annathepiper: (Bodhran Sean)

There’s a lot of high emotion going around Great Big Sea fandom this weekend, what with the imminent departure of Séan McCann from Great Big Sea. And a lot of reaction in particular sprang up in response to this, posted by Séan just yesterday. I gave this a listen, and while I’m trying very hard not to read too much into those lyrics, they are nonetheless highly loaded, even to a fairly objective ear.

I’m not going to get into speculating what’s in Séan’s head, not here. But the possibility has been raised to me that Great Big Sea will bring in a new guy to replace him. Since the band has not yet issued an official statement on the matter, I can’t know for sure whether that’s going to happen. And so what I want to talk about in this blog post is what Séan’s presence in the band has meant to me for the last thirteen years, and what it’d mean for me if Great Big Sea continues without him.

As you all know, Internets, I’m a raving Doyle fangirl and always have been, from the very first day I visited greatbigsea.com and thought “well goodness, that guy with the long brown hair is gorgeous“. But it’s Séan’s vocals that actually first caught my ear.

His singing “General Taylor” is the very first memory I have of Great Big Sea–when my housemate Mimi was playing Rant and Roar to bring people in to her yard sale, and I thought, “WOW these guys sound good”. And the samples of him singing “I’m a Rover” and “Ferryland Sealer” on Turn, up on the greatbigsea.com of the year 2000, are what made me commit to buying their music in the first place.

All three of these songs are excellent examples of what made me fall in love with this band: the rich harmony, the strong traditional music, and the overall energy of the vocals.

Losing Darrell from Great Big Sea in 2003 was a notable blow to that energy for me. Don’t get me wrong–I think Murray Foster is an amazing singer and a wonderful bass player, and I love what he can bring to a bass line in “River Driver” or “Safe Upon the Shore”. But to this day, raving Doyle fangirl that I am, “Excursion Around the Bay” still sounds wrong to me not sung by Darrell in concert. It’s Darrell’s song, for me, on an emotional level.

And there’s still a difference in the vocal chemistry in the group, post-Darrell.

Post-Séan, the difference in the vocal chemistry will be even greater. Even if they bring in a guy with a great voice, the very real possibility exists for me that I simply won’t click with his voice the same way I did with Séan’s. There are a lot of wonderful singers in the world–and I’m perfectly capable of aesthetic appreciation of a strong singer’s voice, no matter who they are. But that’s not the same thing as being in love with the voice.

A new guy may absolutely bring some Awesome to the table. C.f. Murray, as I said above. Also c.f. La Bottine Souriante, who have had considerable member turnover through the years; I’ve posted before about how much I love Éric Beaudry’s vocals, even though overall I like the Yves Lambert era of La Bottine better. And going in the opposite direction, Le Vent du Nord’s current membership configuration is the magic configuration for me, though I like the previous two iterations of Le Vent as well.

But I can’t know what a new guy in Great Big Sea would be like until I actually hear him. And even aside from what kind of a voice he has, there are more intangible questions of band chemistry as well. Séan has been so critical a presence on the stage for the GBS shows I’ve attended that not having him there will be a quantum shift in the stage chemistry.

And even if a new guy turns out to be awesome, that still doesn’t diminish my sadness at losing Séan from the group. The man is, after all, the voice that pulled me in to begin with.

Great Big Sea has brought me such happiness over the years that I want those boys to be happy as well. Their voices have gotten me through a great many rough times in my life–my dad passing away, all the medical crap I’ve gone through, more. I would much prefer for Séan to leave the group and be happy, rather than continue and be miserable.

But losing him from the group will still be for me, on an emotional level, something like losing a body part. And I’ve lost a body part, so I know what that feels like. You continue on through it, and even if you’re still reasonably happy and healthy, the transition is still hard, and you are still nonetheless fundamentally changed.

I really hope that if Great Big Sea does continue, that they do so in a way that lets them all continue to be reasonably healthy and happy. And if they do bring in a new guy, I will certainly give him a fair listen. But until that happens, bear with me, folks. As I’ve said, the transition is hard.

And I’m gonna miss you, Shantyman.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Bodhran Sean)

There’s a lot of high emotion going around Great Big Sea fandom this weekend, what with the imminent departure of Séan McCann from Great Big Sea. And a lot of reaction in particular sprang up in response to this, posted by Séan just yesterday. I gave this a listen, and while I’m trying very hard not to read too much into those lyrics, they are nonetheless highly loaded, even to a fairly objective ear.

I’m not going to get into speculating what’s in Séan’s head, not here. But the possibility has been raised to me that Great Big Sea will bring in a new guy to replace him. Since the band has not yet issued an official statement on the matter, I can’t know for sure whether that’s going to happen. And so what I want to talk about in this blog post is what Séan’s presence in the band has meant to me for the last thirteen years, and what it’d mean for me if Great Big Sea continues without him.

As you all know, Internets, I’m a raving Doyle fangirl and always have been, from the very first day I visited greatbigsea.com and thought “well goodness, that guy with the long brown hair is gorgeous“. But it’s Séan’s vocals that actually first caught my ear.

