Fiddle Club Tune Sessions

Five years worth of Fiddle Club of the World guests, a total of 36 from six different countries (and fourteen states in the US of A)! We’ve heard a lot of great music and played a fair amount ourselves. This would be a good time to remember and work on some of the tunes our guests have shared with us.

Starting today, Fiddle Club will hold a Tune Session every month, usually on the third Sunday of the month, at the Leadway Bar & Gallery (5233 N. Damen)–back to our original home. The tune sessions will run from 6:30 to 8:30 (or beyond). Each month, we’ll pick out a few old treasures to work on. A little bit of teaching might happen. Plus we can play anything that strikes our fancy.

January 13, 6:30 at the Leadway
In two weeks, Jimmy Keane will be our featured guest at a concert and session at Seman Violins. So let’s brush up on some of the Irish tunes we’ve learned in the past.

A set of Kerry Polkas from Paddy Jones

The Black Rogue a jig from Liz Knowles

Gone for his Tea a reel also from Liz

Cuz Teahan’s Polka from Kathleen Keane

Check out this set of hornpipes we worked on with Deirdre Ní Chonghaile.

Maybe also
Tripping to the Well & Galway Belle from Frank Ferrel

February 17, 6:30 at the Leadway
Old-Time night. Suggestions?

February 17, 6:30 at the Leadway
A little Klezmer, a bit of Scandinavia and a Ukrainian tune.

Tune of the Week for March 19, 2012

Let’s stay on the Irish theme for one more week. Here’s one of my favorite jigs, one we can play on Friday, March 23 with Deirdre Ní Chonghaile visits Fiddle Club. This was the first in a set played by Kevin Burke & Michael O’Domhnaill in Bears Back Room in Bloomington, Indiana in February 1982.

I was there. It was heavenly.

The Frost Is All Over

Note: Kevin didn’t give a name to this tune. I learned it from one of the first recordings of Irish traditional music I ever owned. The great piper, Seamus Ennis, played it in a medley with The Hare in the Corn and one more jig. He sang a bit of lyric with it.

“The praties are dug and the frost is all over,
Kitty, lie over, close to the wall;
How would you like to be married to a soldier?
Kitty, lie over, close to the wall”

I can’t find that record any more. Maybe Deirdre can help us through The Hare in the Corn.

T:The Frost Is All Over
S:Kevin Burke
AFD DFA | ~B3 BAF | ABA F2E |1 FDD d2B :|2 FDD D2e |:
fdd dcd | fdd d2e | ~f3 def | gag e2g |
fed Bcd | ABd F2G | ABA F2E |1 FDD D2e :|2 FDD d2B ||

Tune(s) of the Week for March 12, 2012

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile, Guest at Fiddle Club of the World
Friday, March 23, 7:30p, Old Town School East

We’ll have an Irish session, with some craic and ceili (stories, talk and fellowship). This will be an easy-going introduction to the world of Irish tunes. Here’s another set of dance tunes that can be learned quickly. The first one is Sullivan’s, not the same tune as Tom Sullivan’s polka that Kathleen Keane taught us last year. Many of you already know the second tune Britches Full of Stitches. In this video, they’re played by Jackie Daly on accordion and Seamus Creagh on fiddle.

And here’s another performance of the same two tunes ending a set of four polkas played by Kevin Burke and Michael O’Domhnaill in 1982, in Bloomington (Indiana)’s beloved Bears Back room.

set of 4 polkas

T:Sullivan’s-Britches Full of Stitches
a3g a3f | e2c2 a4 | c2e2 a3f | e2c2 B2A2 |
a3g a3f | e2c2 a4 | c2e2 B3c |1 B2A2 A4 :|2 B2A2 A2 |:
AB | c2e2 e2c2 | d2f2 f2d2 | c2e2 e2AB | c2B2 B3A |
c2e2 e2c2 | d2f2 f2d2 | c2e2 B3c |1 B2A2 A2 :|2 B2A2 A4 |:
A3B c2A2 | B2A2 c2A2 | A3B c2A2 | B2A2 F4 |
A3B c2A2 | B2A2 c2e2 | A3B A2F2 | F2E2 E4 ::
e3f e2c2 | B2A2 B2c2 | e3f e2c2 | B2A2 F4 |
e3f e2c2 | B2A2 B2c2 | A3B A2F2 | F2E2 E4 :|

