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!