Session @ Blessed Sacrament Church, Northampton, MA

This past Friday was the first session hosted by father Francis O’Reilly at the Blessed Sacrament Church on Elm St. in Northampton. Pizza and cookies of some sort were provided by the generous Father, however, I don’t know if that will continue. Yum, though.

It was a fun time. Three of our own LVISS members were there, including myself, but for the most part there were only one or two others that I personally knew. And, like all big sessions (in America, anyway) there were various skill levels represented. Most were reticent to start tunes, but the LVISS came through with at least two or three of our standard sets. Go LVISS!

There was some singing as well-the Father, it turns out, has a very nice voice and some skill on the guitar. Speaking of guitars, my one serious complaint would be that there were too many stringed accompaniment instruments playing at once, and too few melody instruments.

I’d encourage you to try this session out. It’s very unsure of itself musically right now having only just begun, but with a few dedicated members it could be well turn out to be a fine session.

First Fridays at the Blessed Sacrament Church, 354 Elm St, Northampton, MA. 7-9:30 pm.

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Old Hag You Have Killed Me

Thanks to all who came out to the session tonight–our first session in our new location. It’s really nice. Be sure to check out the new tunes posted just this evening on the tunes page–Corey taught us two jigs–Old Hag You Have Killed Me and The Lilting Banshee.

And for your viewing and listening pleasure–the classic version of “Hag” by the Bothy Band.

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. (http://www.dempseyspub.com/index.html) I first learned of the existence of the session at thesession.org (http://thesession.org/sessions/17)

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.