an instrument!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 01:24 PM

Perhaps it is because he lives in Clare and attends numerous sessions on a regular basis.
How about an account of sessions around Nottingham?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 01:48 PM

session etiquette.,is very important,how awful that Packie Russell,didnt want to play anymore,because of insensitive guests.
there used to be a good session in nottingham on a thursday night.
www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 02:50 PM

Always had a great time in Doolin: great music, great company, great craic!
You couldn't beat it with a big stick!

Sorry, but I have to say this: Limit the number of tourists--they will eventually destroy everywhere they go.
like a shower of locusts (witness Temple Bar). Not just in Ireland, everywhere...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 03:39 PM

As someone who brings tourists to Ireland, and exposes them to the real music and cultural heritage - not the canned cabaret shows like Jury's or Doyle's - I disagree with Gulliver's suggestion to 'limit the number of tourists - they will eventually destroy everywhere they go.

It wasn't the music-loving tourists who destroyed the Temple bar area, it was the English (mostly) bachelor and hen-parties.

I also feel that the Irish Tourist Board would resent your suggestion much more strongly than I do.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 04:06 PM

generally speaking   99/100 ,I find tourists appreciative,attentive and a good audience.
jim carroll was I think talking about insensitive musicians who wish to join in[they are a minority and some may even be irish or any nationality].
most tourists are not musicians, but do appreciate traditional irish music and most of them give it proper respect and as far as I am concerned are very welcome,.www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Cluin
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 04:13 PM

Oh hell, Gulliver. Don't worry about it. Great numbers of tourists won't go to Doolin and ruin it. There isn't even a McDonnalds there.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: BB
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 05:13 PM

GUEST with the ridiculous name, just because someone doesn't play an instrument it doesn't mean that they don't know what they're talking about regarding instrumental sessions (although I don't think anyone has limited their thinking to purely instrumental session - most of the comments apply to singing or mixed sessions as well). Jim is someone who, if you read his posts here and elsewhere, you would realise is an extremely knowledgeable person when it comes to traditional music. (Although I do wish he didn't appear here as a guest, and without identifying himself at the top of his posts - are you listening, Jim? It's so easy to become a member and doesn't commit you to anything - except occasionally receiving personal messages which you can read or not, as you choose.)

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 05:17 PM

Cap'n
Packie didn't choose not to play, he wasn't wasn't given the choice. He was driven out of the sessions by people who had no interest in traditional music, but rather came to play (with) themselves, and the music they brought with them had little to do with what had little to do with what Packie and his brothers played.
Happily, Irish music has moved on from those days - we may have lost Doolin to the cowboys, but we have plenty of other sessions to make up for it - and it won't be too long before there's a MacDonalds there.
Jim Carroll
PS What - nothing from the Notts Nerd - looks like you'll have to phone a friend; he knows everything!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 05:26 PM

Barbara,
Keep meaning to sign up - will do so.
Thanks,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: JennyO
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 10:25 AM

I found Doolin to be a delightful little place. Yes, there are some tourists there - I was one of them - but I didn't think anything was spoilt - yet. But Macdonalds? Please no! Perish the thought!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 01:13 PM

I haven't been to Doolin for a long time, but some English friends of mine love the place, and go there about four times a year. I'll have to go with them next time. I used to love going there years ago, and except for here (on Mudcat), I've never heard anything bad about the place...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Fidjit
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 01:37 PM

Hey! Thanks for the GREAT respons to the thread.

I'm just back from Stockholm (500km from where I live) Where I've been involved in two sesssios at the weekend. Very authentic and entirely English! To be highly reccomended, by me.

I'll get back to you all.

Chas

Nice one Jim Carrol And Greg.

We'll be coming round the mountain when we come.

You all come back now.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Noel Hill's Back Pocket
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 02:30 PM

Jim you're way off-beam. Nottingham? Never been there - and don't even like the sound of the place. I'm much closer than you think. Try Ennistymon and you might be getting a little warmer.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Old girl
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 04:15 PM

We went to a pub where the locals play, we arrived early to get a seat
but when they saw our car reg someone locked the door to keep us out its the only time I have been band from a pub


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Fidjit
Date: 08 Jan 07 - 04:35 PM

Good to see all the positive comments.

I know there are both types of sessions going on. Some friends of mine told me they had a great time. "There was this pub with a session and it was great". When I asked if it was an authentic or fake they asked what I meant as they couldn't tell the difference. (Them not being musicians themselves) I think it takes one to know one.

I believe that the people on this forum are really interested in the real ones. So how about we list the ones we know are authentic. Yours too Dick.
I've noted the ones I've seen to be real.

However, I got the celidh wrong at Tobercurry. My own fault though. It was just all stepdance stuff and no caller! As I say my own fault. Rest of the festival was good. Even the fringe session in the pub.

Was once in Sligo visiting a non-musical sister of a girlfriend. Suggested we find a session in the town. There were lots but it was the wrong night for most of them.

Eventually found one in a dark and dismal upstairs bar. Got the beer, sat down to join in with my spoons Played one set. As my eyes got acustomed to the light I saw the posters on the walls around me.
Kept my mouth shut (Me being a Londoner) and held a low profile, Drank up and left.
Posters told the tale that it was the local branch of the IRA!

Session was very authentic though.

Now what about that list?

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 06:56 AM

Noel's Rear End,
My mistake,
The feller I was thinking of specialises in self-promotion by being vicious , while the comment you made, as has been adequately pointed out, was just inane. He gets it off by insulting elderly or deceased traditional singers - not many of them about.
I am now convinced that he is not you; sorry for the confusion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 09:04 AM

Seamus wrote:

"It wasn't the music-loving tourists who destroyed the Temple bar
area, it was the English (mostly) bachelor and hen-parties."

Maybe, but they too are TOURISTS!

It's not practicable to stop the tourists--it was just an aspiration,
based on my observations of mass-tourism on the continent (one place was where I lived in Capri, for example).
And on the positive side, I suppose it provides employment for the musicians. I don't think Fáilte Ireland
will be too worried--tourism here is increasing at record rates every year.

BTW, I've nothing against tourists per se--I play in sessions in Dublin pubs where a few dozen come by
in the Summer and they love the music and we have great craic. But when that few dozen increases to a few hundred...???


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Scrump
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 09:20 AM

I'm surprised that English stag and hen parties go to Dublin for their "binge drinking", given the significantly higher cost of booze there, when compared even to the UK :-)

But Dublin isn't alone in attracting them - when I was in Prague, the place was overrun with Brit stag parties at weekends. I could understand that, when the excellent beer was about 25% of the UK price (it may not be any more, since they adopted the euro) :(

As for limiting tourists, how would anyone propose to do that? But if Gordon Brown has his way, none of us will be able to afford to leave the UK ever again anyway :(


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: julian morbihan
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 12:00 PM

We had a week's holiday in south west Ireland the other year and found a good session every night.

All the sessions we got to were very welcoming and inclusive.

At Brown's in Killarney a nice little group of musicians around the table playing a good selection of tunes. They had home-burned CDs for sale to us tourists and I'm still playing mine on a regular basis.

Whilst in the bar, an american couple walked in, said "Aw gee, real Irish music", took a photograph and walked out! The whole pub justed folded up with laughing...

In Cork it took a tour of about 6 pubs to find the authentic though. There were the usual "can't play good so play loud and fast" and some very good bluegrass and apalachian but eventually found the real thing in a posh hotel bar. A melodeon and guitar with a bit of amplification and a few locals at the bar who took a mic and sang occasionally. Having joined in enthusiastically with the choruses, at the interval we were asked if we would like to sing. Chatting at the end they couldn't believe that the English also sang and had folk clubs...

And to round of an excellent holiday - saw Dick Miles busking at a local lighthouse.

Cheers

Julian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Noel Hill's Back Pocket
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 01:55 PM

Julian Morbihan wrote:

'In Cork it took a tour of about 6 pubs to find the authentic though. There were the usual "can't play good so play loud and fast" and some very good bluegrass and apalachian but eventually found the real thing in a posh hotel bar. A melodeon and guitar with a bit of amplification and a few locals at the bar who took a mic and sang occasionally.'

If that's an 'authentic' session then why don't why just all commit suicide tonight?

Jim Carroll I haven't a clue what you're on about. If you knew amything aabout traditional music youd know about Noel Hill and money and the pocket reference!!! Ive seen you leaning on bars many a time but never heard you play. Whenever you do I'll revise my opininon.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 02:08 PM

Oh well, back to the pot-boiler.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 07 - 02:13 PM

PS,
Don't claim to know much about Irish music, nor the tabloid gossip; I leave that to the big league; but I do know about the sessions I mentioned - been there - done that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 09:25 AM

Oh, Tell Me, Are the Sessions Real in Ireland?
(To the tune of 'Galway Bay' - or any other old chestnut).


Oh, tell me, are the sessions real in Ireland?
If I bring my bodhran, will they let me play?
Or is it all a shamrock sham for tourists?
And the musicians only there to get their pay?


(Sorry, but that kept coming to my head every time I saw the title of this thread - hope this gets it out of my head. Over to you!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 09:43 AM

Oh no - that just made it worse ...


Once I went across the sea to Ireland,
Searching for the Celtic trad pure drop,
But whenever I sat in to bang my bodhran,
The silly snobs insisted that I stop.