His singing “General Taylor” is the very first memory I have of Great Big Sea–when my housemate Mimi was playing Rant and Roar to bring people in to her yard sale, and I thought, “WOW these guys sound good”. And the samples of him singing “I’m a Rover” and “Ferryland Sealer” on Turn, up on the greatbigsea.com of the year 2000, are what made me commit to buying their music in the first place.

All three of these songs are excellent examples of what made me fall in love with this band: the rich harmony, the strong traditional music, and the overall energy of the vocals.

Losing Darrell from Great Big Sea in 2003 was a notable blow to that energy for me. Don’t get me wrong–I think Murray Foster is an amazing singer and a wonderful bass player, and I love what he can bring to a bass line in “River Driver” or “Safe Upon the Shore”. But to this day, raving Doyle fangirl that I am, “Excursion Around the Bay” still sounds wrong to me not sung by Darrell in concert. It’s Darrell’s song, for me, on an emotional level.

And there’s still a difference in the vocal chemistry in the group, post-Darrell.

Post-Séan, the difference in the vocal chemistry will be even greater. Even if they bring in a guy with a great voice, the very real possibility exists for me that I simply won’t click with his voice the same way I did with Séan’s. There are a lot of wonderful singers in the world–and I’m perfectly capable of aesthetic appreciation of a strong singer’s voice, no matter who they are. But that’s not the same thing as being in love with the voice.

A new guy may absolutely bring some Awesome to the table. C.f. Murray, as I said above. Also c.f. La Bottine Souriante, who have had considerable member turnover through the years; I’ve posted before about how much I love Éric Beaudry’s vocals, even though overall I like the Yves Lambert era of La Bottine better. And going in the opposite direction, Le Vent du Nord’s current membership configuration is the magic configuration for me, though I like the previous two iterations of Le Vent as well.

But I can’t know what a new guy in Great Big Sea would be like until I actually hear him. And even aside from what kind of a voice he has, there are more intangible questions of band chemistry as well. Séan has been so critical a presence on the stage for the GBS shows I’ve attended that not having him there will be a quantum shift in the stage chemistry.

And even if a new guy turns out to be awesome, that still doesn’t diminish my sadness at losing Séan from the group. The man is, after all, the voice that pulled me in to begin with.

Great Big Sea has brought me such happiness over the years that I want those boys to be happy as well. Their voices have gotten me through a great many rough times in my life–my dad passing away, all the medical crap I’ve gone through, more. I would much prefer for Séan to leave the group and be happy, rather than continue and be miserable.

But losing him from the group will still be for me, on an emotional level, something like losing a body part. And I’ve lost a body part, so I know what that feels like. You continue on through it, and even if you’re still reasonably happy and healthy, the transition is still hard, and you are still nonetheless fundamentally changed.

I really hope that if Great Big Sea does continue, that they do so in a way that lets them all continue to be reasonably healthy and happy. And if they do bring in a new guy, I will certainly give him a fair listen. But until that happens, bear with me, folks. As I’ve said, the transition is hard.

And I’m gonna miss you, Shantyman.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Bodhran Sean)

Séan McCann, the beloved Shantyman of Great Big Sea, has set off a firestorm of reaction by announcing that this is his last tour with Great Big Sea. He posted this up to his Facebook wall:

Sean's Done

Sean’s Done

Dara and I have kind of felt this coming for a bit, actually. Between Séan falling hard off the radar a couple of years ago, just after dropping his second solo album… and Alan and Bob also being off doing their own solo projects… and there being a distinct lack of new material in the big GBS box set… the whole XX tour has had a feel of “last hurrah” about it. And this announcement now just pretty much clenches it.

I can’t imagine that GBS will last past this point. Séan is far too critical to the band’s overall sound, and Alan and Bob do have other things going on–though to be fair, I haven’t seen the band announce specifically yet what the group plans are. We’ll have to stand by and see whether they have the band as a whole stand down, or what.

Either way it’s the end of an era for me. I’ve put thirteen years of love and joy into the music of Great Big Sea, and have therefore been with them for a good chunk of their twenty-year run. Twenty years is a good strong epic run, and if they’re going to stand down, I do actually prefer them to do it while they’re still fairly energetic and happy. And I like the idea of Séan going home to raise his kids and mentor the next generation of Newfoundland musicians. And maybe have some epic jam sessions at Erin’s Pub in St. John’s, now that Bob owns the place.

I’m very grateful at this point that I got to see GBS three times this year, and especially that I finally got my pic with Alan. A wistful-making day for all of us in GBS fandom. Much love and many hugs to all my fellow fans. I’ll be raising a glass in the Shantyman’s honor as soon as I’m medically okay with having alcohol again. I recommend y’all do the same. And go express your best wishes to Séan if you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Let the man know he’s loved and he’ll be missed.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Bodhran Sean)

Séan McCann, the beloved Shantyman of Great Big Sea, has set off a firestorm of reaction by announcing that this is his last tour with Great Big Sea. He posted this up to his Facebook wall:

Sean's Done

Sean’s Done

Dara and I have kind of felt this coming for a bit, actually. Between Séan falling hard off the radar a couple of years ago, just after dropping his second solo album… and Alan and Bob also being off doing their own solo projects… and there being a distinct lack of new material in the big GBS box set… the whole XX tour has had a feel of “last hurrah” about it. And this announcement now just pretty much clenches it.

