Sunday, October 21, 2007

Playing in Sessions - an update

In my post of January 28, 2007, I set myself a goal of attending a session each week. I can't say I've consistently met that goal, but I've probably averaged two sessions a month. In that same January post I decided to "claim" Dempsey's as my session pub, and I've been there often enough to become acquainted with many of the regular players. When the session temporarily moved to a different bar last summer while Dempsey's was being remodeled, I started attending the Monday night Landmark Tavern session run by Don Meade. Friends from the NYU Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra play there every Monday, so that's an added draw for me. Although I'm still not comfortable starting tunes, I'm making progress in other areas. I know a lot more tunes than I used to, and I find the quicker tempos less daunting now. Currently I'm focusing on practicing tunes in pairs, as that's how tunes are played in sessions - and once you start a tune, you need to be able to successfully navigate into the second tune.

Photo courtesy of John Nevin

The picture above is what inspired me to reflect on my progress in the area of session playing. It was taken last Tuesday at Dempsey's. There I am, on the far left, trying to figure out if I'm going to start the next tune. To the right looking a little tired (it was after 11 pm) is Tyler Leinhardt, fiddler from my Sorcha Dorcha group. The woman in the white sweater is Mary Coogan from Cherish the Ladies. She was a surprise guest! She wasn't getting paid or anything like that. She just came to play tunes with us and enjoy the craic. Well, I can't actually remember if I started the next tune or not, but either way, one might conclude that my session playing must be improving if I'm playing with the likes of Mary Coogan. It was a fantastic night!!! Couldn't resist sharing...

P.S. The picture above belongs to John Nevin, banjo player on the far right who runs the Dempsey's session. Many thanks to John for all his hard work in keeping that session a vital part of the NYC Irish music scene.

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

1 comment:

bonnie said...

John's been doing a great job of getting some good guests in. I was really sorry I couldn't make it the night he was hint-hint-hinting about somebody from Cherish showing up - work's just been a little brutal & in the summertime if I do anything after work it's usually outside. Hope to start being able to at least make some of the special guest nights.