Oh, tell me, etc.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 10:38 AM

do we ask the question are folk clubs authentic[or real].No,there are many different kind of folk clubs,some cater for contemporary songs, some like to provide a mixture,some are more traditional.
there are also different kinds of sessions, there all real,some may include singing, some may not,but there all musicians making music and enjoying themselves.
do we ask ourselves when we see classical musicians performing, this is not real because they are getting paid,no we dont,in fact we expect a high standard because they are paid,as we do with folk performers in clubs and festivals,.
personally I do both [Play in unpaid sessions,and play for money]and I enjoy and hope my enjoyment of music is evident on both occasions.
www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 10:53 AM

Aye, aye, Cap'n! Agree completely...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Scrump
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 11:14 AM

I agree, Cap'n, but I can see what the OP was getting at. Instead of paying singers and musicians to perform, it seems the OP thought that a group of musos were being paid to 'pretend' to be having an informal session. Whether there's anything wrong in that, I don't know, but it does seem sort of cheating!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: mustradclub
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 11:47 AM

This is in reply to leadfingers. During the sixties some of the best Irish music to be heard could be found in London pubs. The "favourite" a pub just off the Holloway road was legendary. Margaret Barry, Seamus Ennis, Tommy McCarthy, and Bobby Casey were just a few of the wonderful musicians that could be heard then. The heyday of Irish music in London is probably past but there is still some fine music to be heard especially in the old triangle a pub close to Arsenals football ground on sunday evenings.

The thing is that many of the best young irish musicians are descendants of people who used to play or listen to the music in the pubs in the 60's. As many of these young people have been brought up in London many dont have Irish accents. Sometimes "identity" can be a problem for when they visit Ireland many Irish people wont accept them as being Irish.Equally over here they are not accepted by the English. So Leadfingers the possiblity is that your friend actually came accross some very fine Irish musicians but because they didnt have Irish accents he may have formed a bias against them. It would be interesting to know where he came accross the music.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,change at crewe
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 12:27 PM

So true mustradclub. Good to see 'The Favourite' get a mention and very apt considering the rest of your post. One fine example being Tommy McManamon the son of the publican. Sadly Tommy died mid December (RIP Beastie) but one of the finest tenor banjo players you could wish to hear. Tommy being brought up in London spoke like the true Suvner but his roots were pure Irish. If someone who didn't know him heard him speak he would be described as English.

Anyone interested in Irish sessions of the 60's should check out 'Paddy in the Smoke', the legendary album recorded at The Favourite. Heaving with the finest exponents of Irish trad at the time.

I'd put my neck out to say most of the 'Irish' music in London played by English sounding musos is indeed being played by second generation Irish. The Pogues and The Popes spring to mind immediately. They may drop their 'aitches' but they were all brought up listening to The Dubs at home!

I also wondered which pub Leadfingers refers to.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,fidjit
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 03:31 PM

I had a job for a few weeks playing in the Dublin Castle in Camden Town, London. Just before you get to C#house, in the early 70's. It was then an Irish pub. It was good. The trio was accordian, Drums and me singing, playing a twelve string. Sang mostly the stock Irish stuff of the time. You know what I mean. I learnt them all from the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem. (As we all did then) Lasted four weeks. As the landlord was after a bango player. I could understand his meaning. No hard feelings. I made about a fiver every Friday night.It was good craic. The punters sang along, great stuff.
I enjoyed it. Learnt my trade,so to speak.
Dublin Castle now is an enlarged Rock place. Wouldn't go there now. Water under the bridge.

Found out there was more to folk music than Mush Ring Dums!
Authentic stuff. Not that some Mushy Ring Dums aren't authentic. They are. I don't want to open up another can of worms here. your all far too knowledgable.

I've heard some very good unnaccompanied singers of all Nationalities. Heard some bad ones to. Who hasn't?
Some Norwegian stave singing takes some beating.

It's the Authenticity that I'm after. Not a tourist attracton. It has to be, "there 'cos it's there".

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 04:20 PM

please dont take offence.
Chas, but you too are a tourist, everyone is a tourist who doesnt live there,.
If I have a session as I will do, In a few days time with some friends,I may not want any other company,its there cos its there,
I can remember going to sessions in east anglia with John Howson,It was just a few old boys,john and katy ,myself and a few select people who kept in the background,so whats the difference, it happened in England as well,probably happens everywhere.
If the music is good does it matter[I recently saw a programme about chris droney and two japanese pupils of his,who were excellent concertina players].
so hypothetically you hear concertinas from outside a pub,walk in and see that they are japanese,there music is excellent,so do you walk out of the pub, because they were not born in county clare and are not old men or women.,if the music is good, does it matter.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 05:26 PM

No offence taken Dick. I wouldn't walk out and you know that. We are talking about the same thing. I respect the musicians who ever they are. I also know that you know what I mean about the authentic ones and the fake ones.

Where's the list?

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Jan 07 - 07:55 PM

Jim

Is the "ghost fiddler" not still around? If not - I'm starting to hallucinate with the onset of old age!I'm thinking of the one who goes through the entire motions of tuning, rosening etc and even fakes playing - with the bow just above the strings! In fairness, drink does not appear to be the motivation - and he is handled very gently in most places.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 03:14 AM

Hi Martin,
I haven't not seen the one I'm thinking of play in a long time,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 05:32 AM

FIDJIT,the list is with brahms,brahms and list.
why should I provide a list,Im off to play some music,its rather windy here at the moment so I hope I dont list to starboard ,or even worse to port[sandemans].www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: My guru always said
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 05:50 AM

Chas, no offence, but there have been lots of threads regarding sessions in Ireland over the past few years that I've seen. If you use the 'search' facility you'll find them, though obviously you'll need to weed out the 'fake' ones, which is the topic of this thread. Looking forward to see/hearing you at Miskin :-)

Capn: sorry, but your post seemed a bit harsh, felt I had to step in!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,fidjit
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 06:15 AM

Thanks Hillary.

Don't worry about Dick. Water of a Dicks back.

See you at Miskin.

Plug for Andy

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:03 AM

look im sorry ,but I really cant provide a list,I dont know anymore than you whats going on in donegal, mayo, dublin,galway,In my postings,I believe ive qualified my comments, with in my personal experience,which is restricted to cork and south kerry,.
kenmare;crowleys ,sailors ,coachmans,all have good sessions.
kilgarvan, tuesday night session.
ballydehob friday night co cork,good session.
skibbereen co cork,tuesday paragon bar,monday corner bar skibbereen..
clonakilty co cork,several good sessions,in o,donovans different nights of the week.
if you want to know about co clare, Jim Carroll, knows more than I do.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 08:18 AM

Thanks Dick Well done.
Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 08:22 AM

There another theme going on on here on Mudcat.
"I walked into a session"
Listing places. give it a try.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 08:48 AM

Mustradclub - With all due respect , IF you read my thread about English musicians - I was one of the musicians and we are ALL English
though I do admit to a quarter Irish on my mother's side !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 12:08 PM

"admit"? Don't be guilty, man, be proud of it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: mustradclub
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 12:29 PM

While I am sure there are many good pub sessions still to be found in Ireland. I do hear distressing news that the smoking ban (which I agree with) has led to the closure of many pubs. I was speaking to Ron Kavana last night he is now living in Ireland and sorry to say he was somewhat pessimistic about the scene over there. I have a feeling that the music might be returning to the kitchens and firesides where it was played before music in pubs became the fashion.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 02:44 PM

"Co Clare, Jim Carroll, knows more than I do".
Not really Cap'n; just round Miltown, which is bristling with sessions virtually 5 nights a week - Friel's being the most reliable for great music. Ennis is good too. A few surprising black holes - Kilkee should, but doesn't - thanks to holiday homes you are more likely to find tumbleweed blowing round the streets in winter.
Don't know where the idea of the smoking ban doing damage came from -certanly no around here. It's wonderful to be able to breathe in the pubs for the first time in my lifetime - most of the smokers are happy with it.
What is doing damage is the breathyliser clampdown which is having an effect. There is talk today of financial assistance for minibus lifts after the pubs close (the downside of this is that they will have to close on time - ah well, you can't have it all ways.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Shaneo
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 03:08 PM

We played a few sessions in Clare last September and most went well except for Ennis , our Whistle player got his leg broken in a bar in Ennis during a session.
The best reception was in Sixmilebridge , we played three of the five pubs in the town [mighty craic]
What surprised us about Co. Clare was that when they heard our Dublin accents they didn't associate us with the playing of traditional music,,strange that,,
Maybe it goes back to when Dubliners went on holidays down the country all they did was drink and fight.
As a band we pick a county and head off for a long weekend a few times a year to see whats happening and it's great to see that musicians are still welcome to start a session in most parts of Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 04:24 PM

I agree with jim carroll,the smoking ban has had nothing to do with pubs closing,Plenty of SMOKERS,still hovering outside pubs.
it,s to do with random breathalysing in rural areas where there is very little alternative transport.
WHEN I have a rambling house SMOKERS have to go outside,rules of the house.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 04:28 PM

"our Whistle player got his leg broken in a bar in Ennis during a session"

We ARE talking about a music session, right? The local aficianados took exception to some of his embellishments, I suppose?

A lesson for us all: they DO take their music seriously in the pubs of Clare. Make sure you know what you're doing before you produce your tin whistle ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Dickmac
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 05:30 PM

There are "real" sessions in Dublin but I've not found any in the city centre tourists spots. It depends what you'e looking for.