I can’t imagine that GBS will last past this point. Séan is far too critical to the band’s overall sound, and Alan and Bob do have other things going on–though to be fair, I haven’t seen the band announce specifically yet what the group plans are. We’ll have to stand by and see whether they have the band as a whole stand down, or what.

Either way it’s the end of an era for me. I’ve put thirteen years of love and joy into the music of Great Big Sea, and have therefore been with them for a good chunk of their twenty-year run. Twenty years is a good strong epic run, and if they’re going to stand down, I do actually prefer them to do it while they’re still fairly energetic and happy. And I like the idea of Séan going home to raise his kids and mentor the next generation of Newfoundland musicians. And maybe have some epic jam sessions at Erin’s Pub in St. John’s, now that Bob owns the place.

I’m very grateful at this point that I got to see GBS three times this year, and especially that I finally got my pic with Alan. A wistful-making day for all of us in GBS fandom. Much love and many hugs to all my fellow fans. I’ll be raising a glass in the Shantyman’s honor as soon as I’m medically okay with having alcohol again. I recommend y’all do the same. And go express your best wishes to Séan if you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Let the man know he’s loved and he’ll be missed.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan Bouzouki)

Internets, my usual full concert report will be coming about tonight’s Great Big Sea show in Edmonds real soon–but before I post that, I have to post this, because THIS was the high point of the evening and I’m still trying to ramp down from the outburst of ZOMG in my system.

As you all know, I’m a novelist. I’ve completed five novels, in fact. Verbosity is my primary superpower. I have a LOT of words in me. So you’ll know that if other people’s pictures are worth a thousand words, this one, coming from me, is worth an entire trilogy. This happened after the GBS show in Edmonds tonight, when I and several other fangirls were hanging out by the band’s tour bus!

Anna and Alan Doyle

Anna and Alan Doyle

Thirteen years. THIRTEEN YEARS I’ve been in this fandom and I’ve finally scored not only the opportunity, but also the gumption to ask Alan Doyle to his face if I could have a picture with him. He promptly said “sure!”, invited me to get in close, and put his arm around my shoulders. I handed my phone off to my friend Helen, who then needed me to unlock it for her ’cause duh right access code. THEN she had trouble finding my camera app, so she made cracks at me about how “should I draw this out a little longer?”–’cause Alan was standing there with his arm around me the whole time. I chirped, “I’M GOOD!”

There was laughter, and the picture was finally taken. One other girl in the group also snapped a pic which she promised to send me, so this wasn’t even the only one!

(ALSO! There was bonus Murray! Most of the group wanted pics with Alan, so after I got my turn I turned to Murray and asked him about his fundraising efforts for his Cocksure Lads movie–his mockumentary about a fictional 60′s British rock band. Great fun. I was in on round one of that fundraising and I’ll be chiming in on the second one too. Because Murray is awesome.

Also, mad props to Foster when I told him I was annathepiper on Twitter and that we’d chatted some about Tolkien. He remembered that. YAY!)

So yeah. This was a TRIUMPH. Making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

Also note: I neither confirm nor deny any rumors of high-pitched squealing and a victory dance as soon as we were out of range of the bus.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan Bouzouki)

Internets, my usual full concert report will be coming about tonight’s Great Big Sea show in Edmonds real soon–but before I post that, I have to post this, because THIS was the high point of the evening and I’m still trying to ramp down from the outburst of ZOMG in my system.

As you all know, I’m a novelist. I’ve completed five novels, in fact. Verbosity is my primary superpower. I have a LOT of words in me. So you’ll know that if other people’s pictures are worth a thousand words, this one, coming from me, is worth an entire trilogy. This happened after the GBS show in Edmonds tonight, when I and several other fangirls were hanging out by the band’s tour bus!

Anna and Alan Doyle

Anna and Alan Doyle

Thirteen years. THIRTEEN YEARS I’ve been in this fandom and I’ve finally scored not only the opportunity, but also the gumption to ask Alan Doyle to his face if I could have a picture with him. He promptly said “sure!”, invited me to get in close, and put his arm around my shoulders. I handed my phone off to my friend Helen, who then needed me to unlock it for her ’cause duh right access code. THEN she had trouble finding my camera app, so she made cracks at me about how “should I draw this out a little longer?”–’cause Alan was standing there with his arm around me the whole time. I chirped, “I’M GOOD!”

There was laughter, and the picture was finally taken. One other girl in the group also snapped a pic which she promised to send me, so this wasn’t even the only one!

(ALSO! There was bonus Murray! Most of the group wanted pics with Alan, so after I got my turn I turned to Murray and asked him about his fundraising efforts for his Cocksure Lads movie–his mockumentary about a fictional 60′s British rock band. Great fun. I was in on round one of that fundraising and I’ll be chiming in on the second one too. Because Murray is awesome.

Also, mad props to Foster when I told him I was annathepiper on Twitter and that we’d chatted some about Tolkien. He remembered that. YAY!)

So yeah. This was a TRIUMPH. Making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.

