Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Mighty Augusta Ceili Band Repertory Page

Join the band!  Musician and ethnomusicologist Dan Neely is leading the Ceili Band mini-class for the 2nd year in a row at Augusta Irish/Celtic Week, July 21-26, 2013 in Elkins, WV.  This time around, Dan has created a repertory page where he is posting the audio and sheet music for some of the tunes they’ll be doing, such as Silver Spear, Cooley’s Reel, Swinging on a Gate, Jimmy Ward’s, Connachtman’s Rambles, Leitrim Fancy, Top of the Maol and more.

2012 Ceili Band class rehearsing in the Robbins Memorial Chapel.
Dan Neely on banjo.

The recordings feature slowed down, bare bones versions of the tunes, repeated once or twice to help you get the hang of them.  The ones I listened to were all unaccompanied mandolin.  I like to start with just the audio – playing by ear for a while – before glancing at the sheet music to see how far off I was or to help fill in the blanks.  You can stream the music on your computer or save the files as MP3’s.

Having attended Augusta Irish Week last summer, I can say that it is a grand time and a wonderful learning experience, offering a full week of total immersion in Celtic music.  This Ceili Band mini-course looks like a lot of fun too!  To register, click here to visit the official Augusta Irish/Celtic webpageDan will be adding more tunes to the repertory page periodically.  You can keep up with the updates and additions by liking the Augusta Irish Facebook page.

If you would like to listen to some ceili band music, Dan recommends the Tulla, Innisfree and Kilfenora ceili bands.  Or check out the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra, the New York City group that Dan is the leader of.  The WSHSO plays traditional Irish music and recalls the Irish-American dance bands of the early twentieth century.  With the ceili band mini-class and a fair amount of listening under your fingers, soon you’ll be ready to play for dancers!

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