It has been suggested that the first move to play Irish music in a
pub was in The Black Cap in London's Camden Town in 1947, followed by
The Devonshire Arms, also in London. From then it spread over the years
so that there are now Irish pub sessions all over the world, from Japan
to Rio de Janeiro. Of course there were jam sessions before, during the Jazz
era for example, but nothing has caught the people's imagination like
the Irish pub session.
One reason for this, I think, was during the folk revival of the 1960s
and early 1970s, when groups like Planxty, The Bothy Band and De Danaan
burst onto the scene. Many young people were entranced by this exciting
new sound, and determined that they too wanted to play Irish jigs and
reels. This is true to an extent in Scotland where, in spite of
having its own thriving traditional music culture, the majority of pub
sessions are predominantly Irish.
I believe things are changing though, as more people discover the
quality of Scottish music available, and exciting recording artists such
as Jock Tamson's Bairns, Catriona MacDonald, Deaf Shepherd and Martyn
Bennett exerted their influence. Edinburgh has a very healthy session
scene, and now you're as likely to hear Scottish music being played as Irish.
As someone who has been involved in the Edinburgh session scene as a
player and an instigator, I'm committed to improving people's awareness of
Scots music and creating an environment where Scots music is not only
accepted, but is seen to be the norm. This section of the web site aims
to provide resources for people who are interested in playing Scottish
music in a session setting. Click on the links the the right to take you to the
various pages. If you have any particular questions or problems, let me
know (email me).