Also note: I neither confirm nor deny any rumors of high-pitched squealing and a victory dance as soon as we were out of range of the bus.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Last night on the way home from work, thanks to current medical developments, I turned like I always do in such times to my comfort music. And if you’ve hung around me for more than five minutes, you know exactly what that is: Great Big Sea. And in particular, “Ordinary Day”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this song is pretty much the anthem of my life. And this past week in particular, I’ve been feeling the second verse real strongly, since I keep feeling like my system REALLY wants to push me around in a medical sense. I’ll take the liberty of hoping that trying to maintain a positive outlook has helped me make it not get away with that shit; certainly there’s a strong case to be made for that being an excellent coping technique with stress. (I’m serious on that! Dara pointed me at this TED talk over here on that very topic!)

And it’s certainly helped that my belovedest of B’ys have been here through the last 13 years to give me such musical comfort as they do. Especially when they’re the ones who made me pick up a guitar and learn how to play it in the first place.

Now though I’ve got mes gars du Québec, who are pretty much doing the same thing, only this time with a whole extra bonus language to stuff into my head.

Y’all know where this is going, right? Yep. I just translated “Ordinary Day” into French.

Which has apparently been done before, according to my Facebook and Twitter friend (not to mention fellow raving Great Big Sea fangirl) Krista, who gave me a scan of a GBS newsletter from way back in October of 1997, three years before I discovered the band. Krista showed me that after I posted my take on the first verse and chorus last night, and I was rather pleased to discover that a) I could understand just about everything that translation was saying, and b) I still stood by the translation choices I made in my own attempt.

I’ve finished that attempt up as of this post. Those of you who have any French at all will probably figure out fast that this is not an exact translation of Alan’s lyrics. I did direct translations when I could, but when I had to choose between “exact translation” and “close approximation that actually scanned better to the melody”, I went with the latter option. Particularly in the third verse, where I ran into trouble with the concepts of “double-edged knife” and “your ship will come in”–in those cases in particular, I jumped over to concepts that more or less got the same idea across but which let me use simpler phrasing that’d scan better to the melody.

‘Cause, of course, the overall point here is that I eventually want to be able to sing this. ;)

Anyway, here it is, my take on “Ordinary Day” in French!

J’ai un sourire sur ma face, et quatre murs autour de moi
J’ai le soleil dans le ciel, toute l’eau m’entoure, oh oh oh
Ouias, je gagne, et parfois je perds
J’ai été battue, mais jamais meurtri
Ça va pas si mal

Refrain:
Et je dit, yé hé hé, c’est juste un jour ordinaire, et c’est tout ton état d’esprit
À la fin de la journée, tu dois juste à dire, ça va bien!

Janie chante sur le coin, qu’est-ce qui l’empêche de mourir?
Laisse-les dire ce qu’ils veulent, elle va essayer encore, oh oh oh
Elle pourrait trébucher s’ils la pousser
Elle pourrait tomber mais jamais céder
Ça va pas si mal

Dans cette belle vie, il y a des douleurs
C’est un couteau dans le cœur, mais il y a demain toujours, oh oh oh
C’est ton choix si tu passe ou casse
Fais confiance le matin va venir
Ça va pas si mal

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Last night on the way home from work, thanks to current medical developments, I turned like I always do in such times to my comfort music. And if you’ve hung around me for more than five minutes, you know exactly what that is: Great Big Sea. And in particular, “Ordinary Day”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this song is pretty much the anthem of my life. And this past week in particular, I’ve been feeling the second verse real strongly, since I keep feeling like my system REALLY wants to push me around in a medical sense. I’ll take the liberty of hoping that trying to maintain a positive outlook has helped me make it not get away with that shit; certainly there’s a strong case to be made for that being an excellent coping technique with stress. (I’m serious on that! Dara pointed me at this TED talk over here on that very topic!)

And it’s certainly helped that my belovedest of B’ys have been here through the last 13 years to give me such musical comfort as they do. Especially when they’re the ones who made me pick up a guitar and learn how to play it in the first place.

Now though I’ve got mes gars du Québec, who are pretty much doing the same thing, only this time with a whole extra bonus language to stuff into my head.

Y’all know where this is going, right? Yep. I just translated “Ordinary Day” into French.

Which has apparently been done before, according to my Facebook and Twitter friend (not to mention fellow raving Great Big Sea fangirl) Krista, who gave me a scan of a GBS newsletter from way back in October of 1997, three years before I discovered the band. Krista showed me that after I posted my take on the first verse and chorus last night, and I was rather pleased to discover that a) I could understand just about everything that translation was saying, and b) I still stood by the translation choices I made in my own attempt.

I’ve finished that attempt up as of this post. Those of you who have any French at all will probably figure out fast that this is not an exact translation of Alan’s lyrics. I did direct translations when I could, but when I had to choose between “exact translation” and “close approximation that actually scanned better to the melody”, I went with the latter option. Particularly in the third verse, where I ran into trouble with the concepts of “double-edged knife” and “your ship will come in”–in those cases in particular, I jumped over to concepts that more or less got the same idea across but which let me use simpler phrasing that’d scan better to the melody.

‘Cause, of course, the overall point here is that I eventually want to be able to sing this. ;)

Anyway, here it is, my take on “Ordinary Day” in French!