Tunes from Kathleen Keane

Concert & Jam Session
(click for more info about our featured guest)
Sunday, May 15, 6:30p
Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln)

To register, click one of these options.
Single meeting dues of $15, register by date (05/15).
Yearly subscription of $60 gives you admission to all Fiddle Club events (usually the 3rd Sunday)

Kathleen Keane's new CD

For your listening pleasure, here’s a tune from Kathleen Keane’s new CD, Where the Wind Meets the Water (2011)

The Gypsy Reel / The Quarter Inch Wick

And from her eponymous first CD (1999) . . .
Unknown / The Ships Are Sailing

The tunes below are for the jam session and workshop. Each is played slowly, at first, then faster.

Cuz Teahan’s Polka (Terrence “Cuz” Teahan was a notable concertina player and teacher in Chicago’s Irish community in the last decades of the 20th century.)

Tom Sullivan’s Polka

East to Glendart – Jig

Meetings for Spring and Summer 2011

All events happen at the Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln)

Good news. You can now join Fiddle Club of the World for $60 yearly dues. This allows you to 1) support our effort to bring notable fiddlers to the Old Town School for friendly and up close interactions with our local players, 2) save up to 50% off of single meeting dues, and 3) get a cool Fiddle Club card with your name and renewal date inscribed.

Kathleen Keane
Sunday, May 15, 6:30p – Irish

Kathleen Keane
A star of stage and screen–really–Kathleen once taught Irish step-dancing at the Old Town School and was a featured dancer in the Green Fields of America tour. She played tinwhistle in The Drovers (with whom she appeared in the film Backdraft as well as in the Tom Hanks movie, Road to Perdition. More recently, Kathleen has made her mark as a fine Irish fiddler. She toured for three years with Gaelic Storm, with whom she earned a #2 spot on the Billboard World Music chart, earned a #1 spot on the same chart with a song composed for the Windham Hill Celtic Christmas album, and recently released her first solo CD–Where the Wind Meets the Water–with a sell-out concert at the Mayne Stage. Fiddle Club offers a chance for an up close and friendly musical experience with our own Kathleen Keane.

Sule Greg Wilson
Sunday, May 29, 6:30 – Black Old-Time

Sule Greg WilsonSule is the first non-fiddler to be a featured guest at Fiddle Club of the World. During a long career as a dancer, drummer and educator, he took up the banjo as he became enthralled with the instruments historical and musical connections to the African diaspora. An organizer of the historic Black Banjo Then & Now conference held in 2005, Sule was a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. He is currently working with the Drops and our own Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin on a new production being sponsored by the Old Town School. He’ll take a break from their rehearsal gathering in May, to give us a program of African-American banjo tunes and open us up to the rhythmic potential of old-time music. Sule is a fabulous teacher, so don’t miss this one.

Single dues for a meeting with a featured fiddler are $15. Register here by date.
Or you may choose the yearly dues option for $60.

Square & Ceilidh Dance workshop
Sunday, June 19, 6:30 – a dry run for Fiddle Club players,* dancers welcome

Square & Ceilidh Dance
Sunday, July 17, 6:30 – the real thing
Admission for dancers: $5

* To be a Fiddle Club player, come to a Fiddle Club event. There are no single dues for meetings at which we just play tunes, watch films or dance. Come and join us, even if you don’t have a Fiddle Club card. If you decide to register for one, we appreciate your support.

Ain’t this a time

Lots o’ fun coming our way. And beginning this week (say April 12), you should be able to sign up for a year’s worth of Fiddle Club meetings for a mere $60. Single meeting dues are $15, when there is a featured guest. Here is the link to register for a meeting. They are listed by date. Scroll through the workshop listings for descriptions.