I've been to the session in The Lighthouse at Howth a number of times and despite being a banjo playing Scot was made welcome.I have heard it's now closed - going to be turned into flats - hope I'm wrong. Also found good friendly sessions in Dingle.
There's obviously a place for the "paid performer" session in the likes of Temple Bar but in these sessions there is not ( or does not appear to be )the same willingingness to let the visitor join in.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 06:04 PM

when I was in Ireland (in 98) seems the further I got from Dublin the friendlier the sessions were. The best were in Killarney, Miltown Malbay and the Crane in Galway, one session in Clifden was more of a singalong with tunes in between (and since the box player didnt show up my fiddle was the main instrument). (since Im originally from the Czech republic and started playing in a Scottish Dance orchestra, they thought it was funny that I was a Czech Canadian playing Irish fiddle with a Scottish style. I only had a week in Ireland but next time I will go for longer.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Skivee
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 06:27 PM

My 2 pence.
In 1990 my band took a field trip to Ireland We started up in Donegal city and made our way down the west coast. We had great times in the Schooner pub. after closing, the landlady wouldn't let us buy our drinks. She wuldn't let us buy them drinks.There were about 10 locals playing. They played C&W for us, we played Irish music for them, and we all found common ground in Beatles tunes.
We traded versions and had a great time.
We also had a great time in Spiddel. A little place called Hughes Pub.
It was a similar story. We ran into Tommy Lyons. A wonderful guy
We headed south and landed in Doolin. McGann's. I should have noted the Time Magazine article on the wall proclaiming it the best pub in the universe, or some such thing.
Miko Russell was there and a few young folk on cittern, guitar and concertina. We would do some tunes with them, but I would take a break to listen every few minutes. after all, I didn't realy go to Ireland to teach them how to play their music. The concertina would lean into me and bleat,"Plaaaye, plaaaaaye".
I would begin playing. The guy would get a sour look on his face each time like he had just licked a pissy toad. After this happened a few times I realized that he was being payed to give the tourists wonderful memories of playing with REAL IRISH MUSICIANS so they could brag about it when they got back home. He clearly would have rather been having his eyelids cut off.
If we didn't play along, the owner would think these guys were failing and can their asses. It wasn't the right feel.
That's when I realized that you could buy bad craic in Ireland. We went to O'Conner's the next night and had a good time. Previous posters make me think that O'Conner's may also have slid into the same trap.
Too bad if this was so.
Of course, I was dumbish and more stupidy back then. I might have a differnt slant on things now.
Cheers.
PS This was late in the year...the off season.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: patriot1314
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 07:17 PM

The Lighthouse Bar in Howth is indeed closed and has been for a couple of years. Last time I spoke to Barney he told me they had "sprung a leak" during the building work.
Work has since recommenced and the plans, I'm assured, consist of flats plus a pub, so all might not be lost.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:52 AM

if im playing in a paid session,I try and welcome other musicians,If they have a list of the tunes they play it helps[to find common ground ] .I might play a couple of sets first and then ask them [If they want to play acouple of tunes,or sing etc]and find some common tunes,or take it in turns or do both,its also more interesting for me.www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 07:26 AM

I came home through Temple Bar (Dublin) last night, passing six pubs with trad music. Two of them were excellent sessions open to all, but they're a little off the main drag, and quieter, which the musos said was a good thing, and they'd like to keep it that way...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,melself
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 07:55 AM

"I came home through Temple Bar (Dublin) last night, passing six pubs with trad music."

You PASSED them? You're a stronger man than I am!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:49 AM

Skivee wrote:
'I didn't really go to Ireland to teach them how to play their music'.
Do I detect a patonising note here - I wonder if you took bags of salt and beads?
An intelligent musician comes to Ireland to listen to how Irish music is played by the natives, and hopefully take some knowledge away with them.
Unfortunately, what happened to Doolin is the visitors came to play, not to listen.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:53 AM

Well Portaferry will have some good mixed session next month I hope !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:54 AM

100


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 09:54 AM

Seems strange to be able to find anything off the main drag anywhere round Temple Bar, but I must investigate next time I'm there :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Shaneo
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 10:20 AM

You will find plenty of trad. sessions in Temple Bar over the next ten days as there is a bit of a festival of traditional music taking place.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Gulliver
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 12:01 PM

Well, to be honest, I didn't just pass the pubs--I had a look round in each one and had a pint in the most interesting looking. As well as the "trad" pubs there was also live jazz and rock in other places, plus salsa dancing and there's Italian and Indian music in restaurants (but not necessarily on Wednesdays), also belly dancing and an interesting group doing a mixture of old-timey and shanties (but only on Monday nights, Halfpenny Bridge), and I was told there was a singing session in the Palace on Tuesdays. I'll take a notebook with me next time...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 02:25 PM

Good to see we're getting a lot of good and few bad respons' on here.

Hope it's opened the eyes (and ears) to a few people.

Didn't know about the Lighthouse being closed as it's a few years now since I've been there. My regards to Barney and friends. And to Gabby (have her and her boyfriends name on a beer mat somewhere here)who introduced me to the Lighthouse via Monkstown session.

Am guesting on here these days as the computer is on the blink.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Bubblyrat
Date: 12 Jan 07 - 05:02 PM

I have a terrible confession to make : I love Irish music,& have a stab at playing it, but---I"ve NEVER been to Ireland !! So I don"t really know what a true Irish session is like. However,I DON"T NEED to go to Ireland,when I can go to the "Herschel Arms" in Slough , which is apparently as close as you can get to the real thing (whatever that may be ) For me ,the landlord is the most Irish person in the known world, as are some of the musicians I have heard there-Paddy Keenan,Tommy O" sullivan, & ,last monday night, Finbar Dwyer, melodeon legend !! The musicians,some Irish,some of Irish descent,some English even,are superb ,the decor (as far as I know ) authentic,the craic amazing. So why not try it ?? Monday nights, 2100 onwards,not advertised,not commercial,lovely people, woderful sounds !! So there !!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: danensis
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 12:41 PM

THe late starts were a big disappointment to my son and I when we went to Ireland last year. We'd heard all about the pub sessions, but when we got to Ireland we found that most things didn't start until nine or ten o'clock at night, and children are not allowed in bars after five.

At least in the UK we can let our youngsters see live folk music. I've noticed that at The Attic there are more and more youngesters in the audience.

John


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 01:15 PM

GUEST Bubblyrat - If you are looking for 'other' folk than Irish , why
not pop into the Seven Stars at Knowl Hill ,just down the A4 from Slough and see what the Thursday folk club has to offer . And I will agree with you that its a lot easier to go to the Hrescel on a Monday than across the Irish Sea for an evening ! And Tom King is a TRUE Friend of Irish Music !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:06 PM

in reply to danensis
as a member of skibbereen comhaltas[Jim Carroll gnashes his teeth]Ican inform you that once a month skibbereen comhaltas og[youth]have a round the fire session,with youngsters aged five and up playing music with other children,once a week on a wednesday[july to august] skibbereen comhaltas,hold a session which starts early,for details see their website,.
there is also [july august] wednesdays, a session in schull community hall co cork,starting at nine o clock,run by bertie moran.
if you want earlier sessions then check out comhaltas web sites.
these sessions rely and happen because of tourists,but the music is of a high standard,and not fake in any way.www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:16 PM

Jim Carroll wrote,
"An intelligent musician comes to Ireland to listen to how Irish music is played by the natives, and hopefully take some knowledge away with them.
Unfortunately, what happened to Doolin is the visitors came to play, not to listen."

Jim,

I can see the point you are making, but if I go to a session and I have an instrument with me, I will want to play. That, after all, is the point of a session - at least to me it is.

The point was made in another thread about being sensitive to other participants in a session and I suspect that was what was possibly missing in the case you cited.

As a visitor at a session there are some simple courtesies that can help things along;

1. Ask the existing members of the session before joining in
2. Stay in the background and don't lead a tune unless you are given the nod.
3. If you don't know a tune, don't play, at least initially - though sessions can be good places to learn new tunes.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 02:40 PM

Tootler,
I can't disagree with any of the points you're making, nor do I have any quibble with your list.
Unfortunately the opposite all too often happens here.
Over Christmas we had two magnificent sessions ruined by a visitor with cutlery (don't know if you've heard Con Fada's 'Spoons Murder - she was a prime candidate for te Raleigh bike).      
Last Summer we had another lady with a tambourine, one of those with jangly bits (the tambourine, not the lady) who sat there and thumped it completely out of time. The locals said nothing - it took a fellow blow-in to tell her to desist - to which she replied - 'I thought that's what you were supposed to do'; she then disappeared in a cloud of huff.
Cap'n, have far too few teeth left to waste them on Comhaltas.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Skivee
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 04:31 PM

Hey, Jim Carroll.
Neither of these questions is mean to derail the conversation, or start a "Thing". I'm simply asking, here.
I thought that Comhaltas was doing the good work of continueing grass roots interest in Irish folk music. Is this not so?
Are they badly organized, lead, or just wankers? Perhaps it's the prospect in 30 or so out of tune 6 years old playing The Little Beggerman, all out of tune and without a central meter that is daunting? Scarey indeed, but probably necessary to start 'em going at that tender age. What's the deal?
Second, I've reread you response to my post several times. What prompts you to think I was being patronising when I wrote,"We would do some tunes with them, but I would take a break to listen every few minutes. after all, I didn't realy go to Ireland to teach them how to play their music."? I meant it to be the exact opposite of patronizing...anti-patronizing, in fact.
Please compare and contrast.
Skivee
PS, sorry about the teeth.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 04:59 PM

Skivee,
Short answer (Guinness and music calls).
Comhaltas, in the early days did a tremendous job of keeping the music alive (to qualify this, the branch members did this by teaching youngsters). Unfortunately the organisation at the top decided that this teaching should aim at entering the young players into competitions, for which they produced a set of rules as to how the music should be played (these rules were not based on the tradition, but rather on the preferences of the organisers).
Competitions may be OK for the winners, but the losers tended to drift away (which they probably would not have done had they been taught to play for the love of it). I know literally dozens of families where children have been through this process and have been lost to the music forever.
The scene is much healthier nowadays with youngsters playing because they want to, not to win badges; largely they have ignored Comhaltas and have learned from local musicians who live in a Comhaltas-free zone.
One of the finest young concertina players in Ireland Edel Fox, still in her teens, now takes over a dozen pupils (no Cap'n, hse didn't enter a Comhaltas competition, he was awarded 'musician of the year' prize by TG4, no competition, test or anything, she was judged the best.
Comhaltas now, thanks to a shoddy leadership, has been marginalised, despite the fact that it's president, a State Senator, has put himself in the position politically to avail the organisation of the largest share of national grants (have you read the report yet Cap'n)?
Jim Carroll
PS I was given the impression by your posting that you somewhat looked down on the local musicians you met over here - if I am wrong about this, I apologise unreservedly.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Skivee
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 05:50 PM

