Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Party!!

Tonight is the final Tunes Class for 2010. Naturally we are having a party involving cake.

But we are also in the last five days before Woodford Folk Festival, so we're also having a Ceili Band practice.

6pm - 7pm Maleny Ceili Band practice - a run-through of all the tune sets we have prepared for the Irish Ceili at Woodford.

7pm - 9pm - Slow tunes, the choicest morsels that we love to play, chosen by class members. A Christmassy supper and lots of fun!

And here are some details of the Ceili: its at the Dancehall venue, Woodford Folk Festival, from 5pm - 6pm on Thursday 30 Dec.

Our tune sets are:

The Peelers Jacket (G)/ Miss Monaghan (D)/ The Banshee (G)
The Plough and the Stars (G)/ The Bank of Ireland (Am/D)/ Martin Wynne's (D)
The Musical Priest (Bm/D)/ The Monaghan Twig (Amixo)/ Star of Munster ((Am)

Willie Coleman's (G)/ The Black Road (D)/ My Darling Asleep (D)
Tatterjack Walsh (Dmixo)/ The Pipe on the Hob (Dmixo)/ Lilliburlero (G) - Steve's version that starts G2A BAG | A2B cBA

Rakes of Mallow (G)/ Egan's (D)/ Bill Sullivans' (D or A) - and we could add the Finnish Polka (Bm/D) to this, as we learned it last Wednesday night.

There's also a set of barn dances which we'll play tonight.
See you there!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Woodford on the Horizon

Cloudstreet are back from tour, Nicole is back in the teaching seat, and Woodford Folk Festival looms large!

The Maleny Ceili Band is booked to play for the irish Ceili at the festival, and we're working on the sets we'll play. Davydd Macdonald, our intrepid dance caller, advises that we need to play at 110 beats per minute.

To that end, here is the first of a series of practice recordings up to speed, so you can get the feel of playing the tunes this fast. This is a rough-as-guts but right speed recording of our first reel set:

The keys are G/ D/ G.

There'll be more info soon on the blog and more recordings.

See you on Wednesday at 7pm.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pipes, hobs and bananas.

This week's guest tutor was Maleny fiddle player Cath Ovenden, who taught The Pipe on The Hob. I am reliably informed (though I am in Shropshire) that the supper consisted of a yummy banana cake!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tunes Class Powers on with Steve.

Steve Cook has taken up the challenge of working the Maleny Tunes Class up into the Maleny Ceilidh Band. The next ceilidh is on November 13 at the Maleny Showgrounds, so its a clear goal to work for, and of course we will have guest musicians as well to make it loads of fun. The caller will once again be the fabulous Davydd McDonald.

Steve taught the Bank of Ireland this week. In his words:  

"We learned the Bank of Ireland, a sneaky tune with a simple and repetetive A part but a tricky B part. 

We did some work on building tempos by playing a few tunes more times through and gradually building speed. My thinking is that if we pick a sequence of notes that everyone can play without too much thought about the content, we can focus more on improving left-right co-ordination and practice learning to relax the muscles that aren't needed to play the instrument."

If you've been longing to play faster in a consistent and reliable way, Steve's classes are excellent for the skills and practice you need. Not only will the skills set you up to be in the dance band in November, but will make you confident to lead tunes at the sessions. A good place to try it out is Finbar's on Sunday afternoon from 4pm. 

Nicole has arrived in England with John, and this weekend sees the beginning of the Cloudstreet tour with a week of singing teaching. (www.cloudstreet.org)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tunes Party Tonight!

Bring your instruments and break out the chocolate crackles, its party time at tunes class. Nicole and John are flying off on their UK tour next week, and for the next 3 months, Maleny Tunes Class will have guest tutors including Steve Cook, Jem Dunlop and Cath Ovenden. So put on your party hat and come tonight for some tunes!

