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spoons in sessions

Good Soldier Schweik 04 Mar 10 - 01:27 PM
SINSULL 04 Mar 10 - 01:31 PM
Ernest 04 Mar 10 - 01:33 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 04 Mar 10 - 02:07 PM
bubblyrat 04 Mar 10 - 02:16 PM
SunrayFC 04 Mar 10 - 02:42 PM
SINSULL 04 Mar 10 - 02:46 PM
alex s 04 Mar 10 - 04:51 PM
Guernsey Pete 04 Mar 10 - 04:58 PM
GUEST,MeliAlto 04 Mar 10 - 05:09 PM
RTim 04 Mar 10 - 05:26 PM
bubblyrat 04 Mar 10 - 05:54 PM
Jane Bird 04 Mar 10 - 07:10 PM
Paul Burke 04 Mar 10 - 07:50 PM
Dave Hanson 05 Mar 10 - 02:35 AM
Fidjit 05 Mar 10 - 03:42 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Mar 10 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 05 Mar 10 - 05:12 AM
Splott Man 05 Mar 10 - 06:58 AM
banjoman 05 Mar 10 - 07:15 AM
BusyBee Paul 05 Mar 10 - 07:59 AM
GUEST,kendall 05 Mar 10 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,sessionlass 05 Mar 10 - 08:57 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 05 Mar 10 - 09:39 AM
Mr Red 05 Mar 10 - 10:40 AM
Les in Chorlton 05 Mar 10 - 12:42 PM
Tootler 05 Mar 10 - 04:52 PM
John P 05 Mar 10 - 06:21 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 05 Mar 10 - 06:34 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Mar 10 - 02:44 AM
Les in Chorlton 06 Mar 10 - 05:19 AM
Paul Burke 06 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM
Les in Chorlton 14 Jan 12 - 09:26 AM
Vic Smith 14 Jan 12 - 09:27 AM
Mo the caller 14 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM
Leadfingers 14 Jan 12 - 04:49 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 14 Jan 12 - 05:44 PM
Steve Shaw 14 Jan 12 - 08:46 PM
Leadfingers 14 Jan 12 - 08:53 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Wee Jock 16 Jan 12 - 08:58 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 16 Jan 12 - 10:27 AM
JohnInKansas 16 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM
Young Buchan 16 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM
Les in Chorlton 16 Jan 12 - 04:29 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 16 Jan 12 - 05:14 PM
Tootler 16 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Guest Brian Hooper 16 Jan 12 - 06:11 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM
John P 17 Jan 12 - 04:46 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Jan 12 - 05:45 PM
Tootler 17 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM
Tootler 17 Jan 12 - 06:08 PM
Howard Jones 17 Jan 12 - 06:09 PM
Steve Shaw 17 Jan 12 - 08:21 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 17 Jan 12 - 11:08 PM
Howard Jones 18 Jan 12 - 03:40 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 05:36 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 06:05 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 06:34 AM
Roger the Skiffler 18 Jan 12 - 06:45 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,FloraG 18 Jan 12 - 07:25 AM
Howard Jones 18 Jan 12 - 07:45 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,FloraG 18 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 08:35 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 08:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 08:48 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 09:10 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 10:08 AM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 10:17 AM
Silas 18 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 18 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 01:29 PM
John P 18 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM
Les in Chorlton 18 Jan 12 - 02:32 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM
Howard Jones 18 Jan 12 - 03:12 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 03:44 PM
Crowhugger 18 Jan 12 - 04:14 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM
John P 18 Jan 12 - 09:56 PM
Howard Jones 19 Jan 12 - 03:39 AM
Silas 19 Jan 12 - 04:35 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 05:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM
Silas 19 Jan 12 - 06:14 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Jan 12 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,FloraG 19 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM
Silas 19 Jan 12 - 06:52 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Jan 12 - 07:03 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 07:07 AM
Les in Chorlton 19 Jan 12 - 07:20 AM
Howard Jones 19 Jan 12 - 07:27 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 09:44 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 09:48 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 10:09 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 19 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 12:03 PM
Les in Chorlton 19 Jan 12 - 12:07 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 12:11 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 19 Jan 12 - 12:56 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 19 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM
Richard Mellish 19 Jan 12 - 01:28 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 02:03 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 19 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM
Tootler 19 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 12 - 08:55 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 20 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 20 Jan 12 - 07:12 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 20 Jan 12 - 07:22 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Jan 12 - 09:39 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Jan 12 - 09:41 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 20 Jan 12 - 09:52 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 20 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 20 Jan 12 - 10:44 AM
Steve Shaw 20 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM
Tootler 20 Jan 12 - 12:41 PM
Tootler 20 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Azoic 20 Jan 12 - 02:58 PM
Les in Chorlton 21 Jan 12 - 03:29 AM
John P 23 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM
gnomad 23 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 23 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM
John P 23 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM
GUEST 07 Jan 17 - 05:36 AM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 06:09 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 17 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 07 Jan 17 - 07:48 AM
Jack Campin 07 Jan 17 - 08:19 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 17 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,Porky 07 Jan 17 - 11:33 AM
DMcG 07 Jan 17 - 12:20 PM
meself 07 Jan 17 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 07 Jan 17 - 01:07 PM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 17 - 03:51 PM
keberoxu 07 Jan 17 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 08 Jan 17 - 05:51 AM
Good Soldier Schweik 08 Jan 17 - 07:07 AM
Stu 08 Jan 17 - 08:57 AM
Stu 08 Jan 17 - 09:15 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 09:24 AM
Stu 08 Jan 17 - 09:56 AM
Tattie Bogle 08 Jan 17 - 10:17 AM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 10:40 AM
Jack Campin 08 Jan 17 - 10:45 AM
Will Fly 08 Jan 17 - 12:50 PM
Tattie Bogle 08 Jan 17 - 04:42 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 08 Jan 17 - 06:20 PM
Steve Shaw 08 Jan 17 - 08:14 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 17 - 12:34 PM
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Subject: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:27 PM

should spoon players be restricted to john cage 4 33.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: SINSULL
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:31 PM

No


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Ernest
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:33 PM

People who ask silly questions should be restricted.... ;0)


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:07 PM

Silly? the majority of spoons players in my experience,dont seem to realise that they should be listening to the musicians and accompanying ,not trtying to show thay are buddy rich.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: bubblyrat
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:16 PM

Dame Patti Smith,EPNS *, is welcome any day at our sessions (and so is Ned Clamp !). I just awarded her a bar to her EPNS,by the way.She is THAT good on the spoons.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: SunrayFC
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:42 PM

Sessions in Spoons- now that's a thought!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: SINSULL
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:46 PM

Have never seen/heard a spoon player who did not accompany rather than usurp. Lucky me. Naemanson is rather good. I seem to remember Barry Finn with bones and spoons, also very good.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: alex s
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:51 PM

Our Bob Spoons is great! and he only comes in when appropriate - then he does terrific solos


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Guernsey Pete
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:58 PM

How's Ned Clamp then ?
Haven't seen him in years.
PS MY wife plays the spoons, also flute, whistles, bones, washboard, 5-string banjo, ukulele, jews harp - carries them all around in one of those big re-usuable shopping bags.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,MeliAlto
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:09 PM

You've never heard of Noel Crombie, obviously. Member of the legendary Antipodean band Split Enz. He plays the spoons and there are a few vids of him on YT doing just that in concert. Check him out.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: RTim
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:26 PM

I can remember when the great gypsy Bones Player (from the New Forest) - Ted Duckett, would play his bones while in the audience at the Fo's'le FC in Southampton - no matter who was on stage and NO what they were singing!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: bubblyrat
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:54 PM

Guernsey Pete ; Ned's fine (apart from some recent car trouble),and is a regular here on Mudcat !


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Jane Bird
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:10 PM

I can recommend playing wooden spoons (no, not the big sort you stir the porrage with) for a more subtle sound in a session.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Paul Burke
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:50 PM

I think you are lucky, or perhaps young, to have such happy experiences of spoonistas. Back in the 70s, a few spoons players were good, a few tolerated for their status- the rest were unmitigated pests, lower in acceptance than unskilled bodhran players. I suppose a contemporary parallel would be trolling concertina players.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:35 AM

Unlike most bodhran and shaky egg players, most spoon players I have heard have learned how to play first.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Fidjit
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:42 AM

I use tea spoons. Keeps it down to a minimum. Also easier to carry around.

Chas


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Subject: ADD: The Spoons Murder (O'Drisceoil)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:15 AM

Says it all really
Jim Carroll

THE SPOONS MURDER
Con 'Fada' Ó Drisceoil
(tune Devil And Bailiff McGlinn)

In the tavern one night we were sitting -
I'm sure 'twas the last week of March –
From our drinks we were cautiously sipping
To ensure that our throats didn't parch.
We played music both lively and dacent
To bolster our spirits and hopes,
As we gazed on the females adjacent
And remarked on their curves and their slopes.

