youngraven: (suffer)
My bodhrán is in a pisspoor mood. I'm a bit worried that she's been somehow traumatised. I noticed that something was a bit off on the 20th when I sat in with the THSP. Sometimes the climate at Trinity Hall is bizarre (and the drum played beautifully at Gilligan's the next Tuesday), so I believed that to be the culprit. Only she's Gone Wrong again, and in the same way.

Right, so what does 'Gone Wrong' mean? I usually down tune my bodhrán a bit - till the head is slightly loose. There's a particular low ring I go for when the drum is struck without my hand pushing at the other side of the skin. As the skin is natural, I do have to chase this tone round during the course of a seisiun. Nature of the beast sort of thing, and I'm not troubled by it. Sunday, when I did as I usually do with it, I couldn't find that one tone. Rather I got a THMOCK (my description for the sound a bodhrán will make when it's wet or the head is too loose) which was bright ('bright' meaning the sound a head will make when it's too dry or tuned too tightly). See, these are mutually exclusive in my experience. There is no 'bright THMOCK', 'cos how could it be too loose and too tight all at once?

It short, it sounded like shite - and that isn't me exaggerating at all. Three other people played my drum last night. One did say 'er, it's sounded better...' and the other two echoed my sentiments and scratched their heads as to how it could have gone that queer sort of wrong. I couldn't play it. The tones I was managing fought with the melody instruments. During my attempts at playing it, I'd think 'ah go on, I know you're in there somewhere'. Somewhere, in this instance, must have been Majorca. :| One of the other players suggested I 'condition' the head. I fed it some beer. That did nothing but likely make it sticky.

The maker suggests lanolin or 'Lexol', but used sparingly. So, I suppose I'll have a go. It's been out of my hands a few times recently, and I hope it hasn't somehow been...compromised? I should think that wouldn't be likely. Perhaps I should down tune it and leave it alone for a few days.


Apr. 12th, 2007 06:43 pm
youngraven: (Mr Shamoose)
So, it's Thursday now, is it? What have I been getting up to for the past week (fortnight, I suppose)? Haven't an inkling. It's curious, when it was en vogue to keep paper journals, I rarely wrote about shite - and now? It's quantity before quality, a chairde. And I can't even muster any shame over it.

Yes, yes. Whinge and moan. At any rate...

So, here's a bit of my life told largely in chat logs.

The last seisiun but two
S: how's your life?
G: last night's fun was Exciting. :|
S: oh?
G: there was a cyclone near to the pub. we were almost made to go into the...vaults, i suppose.
G: and albert and i had words in an amusing way.
S: erk.
S: what were they?
G: och, he's being a diva. sure, he's entitled, i suppose. only he's decided that he'll not play in unless the rest of all of the bodhránaí do as well. you know, never mind the fact that some of us play other instruments and all, never mind the fact that others of us are sick to our guts of That Particular Reel Set, never mind the fact that there's got to be a bit of craic to complement the ceól.
G: you know...the root of the word 'bodhrán' is 'bodhar' - which means 'deaf'.
G: sprout a gorm alphonso.
G: and well, mum and dad and leonard had come to have a listen. when i went to go and sit with them (LIKEYADO) he creeps up behind me and bawls out 'have i got to pay you to play?' and i squawked 'these are my parents!' and his eyes got big and he blathered something about having been born with a stupid gene.
G: but it's alright, really, 'cos he's a grandfather.
S: heh
G: in all honesty, it's the closest he's come to actually vexing me.
S: hmm
G: but then he asked that i sit near to him so that he could 'steal licks off me'. i'm a hoore. it was an ego stroke. i took it.

So. There's that. There was Weather, my father told me a few days afterwards that it had been Closer Than We'd Thought, so I suppose we were actually in a bit of danger. Poor Gilligan's would have been smashed to bits. The water was rising up under the south wall. We some of us remarked that at least it would wash away whatever it is that causes our feet to stick to the rug. I try not to ask.

The last seisiun but one
I haven't got a chat log for this one, so I'll have to use all my very own words. Grand.

[ profile] shaddowshoes's sister and her friend had come down to the pub (this one being Trinity Hall - I realise that the pub is hardly descriptive enough), so I didn't play as much as I'd thought to do, has been occurring of late there were at least five other bodhránaí there, and sure I applaud Albert's decision to make it open for all...there comes a time when a Line has got to be drawn. So I played for a bit, and then I didn't. The open Trinity seisiun isn't my own seisiun (as though any of them are, really, but there you are), so I'm a bit more...likely watch the other players. Sort of thing.

Afterwards, [ profile] shaddowshoes and I wandered over to the Tipp to listen to Queen's Gambit for a little while. I played in with them there for their first set. It's grand to be Useful. Erm...and...talked a bit Bob the Booking Agent...and I can't recall a thing that we said to each other, and something tells me that isn't to my advantage. Shite, I'll have to be writing it down now. They tell you the mind is the first to go. Whoosh. Ah, but I've got an excuse - and I've just remembered it.