J’ai un sourire sur ma face, et quatre murs autour de moi
J’ai le soleil dans le ciel, toute l’eau m’entoure, oh oh oh
Ouias, je gagne, et parfois je perds
J’ai été battue, mais jamais meurtri
Ça va pas si mal

Refrain:
Et je dit, yé hé hé, c’est juste un jour ordinaire, et c’est tout ton état d’esprit
À la fin de la journée, tu dois juste à dire, ça va bien!

Janie chante sur le coin, qu’est-ce qui l’empêche de mourir?
Laisse-les dire ce qu’ils veulent, elle va essayer encore, oh oh oh
Elle pourrait trébucher s’ils la pousser
Elle pourrait tomber mais jamais céder
Ça va pas si mal

Dans cette belle vie, il y a des douleurs
C’est un couteau dans le cœur, mais il y a demain toujours, oh oh oh
C’est ton choix si tu passe ou casse
Fais confiance le matin va venir
Ça va pas si mal

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Whistling Bob)

Lest y’all think I am neglecting the Newfoundland side of my musical fandom, let me assure you all that this is NOT the case. I have been playing the ever-lovin’ daylights out of the awesome live “Little Beggarman” track on the GBS XX box set, in no small part because it ends with two jigs that exemplify how Bob Hallett dances around the edge of setting his own fiddle on fire every time you turn him loose on tunes. (There were REASONS my original jamming group used to say that we could never play all the same notes Bob did. Because if anybody but Bob did it, we’d be opening portals to hell and there’d be fire and mayhem and monsters. And even worse, badly played notes.)

BUT, because I have the wacky mad ambition of seeing if I can maybe learn to play those tunes too (because apparently I just gotta open that hellmouth), I actually asked Mr. Hallett on Twitter which tunes they were to see if I could find ‘em! This is what he said:

Right From the Mouth of Bob

Right From the Mouth of Bob

With that to go on, I’ve been prowling around thesession.org today as well as YouTube, trying to see if I can hunt down the tunes in question. I am learning several vital things as a result!

One, wow, Rufus Guinchard was a splendid fiddle player. Look him up on YouTube. There are several (static) vids of various recordings of his and there is delicious, delicious fiddle goodness to be had there. I will have to see if I can track down these recordings.

Two, the man apparently was a profilic composer of tunes. I’ve found several on thesession.org that I have promptly added to my tunebook there, and at least a couple of these tunes sound vaguely familiar from various recordings I’ve got of Newfoundland trad groups–less Great Big Sea and more Irish Descendants and Dardanelles.

Three, whoa hey there’s an entire channel of videos of Newfoundland tunes, done by a guy playing them on the flute. Why HELLO THERE Relevance To My Interests!

And, in my pokings around, I have identified two tunes that may be candidates for the first of the two in the recording, since they sound like they’re in the right key (which is to say, A Dorian). If what Bob’s playing is indeed either of these tunes, he’s putting his own style all over them–they don’t match up completely so it’s a bit hard to tell. But the overall up-and-down flow of the melody seems similar, even if the A and B parts sound like they’re flipped around from what thesession.org has in the transcriptions.

If any other GBS fans out there are also tunes-inclined and can read music, check these out? Sydney Pittman’s Tune and Father’s Jig, either of these sound to anyone like they might be the ones? Sydney Pittman’s sounds slightly like more of a match to me and I have in fact just winged that very question back to Mr. Hallett on Twitter. We shall see what he says!

Still working on tracking down tune #2, too, which sounds like it might kick down into D major, but if it does it’s got a B part that goes minor-y. I need to peer through the rest of the Rufus Guinchard jigs I’m finding on thesession.org and see if any of those match up.

ETA: Whoa hey, Mr. Hallett just confirmed on Twitter, yes, Sydney Pittman’s is the first of the two tunes! AWRIGHT! Now I just need to find the second one!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Whistling Bob)

Lest y’all think I am neglecting the Newfoundland side of my musical fandom, let me assure you all that this is NOT the case. I have been playing the ever-lovin’ daylights out of the awesome live “Little Beggarman” track on the GBS XX box set, in no small part because it ends with two jigs that exemplify how Bob Hallett dances around the edge of setting his own fiddle on fire every time you turn him loose on tunes. (There were REASONS my original jamming group used to say that we could never play all the same notes Bob did. Because if anybody but Bob did it, we’d be opening portals to hell and there’d be fire and mayhem and monsters. And even worse, badly played notes.)

BUT, because I have the wacky mad ambition of seeing if I can maybe learn to play those tunes too (because apparently I just gotta open that hellmouth), I actually asked Mr. Hallett on Twitter which tunes they were to see if I could find ‘em! This is what he said:

Right From the Mouth of Bob

Right From the Mouth of Bob

With that to go on, I’ve been prowling around thesession.org today as well as YouTube, trying to see if I can hunt down the tunes in question. I am learning several vital things as a result!

One, wow, Rufus Guinchard was a splendid fiddle player. Look him up on YouTube. There are several (static) vids of various recordings of his and there is delicious, delicious fiddle goodness to be had there. I will have to see if I can track down these recordings.