Till this gent wandered into the session
And divided to join in the tunes;
Without waiting to ask our permission
He took out a big pair of soup spoons.
Our teeth in short time we were gritting
As he shook and he rattled his toys,
And the company's eardrums were splitting
With his ugly mechanical noise.

Hopping spoons off our heads to provoke us,
He continued the music to kill;
Whether hornpipes, slow airs or polkas,
They all sounded like pneumatic drills.
Then he asked could we play any faster,
As his talent he wished to display,
With a grin on the face of the bastard
Like the cat when she teases her prey.

Our thoughts at this stage were quite bloody
And politely we asked him to quit;
We suggested a part of his body
Where those spoons could conveniently fit.
This monster we pestered and hounded,
We implored him with curses and tears,
But in vain our appeals they resounded
In the desert between his two ears.

When I went out the back on a mission,
He arrived as I finished my leak;
He says "This is a mighty fine session,
I think I'll come here every week".
When I heard this, with rage I was leppin',
And this torture no longer I'd take:
I looked round for a suitable weapon
To silence this damned rattlesnake.

Outside towards the yard I did sally
To find something to vanquish my foe:
I grabbed hold of a gentleman's Raleigh
With fifteen-speed gear and dynamo.
Then I battered that musical vandal
As I shouted with furious cries
"My dear man, your last spoon you have handled,
Say your prayers and await your demise!"

With the bike I assailed my tormentor
As I swung in a frenzy of hate,
Till his bones and his skull were in splinters
And his health in a very poor state.
And when I was no longer able,
I forestalled any last-minute hitch
By removing the gear-changing cable
And strangling that son-of-a-bitch.

At the end of my onslaught ferocious
I stood back and surveyed the scene;
The state of the place was atrocious,
Full of fragments of man and machine.
At the spoons-player's remains I was staring,
His condition was surely no joke,
For his nose was clogged up with ball-bearings
And his left eye was pierced by a spoke.

At the sight I was feeling quite squeamish,
So I washed up and went back inside;
Then I drank a half-gallon of Beamish,
As my throat in the struggle had dried.
Unpolluted by cutlery's clatter
The music was pleasant and sweet;
For the rest of the night nothing mattered
But the tunes and the tapping of feet.

At an inquest, the following September,
The coroner said "I conclude
The deceased by himself was dismembered,
As no sign could be found of a feud.
For the evidence shows that the fact is,
As reported to me by the guards,
He indulged in the foolhardy practice
Of trick-cycling in public house yards".

So if you're desperately keen on percussion,
And to join in the tunes you can't wait;
Be you Irishman, German or Russian,
Take a lesson from his awful fate.
If your spoons are the best silver-plated,
Or the humblest of cheap stainless steel,
When you play them abroad you'll be hated,
So just keep them for eating your meals.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:12 AM

Spoon rattlers and "muscal saw" players like children should be seen and not heard. Either will sabotage a good session within seconds. Definitely a practice that should only be done in private.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Splott Man
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:58 AM

The Dame herself uses the spoons sparingly in sessions, and if another pair start up, she stops. She's very courteous is out Pattie.

I've PMed you Pete, nice to catch up.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: banjoman
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:15 AM

The late Rip Ripingale played spoons but thought that every piece of music the band played must be accompanied by him playing spoons. It got to the stage where one of our few recordings turned out as a spoon solo he was so loud. We ended up sacking him as our caller. He also played ? melodeon and knew 2 tunes which both sounded the same. Always complained that he got his thumb stuck in what became to be known as the "Oh Sh*t button" R.I.P. Rip


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: BusyBee Paul
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:59 AM

Watching someone play "air" spoons for the first time was VERY disconcerting! He's now been given plastic ones.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:04 AM

I find them very annoying.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,sessionlass
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:57 AM

"I can recommend playing wooden spoons (no, not the big sort you stir the porrage with)"

you don't use a wooden spoon to stir porrage (sic) - you use a spirtle.

"most spoon players I have heard have learned how to play first."

who on earth would choose to 'play' spoons if they can play an instrument?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:39 AM

dame patti,plays squeezboxes


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Mr Red
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:40 AM

a drummer?

count me in (pun intended)

are red spoons kosher?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 12:42 PM

Spoons, melodeons, piano accordians, bagpipes? Let em all come

The Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester

Les Tuesday of each month

L in C


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:52 PM

who on earth would choose to 'play' spoons if they can play an instrument?

I can think of two reasons

1. Spoons are cheaper than most instruments - even whistles

2. To get up the collective noses of the other session participants :-)


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:21 PM

Should out-of-tune fiddlers be allowed in sessions? Should guitarists with no rhythm be allowed in sessions? Should squeeky pipers be allowed in sessions? Should anyone who can't play along competently be tolerated?

Hello!! Any instrument can be well played or badly played. So what?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 06:34 PM

people should not be allowed to enjoy themselves.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:44 AM

Spoons are for eating soup - not nausing up good music.
They are not musical instruments.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:19 AM

I think a stronng case can be argued for using the spoons creatively and sensitively whilst waiting, in a Session, for the soup course to arrive.

L in C


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Paul Burke
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:51 AM

A mashie and a niblick sound better than a pair of spoons.

What is the sound of one spoon clacking?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM

That's my great grandaddy!! Old jack the lad!!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 09:26 AM

Spoons, melodeons, piano accordians, bagpipes? Let em all come

The Beech, Beech Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 9EG

2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month

L in C


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 09:27 AM

If you click here you can sign up for:-

A monthly class for adults to learn to play the spoons begins on Thursday 3 March 2011 from 8 to 9pm at the Douglas McMinn Centre, East Street, Chesham. Jo May said it will also incorporate other related instruments such as the Irish bodhran in future sessions. Spoons will be provided but feel free to bring your own if you wish. It cost 5 pounds per session. Call Jo on 07973 721260 or email jo.may@ukf.net


Jo originally trained at the Royal College of Music and began her career working with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra. A trip to Sidmouth Folk Festival sparked an enthusiasm for traditional music, which led to her interest in West African and Afro-Cuban music, as well as folk music from Europe and the British Isles. She has studied West African drumming and balafon with a number of different teachers, both in England and in Senegal. And she has completed courses in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian percussion with One Voice Music.

Jo is an experienced percussion teacher and workshop leader. She spent many years as a peripatetic music teacher in schools, and running a range of exciting rhythm-based workshops with her group, Tapatak. She currently runs African Drumming Workshops and Spoons Workshops for all ages.

In her band, Zoox, Jo plays an assortment of instruments, including djembe, congas, cajon, balafon, bodhran, spoons........... Amongst others, she also currently plays with the funky ceilidh band, Token Women.

She is currently in Dakar in Senegal developing her skills on the wonderful balafon.

You can see Jo displaying her talents on a range of percussion instruments (including the balafon and the spoons) with Zoox on a range of recent Youtube videos taken at the Royal Oak in Lewes in November.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Mo the caller
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM

I am reminded of Poynton Folk Festival (in the days when it happened in Poynton, Easter weekend)
They had a spoons workshop there, and one enthusiast accompanied all the acts in the concert. Till one tune player managed to shake him off by playing faster than he could. Anyone remember, was it Vin Garbutt or does he only sing?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 04:49 PM

ANY badly played instrument can spoil a session , and the louder the instrument the more effect it has ! But a GOOD Spoons player can add to a session ! As can a WELLPLAYED Bodhran !




OR a Concertina Dick ! LOL


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 05:44 PM

I would love to see a session with a rhythym guitar bodran and spoons, they all need a melody instrument,
They also need to listen to the melody instrument, ideally if the rhythm instruments owners cannot cannot sing the tunes they should not play, because they do not know the feel of the tune.
Spoons are difficult to play quietly, more difficult [imo]than guitar and bodhran,
yes , I played percussion too for years in ceilidh bands, Iknow a little bit about percussion instruments.
melody instruments can have a session without rhythm instruments, they are not necessary.
I am sorry to say this but the amount of guitarists,bodhran and spoons I have come across in sessions who were able to lift the music, I can count on two hands, i have come across a fair few that are neither a hindrance or a help, that is they have most of the chords right and are not out of rhythm , but that is not the same as positively lifting the music.
rule number one if you have never heard the tune before do not join in, if you must join in do it very very quietly.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 08:46 PM

Yeah, bones, drums and spoons are just great in sessions. Any session but mine, that is. Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers is the order of the day. The people who can lift the music are the people who play the music. That means people who play melody instruments, them and Ringo McDonagh and, well, that's about it really.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 08:53 PM

The late Len Davis (Davies) was an excellent Bones player who only added to a session , but he only played Up Tempo stuff - Sweet Georgia Brown was one of his favourites !


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM

Steve,

why not say what you really think so much is lost when you say this kind of thing:

"Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers is the order of the day."

Trust it's agood day

L in C#


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Wee Jock
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 08:58 AM

At the Good Intent Rochester Kent we have the excellent spoons player Phil Birkin who is par excellance bar none. On his cd The Iron Road he plays the spoons whilst singing Blackleg Miner.

