Thursday, June 23, 2016

Music and Me

When it comes to music, I am a bit of an oddball. Well, I guess we don't have to restrict my oddness to music, but still ...

One oddity is that I am frequently making music in my head. Sometimes it comes out aurally in singing, humming or whistling, but it's in my head a lot a lot. Maybe that's odd in itself, but when you counterbalance that predilection against the fact that I seldom listen to music (I mean as a constant background when I am doing other things), you might agree to the fact that I am an odd duck.

I guess my infrequent listening seems even odder to the younger set who can scarcely seem to do anything without musical accompaniment. A few years ago, we drove through a very scenic region along with younger folk. I would have been pleased to simply absorb the grandeur, but the young folk simply had to have music playing almost constantly, some of which didn't seem to jive somehow with the rest of the experience.

But to each their own. (And don't you wish that English had a third person, singular, gender neutral pronoun?)

So, if it's odd that I do music so much in my head but don't often listen, my musical tastes may seem even odder to you.

You see, the genre I like best is roots music from the Celtic subgenre: like that of this video that I took several years ago. We have had this group, The Elders, at our Celtfest celebration twice, and I link them here as somewhat representative of the genre although I could choose many other groups. This is an instrumental number featuring the fiddle (it really gets fast at toward the end), but they are heavily into vocals as well.

Back more than fifty years ago, I was exposed to a summer replacement program on TV, Don Messer's Jubilee, which featured eastern Canadian roots music, including fiddling. The toe-tapping rhythm impressed me at the time

Decades later, I was exposed to another Down East group, The Rankins, and their sound spoke to me to the point where I went to two of their concerts, and I don't go to many concerts.

Then, when we moved to the Ottawa Valley, just over a decade ago, we discovered a Celtic festival in a nearby town, and we have returned to Almonte Celtfest every year since. On our first visit, I remember sitting on the hillside, appreciating the ambiance, and thinking, "I'm home." The Elders (of the above video) were the first [main stage, big] group that I heard at Celtfest.

The genre doesn't have to just be about fiddle although the fiddle is king, and the instrument once had a status somewhat similar to the guitar today. It seems to be making a bit of a comeback even in popular music for I sometimes see it used in popular shows such as The Voice.

For a few years in my dotage, I tried to learn the fiddle, and I just wasn't very good. I did work up the nerve to post this clip back in the day. I shouldn't have, but I might as well be real and show you just how bad I was. Don't judge an older beginner too harshly, alrighty?

Phew! Do your ears hurt after that?  Just remember that it's a hard instrument and that I never made it past the beginner level. I did enjoy it though, and that's important. Oh yeah, sorry about the wordy intro.

The timing of this music theme in the Comeback group is good because Celtfest 2016 is just around the corner, and the festival is still thriving and growing. This year, it will expand into a Friday night session as well. First, it was just a Sunday afternoon concert; then it expanded to Saturday evening before growing an all day Saturday event. This year they've added Friday night to the mix.

What fun! I'm sure that I'll be posting about it in a few weeks.


ADRIAN said...

This is fine. If you got in amongst others you would improve and find it more enjoyable.

Jayne said...

Just lovely! Like me, you are entirely too hard on yourself. I felt nothing but joy, hearing you play!

Marie Smith said...

I thought you did well. Love that music. It's great the festival has expanded like it has.

Shammickite said...

Well, that was super! You have a little way to go before you can compete with Natalie McMaster or Ashley McIsaac but that was way better than I thought it was going to be! I definitely think you should persevere. BTW I volunteered for Ashley McIsaac at a concert here a couple of years ago, he gave me 2 of his CDs. And I also volunteered for Jimmy Rankin and had a great conversation with him. I was staying in an apartment in a converted church in Halifax during the Tall Ships in 2000, and was right next door to his house where loud musical kitchen parties went on every night. I enjoyed the music but he said apparently someone called the cops.... wasn't me, honest! Yes, I'm very keen on Celtic music too.

KGMom said...

BRAVO, BRAVO. Well done, AC.
For all that I love classical music--I also love classic rock, mellow jazz, and CELTIC music.
Do you hear in the Celtic music you experience any of the connection to mountain music in the U.S.? Down in the Appalachians? Many of the original European settlers there were Irish or Scots. So you hear those same plaintiff melodies in that music, as well as the rollicky toe-tapping. (That's something I instinctively do when I hear such music).
Let us know where and when your public performance(s) will be.

TexWisGirl said...

your beginner level is pretty darn awesome to me!!!

and i've met a kindred spirit...i so seldom listen to music. never turn on my car radio - well, maybe a few days out of the year if that. i have a very small playlist on my phone that i'll play a tune from a few times a month, otherwise, my music is in my head - it comes out in humming, mostly. :)

Ginnie said...

I think I've mentioned in the past that my son-in-law has taken up playing the violin. He is in his 50's and just started about 6 years ago. They said you can't do that but he has and it's a pleasure to hear now. I'm glad you are still playing.

Vicki Lane said...

I'm impressed. In my next life I hope to have perfect pitch and play the fiddle.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

If that is beginning level, then I am really damn impressed!

Wishing you a great weekend!

Im Downtown said...

Excellent playing! You have more courage than I. I too love Celtic music - enjoy your festival!

Ruth said...

I like this genre too which is why I really enjoyed the music we heard at the East Coast. I was tall in Grade 7 and was assigned a cello in our strings class. I would have preferred a violin. You really should keep playing.

Ginger said...

Loved this post. There is such a plaintiveness and winsome quality to Celtic music. My favorite group is An Dochas, particularly thei album "Dragonfly," which is marvelous. They used to do a concert at my last university every year, with dancers. The house was packed.

Donna said...

Applauding vigorously here!!!
Well done!