Two, the man apparently was a profilic composer of tunes. I’ve found several on thesession.org that I have promptly added to my tunebook there, and at least a couple of these tunes sound vaguely familiar from various recordings I’ve got of Newfoundland trad groups–less Great Big Sea and more Irish Descendants and Dardanelles.

Three, whoa hey there’s an entire channel of videos of Newfoundland tunes, done by a guy playing them on the flute. Why HELLO THERE Relevance To My Interests!

And, in my pokings around, I have identified two tunes that may be candidates for the first of the two in the recording, since they sound like they’re in the right key (which is to say, A Dorian). If what Bob’s playing is indeed either of these tunes, he’s putting his own style all over them–they don’t match up completely so it’s a bit hard to tell. But the overall up-and-down flow of the melody seems similar, even if the A and B parts sound like they’re flipped around from what thesession.org has in the transcriptions.

If any other GBS fans out there are also tunes-inclined and can read music, check these out? Sydney Pittman’s Tune and Father’s Jig, either of these sound to anyone like they might be the ones? Sydney Pittman’s sounds slightly like more of a match to me and I have in fact just winged that very question back to Mr. Hallett on Twitter. We shall see what he says!

Still working on tracking down tune #2, too, which sounds like it might kick down into D major, but if it does it’s got a B part that goes minor-y. I need to peer through the rest of the Rufus Guinchard jigs I’m finding on thesession.org and see if any of those match up.

ETA: Whoa hey, Mr. Hallett just confirmed on Twitter, yes, Sydney Pittman’s is the first of the two tunes! AWRIGHT! Now I just need to find the second one!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Smile On My Face)

Y’all remember my and Dara’s friends userinfomaellenkleth and userinfosiestabear, right? The fine ladies with whom Dara and I snagged us an encore from Le Vent du Nord last year? Well, they scored themselves some of the super-fancy deluxe backstage tickets to a Great Big Sea show on the current tour–AND! Because they love me and want me to be happy, they got me a shirt!

SIGNED BY THE B’YS THEMSELVES.

Alert persons may note that this is actually the exact shirt I just bought at the Seattle show this past March. But that’s QUITE OKAY. Because seriously, if you’re handed a shirt signed by the members of Great Big Sea, I am here to tell you that the LAST thing you want to do is wash it. Because it would make the signatures sad. And we can’t have that, now can we? So my belovedest of Daras informs me that there are in fact frames for T-shirts. I will be acquiring this t-shirt one. And in the meantime, please behold the T-shirt signature goodness!

THANK YOU userinfomaellenkleth and userinfosiestabear! <3 I love you too!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Smile On My Face)

Y’all remember my and Dara’s friends userinfomaellenkleth and userinfosiestabear, right? The fine ladies with whom Dara and I snagged us an encore from Le Vent du Nord last year? Well, they scored themselves some of the super-fancy deluxe backstage tickets to a Great Big Sea show on the current tour–AND! Because they love me and want me to be happy, they got me a shirt!

SIGNED BY THE B’YS THEMSELVES.

Alert persons may note that this is actually the exact shirt I just bought at the Seattle show this past March. But that’s QUITE OKAY. Because seriously, if you’re handed a shirt signed by the members of Great Big Sea, I am here to tell you that the LAST thing you want to do is wash it. Because it would make the signatures sad. And we can’t have that, now can we? So my belovedest of Daras informs me that there are in fact frames for T-shirts. I will be acquiring this t-shirt one. And in the meantime, please behold the T-shirt signature goodness!

THANK YOU userinfomaellenkleth and userinfosiestabear! <3 I love you too!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Music All Around You)

The full show writeup is on the way, but for those of you who haven’t already seen me post these pics to the social networks, behold! My first attempt at getting a full shot of pics of the B’ys on my phone!

These were taken from Stage Bob in the second row, so we were pretty darned close to the stage. I was able to only get a small number of good shots, though–most of the songs were too brightly lit from my vantage point to get clear shots, especially given my newbie skill level. I don’t have a very steady hand yet either.

But! I did get several kinda okay shots during “The Mermaid” and one or two on other songs as well. The sparkly thing hanging off of Séan’s mic stand is actually a mobile saying “GBS XX”, which someone gave to the band as a gift before the show! Plus, there are quite a few shots of the crowd immediately around and above me, during the intermission between sets!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Music All Around You)

The full show writeup is on the way, but for those of you who haven’t already seen me post these pics to the social networks, behold! My first attempt at getting a full shot of pics of the B’ys on my phone!

These were taken from Stage Bob in the second row, so we were pretty darned close to the stage. I was able to only get a small number of good shots, though–most of the songs were too brightly lit from my vantage point to get clear shots, especially given my newbie skill level. I don’t have a very steady hand yet either.

But! I did get several kinda okay shots during “The Mermaid” and one or two on other songs as well. The sparkly thing hanging off of Séan’s mic stand is actually a mobile saying “GBS XX”, which someone gave to the band as a gift before the show! Plus, there are quite a few shots of the crowd immediately around and above me, during the intermission between sets!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

Dara and I started serious work on booking this last night, and discovered to our chagrin that the fares for cross-country Canada trains are prohibitively expensive! So our Trainventure is going to have significantly fewer trains than expected.