Excellent

Regards

Wee Jock


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 10:27 AM

wee jock, I know phil burkin he is a good singer, however we are not talking about spoons accompanying singing, i am talking about spoons player listening to melody instruments and following the melody in instrumental sessions.
the most common mistake i have come across is spoons players playing hornpipes like slow reels while the melody player is swinging the hornpipe


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM

We have a local "spooner" who really is quite good, and generally knows when to play and when to sit back. He also plays pretty fair lap dulcimer, so he usually has something to trade off to; but at one informal session I think I recall that he hadn't brought the dulcy, but had his spoons.

That night, however, when he got "close to the edge" out of enthusiasm for a long series of tunes that were mostly appropriate, but with some a little borderline for spoons, I suggested that it sounded to me like his spoons might benefit from being tuned to a more pleasant tone.

He looked a bit puzzled and then asked "how would you go about tuning them?"

I allowed as how tuning them would be a little more complex than could be easily done during the session, but that he might try just using a capo on them.

After a bit of joshing with him he came around to asking "what's a spoon capo look like," so I whipped out a 15 pound test wire tie and pulled it up tight around both spoons right at the base of the bowls, and nipped off the excess.

He sat there, staring at them for quite a long while before I felt sorry enough for him to nip off the tie. (It was a pretty light weight tie, but would have been difficult to break without bending something.)

In some circumstance a "capo" does make a pair of spoons sound a lot better (as in completely silent) - but it really was a little bit of overkill for what he was doing, and it was all just for a joke.

And we're still pretty good friends, and he laughs about it now.

(For those not familiar with the wire ties, ask a cop. They use them in lieu of handcuffs quite a lot; although they go for the 30 lb test size or better, to avoid cutting into the meat quite so much.)

John


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Young Buchan
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM

The great Irish fiddler Hughie McCann had a great way with spoons players who pissed him off (which was most of them). He had a wonderful ability to speed up and then slow down his pace until all but the most self-deaf spooner got the point and gave up.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 04:29 PM

Music, the ultimate cooperative human experience

Best wishes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 05:14 PM

Music, the ultimate cooperative human experience,
but there are still session etiquettes,listen to the melody players, do not play or play very very quietly if you dont know the tune or the key or the chord progression.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM

Yeah, bones, drums and spoons are just great in sessions. Any session but mine, that is. Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers...

Reading through this thread, I felt very tempted to learn to play the spoons - badly - so I could get up the nose of some of the intolerant tossers who have posted to this thread.

Yes, you do get poor percussionists in sessions, just as you get poor fiddlers, poor whistle players, etc. etc. but nowhere near as often as some here seem to make out, so little more tolerance please.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Guest Brian Hooper
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 06:11 PM

Leadfingers - what's a concertina dick?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM

Well the whole bloody point is that you can learn to "play" the bones, spoons or bodhran in half an hour, then go along and pee everybody else off. You can't learn to play a fiddle, a harmonica, the flute or the pipes in half an hour, and you can't build a repertoire of tunes in half an hour either. Practically all the drop-in bones/drum/spoons players I've experienced not only don't know the tunes they're purporting to "accompany" but also don't know one rhythm from another to save their lives. In the traditional dance music of these fair isles, the tune contains all the rhythm and drive already, and an extra layer of rattling/clattering/banging is both superfluous and annoying. That stuff has its place in bands with their arrangements, but not in sessions (in my opinion). The average bodhran owner, to borrow a phrase from a mate of mine, sounds like a couple of spuds in a bucket, and bones players sound like Pinocchio having a w**k.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 04:46 PM

Sessions are still open to the public, aren't they? What's the mechanism for excluding people you don't like?

This is one of the reasons I rarely go to sessions. Too many people (on all instruments) who don't know how to play in a session. Mix them together with the all-too-common pedantic session police and it often turns into a scene I don't want to be part of. Living room sessions are so much nicer.

Lumping all bones and bodhran players together is sort of dumb. Yes, you can learn to make noise on a bodhran in half and hour, but, like any other instrument, it will take a LOT longer than that to learn to play it. A good bones or bodhran player is a joy to behold -- just like good players on any other instrument. Perhaps you could have auditions for sessions?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 05:45 PM

You can become "proficient" on a bodhran within a few hours. That is not comparable to the required acquisition of knowledge and skills on any musical instrument I can think of. And I repeat. All the rhythm and drive in traditional dance tunes is already there in the tune. A goat-beater is an unnecessary add-on, and is not deserving of the free beer. As for sessions being open, our session is our session and we more or less get to decide who joins in. I suppose no two sessions are alike, but it would be a mistake to think you can just swan into any session uninvited. We are generally very nice to occasional visitors.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 06:08 PM

Sorry about the blank post. I wasn't really concentrating and clicked on the wrong link.

My feeling about percussionists is that they should be just as welcome as anyone else in a session. Obviously, if you run a session, you get to decide who comes, but for the most part they should be made welcome. In my experience, most percussionists tend to exercise discretion in the use of their instruments and spoon players often play something else as well and use their spoons for variety.

Irritation is not confined to percussion either. I remember one piano accordionist who seemed totally unable to play without a persistent um, chuck, um, chuck with the left hand. Most box players, in my experience, tend to exercise discretion in the use of the left hand, often leaving it out if another rhythm instrument is there (often a guitar or another box player) but this one just produced the same style left hand on every tune and it became most irritating in time.

I reckon we do tend to remember the poor players because they tend to stand out, but that's no excuse for some of the blanket generalisations I've seen.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 06:09 PM

You can't become proficient on a bodhran, or spoons, or bones, or any other percussion instrument in a few hours. Like any instrument, they take years of study and practice. Percussion played well can lift the music.

What I suspect you mean is that in a few hours you can pick up enough of the basics to go along to a session and make a bloody nuisance of yourself. Whereas on a "proper" instrument it will take months of practice before you've learned enough to go and make a bloody nuisance of yourself. Whether that is any better is open to question.

It's certainly true that people who can't or won't learn to play a melody instrument seem to turn to percussion as a way of joining in a session. It's also true that many of them seem to think that knowing 4/4, 6/8 and 3/4 are sufficient without needing to think about the internal rhythms of the tune. I'm not defending any of this. However it's also true of players of other instruments - especially guitarists, who in addition to failing to understand the rhythm also have ample oppportunity to misunderstand the chords as well.

There are good players and bad players on all instruments, and that includes technically competent players who show no understanding of the music.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 08:21 PM

Note, Howard, that I said "proficient", not proficient. Yep, bodhranistas see their vexatious "instrument" as an easy, short-cut way to get to sit in on sessions and soak up the beer. Next time you sit next to one, ask him if he can hum the tune he's supposedly accompanying. Ask if he even knows the name of the tune. Ask him if he knows what kind of tune it is. I'll wager that you'll get negative answers almost all the time. Of course, there will be honourable exceptions, but I've rarely encountered one. And what you say about other players is true, of course. But it's my experience that large numbers of goat-thumpers never get past that What I suspect you mean is that in a few hours you can pick up enough of the basics to go along to a session and make a bloody nuisance of yourself. stage. And I repeat again. All the rhythm and drive in traditional dance tunes is already there in the tunes. A goat-beater is a superfluous add-on. These bodhran-apologists never seem to want to address this very basic, rather inconvenient point.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 11:08 PM

I'm with John P entirely on this.

I'm not sure what point Steve Shaw thinks he's making when he puts certain of his words in quotes. Who's he quoting? Himself? He's spouting crap anyway. But his wouldn't be the first session to be restricted to a bunch of self-important prima donnas.

The point about those who play exposed, penetrating instruments (please note, Steve, no quotes) is that they need not only to play well but also to exercise good judgment about when to come in and for how long. This applies across all music. Imagine a symphony in which the triangle played in every bar.

Thanks for the link Vic Smith. That's an impressive website, and Jo is obviously an accomplished musician (if not quite up to Steve's standard), though I'd have preferred a shorter burst from the spoons in the Flop-eared Donkey - maybe a switch to bodhran for variety. The Royal Oak session looks different and well worth catching when I'm down that way. Is it weekly, and what night?

(I suppose everyone knows where there are no bodhrans in Star Trek?)


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:40 AM

Steve, I admit my heart sinks when someone produces a bodhran - especially in an English session. The same applies to piano accordions, guitars and banjos - guilty until proved innocent. And I don't disagree with what you say about those who only use a percussion instrument as an excuse to join in.

However just because most percussionists are numpties doesn't mean that percussion has no place in traditional music. If you beleive that, I can only assume you've not played with a good percussionist.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 05:36 AM

Does Steve's family know that he is so charming and thoughtful on this, a more or less public website? Do the people who go to "his" session know and are they pleased to be associated with his opinions and the way in which he so thoughtfully expresses them?

Thousands of tunes have survived the last 1, 2 , 3 or 4 hundred years. Most I guess have been used for social dancing. The bands and the instruments played in them have no doubt changed over that period. Squeezers and steel strings are a product of the industrial revolution. So what are we, who enjoy playing the tunes to do? Anything we like. That is more or less what people have always done. Have people who played for dancing over hundreds of years used percussion?