RE; Comhaltas...that's just a shame. Tis ever thus in empire.
RE: My comments. I wasn't looking down on the musicians, just the deplorable calculated situation... and the sessions in Galway and points North were simply wonderful.
Most of those that we found to the South and into the Ring Of Kerry were obviously set up for tourists. I'm sure that "real sessions were just around the corner someplace. On the other hand, I had a great chat with an Irish poet at O'Flaretty's pub (sorry, a bad American spelling) in Dingle. It seems that we were both huge fans of Mike Oldfield's work.
No offense taken.
I hope that both the Guiness and the music were satisfying.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 05:14 AM

They were, particularly the Guinness (you could have done handstands on the head of the pint last night!)
You will find in places very popular with tourists, particularly in the summer, the standard of music is not high.
We were in Clifton last year and didn't hear a decent tune, despite there being a 'traditional session' poster in the window of every pub. Killarney and Tralee were the same, with the publicans cashing in on what the believe are visitors who come to feed the Leprachauns and pick the shamrocks.
Here in Miltown Malbay we are lucky enough to have a strong local music scene all the year round and visitors tend to come simple for that.
Come up and see us sometime (as the lady said).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 05:30 AM

Mae West it was Jim that said that. (Sexily!)
No I wasn't refering to anything by that.

Yes. They are just around the corner. Pubs fighting for punters put up the session signs.

My advice is keep an ear to the ground, to find the "Real session".

They are there. Never said they wasn't.

Shame about all the competitions that put off the loosers. Shouldn't happen.
Music is not a competition. It's to be enjoyed, whichever sort you're into.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 06:23 AM

Jim

Mention of Clifden (spelling!) reminds me of an incident a few years ago when Josephine and I were there, due to head off next morning to Inishbofin, I think.

We went looking for a session. Started by going into a pub with musical instruments emblazoned on their windows. No luck - but they listed three options for us to try. First was a small hotel across the road where the archetypal "Tom and 'Tina" were setting up their gear to play country music (probably for the locals!). Quick exit and down to the next venue, a nice-looking pub on the street corner. Four very competent traditional musicians standing there, miked up and playing for a large group of tourists who stood there in much the same way they'd stand at the monkey-cage in a zoo! Nothing wrong with the music - but not worth hanging about for....

The first good sign for the third option was that, initially, we couldn't find it! When we did, we found a brilliant young woman fiddler, accompanied by her father on guitar and a woman who looked like the classic Jewish bridge player, complete with twin-set and pearls! She was laying into the piano like there was no tomorrow - with a pint of Guinness balanced precariously on the lid! The music was rough - but brilliant. The whole pub was involved and we had a great night.

Persistence pays!

Regards
p.s. The fiddler turned out to be one of the Kane sisters!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 11:19 AM

jim carroll.edel fox is quite prepared to judge comhaltas competitions[ive seen her doing it] so she clearly doesnt share your views.
comhaltas, while not being perfect still do a lot of good,they run sessions during the summer which I would recommend,Examinations which in my experience children enjoy,fleadhs [local regional and national]my local branch skibbereen, also hold monthly sessions for children of all ages,where the children socialise [in asafe environment]play music for fun,learn dances [seige of ennis etc].
jim;it is a minority that are put off by competitions.go and attend GAA SCOR COMPETITIONS,,In rural areas, and you will see how much fun the children have.The main point of the competitions,Is not the competition itself but the practising beforehand ,the learning how to play with other people.,AND THE SOCIALISING. Comhaltas are not alone, Glor na gael,AND THE G. A.A. see the value of these events.
You are so negative,.NEVER DESTROY SOMETHING TILL YOU HAVE A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO PUT IN ITS PLACE.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 12:36 PM

Jim Carroll,

The people you describe are to found everywhere.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Tarantula's friend
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 02:29 PM

The good Cap'n wrote re. Jim Carroll: 'You are so negative,.NEVER DESTROY SOMETHING TILL YOU HAVE A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO PUT IN ITS PLACE.'

You've never met Jim have you? He'd destroy his own furniture given the chance even if he lived a hundred miles from the nearest furniture shop and it had recently closed down!

If you ever have the misfortune to find yourself in a conversation with Jim Carroll then just do the decent thing and run straight out of the nearest door or jump through the nearest window. It will be much easier in the long run as you wont suffer death by painstaking boredom.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 02:31 PM

Here we go again......

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 02:58 PM

Don't feed them Martin, they'll creep back under the bridge soon enough (or get back to writing pot-boilers).
Thanks for the spelling correction.
Cap'n,
I really have no need to put anything in the place of Comhaltas, there is a world of Irish music who have no need of competitions and who are doing very nicely.
Read that report yet? Would love your opinion on it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 03:28 PM

no jim, it would not have been here if it wasnt for comhaltas,
as you well know comhaltas was founded in 1951,because the irish tradition was in danger of dying,they have successfully revived the tradition and still are doing a lot to promote the music.
1.when did you last go to a comhaltas meeting.
2,Julia Clifford was an all ireland champion[if its good enough for her its good enough for me.
3.Edel Fox is a comhaltas judge[she clearly doesnt share your opinions.
4.Comhaltas is an organisation,that is very strong at local branch levels,some comhaltas branches are very active,others not, they are left by central office to get on in their own way,you are welcome to come to skibbereen branch,to the comhaltas og[youth] monthly sessions round the fire ,and see all the children making music dancing and having fun[it does your heart good]
5 any local branch is only as good as the people in it,and I think I am and DO have a progressive input.,
6.I am more interested in helping children to enjoy music and promoting the non competitive side as much as Ican,than reading reports by stupid asses.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 03:49 PM

'I really have no need to put anything in the place of Comhaltas, there is a world of Irish music who have no need of competitions and who are doing very nicely.'

And it's good to see that good grammar is still alive and well in Clare


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 03:55 PM

Curious! The Martin Ryan of the last entry to this thread was not I! I would never use "who" to refer to Comhaltas!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 03:56 PM

...nor to any "world", of course.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jan 07 - 04:16 AM

Martins,
This particularly disturbed troll appears to have abandoned his former identity of 'Tarantula's Friend' (probably having realised that he only has one friend, just as disturbed as himself) and is now having 'an incident'.
If he, or anybody, is the slightest bit interested, I'll be happy to fill in the background details.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 06:20 AM

Time this one sank into oblivion.

Think we all know what it's all about now.

Comhaltas and Come all ye.

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 02:56 PM

Here here,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 16 Jan 07 - 04:10 PM

I was in a great session in Finland a while back. There was a finnish piper, an english fiddler, an american whistle player... Oh yeah! And one guy came in and started playing something that looked like a djembe, but it was great fun, the standard was high and the music genuinely irish, despite the foreign people/instruments etc.

Anyway, my take on the whole authentic session thing, is avoid anywhere that says "Paddy O somethings genuine irish pub" or has a picture of a leprechaun on it, avoid the sessions with 20 banjos/bodhrans/whatever or the guys singing nothing but the wild rover very loudly and enjoy the rest! Oh and the ones with the silent tourists who clap at the end of every tune- they just tend to spoil the ambience somehow.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 11:31 AM

Comhaltas does good work, but standard of judging in some competitions is very variable. Remember one time when several excellent performances were passed over in favor of markedly inferior ones (in the opinion of not a few listeners), the winners afterwards saying loudly to the adjudicator, "See you in the pub, ------"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Scrump
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 11:48 AM

Here here,
Jim Carroll


Where where Jim? :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 03:02 PM

Scrump,
Miltown Malbay - where else?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,GUEST Hempsy
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 04:24 PM

Cap'n,

I cannot agree more with you when you state:

"6.I am more interested in helping children to enjoy music and promoting the non competitive side as much as I can,than reading reports by stupid asses."

But in the interests of greater clarity should you not point out that the Report you are referring to was written by one Senator Labhras O Murchu?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 04:15 AM

And that Senator Labhras O Murchu (Larry Murphy) is the unelected Life President of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 04:25 AM

two bigger asses are Bertie Ahern,the man that wasted millions on Berties BOWL[A Real white elephant]and eamonn Cuiv who wasted thousands trying to change the name of Dingle[against the wishes of dingles residents].


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Fidjit
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 05:50 AM

Oi ! KNOCK IT OFF !

Chas


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Scrump
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 06:03 AM

eamonn Cuiv who wasted thousands trying to change the name of Dingle[against the wishes of dingles residents].

I'm not surprised - fancy wanting to change it to "Dangle", the fool :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Cats
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 06:56 AM

Where will I find a good session where I can sing, as opposed to play, in or around Belfast?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 15 - 04:48 PM

what a strange question- what does 'real' mean in this context- do visitors really expect to find a lost world of traditional music in Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Apr 15 - 06:27 PM

GUEST
It has already been explained, but as is usual with controversial threads on Mudcat it turned into a slanging match which somewhat obscured the OP's original intention.

