Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Irish Music

So, as promised, a post about Irish music.
Every fortnight I join in a traditional Irish music session at a local pub (the pub is empty except for us, usually, the bar is closed, but it's part of a larger club, so there's some people around, and sometimes a bit of an audience). I play the whistle, which looks somewhat like this:



(Well my whistle is actually like this but it isn't a nice illustration like the other images here)
There are some other whistle players (mostly all much better than me, and some of bring along a few instruments) and quite a few fiddle players, also of various standards.
Then there are some accordions and concertinas. I'm just getting to learn which type is which, so I won't make any mistakes here by trying to discuss them here.
We have some Irish bouzoukis, pipes, sometimes a hammered dulcimer, wooden flutes, and bodhrans (Irish drum).

I don't really know all the tunes yet, so I can't join in everything. We play sets of jigs, reels and hornpipes, someone starts playing and if you know the tune you join in. I'm getting better at picking up the tunes from ear, I can remember some tunes now, but I can never remember the names. There are some great names of tunes, like The Hag at the Churn, The Geese in the Bog and The Dusty Windowsills, (not to be confused with Smash the Windows) but others with lovely names like The Lark in the Morning and The Mountain Road. Others, like The Burnt Old Man and Banish Misfortune just make you wonder ...

So it's all a new thing for me, since the end of last year, and I am learning VERY slowly, but it's fun, and interesting to be part of a group that is made up of people mostly older than myself, some of them slightly folk-music types and others very conservative. Last night I watched as a bearded bikie-looking man with a tattoo helped out a very gentle retired lady with a bodhran lesson. They had never met before but both had the same type of drum. It's true that music does bring people together.

One day if I am ever any good I will record my whistle playing and put it on my blog. But I think that will be a long way off!

1 comment:

Threeundertwo said...

How lovely! I play the harp. So nice to have found you.

A friend gave my husband one of those Irish whistles but he's never learned to play it.