Some of us gather in public and play not for dancing but in "Sessions". Often the tunes are played too fast for dancing sometimes on instruments invented 200 years after the tunes were composed. Sometimes those in the sessions are friendly and welcoming in and sometimes they seem to have trouble speaking at all.

Best wishes

L in C#
Down The Beech Wednesday M21 9EG
Songs this week, tunes next week, dots on the table, steady pace.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:05 AM

Yeah, right, Les. "Dots on the table." Hahaha. Says it all. Can't you afford music stands? As I said, the drive and rhythm is already there in the tunes. Thumpers add nothing useful at best. There is nothing to add. And, like I said, we are always very nice to occasional visitors. Judge not.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:34 AM

Well Steve, we started as a "Beginners Session" based around ones we had been to at Whitby and Shrewsbury. We created our own tune book initially with 20 tunes in a cardboard stand a bit like those calendars that stand up by themselves.

3 years later we have 100 tunes and a stand made out of ribbed plastic like that used for Estate Agents signs - because we use the ribbed plestic used for Estate Agents signs. This means the music, 2 tunes ona page of A4, stands up to be seen at some distance by those who can read. We also share the music via pdfs, books and ABCexplorer.

Who ever comes through the door plays what ever they can. We have squeezers, fiddles, whistles, banjos, guitars, ukes, smallpipes, ulinian pipes, 'cellos, a harp, bongos played with brushes, tambourines, bodhrans, hammered dumcimers, trombone, a clarinet and promise of more brass. We play every other week and have a Ceilidh Band of between 16 and 30 who play mostly accoustically.

Each fortnight around 20 peeople turn up and we play whatever people fancy - mostly from our tune book.

We have a range of compitance from as good as it gets to a bit irritating. With so many it doesn't matter much if some people don't play very well. We generally have so much fun that tolerance of those not so good is the order of the day. Our general feeling is that most of us are getting batter and collectively we are playing better together.

Spoons? Fine. Does this music need percussion? It's dance music it has historically had percussion. Does it matter? No, not to us but a good drummer helps with keeping a steady tempo.

Best wishes

L in C#

Songs and tunes at The Beech


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:45 AM

This thread and other snobby "ban this, that & the other" threads are one reason why I don't go to folk clubs, but to more inclusive venues. Not all the singers & instruments that perform at the open mic and blues nights I go to are to my taste, but if they were my musical horizons wouldn't get widened.

RtS
Washboard of Mass Destruction & Kazoo of Doom


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:56 AM

Xlnt Roger - down The Beech asap

Les


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 07:25 AM

It is sometimes difficult to hear a new tune because the percussion is too loud. No chance of learning it. Even as a melody player I don't join in until the second A and second B because the person leading it may be playing a vriation of it. ( Im always surprised that some people join in before this ).
As etiquete goes I don't think percussion should join in until at least the second time round and if some are attempting to learn the tune then not until the learner has had a chance to grasp the main structure.
One percussion instrument only?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 07:45 AM

All these complaints are to do with bad playing, and could be said about any instrument played badly. It is unfortunately true that a bad percussionist can cause more disruption to a session than most other instruments. I'm not defending bad playing.

However, percussion doesn't have to be loud or intrusive. It should follow the tune, not lead it. It can pick out and highlight subtleties in the rhythm, and add another tone colour to the sound. It can make just as valid a contribution to the overall sound as any other instrument.

I agree with FloraG - only one at a time. Unfortunately, when the thumpers start up the good players often pack up, because they know they cannot play effectively or contribute to the music.

I can fully understand Steve's railings against bad percussion players, and it is regrettably true that bad percussion players seem to be ubiquitious.    However to play with a good percussionist is a delight.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 07:52 AM

"I agree with FloraG - only one at a time"

What are you going to do when the second percussion player turns up? S/he is a friend of yours, or is a good player, famous as a singer/ caller.

Music is the ultimate cooperative human musical experience.

L in C#


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM

They can take turns, me thinks.

While walking the dog I've been thinking about this in a mathematical way. I think as a rule of thumb 3/4 of the volume should be melody and counter melody. That leaves 1/4 for chords amd percussion.

I am aware that as a cac handed melodeon player it would be very easy for the person on my right never to hear the tune - just my chords, so unless I'm leading the tune I tend not to play them. One melodoen out of 4 is enough on the chords and none if there is a keyboard, accordian or base playing - and these can take turns. Listening to a tune is as much part of a session as playing.

No percussion at all during the verses of a song and PP for melody instruments joining in, as a rule.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:35 AM

Until it stops being music due to thumpers. If a second thumper turns up, and does not understand that one is bad enough but two are fatal, then the second thumper is not a musician. So the answer is that you shouldn't have to do anything.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:36 AM

That was a response to Les.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:48 AM

Let me get this right - you simply say to some people who turn up "No, you cannot play?"


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:10 AM

That is not what I said, Les. But we certainly don't want people who have no idea of normal social etiquette swanning in and doing whatever they like. I wouldn't do that at your session in a million years. I suggest to you that you are not familiar with either the circumstances of our venue with the constraints it puts on us nor the traditions of our particular session. Sessions are not all the same. If you turned up at our pub and asked if you could play we would be very nice to you. We already have a guitar player and we wouldn't want two at once, and we don't want our regular chap, who has driven thirty miles to be here, sitting on the sidelines all night so that you could take over. Competent melody players - not virtuosos - are always welcome. We have had some very negative experiences with very poor percussionists so you would probably wouldn't get a look-in if we saw one of those round bags in your mitts. So it all depends. And if you do have to tell someone not to join in with a second bodhran while another one is already playing, then you really are dealing with someone who is in severe danger of being moronic.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM

Well Steve social etiquette is indeed central to all sorts of things not least hoe we address and treat each other in public places:

"Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers is the order of the day

The average bodhran owner, to borrow a phrase from a mate of mine, sounds like a couple of spuds in a bucket, and bones players sound like Pinocchio having a w**k.

A goat-beater is a superfluous add-on

If a second thumper turns up, and does not understand that one is bad enough but two are fatal, then the second thumper is not a musician

And if you do have to tell someone not to join in with a second bodhran while another one is already playing, then you really are dealing with someone who is in severe danger of being moronic."

Have I been to your session? How would you know?

As for your oft-repeated opnion that the tunes I think we are talking about need no percussion - I wont disagree but for hundreds of years people have used percussion instruments in bands that played those tune. It doesn't any of us have to, but we can if we like.

I have heard people in sessions playing poorly on all sorts of indtrments and I have heard people play spoons, bones, tambourines and shaky eggs played well, as loads of people have pointed out above.

My device of choice is the tenor banjo - what is yours?

L in C#


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:08 AM

The harmonica. And had you been to my session we'd surely have bantered about things northern (I'm a Radcliffe lad originally). And we Radcliffe lads are stubborn buggers, and I'm sticking to what I say. And if people in sessions are not playing well, we have something that needs working on, and that's a damn sight easier without some eejit banging or clattering away by your side.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:17 AM

OK Steve I'd like ti think that in practise we are probably notoo far away but I will repeat, because I and others have made these points lots of time:

1. Nearly all instruments can be played in such a way to bring either joy or pain
2. Percussion instruments have been played in our kinds of tunes for hundreds of years.

Best wishes

L in C#


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Silas
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM

I'd just like to add my pennyworth to this thread. A well-played Bodhran or spoons can add to a tune and in some cases give it a real lift. I play in music sessions quite often and there is a guy who plays the bones exceptionally well, but will only join a tune set if he thinks it is 'working' properly. It's great. You know when you are playing well because Roger joins in on the bones! However, there is something even worse than badly played goat or spoons creeping into sessions now – those bloody acoustic box things that people sit on and bash with their hands – if ever there was a case for taking a power-saw to a session that is it.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM

"acoustic box things"
sounds like something cricketers wear


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 01:29 PM

The bodhran as an instrument in traditional Irish music is about fifty years old. Just thought I'd mention it.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM

I think that Steve's problem is that he is stating his personal opinion as if it were fact, and he's insulting lots of good musicians while he's doing it.

Here's my opinions: classing all percussionists together is a sign of someone without much sense, musicality, normal politeness, or experience. Holding a session in a public place and then telling musicians they can't play along is rude. Go home and play with your mates if you want to be exclusive. Or start a band and get a gig. Except it sounds like that's what you're doing. Why do you call it a session?

Here's some more: any tune that has more than one fiddle playing has one fiddle too many unless all the players are playing every pitch perfectly. Two whistles being played in unison almost always produce a loud disharmonic overtone. EVERYONE except the guitar player should shut up during the verses of a song. No one should ever play in public until they are quite competent. Not at sessions, not busking, not at sing-arounds and open mics. Stay home and practice until you are playing something that anyone might want to hear.