A 'session' to most people in the English-speaking folk world loosely means a gathering of performers for the fun and craic playing together and unpaid. However some enterprising landlords have seen how this can draw in the crowds and pay maybe half a dozen performers to come in and entertain. This is often advertised as a session but is anything but, in other words a fake session. (Before anyone jumps down my throat this is not a criticism. I've done the fake session myself on occasions. Each to their own!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 05:22 AM

Sorry Steve - no such thing as as a fake session - paid or unpaid, they're all real sessions - no set definition.
Suggest you refer to Fintan Vallely's excellent 'Companion to Irish Traditional Music for a full explanation of the phenomenon (a bit big, but will scan it down in full if needed).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 07:17 AM

Possibly Steve's idea of a session is the 'open' session where anyone is welcome to join in. A set of hired musicians might prefer to make the session a performance and close it to outsiders or limit it to people whose skills they know so as to keep the standard high. A staged session can still be open, in this case the paid musicians would be there to lead and keep the music flowing.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 08:12 AM

I read Steve's post as simply explaining the OP's original question to the guest who couldn't be bothered to read the whole therad (and I don't blame him)

In this sense "fake" is simply a shorthand to mean a pre-planned performance presented in a session type style. Not the best term to use but it has been used in this sense through all the years of this thread. These sort of shorthand terms are regularly used and those who claim not to understand them in that sense are mostly deliberately trolling.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 10:23 AM

I will be on holiday in the Portrush area in late July and wondered if anyone could recommend any song sessions in the area (not C & W and not just tunes).

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 03:22 PM

Okay, so they're all 'real' in the widest sense of the word. But there are different types with different etiquettes and anyone wanting to attend a session really wants to know which type they are likely to come across in any given venue.

At one end - a free and open session
Then an organised performance of booked performers but other known musicians might be accepted
and at the other end - a performance (that might resemble a more informal session but isn't, often characterised by half a dozen accomplished musicians who regularly play together sitting facing inwards in a tight circle and really playing to each other.)

I've seen all 3 of these and other combinations together in the same town both in England and in Ireland.

Another factor is why are they there, to play for pure enjoyment, to play to an audience or both. Personally I prefer it when it's both.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 03:27 PM

We're in Dublin for a week next month, 13-19th, so would be grateful for info on song sessions (An Goilin already noted!)

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 22 Apr 15 - 08:53 PM

Speaking as an Irish musician in England, I still travel back to Kilkenny each Summer to play in a few sessions. As far as Kilkenny goes I can vouch for them being very real indeed. The Monday night session in Cleere's Bar there has been going non stop for almost 30 years now.

Almost nothin is ever formally arranged or set up re the session. The musicians, singers etc simply turn up and certain seats are always there for them. There are the instrumental only sessions,and as in Cleeres instrumentals interspersed with local and visiting talent, songs, stories, poetrty etc. Usually very lively and late finishing. Can be noisy too so don't expect UK folk club type reverence, basically if you're good enough they'll listen. Sadly central dublin these days rarely sees a real genuine session


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 07:41 AM

"We're in Dublin for a week next month, 13-19th, so would be grateful for info on song sessions (An Goilin already noted!"
Sadly, you'll miss The Cobblestone (Smithfield) Sunday night session, held the first Sunday of the month.
Excellent evening run by young singers all singing good songs to a high degree of skill and and dedication.
"to play for pure enjoyment, to play to an audience"
The best sessions here are those where the performers are playing for enjoyment to an audience that has turned up to listen, so they don't have to make an effort to 'perform' to them.
One of the problems with finding good sessions is that, for outsiders, it takes a little planning nd forethought - I still remember our disappointment in, the early days of seeing doxens of 'ballad sessions' advertised and finding out what the term meant in those days - thought all my birthdays had come at once at first......!!
After a while, you learned to ask around first - the net makes it so much easier nowadays.
Here, during the "long dark nights in Miltown Malbay" (a comment once made by a folkie group who sound like a firm of solicitors responding to a comment I made about the state of folk song) we have four/five regular weekly sessions, all ranging from enjoyably good to international standard plying - in the summer, that can rise to 8 or nine.
A few are organised and paid for by the publican, but the overwhelming number are sit in - usually with a core of reasonably seasoned regulars.
Visitors quite often make the mistake of believing that Irish music only begins when they step off the boat or plane and finishes when they go home.
Some time ago, I had a rather unpleasant encounter with someone on this forum who had difficulty in understanding why a mini-bus full of bodhran bashers, banjo bangers and 12 string Kalashnikov strummers might not be welcome over here in the West of Ireland.
In places like this, visitors are made incredibly welcome, even when they don't behave themselves, but it really does make for a good holiday if you remember that the music is an integral part of the life here and not just something put on for the emmets between trips to the beach.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 10:06 AM

'One of the problems with finding good sessions is that, for outsiders, it takes a little planning nd forethought'

There's that. And if a few musicians are going to get together, ad hoc or otherwise, they're not going to tell the world about it. Getting word out to the people they want to play with (or for) instead.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 10:55 AM

I spent a most enjoyable week in Waterford a few years ago - went over specially to see a rare concert by Leon Redbone - and dropped in to a couple of excellent sessions, just to listen. I was reminding myself of this trip just now by looking at a web page on Waterford pub sessions - and came across this witty and sensible set of etiquette "rules":

Some notes on "session etiquette", regarding acceptable behaviour as a guest:

• Refrain from asking for your favourite tunes unless invited to do so.
• Even if the low volume and (to your ears) dubious quality of an octogenarian's
"sean nos" (old style singing) is not to your liking - do not start a loud conversation
while everyone else is trying to listen.
• If you want to take photos, do so without causing too much disturbance - and remember
that most participants in a session are there for fun, not as paid cast members.
• Should you have bought a bodhran or a tin whistle the day before and just started to read
the instructions ... please refrain from joining in as a "musician" and thus embarrassing yourself.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 12:03 PM

It's all really a matter of common sense and good manners Will.

It's probably good to realise that while there are many different angles on what a 'session' is, it's not generally an occasion where you just walk in, sit down and start playing as if it's your god given right to do so. The degree to which a session values its privacy will vary from group to group and occasion to occasion but it's safe to assume it's vary rarely a true free for all where all comers are going to be welcome.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 12:16 PM

I can remember standing next to a tourist who walked into John Kelly's pub. 'The Four Seaasons', in Dublin with an enormous bodhran with large jangly bits projecting from it.
The barman leaned over the bar and whispered in a loud stage-whisper, "the only way you'll get to play that i here is with a sharp knife".
Seamus Ennis was known to froth at the mouth at the sight of them
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 01:35 PM

As always Jim, it's entirely down to who's driving. One Willie week I was playing a few tunes with a young local man, who came to me to learn the pipes around that time, when we were joined by a very hairy fella with a set of African drums. I feared the worst but he was bloody good and ding all the right things.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 03:11 PM

"As always Jim, it's entirely down to who's driving"
As a personal choice I don't like any kind of accompaniment, so much so that I now make a point of checking to see if its included on the albums I buy - my foible, I know.
Heavy handed guitars and and virtually all bodhrans are top of the no-no list because I believe they change the nature of the music from melodic/lyrical to rhythmical,
o problem with percussion instruments per se - the Lomax recordings of convicts accompanying their singing 'Oh Lula' to the accompaniment of their chopping wood is among the most exquisite pieces of music-making I have ever heard.
Having made that confession - since moving to Clare (as a non-musician) I have noticed an interesting phenomenon in our local sessions.
A solo melody musician or a duet playing in a crowded pub will get the attention of most people present - as the number of instruments increases, so does the noise level.
Throw in a guitar, or a synthesizer (god forbid), and the music becomes muzak.
Thoight I was imagining things at first, but have become convinced that this is the case - in the sessions we go to anyway.
I thought we'd died and gone to heaven during the first few months we lived here, when we went to Friel's week-after-week and joined a small crowd sitting quietly in the fromt bar listening to Tommy Peoples playing solo or to a quietly, well-worked-out guitar accompaniment
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 03:44 PM

I know what you mean Jim and won't wholly disagree but the point remains nearly any instruments in the hands of a sensitive player can make a valuable contribution.

In Gleeson's Ado showed enough restraint and Paul de Grae carried Kitty and myself along very nicely but hey also knew when enough was enough and put the guitar down when that point was reached. I also remmeber nights in Gleeson's when Conor Keane brought Johnny 'Ringo' along and I don't think anybody, listener or musician, minded that or though there was 'bashing' going on. Now, on other occassions however...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 04:26 AM

Go along eith all that Peter, but unfortunately, not all accompanists restrict their activities to accompanying - still hoping to find more than the tiny handful of recordings we have of one of Ireland's finst fiddle players, Marting Byrnes, without the piano-driver!
Anyway, wouldn't foist my opinions on others over this, though I would recommend a listen to Clare concertina player, Mary MacNamara unaccompanied album and a read of what she says about accompaniment
Years ago, we spent some time with on of the great veteran Sligo fiddle players (won't name hime for fear of embarrassing him), who told us that personally he prefers to play accompanied, but will use it "in case I slip up" - you can't imagine a player less likely to do so, even now, in his advanced years.
You missed an enjoyable session last night in Friels (well worth a look-in on Thursdays)
Nice, lively sit-in music, and two young French visiting guitarists playing mainly European Gypsy music and jazz to Reinhardt standard - one of those serendipity nights - magic!!   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 05:01 AM

I spend most Summers in south west Donegal and two or three nights a week there is a session in Roarty's pub in Glencolumbcille that i attend.
It's hosted by a couple of local fiddlers and as there are lots of people from all over the world attending the Irsih language college there, you're pretty much guaranteed a variety of musicians each time.
The etiquette is simple. You sit close to where the others are seated and lay your instruments on the table or in plain view. You join in as and when you can, and are often invited to start a tune of your own, or play solo.
Up in Gaoth Dobhair I've often played Monday nights in Hudi Beag's - lots of professional musicians there, but always welcoming.

