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Are the sessions real in Ireland?

GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Apr 15 - 12:03 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 15 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Apr 15 - 01:35 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 15 - 03:11 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 23 Apr 15 - 03:44 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 15 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,Dáithí 24 Apr 15 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Derrick 24 Apr 15 - 06:01 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 15 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Dáithí 24 Apr 15 - 08:48 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Apr 15 - 10:55 AM
GUEST,Dáithí 29 Apr 15 - 04:48 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 15 - 05:56 AM
The Sandman 29 Apr 15 - 05:26 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Apr 15 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Dáithí 01 May 15 - 04:55 AM
The Sandman 01 May 15 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Dáithí 01 May 15 - 06:19 AM
Joe Offer 01 May 15 - 09:09 PM
Jim Carroll 02 May 15 - 03:05 AM
The Sandman 02 May 15 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,George henderson 03 May 15 - 04:09 AM
Joe Offer 04 May 15 - 03:34 AM
GUEST,Dáithí 05 May 15 - 04:45 AM
Murpholly 05 May 15 - 05:08 AM
GUEST,patriot 21 Nov 16 - 10:54 AM
michaelr 21 Nov 16 - 11:34 PM
Joe Offer 22 Nov 16 - 02:04 AM
GUEST 22 Nov 16 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,kenny 22 Nov 16 - 04:44 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Nov 16 - 04:53 AM
michaelr 22 Nov 16 - 07:57 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 16 - 04:25 AM
Mr Red 23 Nov 16 - 05:43 AM
The Sandman 23 Nov 16 - 06:23 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Nov 16 - 06:43 AM
Mr Red 23 Nov 16 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 23 Nov 16 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,patriot 24 Nov 16 - 12:15 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 16 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 24 Nov 16 - 01:09 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Nov 16 - 01:39 PM
Tattie Bogle 25 Nov 16 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Gealt 25 Nov 16 - 06:17 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Nov 16 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,mooman 25 Nov 16 - 10:04 AM
Dave the Gnome 25 Nov 16 - 10:48 AM
Raggytash 25 Nov 16 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 25 Nov 16 - 12:14 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Nov 16 - 12:32 PM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: Are the sessions real in Ireland?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 23 Apr 15 - 12:03 PM

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

Certainly will so, Jim - thanks for the tip!


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

a good drinker knows when not to join in


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

its that wicked capitalistt mr. musket!

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

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


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

Thanks for the advice there, Jim :-)


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

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


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

Many thanks for that Good Soldier Schweik :-)


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

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

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

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

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

-Joe-


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

How does Ireland feel about red spoons?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

so borrowed bodhrans are OK?


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

And, of course, Tuesday night is always Karaoke!

:D tG


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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