Bruce Greene
Friday, April 15, 8:30 – Old-Time
An earlier post has a couple of tunes to learn for the jam session.

dance band practice
Sunday, April 17, 6:30 – all members welcome *
(I will soon post some tunes for the dance.)

Kathleen Keane
Sunday, May 15, 6:30 – Irish

Sule Greg Wilson
Sunday, May 29, 6:30 – Black Old-Time

Square & Ceilidh Dance workshop
Sunday, June 19, 6:30 – a dry run for musicians, dancers welcome

Square & Ceilidh Dance
Sunday, July 17, 6:30 – the real thing
Admission for dancers: $5

All events happen at the Atlantic Bar & Grill (5062 Lincoln)

* To be a member, come to a Fiddle Club event. Yearly dues are $60. Single meeting dues are $15 when we have a special guest. There are no dues for other meetings at which we just play tunes or watch films. We appreciate your support.

Paul Tyler, convener
Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter)

Some Tunes from Liz Knowles

Ready for some Celtic/Irish tunes. Before she headed off to China, Liz gave us these to try. Each recording has the tune played slowly, and then up to tempo.

Press the arrows to listen or right-click the blue title to download and save on your computer.

The Black Rogue – jig

Gone for His Tea – reel

The Factory Smoke – hornpipe

Liz Knowles will be the featured guest at the Fiddle Club of the World meeting on Friday, February 19 at 7:30pm at the Leadway Bar & Gallery (5233 N. Damen) in Chicago. Click here to register.

Fiddle Club Meetings – Spring 2010

Liz KnowlesLIZ KNOWLES – Feb. 19

A Celtic legend in her own right, Liz Knowles will visit the Fiddle Club fresh off a trip to China with Celtic Legends, the play for which she serves as music director. Liz’s impressive list of credits includes Riverdance, fiddling on Broadway in The Pirate Queen and the soundtrack for the movie Michael Collins. She has been a member of the John Whelan Band, Cherish the Ladies, and currently tours with the super-group, String Sisters. Her solo CD is The Celtic Fiddle.


Click here to register for an evening of Irish fiddling, old and new.

Dennis StroughmattDENNIS STROUGHMATT – March 28

Part of Dennis Stroughmatt’s education was devoted to recording, observing, and learning many of the Creole French traditions still alive in “Upper Louisiana,” including the old fiddle tunes he learned from masters Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia. He also developed a fluency in Illinois-Missouri Creole French, and acquired a wealth of stories and songs from elder story tellers and singers. His recorded works include The Gambler’s Fiddle and Cadet Rouselle, two CDs of old French Music from Upper Louisiana. He also performs with Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp.

Click here to register for a journey through the early music of the Illinois Country.

Genevieve & Smith KoesterGENEVIEVE HARRISON KOESTER – April 18

Genevieve Koester’s command of old-time fiddling belies the fact that she’s been playing less than a half dozen years. She comes by it honestly as, in her words, “Both my parents play the fiddle – my mom is classically trained and my dad is a freak of nature (in a talented way).” While her mother Gaye has long led the group Mother Lode in Charleston, Illinois, Genevieve has joined with her father Garry Harrison in the New Mules, a string band dedicated to the old-time fiddle tunes and songs of downstate Illinois and beyond. Husband Smith Koester, also a member of the New Mules, will join Gena at the Fiddle Club of the World. The band’s new CD, Pride of America, is one of the best.

Click here to register for an evening of old-time tunes in a Midwestern key.

MattMATT BROWN – May 2

A multi-instrumentalist from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Matt Brown is one of the rising stars in the old-time music firmament. Though he’s just passed the quarter-century mark, he already has 3 albums to his credit, including the solo CD, The Falls of Richmond. On Lone Prairie, his debut CD, he was joined by veteran banjoist Paul Brown and guitarist Beverly Smith. Both CDs are from 5-String Productions, in which Matt is a partner. For his Fiddle Club appearance, he will partner with the Old Town School’s Steve Rosen.