Will be in Midleton , (Cork) for a few days in July so if anyone can recommend a session there I'd be grateful!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 06:01 AM

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard covers both musicianship and the etiquette of when and how to join in.
"A good musician knows when not to join in"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 06:22 AM

"Will be in Midleton "
Take a morgage out on your house and try their whiskey - exquisite but horrendously expensive.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 08:48 AM

Certainly will so, Jim - thanks for the tip!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 15 - 10:55 AM

I was half-joking
If you do try Midleton, ask the price first.
The only time I ever tasted it was when our music venue changed hands and the retiring owner, who knew we had lusted after his half bottle for years, gave Pat and I a glass each at his closing do.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 04:48 AM

Well, am partial to a dram so no bother! Meanwhile - any tips on music in the area? Will be driving down from Donegal via Westport (Matt Molloy's of course!) and spending a cúpla days in Midleton...
Many thanks - Dáithí


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 05:56 AM

Could try Miltown Malbay on the way down reasonable to superb music on most nights
Tha Crane in Galway is usually worth a visit.
Really don't know about Cork - great county for musicians
There used to be a fairly reliable guide to sessions in Ireland - vant find it t resent but you might try this for Cork City
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186600-c4976/Cork:Ireland:Traditional.Irish.Music.Venues.html
or this
Always found Matt Molloy's a bit too Wall-to--wall for comfort
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 05:26 PM

a good drinker knows when not to join in


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Apr 15 - 08:34 PM

its that wicked capitalistt mr. musket!

every week, the men from his PERFIDIOUS ALBION MUSIC COMPANY put another hologram of a folk musicians in every Irish pub.

sometimes they forget to change it, thus - the unreality!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 01 May 15 - 04:55 AM

Thanks for the advice there, Jim :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 May 15 - 06:08 AM

cork city.. spailpin fanach has regular sessions downstairs, i sang at the singers club recently on sunday nights, and there was an irish music session downstairs.
the corner house in coburg street, cork city has a session.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 01 May 15 - 06:19 AM

Many thanks for that Good Soldier Schweik :-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 May 15 - 09:09 PM

My first visit to Ireland was maybe about 2003. Martin Ryan took me to a couple of sessions in Dublin. One was a singing session in a pub near the Guinness Brewery, in an area that was suffering gentrification. The singers were terrific old guys - Frank Harte himself was there. But the youngish bar crowd made so much noise that I had trouble hearing the singers.
Then Martin took me to an instrumental session. Almost all of the players were young (under 30), and almost half were Asian. But hey, the music was great.

My second visit to Ireland was in 2012. I went to singarounds in Bray and in downtown Dublin, and saw Martin Ryan and George Henderson and a number of other people who were at least familiar with Mudcat. Were those sessions the Real Thing? I don't know, but does it really matter? They were the most wonderful part of a very enjoyable trip. I hope I can do it again.

A few years ago, I went on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, and Santiago. An Irish tour group were staying in our hotel in Fatima, and they had a singaround in the hotel bar one night - it was delightful. And I have to say it felt more like the "Real Thing" than what I experienced in Dublin.

I'm not sure "real" is the determining factor for me. If people get together to make music and have a wonderful time, that's what's important to me. And that happened in every single Irish session I've attended, so I feel privileged. On top of that, it was delightful to spend time with Martin and George and so many other wonderful people. And the beer was good, too.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 May 15 - 03:05 AM

Probably doesn't happen now, but one of the most unexpected and enjoyable singing evenings we spent was in Peader Kearney's bar in Dame Street, Dublin (interesting bar anyway).
We were staying not far away and nipped in to have a quiet pint, to find a group of mainly local local people sitting around a table and singing a mixture of political, humourous and sentimental songs - nothing mind-boggling, just an enjoyable, unselfconcious singing session by an extremely friendly group of local people.
We were told that it happened weekly, but the nest time we looked in, it was a rather loud, amplified session of young, booked performers, obviously aimed at catching the overflow from Temple Bar (which, for the uninitiated, is an urban version of Doolin, where tourists go to listen to 'Oirish' songs, largely sung by visitors singing to each other)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 May 15 - 06:10 AM

hersanother one in coburg street cork city
Sin É
8 Coburg St
Cork City
Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 450 2266
Fax: 021 455 3394
E Mail
Web Site


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,George henderson
Date: 03 May 15 - 04:09 AM

Song sharing session in Chaplin's Bar, Hawkins Street, Dublin on Sunday May 10th starts at 6pm. Bird Song Project incorporated.
Bray Singers,StrandHotel,Bray on May 16th at 9pm. Bird Song Project also incorporated here.
All welcome


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 May 15 - 03:34 AM

I'll be back, George. I had such a good time.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Dáithí
Date: 05 May 15 - 04:45 AM

Go raibh maith agat arís , Good Soldier Schweik!
Sin É it is ;-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Murpholly
Date: 05 May 15 - 05:08 AM

Going to visit relatives in Co. Cork most years we have discovered that the more rural pubs welcome playing and singing. Indeed one or two places we visit with or without relatives tend to ask if the fella has brought his box and we are playing aren't we. Indeed in one pub we visit The Inishcara Bar they are just as likely to push the tables back and have a dance as well. Great craic.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,patriot
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 10:54 AM

Maybe time for an update on 'real' sessions in Ireland? There really is some crap about & visitors do need a bit of direction, just as much as we need the visitors!
And can correspondents please refrain from the phoney Irish marketing term, the 'craic' ?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Nov 16 - 11:34 PM

Spent a week in Ireland this past September, including two nights in Dingle. Not a real session to be found - it was duos everywhere: box and guitar, pipes and guitar, fiddle and guitar, bass and guitar. All heavily amplified. The only real session was a huge one at the Crane Bar in Galway. Oh, and a Friday night in Miltown Malbay, with Jackie Daly, which was nice and mellow.

That was my fourth trip to Ireland. Good Sessions have been getting harder to find as all the bars want to cater to hordes of tourists.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 02:04 AM

Maybe I was spoiled. I went to sessions with Mudcatters, and every one was wonderful. Perhaps that's the difference. In Ireland and Scotland and England, I went to sessions with real people that I had come to know online, and all of my experiences were delightful. I especially liked the singarounds at Bray, and the "Song Central" singaround in Dublin. Jack Campin took me to a nice session in Edinburgh, and Tattie Bogle took me to a very nice folk club outside Edinburgh. Martin Ryan took me to lots of wonderful gatherings on my two trips to Ireland, and so many Mudcatters in England took me to so many wonderful gatherings.
The music is there, and it's good - but it helps to know local people if you want to find the good stuff.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 04:24 AM

Ireland, I suppose, like anywhere else with traditional music.
If you are a lazy tourist who wants to be 'entertained', you will end up listening to 'ersatz folk' designed to draw you in to buy something
If your interest is genuine, you have to either pre-plan or make the effort when you arrive.
Dublin for instance, has both - probably a predominance of the former.
This particular one-street town on the West Coast, is a traditional-music friendly one where you can find good sessions four nights a week, rising to around six in the summer months.
We tend to send the casuals elsewhere, usually Doolin, which tends to cater for tourists who wish to listen to each other rather than what the locals have to offer.
Nobody has designed a bodhran/free notice yet, but we're working on it!!
If you wish to hear good music, you need to remember that it's what locals do for their own entertainment, not for yours - the "entertain me" attitude may work in the cities, but not necessary in rural areas.
I write as a 'blow-in' who first came here over forty years ago looking for singers and moved here permanently eighteen years ago because we found some.
The locals tend to be far more polite than I am - occasionally, after a few spoiled sessions, I wish they weren't.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 04:44 AM

Very good post there, Jim.
As for the "bodhran-free" notice, I was in Sandy Bells in Edinburgh on Sunday lunch-time. They have a bodhran up on a shelf with a red ring painted round the perimeter, and a red bar across it, much like a "no-entry" sign. I don't know how rigidly it is enforced, but your "bodhran-free" notice does exist in at least one bar in Scotland.
All the best, Kenny


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 04:53 AM

"your "bodhran-free" notice does exist "
I know the ones you mean Kenny, the best of those you mention I have coe across shows a bodhran being played with a sharp knife rather than the usual stick.
They tend to be a little more polite here and are still seeking a more subtle way to make the point
Clare is a beautifully welcoming county - occasionally that is taken advantage of, but seldom twice - they haff ways of......
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Nov 16 - 07:57 PM

Well Jim, we've met in person, so you should know that I'm not that lazy tourist you describe. My interest is indeed genuine. I knew enough to give Doolin a wide berth, but Dingle surprised me because things weren't so dire the previous time I was there.

I half suspect that the real sessions are kept secret so the tourists don't find them...


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 04:25 AM

I remember our meeting with pleasure Michael.
Many people like yourself, with a genuine love for Irish music, put themselves out to listen to the genuine article, some have made a considerable contribution to it - I have in mind particularly the sadly late Bill Ochs's work with Micho Russell.
It's the thoughtless few who create the worst reputations
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 05:43 AM

So I guess a red bodhran is out of the question!

How does Ireland feel about red spoons?

(note to self - don't tell them about the beater made of walnut that I only bring for the craic!)


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 06:23 AM

A real session takes place this friday in Ballydehob co cork, RosiesBar, 9 30 pm, no musicians are paid, this session has been going since 1987, the session goes on throught the year, all musicians welcome


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 06:43 AM

Bodhrans are fine with us, it's when they bring their owners with them the problems start
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 12:48 PM

it's when they bring their owners with them the problems start

so borrowed bodhrans are OK?


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 23 Nov 16 - 12:54 PM

Hello Dick- when we first moved to West Cork, I asked locally where thesession was. There really was very little going on then but Rosie's was the one I was directed to- that was in 1985


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,patriot
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 12:15 PM

Yes but where is the information about LOCATION of these 'real' sessions- am sure Mudcatters and others would make notes for their next visit- session lists are out of date


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 12:26 PM

Miltown Malbay, West Clare, has a surfeit of them.
I can remember the first few months we moved here 19 years ago and sat in a not very crowded small bar in town being entertained by the legendary Tommy Peoples every Thursday.
Ennis, twenty miles from here is reputed to be a good location, but, to be honest, when the sessions are as good as they are here, twenty miles seems a long, long way in the middle of Winter.
The Cobblestones, in Dublin is a highly dependable venue, as is The Crane in Galway.
I'm sure there are others far more experienced than me to add to this list
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 01:09 PM

I disagree with you Jim. There is not a "surfeit", there only are just enough in your lovely town. I have only managed to play at Friel's, but I have local friends, whose experience I value, who tell me about the excellence of the others!
Do any of these "real" sessions show up on The Session's list at all?