I agree that non-musicians who want to join in often take up percussion. This does not mean that all percussionists are non-musicians, or that non-musicians can't learn to be musicians. I once dealt with an impromptu session that had four non-musician percussionists and three other instruments. I put down my cittern and gave them a percussion lesson, mostly having to do with playing quietly enough to hear everything that everyone else was doing and respond to it. I think they learned some new concepts. The session was much more enjoyable after that. And I didn't have to tell anyone who was trying to play music to get lost.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM

Who tells musicians that they can't play along?? You can actually read, can you? We get visiting musicians occasionally and we make them welcome. How many times do I have to say it? We have one bloke who comes once a year who plays the spoons and he is a perishing nuisance every time. He is ultra-loud and he plays non-stop on everything. The last time he was here, a lady concertina player, another visitor, had to give up and pack away because of him. He thought it was hunkydory to use the edge of the chair she was sitting on as his foot-rest, thereby clattering at 150 decibels into her ear. She hasn't been back since. We have decided to keep him out from now on. Wouldn't you? Telling him that enough was enough ended up with us nearly coming to blows. We had another bloke who played the bodhran and bones, and he played on literally every piece we played, songs and tunes, all the way through, including waltzes and slow airs. The more free beer he consumed, the louder he got. If the established session members do not want bodhrans, then that's how it should be. It is not the same as melody instruments or even guitars. The other points you make are simply unreasonable and slightly silly and not worth responding to.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:32 PM

The Bod as such is as you say about 50 yraes ld. The Harmonica is how old? 100, 200 years? Some of our tunes are 400 years old. Does any of this matter? Not to me

L in C#

And what John P says - very well!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM

John is just being petulant. I mentioned the fifty years simply because you kept saying that percussion has been used for hundreds of years, etc. The bodhran is nowt but a trendy upstart, preferably with a big harp tattooed on the poor goat, used mainly to get talentless people into sessions. The very few glorious exceptions no doubt prove the rule.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:12 PM

Steve, your complaints are once again about the behaviour of a couple of individuals. It is not inevitable that percussionists, not even bodhran players, behave like that, neither is that sort of behaviour confined to percussionists. As a harmonica player, you must be well aware that's another instrument which lots of people believe they can play, because they had one as a kid.

There's a guitarist comes to my session who is apparently incapable of identifying the key, or even to distinguish minor from major, and is also totally lacking any awareness of rhythm, other than the most basic concept of the beat. At his worst, he can completely kill a tune. The other regular guitarist is the complete opposite and a joy to play with.

Perhaps the most perfect session I've ever participated in was wrecked when some pillock with a piano accordian arrived towards the end, totally misread the laid-back vibe and decided it need "livening up". He emptied the room in 5 minutes. However I've also met some superb PA players.

Incompetent players on any instrument can wreck a session. Some instruments can be more disruptive than others. To take against an entire family of instruments because of the behaviour of some players is not only blinkered but, in my view, counter-productive, because you'll miss out on some great music.

Bury your prejudices, seek out a good percussionist, and play with them. You might be surprised.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:44 PM

Why would I seek out a percussionist when I know that percussion is superfluous to the music I play? The tunes are everything in this music. It matters not that people have been intruding for hundreds of years with their various thumpees. You can't prove to me that 17th century drummers had any better taste than the hairy young git on Glastonbury Tor with a tom-tom and a dreamy expression. Percussion adds noise. It does not add rhythm. It just (at best) makes rhythm louder at the expense of melody. The rhythm is already fully there in the tunes. I know that bodhranistas have much emotion invested in their wretched instruments, but these are the obstinate facts of the matter.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Crowhugger
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:14 PM

Announcing: SPOONS-SESSION at my place every Saturday! Bodhrans and all drums, banjos, bagpipes (all kinds), squeezboxes are INFINITELY welcome!! Rhythm guitars featured the first session of each month.

We regret to inform you that we frown on more than one fiddle at a time--their intonation almost never matches each other; same with whistle. Mandos, well I guess a few are okay, since sound isn't as penetrating as fiddle or whistle. But we trust you'll first listen to the rhythm before trying to join with it.














;-)


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM

Never mind all that. my drum is pre-dubbined and my bones are greased. Just tell me the beer's free and I'll be there, loud 'n' proud!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:56 PM

Who tells musicians that they can't play along?? You can actually read, can you?

According to you, you do. This is what I actually read. You wrote it:

As for sessions being open, our session is our session and we more or less get to decide who joins in.

Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers is the order of the day

We already have a guitar player and we wouldn't want two at once

I say again, it sounds like you're playing in a band that has a regular gig. Why do you call it a session?

AND:
The tunes are everything in this music.

Well, except for the guitar, the drums, the bass, the synthesizers, the singers, the rhythm, the harmonies, the chords, etc etc etc. You seem to be defining "this music" according to your own tastes. Fortunately, there are thousands of people all over the world playing "this music" in ways that apparently would give you a heart attack. And the good news is that it's all traditional playing, in that modern traditional players are doing all these things. Your comment about the bodhran being only 50 years old makes it sound like you are unclear on the difference between traditional music and historical music.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 03:39 AM

OK Steve, you clearly can't understand the role that percussion can play, and if you aren't interested in exploring it that is of course up to you. However your prejuduce seems to be based entirely on your experiences with percussionists who are poor musicians, and to me that doesn't appear to be a very sound basis on which to make sweeping judgements.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Silas
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 04:35 AM

Padstow mayday would be a pretty poor affair without the drums.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 05:41 AM

Well I'd heartily agree with that, Silas. The drumming, the beer, the hundreds of accordions and the maidens dressed in white are all part of the Padstow allure. And I like bands and I have lots of CDs by great Irish and Scottish bands. Ringo McDonagh is a superstar in my eyes. I go to see bands that have a bodhran player. I know very well what role percussion can play in a well thought out context. But I'm talking about sessions here. I freely admit that there may be a few good bodhran players around who, whilst they add nothing, don't actually get up anyone else's noses in sessions. But Howard is right: I haven't come across any, so I'm biased. I think you'll find that very large numbers of good musicians who play Irish music are similarly biased. I don't know what you call it when a very large number of people all have the same bias. Racism towards bodhran owners I suppose. And John, you can read English I assume. Instead of cherry-picking the bits of my posts that suit your bitter agenda, try reading the whole lot over again. We are always very nice to visiting musicians of good will. Always.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM

I've read 'em all Steve and I bet Silas and the others have too. I repeat:

social etiquette is indeed central to all sorts of things not least hoe we address and treat each other in public places:

"Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers is the order of the day

The average bodhran owner, to borrow a phrase from a mate of mine, sounds like a couple of spuds in a bucket, and bones players sound like Pinocchio having a w**k.

A goat-beater is a superfluous add-on

If a second thumper turns up, and does not understand that one is bad enough but two are fatal, then the second thumper is not a musician

And if you do have to tell someone not to join in with a second bodhran while another one is already playing, then you really are dealing with someone who is in severe danger of being moronic."

Are you entirely sure that all the people at your session are always happy with your own contributions? As has been pointed out harmonicas are as welcome at some sessions as you might make spoons at yours

Best wishes

L in C#
Tunes at The Beech M21 9EG next Wednesday
Bring your own spoons & Bods


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Silas
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:14 AM

Actually Les, I don't disagree with all that Steve says, in fact, I agree with a lot of it. I was at a session earlier this week when a guy came with one of those wooden box thingies. A real nice guy, someone I have known for years. This was obviously a new purchase and he wanted to try it out, and boy, did he try it out! Loud, out of time, so much so that I had to stop playing as I could no longer follow the melody and the lead, a melodion, was really struggling. If it had ben a session thaty I was organising words would have been said without a doubt!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:27 AM

Fair enough Silas.

I think this thread has reached that point, probably sometime ago, when everything that can be said has been said. Some of it has been said thoughtfully and some in language that almost nobody uses face to face - and that is a big problem on these sites.

We gather around 40 odd muscians in our session. A core of 10 or so and another 10 - 15 each fortnight. I am endlessly astonished that so many people want to join me and the others to play mostly simple country dance tunes .

I thoroughly enjoy it and so do they. It is a social event as much as a musical event

L in C#


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM

Not about spoons but on the theme.

I was a bit upset and annoyed last year at the Faversham hop festival. As a volunteer helper I had agreed to run the live music sessions. On the Friday evening, we had started our ( mostly but not exclusively ) singing session at one end of the bar room, as we had done for far too many years to count, when for the first time ever, a group of musicians turned up and started their own session in a room adjacent but not totally seperate from the main room. This meant that only the loudest singers could carry on, and had to sing at full volume.

I know a session does not ' belong' to anybody as such, nor does the right to use any particular pub, but I was disappointed and surprised at the lack of courtesy shown by these musicians, especially as they were mostly not inexperienced yougsters. There is no shortage of pubs in Faversham, so why pick on the one where the sing around/ session was already going on? They had to walk past us to get to the other room. Fortunately they did not turn up the following evening.