But that’s OKAY. Because this entire trip is going to brimming over with so much awesome that we may have to break some laws of physics to cram all of the awesome into two and a half weeks! Hey, I’ve got a supervillain for a spouse, if anybody can break laws of physics, it’ll be my beloved userinfosolarbird!

First up–Toronto, from roughly the 24th through the 26th of July! Agenda: enjoy the hospitality of userinfocow, the very best bovine in the eastern provinces! Meet up with Susan, the most awesome Le Vent du Nord fan that ever awesomed, because we owe that woman a proper thanks for the wedding champagne! And there may even be a house concert featuring Dara at Chez Cow!

Next–Montreal, from roughly the 27th through the 30th of July! Agenda: meet userinfoframlingem and userinfoscrunchions! Convene the Independent Panel of Montreal Bagel Judges! Locate and raid the best possible music store to get me yet more Quebecois trad for my ever-growing collection, and bonus points if I can find anywhere that’ll sell me any album I’m missing with Éric Beaudry on it. :D Locate a bookstore and see if I’m brave enough to bring home some French SF/F! And, if at all possible, find and boing to any appropriate nearby source of podorythmie! (I note, O Internets, that there are TANTALIZINGLY OPEN HOLES in the tour schedules of Le Vent du Nord AND Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer AND De Temps Antan AND La Bottine Souriante and you had better believe that if ANY of them drop shows into this time frame, I am ALL OVER THEM.)

Next–Moncton, from July 30th through August 1st! Agenda: enjoy the company of userinfobrightbeak, and perhaps there will be another house concert! Pauline is flinging us a million awesome Moncton-area things we may be doing as well!

And last but not least–St. John’s, from August 1st through August 6th! Agenda: meet userinfolethendy and any other local GBS fan crowd peeps! Absorb the general ambience and look for inspiration for Book 3 of the Kendis and Christopher books! Attend this which will, assuming that the booking of things goes well, is in extremely easy walking distance of this place where we want to stay!

And the crowning, shining glory of this entire Adventure: go to THIS because ZOMG GREAT BIG SEA IN NEWFOUNDLAND YES B’Y! Dara and I had previously been sure it would not be possible to top the magnificent awesomeness of our beloved B’ys at the Olympics in Vancouver. Our beloved B’ys on their home turf, with a Newfoundland crowd, is very likely the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY TO DO IT. You thought I got good altitude on La Danse Verticale for Le Vent? This concert’s Movement will not only be Vertical, it may well reach ORBIT.

Bookings of planes and trains and places to stay begins TONIGHT. Any of you in these places, Internets, who want to meet up with Dara and me–let us know! We look forward to seeing you all!

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

Dara and I started serious work on booking this last night, and discovered to our chagrin that the fares for cross-country Canada trains are prohibitively expensive! So our Trainventure is going to have significantly fewer trains than expected.

But that’s OKAY. Because this entire trip is going to brimming over with so much awesome that we may have to break some laws of physics to cram all of the awesome into two and a half weeks! Hey, I’ve got a supervillain for a spouse, if anybody can break laws of physics, it’ll be my beloved userinfosolarbird!

First up–Toronto, from roughly the 24th through the 26th of July! Agenda: enjoy the hospitality of userinfocow, the very best bovine in the eastern provinces! Meet up with Susan, the most awesome Le Vent du Nord fan that ever awesomed, because we owe that woman a proper thanks for the wedding champagne! And there may even be a house concert featuring Dara at Chez Cow!

Next–Montreal, from roughly the 27th through the 30th of July! Agenda: meet userinfoframlingem and userinfoscrunchions! Convene the Independent Panel of Montreal Bagel Judges! Locate and raid the best possible music store to get me yet more Quebecois trad for my ever-growing collection, and bonus points if I can find anywhere that’ll sell me any album I’m missing with Éric Beaudry on it. :D Locate a bookstore and see if I’m brave enough to bring home some French SF/F! And, if at all possible, find and boing to any appropriate nearby source of podorythmie! (I note, O Internets, that there are TANTALIZINGLY OPEN HOLES in the tour schedules of Le Vent du Nord AND Les Charbonniers de l’Enfer AND De Temps Antan AND La Bottine Souriante and you had better believe that if ANY of them drop shows into this time frame, I am ALL OVER THEM.)

Next–Moncton, from July 30th through August 1st! Agenda: enjoy the company of userinfobrightbeak, and perhaps there will be another house concert! Pauline is flinging us a million awesome Moncton-area things we may be doing as well!

And last but not least–St. John’s, from August 1st through August 6th! Agenda: meet userinfolethendy and any other local GBS fan crowd peeps! Absorb the general ambience and look for inspiration for Book 3 of the Kendis and Christopher books! Attend this which will, assuming that the booking of things goes well, is in extremely easy walking distance of this place where we want to stay!

And the crowning, shining glory of this entire Adventure: go to THIS because ZOMG GREAT BIG SEA IN NEWFOUNDLAND YES B’Y! Dara and I had previously been sure it would not be possible to top the magnificent awesomeness of our beloved B’ys at the Olympics in Vancouver. Our beloved B’ys on their home turf, with a Newfoundland crowd, is very likely the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY TO DO IT. You thought I got good altitude on La Danse Verticale for Le Vent? This concert’s Movement will not only be Vertical, it may well reach ORBIT.