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Nov 16 - 01:39 PM

"There is not a "surfeit""
Ebor
Depends on how often you find yourself spoilt for choice on the same night.
In the winter we have four - in the summer it can reach half-a-dozen.
The dreat danger is that you can become blasé and miss some good ones.
All of a variable - good to world class standard, but not all are sit-in sessions.
Somebody suggested we have a cull of musicians to make room for singers
While most singers like and respect the music, musicians tend to regard singing as time for a pint and a chat - often extremely noisily.
Maybe the "cull" idea wasn't a joke!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 05:17 AM

Drifting a bit here Jim, but my experience of people who talk loudly through sessions is the other way round: on the whole, in a mixed songs and tunes session, it's the singers who seem to think tunes are background music for them to chinwag to, whereas it's more likely that songs will get listened to.
Sessions in Ireland: I have been to all sorts, including the ones put on for tourists in hotels, and some more genuine pub sessions. Rather odd one in Letterkenny: all the musicians sat in a huddle in the centre of the floor, backs to anyone else around the periphery of the room, never spoke to anyone outside of their huddle, or invited anyone to join in. I did eventually speak to their accordion player to ask the name of a nice tune she had played: I also noted that it was all tunes and no singing: "Oh, our singer isn't here this week", she said. A bit exclusive, or what?
In our local sessions in Scotland, we would always make a point of welcoming any new faces, and inviting them to contribute if they wished to.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Gealt
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 06:17 AM

A group being exclusive is not a bad idea. I've been at sessions where the self invited were of mediocre musical ability, even to my untrained ears.
The exception being the great Sunday morning sessions in the White Hart, Fulham Broadway in the early 70s. If you were not good better to keep shtum.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 08:43 AM

"it's the singers who seem to think tunes are background music for them to chinwag to, "
The opposite is overwhelmingly the case here in Clare and acknowledged as such.
I don't play an instrument, but I love the music and it's given me the opportunity to observe sessions while not taking part.
One of the interesting features I have noticed is, when you get one or a couple of instrumentalists playing together, you usually get a respectful silence.
More than two, the noise level rises in proportion to the number of instruments.
Add accompaniment, particularly a piano or keyboards, and the music it treated as Muzak
It is interesting to note that in the past, certainly in Clare, the music was exclusively played at home, in farmhouse kitchens - I couldn't count the number of times we've been told by older musicians that it started to go downhill when it moved into the bars.
Irish traditional music was for dancing, but there were plenty of examples of virtuoso playing by the best of the musicians.
A friend from Donegal, the late flute player, Maggie Boyle's father, Paddy, described how when he was young, virtuoso fiddler John Doherty, was a regular visitor to his home.
He would play for a listening audience, but if someone started to dance he would politely take his leave.
Veteran fiddler, the late Junior Crehan told us that, here in West Clare it was considered unlucky to play the bodhran in the home as it was a ritual instrument used exclusively on 'The Wren' ceremony.
Sean O'Riarda was largely responsible for introducing it to Irish music generally.
In fairness, I've never been able to confirm Junior's belief elsewhere
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,mooman
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 10:04 AM

A group being exclusive is not a bad idea. I've been at sessions where the self invited were of mediocre musical ability, even to my untrained ears.

I beg to differ. As a sessionista for 40 years or so I abhor an exclusive session and all the best ones I go to are inclusive where the more advanced musicians are happy to bring on the less experienced. That is how I run the ones I lead as well.

As to the original question, there are certainly real sessions around in Ireland but you increasingly have to search them out. Many "sessions" are now paid and amplified performers... which is not a session at all.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 10:48 AM

And, of course, Tuesday night is always Karaoke!

:D tG


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Raggytash
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 11:48 AM

There are two Comhaltas sessions in town tonight, a junior one starts at 8.30 and a senior one starts at 10.30. Looking forward to both. The youngsters here are superb musicians. One young man recently one FIVE All Ireland Titles, Harp, Dance, Concertina, Singing in Gaelic and singing in English. Time to finish my pint of Guinness and get some food, watch the Christmas Lights being switched on then into the bar.

After being out all afternoon in glorious sunny weather It's no wonder I love this country!


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 12:14 PM

So a 'session' is a gathering of unpaid musicians, preferably drawn from the local community, where singers are the exception? Is that what is measnt by 'real' in this context?

For me, a session promoted as a Comhaltas session has a particular meaning- depends on your view of that organization, of course- the majority of small towns & even villages in Ireland would have such a session.

Traditional music is a form of social interaction, and if you're not communicating with the people, especially in a public bar, that is pointless. and you're doing the music a disservice.

So the idea of a circle of musicians (even of a high standard) sitting in a circle playing to each other surely defeats the object, and unless it's done in the privacy of your own home, this approach can do nothing positive for the music. It's certainly not 'real' in my book!


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 12:32 PM

"It's certainly not 'real' in my book!"
Can't see why - it served Ireland for centuries and is no less "real" than mikes sessions in pubs.
The sit-in session is wrought with so many insurmountable problems - disinterested locals, have-a-go non musicians who use sessions to practice, lack of co-ordination and co-operation....
I cannot be denied that Comhaltas has played a magnificent job in keeping the music alive through the lean years, but it's 'competition' ethos has driven away more musicians than it kept interested.
Competitions are for winners and playing to the rule-book produces clones, not creative musicians.
The pinnacle of their achievement was to expel an entire branch of some of the finest Irish musicians in these islands in one fell swoop for political reasons - Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy, Danny Mehan, Roger Sherlock, Raymond Roland, John Bowe.... all kicked out in one fell swoop and forced to set up their own session - which still survives after all the other branches collapsed.   
Brendan Breathnach summed up C.C.E, better than anyone I ever came across; "An organisation with a great future behind it" - 'perfic'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Thompson
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 12:41 PM

There are all kinds of sessions. Some are people who just get together and jam as musicians and singers do everywhere. Some are professionals who also like to go down to the pub and jam in their local for fun. Some include paid musicians put there like seed corn to get the session going. And some are purely paid musicians, and the 'session' aspect is minimal.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,jim babridge
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 02:48 PM

just trying to establish what 'real' means, not to define it myself. I'm well aware of the criticisms 0f CCE and was careful to avoid comment there- no intention of provoking an attack on them.

I agree with you about competitions, and I knew all of the great musicians you mentioned, Jim, and they voted with their feet!
However your comment about the lack of co-ordination and co-operation grates a bit, and 'have-a-go non- musicians' may well be the future for the music? There is a lack of sensitivity to the session situation, but to apply some kind of an audition for participants also defeats the object, to communicate via the music.

In Britain, most folk clubs were great and tolerant platforms where we could forget the words, play bum notes, but LEARN and improve. We were very sympathetic to each other, and I'd see the 'session' in Ireland and everywhere else, as a modern equivalent now that many folk clubs have closed or gone professional and cannot charge good money for bum notes!
I think if the locals are 'dis(un?)interested we should look at ourselves first. The kind of exclusive circle which is too frequent these days may be a lot less acceptable to the locals than a learner musician who's doing his/her best!


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 25 Nov 16 - 03:16 PM

A lot could be said about this and I have been trying hard not to get into this but a few fairly random thoughts:

I think there's a differentiation between being encouraging to learners and being open to all comers. It can be a fine line but there's a distinction none the less.

The way I see it, a session is a meeting of like minded musicians. If you're out for a few tunes with friends it can be very disconcerting if someone joins out of the blue who is not sensitive to the dinamic of the situation and the music being played, yet expecting to be fully accommodated. Not all comers are sensitive to the social situation that a session is and often they can be the loudest in denouncing a session as being 'elitist' or 'unfriendly'.

I don't particularly fancy playing in noisy pubs (although a quiet one can be fine) and would prefer to play in more private situations. But when deciding whether or not a session is 'real' I think a few things should be taken into account: first of all, musicians not paid to be in a particular spot at a particular time may find something else to do on a night, or find themselves not in the mood. In other words, they won't turn up every time but only when they feel like doing so. Which is fine but won't be appreciated by a publican who wants to fill the house and who has a 'music tonight' sign outside. Let alone people on forums like this who travel to a place expecting a 'session'. Also, if you look at a session as a meeting of like minded musicians, playing for the sake of playing music they enjoy, it's not hard to understand why they wouldn't want to advertise the time and place of their meeting to the general public.

And for what it is worth, I wouldn't expect to walk into a place and join a group of musicians without being invited to do so. But then, YMMV and 'real' sessions can come in many different guises.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Nov 16 - 06:44 AM


"it's the singers who seem to think tunes are background music for them to chinwag to, "


My experience too, because the singers will sing along with a chorus song, & do regard themselves as being considerate when someone is singing. Especially in order to set the precedent that others should let them sing uninterrupted. They can't sing and chinwag at the same time either.
But a session is a session, if you want total respect from the non-singists and non musos, try a Folk Club.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Nov 16 - 09:47 AM

"if you want total respect from the non-singists and non musos, try a Folk Club."
Can't disagree with that, imposing silence on a bar clientele is arrogantly unreasonable.
Play music or sing in a venue that is there to sell drink and you will be treated as muzak - if not at first, eventually.
Having said that, last night I enjoyed a night of solid Ewan MacColl songs - 9-30 to 2-30 - in a West of Ireland bar that hosts a regular monthly singing night, advertises the night as such, and fills the place with singing enthusiasts.
Total attention all night, and some great singing from locals who had put themselves out to learn new songs for the occasion - magic!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Nov 16 - 09:34 PM

I'm very much with Jim Bainbridge in his views of making things inclusive and not worrying too much about the occasional bum notes: sessions are not concerts after all!