I've got a watch. I do. It's a lovely Citizen which I've recently had repaired. I'm fond of my watch - it was a gift from [ profile] shaddowshoes. The reason my watch was sent off to the watchmaker for repair has (likely) got to do with the many times I'd forget to remove it before seisiun or a gig or anything that would cause me to Whack a Goat (er, I'm reclaiming the phrase) - the rapid flicking motion had shot the movement. Right. At any rate, I'd taken it off before playing with QG (may I call you lot that?), and I'd tucked it into Grainne's case - which I immediately forgot doing. So as we were driving away, I thought ah shite, where's my watch, and I made [ profile] shaddowshoes to stop the car till I'd found it.

His car has got a heavy glass window at back which one opens to reach anything inside, and on cold nights, it's disinclined to stay up on its own - a fact that had also slipped my mind. The bloody thing came down on the back of my head with a crash and I uttered rather a loud squawk.

Luckily, I've got a thick skull. However, if I forget my name...sure, you know why. Argh.

Once we'd determined that I wasn't about to cark it, we drove off to Safe House Beta (may I call it that?). I actually don't recall a great deal of that. Shite.

The last seisiun
Office aggro has got my patience stretched nigh to the snapping point. Inconsequential things that perhaps I'd growl a bit over are making me go frothy-mouthed these days. Thus, I arrived to seisiun in rather a surly humour. My mate, Tyson, wandered in round half an hour after I'd arrived, so this night was more for the craic and less for the ceól. I'd intended to leave at half-nine. I left at half-ten. Ah well. Nobody died.


I suppose that brings us round to last night. Last night, I went for a swim with [ profile] turtliewings which was quite a lovely way to end my sloth. There's talk of making it a standing engagement.


Feb. 5th, 2007 11:27 pm
youngraven: (Default)
Saturday night was Sprig's first show of the new year, and we blew the roof off the place. No lie. We had a fantastic, attentive crowd, and we closed to a full house. Many amongst them were people we knew, but many more weren't - and that's always grand. It isn't as though I dislike playing to my mates - never believe that, but there's a certain sort of gleeful conquest in winning over new people.

Sort of thing. I'm not feeling terribly descriptive at the moment, so this mightn't be as glib and pithy as other posts. Never mind that.

Confucius sez it's time for a cut )

And there it is.
youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
...when I walked thro' the door last night was that my new bodhrán case had been moved. 'Ah', sez I to myself - and that's really all I said to myself, because nothing more needed saying.

I knew, sort of thing.

So, I began to look round - and there, in the pile of instruments near to the hearth, was a perfectly sized box with the bodhrán case draped over it. The box opened willingly and without need of a knife or sharp edge, and inside I could see a familiar green shape. I was gentle, I didn't merely grab the thing and jerk it out of the box. I didn't waste any time, either. It had occurred to me that there may have been a few changes in design over the years, and I wanted to find out what they might be.

So, out of the box it came, and then out of its protective sack - although what they thought the sack would guard against (a swarm of bees, perhaps?) is a mystery. The first thing I noticed was a change in the cross brace. Had I chosen to do, I could have removed Mallory's cross brace with two turns of two screws (well, likely more than two turns, but still, it would have been a simple procedure). This one's (and I'm still inclined to call it 'Grainne', so.) cross brace appears to be moulded into the frame, and I'm uncertain as to whether it could be removed without a saw. I think [ profile] shaddowshoes possibly noticed a way to remove it, but I'll have to have another look at it. I don't recall Mallory having a visible seam, and that this one does actually troubles me a bit. I mean, I'm sure it's constructed well enough, however... Sure, it isn't as though I've ever had a notion to hurl a bodhrán down a flight of stairs, so it's likely the seam is nothing to worry about.

I also noticed that the rim's got a foolishly sharp edge, so that'll have to be dealt with. Mallory was only just beginning to bite me a bit, and Grainne, it appears won't wait till we've gotten to know one another. So I'll find something durable (and sticky) to cover over that edge. I mean, it's really sharp. You'd wonder what was going thro' the maker's head - 'it's not a bodhrán if it doesn't draw a bit of blood'. I suffer for my art enough as it is, thank you very much.

I then considered the head. I think I was leaving this till last. The Fibreskyn heads have changed a bit over the years. Having a guess, I'd say that the good people at Remo are trying to simulate the look and feel of actual goatskin, and I can understand why. Mallory...actually, I'd not had her a year before the layers of the skin had begun to separate ('cos I recall showing it to Preston - who's been gone for ages now - and saying 'Jesus, I've already blown out the head!'). I coated Duncan (my goatskin rowboat of a bodhrán) with Nivea to keep the skin pliable - it might be that I do the same with this one to stop it removing bits of my hand, 'cos that's a singular sort of misery - and usually it happens at the middle of the night when I can't exactly stop playing.