An inspiration for the Maleny Tunes Class idea has been Emma Nixon's Brisbane Celtic Fiddle Club. Emma is currently in the UK delivering a paper in Aberdeen relating to her PhD topic on traditional music, and attending summer schools and Gaelic singing courses. Indeed, she is involved in teaching at a summer school in August in Northumberland, and if you would like to catch up with her doings, here is a link to the flyer about it.

Emma teaches at Sandpipers Fiddle Week

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What we did at Ceilidh Practice.

Maleny Tunes Class has evolved a format where we have a two-week cycle. In week one we learn a new tune, in week two we have a ceilidh practice, running through tunes we have learned and sets we have created. We aim to become fluent at all the tunes, and play for the ceilidh planned for November.

This week was ceilidh practice, a solid play for the whole evening only interrupted by a welcome supper break. We have a set of jigs up to dance speed, but our reels set is still at a very stately pace, and twice through the three reels currently takes seven minutes , which is a fantastic workout, especially for the flautists.

At last night's class we ran through our jig set:
Willie Coleman's (G)/ The Black Road (D)/ My Darling Asleep (D),
and our reel set:
The Peeler's Jacket (G)/ Miss Monaghan (D)/ The Banshee (G)
plus a variety of tunes chosen by members of the class:
The Ash Plant (reel in Em)
Tatterjack Walsh (jig in D mixo)
The Musical Priest (reel in Bm/D)
Brenda Stubberts (reel in A dorian)

We also had a visit from Jem Dunlop, who will be one of the teachers standing in for Nicole while she's touring. He revised the tune he recently taught, The Monaghan Twig, and enough people missed that class to warrant teaching it again soon. We're going to use it in a new set of reels which Tania (flute) has suggested:
The Musical Priest/ The Monahan Twig/ Star of Munster.

The Maleny Ceilidh Allstars are well on the way!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Mason's Apron and other goodies.

The Mason's Apron was the tune of the night on Wednesday. The intermediate flute class learned it at the Maleny Celtic Winter School this year, and I thought we should all have it. Its a great reel. We learned the two part version in G, which is very flute-friendly. Many people also play it in A, so its worth trying it there too.

For the Winter School, I analysed the Chieftains' version and then the variations that Matt Molloy plays solo in an amazing performance which I have embedded below. And I've posted the dots which compare the two versions, A and B parts only. The intermediate flute class worked on all sorts of variations, and each person contributed a bar of variation until we had a unique version created by the class. Loads of fun.

I've also posted the tune Jem Dunlop taught a few weeks ago when he was guest tutor for the night. Its a cracking reel called The Monaghan Twig. I've put a really slow, simplified version on flute. Jem's elegant fiddle version is below it.

Next week is ceilidh practice, which means a slow session of tunes we have learned, done as many times and as slowly or speedily as everyone wants until we're satisfied, or, I might teach a new tune if the people present prefer it. The week after that is tunes party night, as its Nicole's last Tunes Class until November.

We are still discussing the details of who will be teaching in which week while Nicole's away, and the info will be posted to the blog soon!

Click here for a pdf of the The Mason's Apron Variations
as sheet music.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Maleny Ceilidh Allstars?

Twelve tunes! That's how many we worked through at last week's ceilidh practice. We played them many times through, worked on tricky bits, and even learned a bit of fiddle chop for extra-funky rhythm. For those who would like to learn more about chop from the master, Darol Anger's youtube tutorial is below. If you just want a reminder of the rhythm we did in class, it went: chord-chop-up, up-chop-up.

We played Willie Colemans, The Black Road, My Darling Asleep, The Peeler's Jacket, Miss Monaghan, The Banshee, Rakes of Mallow, Egan's Polka, Bill Sullivan's Polka, Josefin's Waltz, The Jig of Slurs and The Ash Plant.

I have uploaded a slow practice recording of the Jig of Slurs, done in a fairly Scottish style, to the side bar of the blog. 