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Nov 16 - 06:58 AM

I think I've probably said this in the earlier part of the thread, so apologies if I'm repeating myself.

The style of the session, in my view, really is down to the person(s) who created and started it in the first place. If it's meant to be dedicated to, say, Irish tunes - or English tunes - or French tunes - so be it. If they welcome beginners with open arms, great. If you have to wait patiently to be invited to join in (and perhaps get some assessment of your prowess at the same time!), so be it. If the session organisers want to be exclusive or inclusive, in a bar or in a private space, then that's their choice, and the would-be participant has to abide by the rules or find somewhere else to sit in.

I don't choose to frequent local Irish sessions (for example), simply because I don't know the music that well, preferring Scottish, English or French tunes. And I like sessions that are inclusive in style because, to me, it's not only about the music, it's about a social occasion that welcomes people into a circle and accepts and encourages beginners. A good session enlightens and teaches as well as giving enjoyment. Just my two-penn'orth here.

Tonight is the monthly session at the White Horse in Ditchling. The Usual Suspects will be there with fiddles, mandolins, melodeons, concertinas, a guitar or two, with nyckelharpa, flute, smallpipes and double bass in attendance. All ages. On the whole a really excellent standard of musicianship - but with encouragement for those less able to show what they can do. I help to run that session, and that's just how we want it to be. At my local French tunes session, I take a mandolin, sit well back and learn, learn, learn. Horses for courses.

And it goes without saying that if you choose to play your music in a pub, you accept the pub environment - kibbitzers, background noise, the lot - or you move on.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 07:25 AM

I'd say that an informal musical event (described as a session) needs probably to be rooted in its community to be described as 'real'?. Sure there are Irish sessions all over the world, and old-timey U.S. ones as well. It may be that roots are deeper here, but I'm not aware of any non-Irish or old-timey 'sessions at all in Ireland- a few Scots tunes may creep in, but I could be shot down there!
With some exceptions, even Irish pubs have become unsuitable for the informal 'traditional' (REAL?)session which visitors may hope to find. Pub owners have to make a living, and except in a few favoured locations, there is not enough interest in the music to counteract the need for TV sport and the high volume level of general chat which is normal in Irish pubs in late evening.

Ireland is NOT a 'lost world of music' despite the Bord Failte adverts. We run ours at 5pm on a Sunday to try & avoid these distractions- it doesn't always work, of course.
So the 'session tends to be a form of muzak in such pubs, for commercial reasons- overheads and taxes are very high here!!

You'll find a 'real session' in local kitchens & living rooms (a reversion to the bygone days of kitchen music??) rather than the pub, but visitors are not likely to be invited to such gatherings, without local contacts.

I made a living in West Cork 20 years ago playing & singing unamplified in small bars with a summer tourist presence- with no hangups about the nature of what I was playing- I just got on with it & if I got a request, whether for some polkas or a Geordie song, I would do my best to oblige, as well as being inclusive- other musicians & singers were always welcome. Myself and Patrick (guitar) were paid, yes, and we were both a blow-in- we still are!!- were they 'real sessions'?


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 09:03 AM

my understanding of it is this
paid gigs should be advertised as trad music with dick miles or jim bainbridge or a n other, imo sessions are unpaid, doesnt mean the music is any better or worse.
Jim, your gigs were always welcoming, but not everyone is like you, particularly when the group are amplified and travelling musicians are not , immediately there is a them and us situation, and some of these trad groups are quite happy not to have anyone join in with them.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 10:34 AM

Will Fly: Tonight is the monthly session at the White Horse in Ditchling. The Usual Suspects will be there with fiddles, mandolins, melodeons, concertinas, a guitar or two, with nyckelharpa, flute, smallpipes and double bass in attendance. All ages. On the whole a really excellent standard of musicianship - but with encouragement for those less able to show what they can do. I help to run that session, and that's just how we want it to be. At my local French tunes session, I take a mandolin, sit well back and learn, learn, learn. Horses for courses.

And what an excellent session it is! I'm very much on the "those less able" end of the spectrum, but always asked to contribute.... sometimes more successfully than others. I drive an hour each way to this session. It's by far the best musical event I attend, and what I think of as "the ideal session". You can join in, or not, as you wish; lead off a song or tune, or not, as you wish; do a solo spot (singing, playing or both) as you wish. Will and the other "main attenders" keep a weather eye on things and make sure anyone who might want to contribute gets a chance.

I'm really sorry not to have made it on Sunday....I drove hell for leather back from Hardraw in North Yorkshire, where I'd been hill-walking in the snow (and watching the play/ listening to the music in the Green Dragon!). But time was against me and after arriving home at 6.30 pm following a 300 mile drive with one stop, couldn't face another 2 hours driving that day :-) . Hope it went well Will and hope to see you at the next one (Jan 2nd?)


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 10:51 AM

Long live the Green Dragon! I spent a pleasant hour on the bench by the front door some years ago, enjoying a pint in the September sunshine. Popped through the pub and down the path to see the "Force", but the weather had been so dry, it was just a mild flow - not like when I first saw it at age 16. Then it was gushing down the rock face at a rate of knots (and it cost 4d to go through the pub to see it!)

Shame Hawes is such a tourist hole these days - it used to be a lovely quiet village back in the '50s...


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 11:08 AM

" when the group are amplified and travelling musicians are not ,"
And I'm equally sure that an unaccompanied singer would not find a welcome in many amplified sessions that don't cater for the music we play around here - what's wrong with that?
If we all liked the same thing, wouldn't life be boring?
West Clare has a reputation for good music and this town in particular gets gets visitors throughout the year because of it ("The home of traditional Irish Music" is a common response when we tell people where we live- so far, it has helped the town survive 'The Banker's Folly'.
When outsiders start telling the town who they should cater for I have no doubt whatever that we should see the end of that.
It really is musical suicide when you start to try to please all of the people all of the time.
I have to say that I have visited every county6 in Ireland and I'm often staggered to note the number of places who put up signs saing "traditional music session in two weeks time"
The proof of the pudding really is in the eating.
By the way Jim B - I am not suggesting for one minute that the scene should revert to kitchen sessions, just that once you move into the pubs you have to be acutely aware that life goes on outside of our music and you need to work with that fact - too many musicians, and not a few singers, seems to believe that the world stops turning while they are singing or playing - life really isn't like that.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 12:36 PM

'once you move into the pubs you have to be acutely aware that life goes on outside of our music and you need to work with that fact - too many musicians, and not a few singers, seems to believe that the world stops turning while they are singing or playing - life really isn't like that'

I think you're right there Jim, once you go into a pub a musician has to put up with the noise and everything else. Not sure singers do that though, they usually just keep shushing until everybody shuts up before they start. In fact my son was rather taken aback recently when he was taken aside in a local pub for continuing a conversation with a friend while a singer was doing their bit on the opposite side of the house.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 01:30 PM

My wife is Northern Irish and we often visit her family for extended weekends.

Without doubt the best sessions are to be found in Brockagh County Tyrone. This small village has an abundance of some of the finest musicians in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 02:19 PM

ITS ABOUT HONESTY, if a session is a session[ an unpaid gig where travelling musicians are welcome that is a session.
if it is an amplified pub gig just call it trad music gig with joe bloggs,but do not call it a session, dont drag people to pubs under false pretences.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 02:44 PM

In fairness, most pubs will advertise 'music' rather than 'session' so that's honest enough.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 03:19 PM

I started visiting Ireland back in 1975 and few pubs offered traditional music, most were more interested in a jukebox playing the Rubettes or Gary Glitter.

The sessions could only be found in community halls.

It is all changed now, I find a lot of the pubs in the North of Ireland we visit advertise sessions purely on a commercial basis with front men who double as comedians.

As I said, give my the parish hall sessions in Brockagh County Tyrone anytime, pure and old world.


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 09:16 PM

I remember being in Ireland in the late 1960s and seeing these blackboard signs outside pubs for "Ballad Sessions": that meant Engelbert Humperdinck, Andy Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the like: about as far removed from traditional irish as you could get!


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 04:31 AM

""Ballad Sessions"
I had the same experience in the early 1960s
I had just become hooked on Child Ballads and I thought all my birthdays had come at the same time when I saw he signs - what a let-down!!
The period is still known as 'The Ballad Boom' and it coincided with 'The Folk Boom' in Britain.It passed around the same time, when the mucis industry lost interest and moved off to more lucrative areas
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 05:50 AM

It's a bit of a quandary really- we run two monthly singing (mainly) sessions in Co Leitrim (Drumkeeran and Ballinaglera) We could run them in fairly private pub rooms but much prefer to do it in an open bar, and involve the locals.

A solely music session can continue as 'muzak, whatever the noise level, but unamplified singers cannot do that.
We have to make a judgment on arrival and decide whether to risk a potentially noisy bar without saying shhhhh in a public bar to locals who want to chat about football!

When it works, it's great but sometimes we beat a retreat to privacy- against all my principles, but if we have a guest singer, it's only fair to people who have driven 20 miles to hear listen to him or her.

The purpose of our singing circle is to promote 'traditional' singing (whatever that is) but we don't define that & whatever it is, in a public bar situation, a singer or musician (paid or not) would be very unwise to ignore requests, however outrageous.

Too much alcohol makes some folk very persistent & if you really DON'T want to sing the 'Wild Rover clap clap clap' you can fit it into a set of waltzes & keep yer punter happy ....


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Subject: RE: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,patriot
Date: 18 Dec 16 - 07:27 AM

The opposite of REAL in FAKE- a good description of what is often promoted as 'traditional' these days- in any context


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