Session at Dempsey’s, Manhattan

dempseysHiya fellow sesioneers! I am in Manhattan this week for a few days, and I managed to catch the session at Dempsey’s pub, 61 2nd Ave. in the east Village. ( I first learned of the existence of the session at (

Dempsey’s is one of those pubs that has outdoor seating at street level, while the bar itself is half underground. It’s not a huge place but not cramped either. The session takes up all the space between the end of the bar and the front windows. there were about 20 or so musicians in attendance, of varying levels of competence (myself being among the lowest.) When I arrived, they were in the midst of a round-robin where everyone in the circle was expected to start a set. After a few brief introductions to the people immediately next to me (and one from a concertina player named Doug who made a point of coming over to say hi) I settled on the idea that I’d play Na Ceannabhain Bána/Whinny Hills of Leitrim set. Well, that concertina player ended up doing Ceannabhain, the rascal, so I panicked. Hard. But not for long. I remembered my intense LVBIS training, and decided I’d surprise them all with The star Above the Garter followed by the Lisheen.

That went well–until I got to the Lisheen, which NO ONE ELSE KNEW OR PLAYED. So I played it twice, eyes closed and teeth clenched. Upon finishing I received copious applause, which surprised and delighted me. What a genuinely nice group of folks.

Here’s a video I found on youtube, taken at Depsey’s back a few year, to give you the idea what it was like. I recognized a few of the people at the session from this video, crappy quality notwithstanding.