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Sunday April 3rd 2005

Old-Time Mandolin Workshop

I was booked to do an all-day workshop in Edinburgh, Old-Time Mandolin. It's a style of music I have loved for years, and I've always wanted to do a workshop on that genre. Being a Scottish music festival, it was requested that I put a Scottish slant on the material, so I concentrated on looking at tunes which originated in Scotland, but which at some point were absorbed in to the US folk tradition. No shortage of tunes to look at, and we covered Soldier's Joy, Billy in the Low Ground and Old Molly Hare, while exploring chord accompaniment, ringing strings, double-stops and attitude!.

It was a smallish group, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. I was relieved, as I'd been ill all week, after planning on preparing for the workshop for six days solid. I did enough prep, and relied on my comfort with the syile to carry me through the rest, so I don't think anyone was short-changed.

One thrill was meeting Brian Finnegan, whistler extraordinaire from Flook who was doing one of the other workshops (which included fiddle with Amy Geddes, flute with Sarah Allen and Guitar with Sandy Wright); I told him that I teach many of my classes a tune which he composed - The Donegal Lass - and he told me he was honoured. Later I gave him one of my hand-out sheets at which he seemed genuinedly pleased and impressed; he'd never seen the tune written out before!