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Unexpected 'Session'

After a wonderful 4th of July weekend in Vermont, we took the back roads home, starting up over Bethel Gap and continuing all the way across New Hampshire to Concord. The best looking supper spot on Main Street turned out to be a pub (no surprise there). We were seated in a booth across from a guy in the middle of the room playing an instrument that looked like a bagpipe, but smaller and softer sounding. As we ate, the empty chairs around him began to fill with other musicians, identified by their uniquely shaped carrying bags, and immediately welcomed by the waitress with pints of beer. Turns out every Tuesday is 'session' night with anywhere from eight to twice that many musicians. There were lots of fiddles and a couple of guitars, and I was doing well at guessing what instrument would come out of which bag, until a woman rolled in a huge bag as tall as she was. My guess was a bass fiddle but I saw I was wrong when she pulled out a harp and began plucking the strings to add an unusual layer to the current song. There was a terrific penny whistle player (why didn't I buy that penny whistle when I was in Ireland?), but I was most fascinated by the woman drummer. Somehow I hadn't noticed any drums in the few other Irish sessions I've seen, but research reveals it to be a bodhran drum, and a common accompaniment. It's held in one hand and played with the other using a double-headed drumstick and a sort of flicking of the wrist. Instead of the penny whistle, count me in on the drum for future sessions.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 8, 2005 1:00 PM.

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