Was I right to be surprised and a bit annoyed at what I considered discourteous behaviour, or should I have just accepted it as the way folk musicians are today?
FloraG


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Silas
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:52 AM

Hi Flora
Sounds bloody rude to me. I disagree about sessions not 'belonging' to anyone. In my opinion the session 'belongs' to the person who organises it and it is up to them to choose how its run and what sort of music/songs are performed.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 07:03 AM

Consider Anarcho-Syndicalism

L in C#
No Master here


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 07:07 AM

There are session wreckers everywhere, Flora. Most musicians are courteous and considerate, but there are those whose big egos override all other considerations. Get their feet under the table and you're stuffed for the night. There seems to be some kind of paradoxical rule whereby the least talented have the biggest egos. And Les, old chap. How many times do I have to say it. We always make welcome visiting musicians of good will. Always. We are a very nice bunch of blokes. I know it's inconvenient to your cause, as with John, but it happens to be the most important thing I've said and you are choosing to ignore it. A session with 40 people sounds absolutely horrible, but then again I haven't been to it and it ain't right for me to judge, is it! I won't be numero 41, I can tell you that much. No wonder they need dots and can't learn by ear!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 07:20 AM

Please read the small print Steve - around 20 - 25 each fortnight.

And for the 3rd time:

"Zero tolerance for these talentless, insensitive tossers is the order of the day

The average bodhran owner, to borrow a phrase from a mate of mine, sounds like a couple of spuds in a bucket, and bones players sound like Pinocchio having a w**k.

A goat-beater is a superfluous add-on

If a second thumper turns up, and does not understand that one is bad enough but two are fatal, then the second thumper is not a musician

And if you do have to tell someone not to join in with a second bodhran while another one is already playing, then you really are dealing with someone who is in severe danger of being moronic."

I guess you are sweetness and light at your own sessions and just write this kind of thoughtful sensitive stuff here?
Best wishes

L in C#
Tunes at The Beech M21 9EG next Wednesday
Bring your own spoons & Bods


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Howard Jones
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 07:27 AM

For the record, I also agree with a lot of what Steve says. As I said in an earlier post, bodhran players in particular are "guilty until proven innocent". The difference is that I believe firstly that there are good percussionists around, and secondly that good ones can add something. Steve clearly doesn't, and that's his prerogative, but he also seems to have closed his mind to the possibility.

I should perhaps add that I don't often play percussion myself. Like the definition of a gentleman ("someone who can play accordion, but doesn't") I can play bones but don't often bring them out.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 09:44 AM

I have not closed my mind to bodhran playing. I have dozens of CDs with bodhran playing on 'em. I enjoy watching a good bodhran player in a band at a gig. I think the bodhran-playing of Christy (who I'm seeing in Liverpool soon), Johnny McDonagh and Gino is all fantastic. But not, for me, in a session, ever. For the reason given, that a superfluous layer of loud rhythm in a tune session is a bad thing. And I cheerfully admit that I've had mostly very negative experiences with bodhrans/eggs/spoons/bones and those bloody drum things you stick between your legs and bang with your hands. So have lots of other people, which is why these alleged instruments have got themselves such a bad name. Deservedly, in my book. My instrument has also got a bad name, but I have spent 20 years endeavouring to show that it has a meaningful place. I see very little sign of similar efforts from the average thumper, whose only goal is, apparently, to make as much noise as possible all evening.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 09:48 AM

Incidentally, I possess two bodhrans and a beautiful tipper, hand-made for me to my specs by Tony Dixon before he went and got all famous. They haven't been out of the house for 15 years. I learned.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 10:09 AM

"Mummy, when I grow up I want to be a bodhran player."

"Now don't be silly, dear, you can't do both."


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM

"We are a very nice bunch of blokes."Quote from Steve Shaw.
my experiences with you on the net do not confirm this, however if I was to meet you in person, I could very well find you are in fact a nice chap.
There are a small percentage of good rhythm players around, what I would ask of beginner percussionists is please go away and learn to sing the tunes, next listen to a tune once through at least, before joining in, secondly play quietly to an unaccustomed tune.
I do not want sessions to be exclusive, but a session cannot be musical anarchy, people do have to listen to each other, it is considered session etiquette, to listen to the person who started the tune, and follow the way they are playing, and let them lead into the second tune of their choice, please rhythm and melody instruments listen listen listen.
beginner percussionists practise playing along with recordings, if you go to a session regularly, get a list from one of the melody players of tunes that are played a lot then... go away and listen to recordings of them, and play along to these recordings, or get one of the session players to make a recording for you


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 12:03 PM

If you were to meet me in person I'd be the one ducking behind the nearest Cornish hedge.

You won't learn much about rhythm by playing along with CDs, etc. You learn by interacting with experienced musicians. The guys on the CD can't hear you. Metronomes can't hear you either. So the best bet for a budding bodhranista (save for giving up this misguided course and learning an instrument instead) is to find a bunch of people who are unaccountably tolerant of bodhrans. Les's do in Chorlton sounds like a good place to start. 25 at once though. Yikes!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 12:07 PM

Is this technically called "Trolling"?

Les


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 12:11 PM

No.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 12:56 PM

"If you were to meet me in person I'd be the one ducking behind the nearest Cornish hedge"
very wise too, because you have been generally so obnoxious it would be the safest thing to do.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 01:11 PM

this is a n ill thought out statement from SteveShaw
"You won't learn much about rhythm by playing along with CDs, etc. You learn by interacting with experienced musicians. The guys on the CD can't hear you".
its not about the guys on the cd hearing you, they dont need to hear you they can already play in time, it is about learner bodhran or percussionists learning to listen to competent players, they can do this from listening and playing along with recordings.
The idea is get an experienced player to play some of the popular local session tunes then play along to those tunes, the percussionist then gets to know the feel of the tune, then when he hears the tunes in that SESSION the tunes will be familiar and his/her percussion will have improved because he knows the tunes.
you are wrong about metronomes too, they do help a player to listen , they also train percussionists to keep steady, they are mechanical , that is their nature., which is why they are not as good as playing with recordings or live musicians, however they train the player to listen to the metronome, that is still teaching the player to listen, but they are better than nothing at all .


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 01:28 PM

I'm disappointed that, following revival of this thread, so much of it has degenerated into Steve v. the rest. I agree with most of what Steve has said and with most of what others have said. Yes, there are good and bad players of most instruments. Yes, a bad player of any instrument can foul up a session (unless it's a very quiet instrument). But it's very easy to become a bad percussion player, so there tend to be more of them.

I wouldn't make the same distinction that Steve does between bands and sessions. For my money, both can be enhanced by a really good percussionist. But adding percussion to music is like adding accompaniment to songs: the detrimental effect all too easily exceeds the benefit.

One of the (many) deplorable features of pop music is that it seems to be conventional to start by "laying down" the "rhythm track" and then adding the rest. Music should start with the melody.

Richard


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 02:03 PM

Thank you Richard.

There's nothing Dick would like more than to revive that old metronome chestnut, I can see that. But I'm not playing. There is nothing ill thought out about saying you learn by interacting with experienced musicians. It's completely cock-eyed to suggest that playing along with CDs can substitute for the vital dynamic of the musicianly interaction of a bunch of real human beings. It won't do you much harm, but you'd be deluded to think that it could do much to improve your own innate sense of rhythm and of your understanding of the crucial listen/interact process. It could even help to explain why so many bodhran players are so insensitive to other musicians.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM

I am not saying that... read my posts,
I am saying it is a perfectly valid way of improving, it is sensible to ask a musician the tunes that are popular at your local session ... get a recording of him/her playing them and practise them at home, by practising them at home you learn the melodies of the tunes, I agree it does not end there, but it helps the percussionist to get better before rejoining the session.
Steve, you cannot have it both ways, you complain[as Ido] about bad percussionists, but you have no constructive suggestion, you dont want them at your session, what do you want, do you want them to practise in private with another musician, ok , nothing wrong with that, but if there are no other musicians, practising with a recording of a musican, and learning the melodies of the tunes you are going to be playing is good practice, so do not rubbish it.
I will try to be polite,I find you extremely negative.
Finally it was you that revived the subject of the metronome.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM

Steve, I don't think you really have understood what GSS is getting at. His suggestion of playing along to a CD or to a metronome is actually very a sensible one. I agree that it is no substitute for playing with others but it has a place.