Click here to register for a trip to southern climes.

All meetings scheduled for
Leadway Bar & Gallery
5233 N. Damen
Chicago, Illinois

Check back for links to tunes to learn for the jam sessions for each meeting.
Liz Knowles tunes
Dennis Stroughmatt tunes
Genevieve Koester tunes
Matt Brown tunes

-Paul Tyler, convener
Fiddle Club of the World (Chicago Chapter)

Notation for Paddy Jones tunes on a single page

All tunes transcribed by Paul Tyler. Musical notation is only a guide to one way to play a tune. Use the written notes along with the recordings. If you hear something different than what is written down, good. Trust your ears. Play what you hear.

Click on thumbnail to enlarge.

Notation of Paddy Jones tunes

Written music is a sketch. Sound documents are the ultimate authority.

Go here to hear some Paddy Jones tunes.

Paddy Jones performed at the Fiddle Club of the World’s meeting on Friday, March 14 at the Leadway Bar & Gallery.

Report on Paddy Jone's visit to the Fiddle Club

The Leadway Bar & Gallery was full of fiddlers last Friday night, for the first meeting of the Fiddle Club of the World. About 30 musicians showed up. Most had a fiddle and a bow. I counted one guitar and one banjo. And a handful of folks showed up just to listen.

I got there right at 7:30, and several Fiddle Club members pitched in right away to help set up our small p.a. and arrange the Leadway’s long, narrow party room for listening and playing. (Some eating was going on as well. The Leadway has a kitchen, and Frank, the owner–he’s also a fine sculptor–had set out several trays of veggies and dip for us.)

The music started about 8 pm, as we all played a few tunes together. Since the Fiddle Club members come from various musical walks of life, I thought it valuable to talk about what people expect from a session. Old-time players jump on a tune and ride it till it finds its groove and finishes the course. You might play one tune through a dozen times. At Irish sessions, a tune is usually played two or three times through, and strung together with several others in a medley. Someone or most everyone knows what tune comes next. Bluegrass sessions start by establishing a rotation of lead breaks, and pass the tune around from one player to the next. The Fiddle Club of the World has no established set of rules, but seeks to allow players to stretch boundaries and extend horizons to experience more of what fiddling can do for the world.

Leadway back room on March 14

Paddy Jones, a truly delightful man and musician, got started about 8:30. He was artfully accompanied by Jesse Langen, who arrived just in time after a gig with the proprietor of Chief O’Neill’s pub. Paddy’s playing was strong, sensitive and rhythmic. He enthralled the room.

(I was very pleased with the acoustics and atmosphere of the Leadway. Paddy could be easily and clearly heard. We used just a bit of p.a. reinforcement, but it may not have been necessary. The front bar room filled up as Paddy played, but the noise from that side never caused a problem. It’s a good room. It would work better if we could move the tables out of the way.)

After close to an hour of concertizing, Paddy was ready for a break. He said he was used to having a singer step up with an occasional song, so he could rest his bow arm for a few moments. We’ll keep that in mind for future meetings.

Then it was time for everyone to play a session with Paddy and each other. A few young players could hardly wait to play through the tunes we’ve had posted on this website. Paddy asked if anybody had any questions. There was a suggestion that he demonstrate how to ornament. Paddy put on his teacher’s hat and led everybody through a demonstration of grace notes, bowing rhythms, and the essentials of playing for dancers. (We’ll post some samples of his “lessons” in a few days.)

Jonas in Leadway back room on March 14

Everybody got to play. We went through the tunes posted ahead of Paddy’s visit–the Kerry Polkas, the Kerry Slides, and the unnamed reel that is, in fact, The Galtee Rangers. Jessica Zeigler and her students from Old Town School Irish fiddle classes led us through some standard Irish session tunes. We ended sometime after 11 pm.

Thanks to all who attended, participated, and helped. A special thanks to Tim Joyce and Colby Maddox from the Old Town School, and to Frank and the Leadway Bar & Gallery,

See you April 20.

Paul Tyler, Convener