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bob hallett


Newfoundland tunes hunt for the weekend

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 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 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 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 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!

Great Big Sea

Great Big Sea at the Moore in Seattle, 3/8/2013

It has not escaped my attention, O Internets, that I never did actually finish the series of posts about our Great Canadian Adventure this past summer–and of course the highlight of same, the Great Big Sea show at Torbay in Newfoundland. Given that it is now several months after the fact posting about that would be anticlimactic. Especially given that we did just have ourselves the pleasure of Great Big Sea right here in Seattle, and oh my yes, it was good to have them back again.

Maybe not quite as awesome as seeing them on their home turf, but pretty damned awesome nonetheless!

All the usual suspects were on hand for the show, and in my particular case, this meant meeting up for dinner beforehand with friends for Mexican food at Pacific Place. My friend Geri came down from Vancouver since our show was cheaper than theirs, and I was happy to offer her crash space–in no small part since she’ll be reciprocating for me next month when I come up for Le Vent du Nord! Had we had time, we might have enacted a Cunning Plan, since I’d been hearing amusing rumors of a 20th anniversary cake brought to the B’ys in Portland–but! Even without such, it was almost universally an excellent show. (The one exception was my poor friend Jenny whose dinner disagreed with her, but thankfully she made it through the entire concert!)

Arrival at the Moore as per usual put me right in smack dab sight of the merch table. Which I promptly raided for my latest GBS shirt–this one, in fact. And I started running into quite a few folks I know from the original OKP as well as its current Facebook group incarnation, since people were on the lookout for my hat! Much love and many hugs to Angela R. and Helen and Julie and Martha and Lynda, all of whom I said hi to at various points during the show.

And without further ado–and a ONE! And a TWO get up now! ONE, TWO, THREE, JUMP AROUND!

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Great Big Sea

Great Big Sea at the Moore in Seattle, 3/12/2011 (Part 3 of 3)

In which our heroine is super-late posting the last bit of the concert writeup from the 12th, she admits! But I beg your indulgence, my fellow GBS fans, for lo, I have been stricken this last week or so with the plague. STRICKEN, I tell you. Handsome and talented as The Doyle is, not even he can make me string coherent thoughts together when I’m in a Sudafed-and-Nyquil-induced coma. And I’m assuming y’all want me to finish this report off with something a bit more substantial than “mmmm Alan is so pretty mmmm”, anyway!

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