Bookings of planes and trains and places to stay begins TONIGHT. Any of you in these places, Internets, who want to meet up with Dara and me–let us know! We look forward to seeing you all!

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

After a bit of judicious flinging of phrases through Google Translate, and cross-checking verbs against my shiny new 501 French Verbs book, I can now say the following things about myself:

Je suis une musicienne amateur. Je joue le piccolo, la flûte, et un peu de guitare et bouzouki. Je parle seulement un peu français. J’ai deux chats. Ils sont nommés Fred et George. J’ai lu un nombre ridicule de livres.

I particularly like that last one, since if I understand it correctly, it’s “I’ve read a ridiculous number of books.” Thank you, compound past tense!

Also, it occurred to me that one phrase right out of my beloved “Trois Navires de Ble” from GBS makes grammatical sense to me, too. I.e., the chorus: “sur le bord de l’eau nous irons jouer dans l’île”, or, “at the edge of the water we will play on the island”. A good chunk of that song still doesn’t parse to me, but that line does. It’s responsible for me being able to parse the title of the Le Vent song “Au bord de la fontaine”, and it’s why I could parse the chorus of La Volée’s “Belle, embarquez!”, too, since “sur l’bord de l’eau” is in that. (Note the smooshing of “le bord” into “l’bord”. I am advised by userinfocow that Quebecois French likes to do that kind of thing!)

So this is all fun! I’ve started slapping lyrics onto the various song files in my iTunes collection, so that I can read along with them as I listen on the bus going to and from work. It is helping LOTS for my ability to comprehend these words as words.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

After a bit of judicious flinging of phrases through Google Translate, and cross-checking verbs against my shiny new 501 French Verbs book, I can now say the following things about myself:

Je suis une musicienne amateur. Je joue le piccolo, la flûte, et un peu de guitare et bouzouki. Je parle seulement un peu français. J’ai deux chats. Ils sont nommés Fred et George. J’ai lu un nombre ridicule de livres.

I particularly like that last one, since if I understand it correctly, it’s “I’ve read a ridiculous number of books.” Thank you, compound past tense!

Also, it occurred to me that one phrase right out of my beloved “Trois Navires de Ble” from GBS makes grammatical sense to me, too. I.e., the chorus: “sur le bord de l’eau nous irons jouer dans l’île”, or, “at the edge of the water we will play on the island”. A good chunk of that song still doesn’t parse to me, but that line does. It’s responsible for me being able to parse the title of the Le Vent song “Au bord de la fontaine”, and it’s why I could parse the chorus of La Volée’s “Belle, embarquez!”, too, since “sur l’bord de l’eau” is in that. (Note the smooshing of “le bord” into “l’bord”. I am advised by userinfocow that Quebecois French likes to do that kind of thing!)

So this is all fun! I’ve started slapping lyrics onto the various song files in my iTunes collection, so that I can read along with them as I listen on the bus going to and from work. It is helping LOTS for my ability to comprehend these words as words.

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Bass Murray)

People, I am experiencing a potentially life-changing event here. I ain’t up to GBS levels of fangirling on Le Vent du Nord quite yet, but those lads from Quebec now very well and thoroughly have my attention, and it’s very significant that at an earlier point today, the number of LVN fan videos I’d added to my YouTube playlist had in fact outnumbered the Great Big Sea videos!

And that, my friends, is pure crazytalk. The lovely Monsieur Beaudry is laying down a very, very compelling case. But this is THE HONOR OF THE DOYLE at stake here. So I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus for people to hit me with their favorite GBS vids on YouTube–and I now repeat that call here! Link me up with your favorite Great Big Sea vids, people! Bonus points if they’re from shows I actually attended!

Remembering that userinfoangelina_zooma had pointed me at a vid of hers I’d never looked at, I finally looked at that tonight. And I gotta tell you, you have never heard “Cod Liver Oil” until you have heard it performed by Murray Foster. Behold!

And for the record, yes, C minor IS the key of someone who’s been drinking until five-thirty. ;>

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Bass Murray)

People, I am experiencing a potentially life-changing event here. I ain’t up to GBS levels of fangirling on Le Vent du Nord quite yet, but those lads from Quebec now very well and thoroughly have my attention, and it’s very significant that at an earlier point today, the number of LVN fan videos I’d added to my YouTube playlist had in fact outnumbered the Great Big Sea videos!

And that, my friends, is pure crazytalk. The lovely Monsieur Beaudry is laying down a very, very compelling case. But this is THE HONOR OF THE DOYLE at stake here. So I put out a call on Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus for people to hit me with their favorite GBS vids on YouTube–and I now repeat that call here! Link me up with your favorite Great Big Sea vids, people! Bonus points if they’re from shows I actually attended!

Remembering that userinfoangelina_zooma had pointed me at a vid of hers I’d never looked at, I finally looked at that tonight. And I gotta tell you, you have never heard “Cod Liver Oil” until you have heard it performed by Murray Foster. Behold!

And for the record, yes, C minor IS the key of someone who’s been drinking until five-thirty. ;>

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

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