Cloudstreet did a gig at Joe's Waterhole on Saturday with the Barleyshakes, and their flautist Belinda Ford suggested The Maleny Ceilidh Allstars as a name for our dance band. What do you think?

See you on Wednesday for a new tune!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A tune every fortnight.

This week we are learning a new tune at Maleny Tunes Class. Next week we will have a night of practising tunes we have previously met, to get them up to a more useful speed and get to know them better. This has become the pattern over the last couple of months and seems to be working well. 

The aim of the practice night is to get us all into the Maleny Ceilidh Band! The brilliance of the Ceilidh at the Maleny Celtic Winter School was so wonderful we want to have more of them. The next one is scheduled for November, and a date will be set soon. Probably the 20th.

 7 July NEW TUNE
14 July CEILIDH PRACTICE (practise tunes, put them into sets, get them going nicely. Will definitely be practising Willie Colemans, The Black Road, My Darling Asleep, The Peeler's Jacket, Miss Monaghan and The Banshee, amongst others)
21 July NEW TUNE
4 August  NEW TUNE and party.

I am going on tour in the UK with my band, cloudstreet, from the 11th or 12th, so we had better have a party on the 4th! Several great tunes players have offered to help out with the class and the ceilidh band while I'm away. More details as they come to hand!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Slow Tunes on the Blog!

Great excitement! Slow recordings of the tunes we are playing are finally appearing in the green box to the right! Four tunes are up already, and now I've been shown how to get them there, more will arrive soon.

Only TEN SLEEPS til Maleny Celtic Winter School!!! www.malenyceltic.org.

This Wednesday, June 9, is a practice night for tunes we have already learned, so we can get them closer to session speed. Sunday's session at Finbar, Bicentennial Lane, Maleny, was a triumph for several members of the class, who got in a decent number of tunes we've been learning at a reasonable pace, in amongst the shouting yet appreciative drinkers and the woodfired pizzas sailing past. The session this week featured singers, guitars, pipes, fiddles, button box, flutes (lots of flutes), whistles, mandolin, concertina, bodhran and bones. 

Now I've learned how to overcome the technological puzzle of how to get tunes up on the blog, entries will be more regular!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Leitrim Fancy, another guest, and exciting news!

Last week's tune was "Leitrim Fancy", a lovely jig that hovers between Gmajor and Eminor. We listened to the Bothy Band shredding it (a good thing according to the Year 9s I've been teaching), then learned it slowly.

This week we have the pleasure of another guest tutor. Cath Ovenden, a Maleny-based fiddle player, will come and teach a tune, and this time Nicole will be there to provide supper and enjoy learning from someone else.

And in an exciting follow-up to the last post, Cloudstreet performed at the lovely Mt Beauty Music Festival in the Victorian Alpine country, and just found out, we were voted Artist of The Festival by the audience survey! Yay!!! We enjoyed the whole festival, from singing in the primary school, to all the concerts, and even the rather early morning gospel gig!

See you at tunes on Wednesday

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guest Tutor this week!

Hi, tune crew.

This week we have the excitement of a guest tutor. Tune fanatic, font of tune knowledge and amazing multi-instrumentalist Steve Cook, from the Irish band Tulca Mor, will teach the class on Wednesday 21 April, 2010. Here's a link to a bit too much info about Steve:  http://users.tpg.com.au/folkrag/profiles/Steve_Cook.htm

In last week's class we indulged our romantic notions and learned Josefin's Waltz, by Roger Tallroth. Sweeping, charming and Swedish, this lovely waltz is played by Irish and Scottish players as well, and it was lovely to learn a slow tune and immediately play it up to speed!

Nicole will be back to teach on Wednesday 28 April. She's in Melbourne doing art stuff this week, and Cloudstreet will play at Mt Beauty Music Muster next weekend in Victoria.

