Folk Session: Shap and Etiquette

A couple of nights ago I was invited to a folk session in someone’s house. The guests were invited and most of them were from south Cumbria, but the musicians were excellent, mainly irish music was played, with me adding a couple on the Northumbrian Smallpipes and English concertina. A harpist was there and flute players, a tenor banjo and mandolin player, bodhran, another concertina player and the rest were fiddles.
The house was tucked away nearly out of the village and it was an old house filled with old cooking antiques. The atmosphere was congenial and the food that was made was lovely.
The type of irish music was traditional, not celtic.
the tempo was steady, there was a mixture of jigs, reels, slow airs, hornpipes, Gaelic singing, and some Northumbrian music as well as a German song.
A celtic session would be jigs and reels and very little else.
also the etiquette of the session was respectful, if you talked (and not many did) while someone was playing it was in whispers so not in block out the music. there were gaps between melodies, or if a set was played there was a gap after a set. people listened, people danced, please did not talk over the music. there was a respect…

it has been a long time I felt at home in a session. I have become very frustrated, angry and negative about the “Irish folk sessions” I prefer to go to other session and avoid the irish/celtic style, in spain and UK. I ended up avoiding them all together, but I felt at home there, I felt I was not the only one who felt this way too.

I could finally hear myself play, something I have not done in a session for years.

Author: ethnopiper

A Ethnomusicologist and musician of traditional music, Small pipe maker, teacher and workshop presenter ...

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