Some years ago when I was starting to play with others, I used midi to make arrangements to a range of, mostly, Playford tunes and then recorded them on mini disk leaving out the melody part - or at least one instrumental part. I then used to play them back and fill in the missing part on my recorder. From it I learnt to do three things:

  1. Be able to come in at the right place
  2. Keep playing when I made a mistake and;
  3. Most important, keeping time with the music

Now, midi is like a metronome; mechanical and is very unforgiving so doing this was extremely useful when it came to playing with others as it meant I had already developed some basic skills.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 08:55 PM

Yeah but people are not metronomes nor midi files. They are human beings who thrive on interaction. You cannot interact with a CD, a metronome or a midi file. Good musicians are people who interact well with other musicians by listening and responding. You'll be responding hundreds of times in little ways in every set. You do not want to get used to playing along with something that is not interacting with you. Not react, interact, is the order of the day. There is a huge area of required skill being neglected if you waste time on these mechanical aids. Once you can ride a bike you don't hone your bike-riding skills by putting the stabilisers back on for a couple of hours a week. You must develop your own internal sense of rhythm, hear when you're losing it (best achieved by listening to recordings of yourself), spot the weaknesses and work on them. Without the "stabilisers." The only skill you learn from playing along with a metronome is that you'll improve your ability to play with the metronome. I'm not dissing CDs as a means of picking up tunes, though it isn't the best way, but if you're "learning" tunes from midi files you're on a loser. I have a clockwork metronome and I've found it useless. It's a hundred times better to pick up on the playing of a good musician in your session, and listen and interact with them. There is no room for "mechanicals" in good music.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 05:49 AM

There is no room for "mechanicals" in good music."
once again an over simplification, I agree playing with a metronome is not as good as playing along to a recording of an actual tune, or having a live musician in the same room, however when a musician is not available it can still be useful.
listening to recordings by musicians from your session and playing along is extremely useful, the player whether he is a percussionist or melody player gets to know the tune and it is a very good substitute for having a live musician, when musicians are not available.
finally this music is dance music, dancers require somebody who can play in time, they require other things too such as lift, now a metronome does not teach you how to play with lift , but it does teach you the other necessary ingredient playing steadily, so metronomes [ are not the be all and end all] but they are useful, so mechanical devices can be useful for practising to a certain extent.
I AGREE that the best way to practise for dancers is with the dancers, but sometimes they are not available, that is when the metronome can be useful, it is a practise tool.
Steve, I have had more recording experience than you, I have made numerous cds and lps one of which Martin Carthy played guitar, I have also played as session musician many times, occassionaly it has been necessary to play to a click track, playing with a metronome helps the player acquire this skill.
if you are a serious session musician it is a necessity to be able to play to a click track.
metronomes are useful but not as good as having a live musician in the room , or for players to have recordings of tunes to play along with but.. they are not useless.
Finally you introduced the subject of metronomes.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 07:12 AM

Practising with a metronome does not necessarily make the players playing mechanical, the following excerpt is an example, certain parts of this music were supposed to be played at a certain metronome speed.   
So individually we went away and used a metronome as a practice tool to get these details right, however we did practise together once a week.
I am proud of this playing, it required a lot of hard work including using a metronome, I do not think it is mechanicalhttp://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/5148


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 07:22 AM

above,see 4 minutes 57, when you are playing parts it has to be right, tempos have to be right, that where metronomes are useful, you listen to a metronome spped and you bloodt well get it right, there is no messing about
now the same thing applies in sessions ,occasionally players start off to fast for them selves , when you are at home it is easily rectified get a metronome speed before you start playing, every time you play the tune at home you get a metronome speed before you start, at a speed that the player can manage all the tune, then gradually notch it up, with an electronic click this can be done very gradually, eventually you get so used to starting at a certain speed , that starting too fast becomes eradicated, thanks to using a metronome properly.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:39 AM

finally this music is dance music, dancers require somebody who can play in time, they require other things too such as lift, now a metronome does not teach you how to play with lift , but it does teach you the other necessary ingredient playing steadily

If you're playing music for dancers, surely you get good rhythm by listening and interacting with other musicians. If you have faulty rhythm you should be able to spot it by listening to yourself recorded. If you need a metronome to tell you that, you've lost. Likewise with speeding up, a common enough fault. You need to identify this by listening to yourself recorded. Trying to learn with a metronome is like trying to teach a baby to walk by giving it a pair of crutches. One day you'll have to do without it, and then what are you going to do?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:41 AM

Anyway, if it works for you, good luck to ye. We've flogged it before and we've flogged it now. Apropos of your recording skills, not to speak of name-dropping, be careful what you brag about.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:52 AM

"Trying to learn with a metronome is like trying to teach a baby to walk by giving it a pair of crutches. One day you'll have to do without it, and then what are you going to do?"
   That is your opinion, it does not make it fact.
Steve it does not mean you have lost, it means you identify the problem, you isolate the phrase that is faulty, you practise that bit over and over till you have it, you then set the metronome to a much slower speed, than you were playing when you had faulty rhythm, then you play again, when you get to a speed[using the metronome all this time to gradually increase your starting speed]when you cannot play the faulty phrase properly., then you are aware at what speed you can play the whole tune successfully, and what speed you cannot, you then continue practising at the speed you can play the whole tune, continuing to isolate the problem phrase and practising that phrase until you can play it faster.
so are you going to tell me that stabilisers are no use for people learning to ride a bike, please stop wasting everyones time with these ill thought out opinions


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM

"Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw - PM
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 09:41 AM

Anyway, if it works for you, good luck to ye. We've flogged it before and we've flogged it now. Apropos of your recording skills, not to speak of name-dropping, be careful what you brag about."
A thoroughly unpleasant comment


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 10:44 AM

stating facts sir is not bragging,
I started recording in 1980, I recorded 5 lps, one with the NMECQ, one with Carthy playing guitar, PLUS 5 CDS, I mentioned it not to brag but to point out that during that time I had on occasion to get used to playing with a click track, in fact I was asked to do so by none other than Bill Leader., my experience of playing with a metronome came in useful on this occasion as it did when I had to play brass band music with the concertina band.
all of this is fact,it is not bragging,THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT I THINK EVERY SINGLE TRACK THAT I HAVE DONE IS GREAT it means that I have had a lot of experience of recording, do you understand? and based on that considerable experience it is my opinion that METRONOMES are not uselessit is my opinion that they are useful, althugh Ido not think they are as good as playing along with a recording or playing along with live musicians, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS NOW


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 10:45 AM

please stop wasting everyones time with these ill thought out opinions

Then:

A thoroughly unpleasant comment

Hahahaha! It's your thread from now on, Dick. I'm out!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 12:41 PM

Yeah but people are not metronomes nor midi files.

I didn't say they were. I simply said they were a useful tool. That's all. They can help with certain skills and I found it useful at one point.

Your problem, Steve, is you don't read properly what people write. No one said that the metronome or midi tracks were a substitute for playing with other people, simply that they're a useful tool.

However there's no point arguing with someone who won't listen.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM

Incidentally, you're wrong about percussion having no place in traditional music.

Thomas Hardy specifically mentions the use of the tambourine in playing for the wedding at the end of Under the Greenwood Tree.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Azoic
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 02:58 PM

I have never seen June Tabor play with a metronome.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 03:29 AM

I once saw, at Whitby Festival 1976 I think, Rod Stradling playing a tune on a melodeon whilst Danny Stradling accompanied him on a triangle which she struck with a large metal screwdriver.

I was struck (!) by the utility of the striker, so to speak

L in C#
Where The Beech Band of probably around 20 members will play accoustically for a Ceilidh at The Irish Club tonight. Our brilliant Caller, Rob Phillips, will call and much fun will be had. And funds will be raised for a womens education and support centre in Bangalore.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:00 AM

Have you ever seen June Tabor rehearse? Have you ever talked to her about the use of metronomes?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: gnomad
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM

In the late '70s a regular at a certain (at the time) hardcore traddy club balanced a bodhran between the two bar stools which constituted the sum of on-stage furniture, placed a metronome on top, started it, and proceeded to sing "My Grandfather's Clock" to a somewhat bemused audience.

He got away with it, but the faces among t'committee were a sight to behold. I have a feeling they were so surprised that the power of speech was briefly lost.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM

that sounds as if it was rather unfair to the metronome, one might call it metronomist., and what about the dead goat?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: John P
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM

At least the bodhran player was in time . . .

I rather like the idea of using a drum for an acoustic amplification device. I might have to try it sometime.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 05:36 AM

spoons are actually quite fun, and we can't have that in traditional music- normal non-folkies quite enjoy them


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 06:09 AM

I took a spoons class at San Francisco's Camp New Harmony last week. It was fun, a dozen people sitting in a circle outside and clicking along merrily together. I reached my level of competence in about half an hour, so I figured I'd better leave. I can't actually clap along in time with a song for very song, so I've long been convinced that I'm not destined for a career in percussion. But it was fun while it lasted.

We used wooden spoons in the class, and they seemed much more polite than the metal ones.

The problem with any sort of percussion instrument, is that it can tend to dominate and regularize the tempo of the music played by the entire session, whether it be a singing or instrumental session. I think this can be especially harmful in a singing session, but maybe that opinion is do to the fact that I'm a singer. But whatever the case and whatever the percussion instrument, I think it is important that the percussionist mix with the other instruments and refrain from leading them.

I remember one day last year when I was about to murder a guy with finger cymbals. It was my turn in a singaround and I was doing a song that was new to me, and the son-of-a-bitch decided he needed to punctuate my song with his fricking finger cymbals. I said nothing at the time. But the next time the #$%^ did it, I made up a song intended to cause him maximum embarrassment.