Til then, crank it up.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The National Folk Festival and Beyond

We're all off to the National Folk Festival, to absorb the wall-to-wall tunes in the session bar. Nicole and John are playing as cloudstreet (www.cloudstreet.org), and launching the new cd, The Circus of Desires. (Which features one of our tunes-class tunes, Willie Coleman's)

So, NO TUNES CLASS ON WEDNESDAY 31 MARCH. And no class on the following Wednesday, April 7, either, as many people will still be travelling.

See you all for a further fix of tunes on April 14. Happy Easter with lots of jigs and reels!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Tune Tonight.

Hi, tunesters. Tonight is the last tunes class before the National Folk Festival, and we will be learning "The Musical Priest" and enjoying a yummy supper.

Last week we spent the class working on tunes we have already learned, and getting them closer to session speed, as well as working on getting out of one tune and into the next to create a set. The tunes we played were "The Lark in the Morning", "The Glass of Beer", and "Miss Monaghan", and the jig set we worked on is "Willie Coleman's (G)/ The Black Road (D)/ My Darling Asleep (D)". It was all sounding terrific by the end of the night.

Its proving more difficult than I thought to get sound files of the tunes up, without having them all play at once when you look at the blog, so I'm working on that to make the blog easy to use. In the meantime, reminders of how all these tunes go are available at www.thesession.org.

See you at 7!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Yes! We are having a St Paddy's Day class.

The last two weeks have been eventful, with all of the available time going to finishing the new Cloudstreet cd, "Circus of Desires", and Nic teaching every day, so the blog hasn't had an update. Next week!

The good news is we ARE having a St Patrick's Day tunes class, this Wednesday. I have encouraged everyone to join in other celebrations if they would prefer to be in the company of green beer, but we will be playing in Maleny.

We have had two tunes since the last update and I'll put them up next week.

TONIGHT, Tuesday 16 March, is the once in a blue moon session at Irish Murphy's at Noosa Junction, starting at 7.30pm. See you there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First Class of 2010

Tune of the Night: The Lark in the Morning - jig in D major.
Here is a slow recording of it to play along with...

We had a wonderful class tonight, full of enthusiastic players on whistle, flute, fiddle, mandolin, and viola, and learned the four-part jig, The Lark in the Morning. Well done! 

I have decided to keep the fee at $10 for everyone during March, as its a bit of a disrupted month. I'm not sure yet if there will be a class on March 17, as its St Patrick's Day, and I look like having a gig, and so does every other Irish music player in the district who could possibly step in to teach, but I will know more by next week. There is no class on March 31 due to the imminent National Folk Festival.

In April, there will be four classes, and they will be $10 each if you pay in advance (ie $40 at the start of the month) or $12 each if you attend casually.

Next week, Wednesday 3 March, we will learn a new tune from 7 - 8pm, then have supper (of course), then spend the remaining time working up three jigs to a good level of comfort and a reasonable speed. The plan is for the tunes class to play one of the sets of tunes at the Ceili in June as part of the Maleny Celtic Winter School. We will have them right up to dance speed by then, but next week we will just work them up a little faster than we learned them, and sort out how to get from one tune to the next. The jigs we will work on are the first three on our practice cd: Willie Colemans (in G), The Black Road (in D) and My Darling Asleep (in D).

Happy playing, and see you next week.
love, Nicole

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Class starts again on Wed 24 February!

I'm delighted that its nearly time to meet again for tunes on Wednesdays!

Class starts again on Wed 24 Feb at the Presbyterian Hall, Cedar Street, Maleny. I try to start the class by 7.05, and you are welcome to get there a few minutes early and have a cuppa.

The first class for the year will be $10, including supper. From March, classes will be $12 if you attend casually, or $10 per class if you pay for the whole month. In March that fee will be $40, as there will be no class on March 31. Its the day before the National Folk Festival starts in Canberra, and I will be rushing down there to get in as many tunes as possible!

If you have any questions about the class, email me on nicole(at)cloudstreet.org. Put a real "at" symbol in there, of course!