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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Chris/Darwin What is a bush band? (15) RE: What is a bush band? 08 Dec 99

Hi Alan

Many of the village halls we played in had a long history of dances going back 100 years of more. In the days of no PA systems you needed loud instruments - hence pianos found in so many halls. Just about every small village in Australia still has examples of old banjo mandolins from the mandolin craze of the 20's, when many villages had a mandolin orchestra. Dancing to 20 banjo mandolins must have been a hoot!

We wouldn't call such bands a bush band, just as a pianist with a couple of fiddle players isn't. The modern bush band is influenced by the Irish tradition as much as Australian bush songs. They didn't play guitars, whistles, etc., 100 years ago because they wouldn't be heard. The bush band as we know it(and the modern bush dance) is peculiar to modern times.

I remember the first gig I went to after I moved to Tamworth. We were playing in a small village hall, and I fondly thought my banjo was so loud that it didn't need to be amplified. In the event, even I couldn't hear it, let alone the audience! Amplification has meant that you can play many small instruments that add to the richness and complexity of the overall sound, something that you couldn't have done pre PA.


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