That still didn't work, so the third time, I did a formal reading of "the rules," in chant. His wife still comes to singarounds, but he doesn't.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 06:31 AM

Ah, nothing like the revival of a good thumper/basher/rattler/shaker/jangler thread!

After five years I feel I haven't mellowed...😈


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 07:48 AM

My first reaction was to wonder if people still play spoons these days.

That said, some time last year I saw Tommy Hayes do his party piece with the spoons, nearly forty years I first saw him do a similar routine during a Stockton's Wing concert in Galway's student union. But he's a virtuoso percussionist and he can make a good job of thumping or rattling anything.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Jack Campin
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 08:19 AM

I play the washboard in sessions some of the time (wind instruments more often). Some of you will have heard me do it: I'm a lot more precise than any other washboard player I know of, trying to get the same rhythmic effects as a dance band snare drummer. I use the thing rather selectively, and one reason for inserting it is to provide a metronome-like function - some pubs can be so noisy from ambient babble that it's quite hard for the players to hear each other. So I pick a player who I can hear clearly and who think has got the timing right, and reinforce their beat. There is no mistaking the kind of accentuation I'm putting in (whack on the wood with the thumb on the downbeat, rather complex fills on the metal with the fingers on the offbeats - basically like banjo frailing), and this instantly pulls everyone together. Often the effect will continue if I fade out, and I often will if it seems like a percussionless but still well synchronized texture will sound best at that point.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 09:04 AM

I'm in possession of a very nice washboard that an amazing bloke at Bodmin folk club made for my then small son 25 years ago. My son abandoned it and left it with me, but he now has his own lovely son, 15 months old, who, you never know, may one day become a washboard aficionado. I'll make sure that he's very nifty with it before I let him loose!

Can't remember the bloke's name now. If he's still around he'll be very old.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Porky
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 11:33 AM

The best place for a washboard is in the wash house. Certainly not in a trad. music session.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: DMcG
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 12:20 PM

A well known Sppons player from Chichester folk club here


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: meself
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 12:41 PM

Take note: GUESTPorky has spoken.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 01:07 PM

Went to a carol service week before Christmas and during the refreshments after ,someone was demonstrating spoons . He was pretty good , would have liked to have seen it included in the service


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 03:51 PM

I hate it when I go to a singaround and some well-meaning person brings out a whole basket of percussion instruments for people to use. All of a sudden, we're like a kindergarten rhythm band, and the quality of singing suffers. Luckily, most people tire of the instruments quickly, and they disappear after a few songs.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Jan 17 - 04:35 PM

Jangler: the Jangler was killed off in Robin Jarvis's "Dancing Jax" trilogy.
Come to think of it, there were quite a lot of characters killed off in the "Dancing Jax" trilogy.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 05:51 AM

I was playing my box at an event a pub session during the Wigtown Book Festival, accompanied by my wife, Francie, on the spoons.

It was about four in the afternoon, but some young folk were already heading towards a pretty lively Saturday night. One girl in particular seemed to be enjoying what we did, with regular 'whoop' sounds. During one lively set she came over to us; pushed my shoulder & said-

'quieter you, I cannnae hear the spoons for ye'    nufsed?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 07:07 AM

its the same with any percussion, ACCOMPANY dont dominate, know the tunes,THE FAULT LIES PARTLY WITH TUTORS WHO CLEARLY DO NOT STRESS THAT POINT.
melody instruments should be louder than percussion or chordal instruments.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 08:57 AM

Shakey eggs, wooden frogs, djembes, those thumpy boxes you sit on... all these and more should be banned from trad sessions, hopefully encouraging the owners to take up a more satisfying instrument to play.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 09:15 AM

The tune is the key, the only thing that really matters.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 09:24 AM

Couldn't agree more. The best session I ever went to was at Hughes' pub in Dublin in 2006. About twelve melody players without a strummer, thumper or jangler in sight. No string was plucked.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Stu
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 09:56 AM

Well, I am string plucker but am probably alone in thinking the only instrument for accompanying Irish trad is the bouzouki tuned open and not strummed. Tunes need space if they are accompanied at all, and filling all the gaps in between the notes with bangs and twangs suffocates the tunes.

However, people love a thundery, chordy guitar and as these preferences are totally subjective, who am I to say they are wrong?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 10:17 AM

We had a spoons workshop at our festival a few years back: very good player and tutor. She did spend a considerable amount of time speaking about session etiquette, especially in relation to spoons and other percussion, including, "don't feel you have to play along with everything", and "one at a time only". Of course, later that afternoon, the pub session was full of people rattling away in all sorts of random rhythms. Fortunately most have disappeared without trace!

We do have a very good local player, who will sometimes play along with sets of reels or jigs, but only one or 2 sets out of the whole evening.

I confess now: I LOVE DRUMS OF ALL SORTS.(Some people equally hate them all with a vengeance.) But, I agree with those posters above who say it's OK to have SOME percussion, but not all the time, and knowing when not to play (never say never) - all in moderation, and know your tunes and rhythms. And DON'T launch yourself on the sessions until you CAN play in time and up to speed. On this one , I am in total agreement with GSS and Tootler, that it IS extremely useful to play along with CDs of jigs, marches and reels until you are sure you can keep up.
I did orchestral percussion and piano in my youth, which hopefully gave me a very good sense of rhythm, but does not necessarily prepare you for playing bodhran: it is NOT simply a matter of "thumping" (horrible expression), but learning how to control your drum and beater, get your upstroke as good as the downstroke, and use the hand behind the skin to vary the sound and tension.
I did 2 courses of daily workshops for a week each time, a year apart, so over 20 hours' tuition, then a lot of practice playing along with CDs, before I felt anywhere near ready to go into a session, and then, yes, sat in a corner and played quietly. Of course you learn from other musicians, but it's definitely not stage 1 in the learning process.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 10:40 AM

You can't interact with a track on a CD. That will teach you nothing at all about playing the bodhran with real live human beings with any degree of sympathy and good timing. And that modern trendy thing of almost playing a tune on the damn thing by varying the hand pressure all the time is just empty cleverness. It sounds like liquid glugging out of a bottle but without the satisfaction of ending up with a glass of beer.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 10:45 AM

Percussion instruments vary a lot in the way they contribute to the overall pattern. Some are usually played precisely enough to act as timekeepers - snare drum, cajon, triangle, Middle Eastern drums of all kinds, washboard the way I do it. Others provide fills which never seem to land on a primary beat and can add to the overall texture but don't do a heck of a lot to help keep everybody else together - bones work best for this, spoons or shakers are okay in the right hands. The bodhran (or the washboard in the skiffle style) seems almost completely pointless - it never accents the beat in the way any other player can follow and simply provides a continuous stream of thumps of mainly symbolic significance ("hey, we've got a drum, we must be groovy").

It's handy that some of these instruments have different names depending on how they're played. A bendir and a bodhran are the same thing physically, the difference is that the bendir player is a musician.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 12:50 PM

In 2009 I video'd the 20th anniversary concert by the excellent Boat Band, the leader of which is Greg Stephens, a long-standing and respected member of this parish. The concert was at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

This is a clip from that concert, which brought together various ex-members of the band, including Rob the Bones all the way from Ireland. It's a great clip.

The Gypsy Princess


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 04:42 PM

Steve Shaw: YES YOU CAN! As Tootler, GSS and I and others have said - you just don't listen, And as you profess to not like (probably not even understand)any form of percussion, WHERE is your authority on this?? NOWHERE! You apparently know absolutely nothing about playing the bodhran from your last comment. No, you might not want to, but please do not put such totally ignorant comments on here.
If your main aim in life is to upset people, then you are doing really well there! Gold medal in the post!
But please accept that your view of life or music is NOT the ONLY one! Please respect others' views.
I hesitated before replying to anything on here, as I knew you were flaming and trolling as usual, but I will defend the corner of the the GOOD percussionist. Over and out. Ta-da!


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 05:58 PM

I can play the bodhran pretty well. Better than most people it's been my misfortune to encounter. Who knows, maybe even better than you! I even went to a masterclass at Sidmouth one year. I have two bodhrans and a tipper made for me by Tony Dixon. I stopped taking my drum to sessions twenty years ago having slowly come to realise that they had no place in sessions and were merely used as an easy and quick way in for untalented people who just wanted to be part of the in-crowd but wanted it without the years of dedication it takes to play an instrument properly. Not saying there are no exceptions but they are rare. If I've offended you, old chap, I can assure you that it was not through ignorance, so keep yer hair on is my advice.


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 06:20 PM

Like it will . Nice percussion playing


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 08 Jan 17 - 08:14 PM

I agree. It was great bones playing but it was a bit relentless. But that leads me on to say that good percussion playing in band arrangements isn't really my beef. It's talentless people turning up to sessions to spend all evening beating their already-dead goat to perdition. Such people are legion, who would deny?


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Subject: RE: spoons in sessions
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 17 - 12:34 PM

knackers to the lot of you


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