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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Celtic Night Project #5

Celtic Night Project 5
This week’s Celtic Jam was great. Normally we have three lovely ladies, but this week we had a whole host of beautiful women stop in to jam. All you guys who could have been here playing with us were missing out! Dana brought her sister Dee Ann who played piano, a little hammered psaltery and some guitar, and her mom and sister-in-law dropped in to listen to the music.
The Irish music was fun, but things reached even greater heights when we switched over to Christmas carols. We played a really cool version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” where we played a verse, then sang a verse. Dee Ann added a really cool harmony part between my lower and Dana’s higher voices. It was really great. My wife was upstairs putting the kids to bed at that point and when she got back to video it, we kind of fell apart on a couple spots. But I’ll post the video so you can get an idea of where we were going. We also tackled “Gabriel’s Message” made popular by Sting. The video sound quality is too poor to post, but live it sounded great. I need to figure out a better was of videotaping these jams so I can have better sound. I need a camera that I can insert directly from the mixing board.
At one point in the evening, my littlest, Gideon, played the bodhran. It wasn’t perfect, but I was surprised that for a four year old he could almost keep a steady beat. I think he has an incredible gift. I have to work with him. He can hear a song once and a week later, he’ll be singing it around the house. He has an incredible ear, and has very good pitch as well.  My daughter Etta had fun playing the psaltery. What is nice about this psaltery is that it is a pentatonic instrument, so that as long as we’re in the psaltery’s key, anything she played sounded good. Her only complaint was that she couldn’t hear herself very well.
Liam played his bass on a couple songs, and after we got the volume adjusted it sounded really good. I’m surprised at how well these songs sound with little instrumentation or a lot. Either way they turn out well. I found out this week that in traditional Irish jams, most of the lead instruments play all the melody, while the guitar, and drums tend to keep the rhythm. So instead of taking turns, the tin whistle, the pipes, the fiddle, banjo and mandolin all play the melody together. This week we had Dee Ann on piano mostly, and her and Dana alternated between the melodies more like in a traditional bluegrass fashion, then at the end of the song we repeated the verse with them playing together. It was a lot of fun.
I’m going to post some flyers at Earlham, IU East and at the music stores this week, hopefully, and maybe we’ll find some more players. I found a guy on Craigslist who might come down from Muncie. He plays a lot of instruments, and is well versed in Irish music. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make it down sometime as well.
Well, I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, and hopefully as we near the Christmas season, we’ll be able to post some Christmas music for you to enjoy!

God bless,

Willy

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