Fine, grand, blahblahblah - so how does it sound?

It sounds...exactly as I'm used to a Remo drum sounding. I tuned it to the base tone I recall Mallory having, thumped it a few times with my eejity club of a tipper (oh, that thing has got to go - och, it's horrible), and determined that I've lost nothing in sound quality. Sure, that's a relief - I've still got a bodhrán track on the CD to re-record, and a gig at Trinity Hall at the end of the month.

There's a house seisiun tomorrow (someplace), I'm still deciding whether I should go. If nothing else, to show Mr Fleming (who likely doesn't know about any of it at any rate, and I'm merely indulging my nasty, angsty side) that it's all (mostly) sorted out. Otherwise, it'll have to keep till Tuesday night.

Ha. How many times have you heard a person say 'oh, I can't wait until Tuesday'?

The truth?

Dec. 12th, 2006 01:48 pm
youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
I'm not exactly over the loss of Mallory. Or rather (we'll have done with the anthropomorphising for the time being), I'm not over the loss of my unique creative outlet. It's as though some vital part of me is missing. Curious, innit? It's a thing, after all, and I can't count the number of things I've lost in my life - nor do I even remember most of them.

This one, however, is proving more than an annoyance. I've got beyond the lunatic notions that my bodhrán is huddled shivering and cold in a creepy, dark alley. In all honesty, I really only entertained that notion briefly (when it was snowing). I haven't lost that much of my grip on reality. But...I suppose I feel sort of suspended and useless. I'm even questioning my standing in the community, which I'm sure is madness.

'Grainne' (in theory) will be here by Thursday. Her case and cipín (which actually means 'twig') have already arrived. The tipper (which doesn't mean 'twig') is heavier than I'd thought it would be. This means I'll have to go and find Mr Alfonso (thus risking a punch in the mouth - I'm joking, of course, he'd never dare), rather quickly. Since I've now got a tipper, I considered bringing Duncan (my old bodhrán) to seisiun tonight. He's got rather a nasty gash in his head (plastered with duct tape, 'cos that's classy), and...he's big, and a host of other excuses which all sum tidily to 'couldn't be arsed'. Actually, he's a big fellow (18"), and I've since grown unused to playing a drum that large.

Still, I'm really tempted to race home and fetch him, just to see...

So, in short, I'm feeling a bit out of sorts. Sure, that's as angsty as you'll get from me here. Enjoy it whilst you can. ;)
youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
I'd given Mallory a week to turn up someplace. That week ended Tuesday night, so yesterday, I sent for her replacement. Said replacement, which I'm tentatively calling 'Grainne' (for my grandmother, in a sense), should arrive before 23 December. I'm glad I didn't wait, as we've got a show at Trinity Hall on the 29th. Sure, I could borrow a bodhrán, but my friends mostly play Alfonso drums, and they are entirely too heavy for the likes of me.

I bought a case and a cipín as well.

Sure, it's a drag, but it's sorted out now, and thus it's time to move on.
youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
...and now, we wait.

Hallo, Mr Bodhrán Maker

I spoke with you briefly at NTIF about having a bodhrán made, and I'm interested in gaining a bit more information. I read at your web site that you'll not be answering any enquiries till after the first of the new year, but I thought I'd write to put my name on the list - especially since I'd like something of a custom bodhrán made (nothing too difficult, I'm sure).

I look forward to hearing from you.

Gypsy Youngraven

So, lest I forget, this is what I want:
Diametre: 14", although I could be persuaded to take 12".
Depth: 7" with a cutaway
Colour: Black
Taping and weighting: Yes
Skin: Lambeg
Crossbar: Removeable - this is of utmost importance. I want my crutch ready to hand, yet I also want to be able to toss it away someday. I will not use a strap on my bodhrán - regardless of what was done in Riverdance.
Tuning: I believe this particular maker only uses internal tuning keys, so I needn't ask him for that. I wonder if he could drop the number from the usual six to four...

So. There it is. Here's to hoping he writes back before March.
youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
We (meaning [ profile] shaddowshoes, [ profile] toarthos, and most of Sprig) spent the weekend here at the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat. We'd gone to the first one in 2004, but somehow had managed to get ourselves booked during last year's one. After this year, I think we'll likely take every possible effort not to be booked during the O'Flaherty weekend. Now, if we can only convince Chris to come out with us next year...I think a kidnapping is in order. I'll have to remember to talk to his wife.

So, now that I've got the opening few sentences out of the way, here are the highlights.

Spiders and the Coyote Chorale )

So, it's hardly about the retreat itself, but it was entertaining, now wasn't it? Right then. So, we left in a flurry Friday morning, because our timetables were a bit misleading. I think that next year I will make spreadsheets for us as soon as we get our timetables. Since the times and words all sort of ran together, I thought our first classes began at half-one. In fact, they began at noon. I discovered this at half-ten when [ profile] shaddowshoes asked me to have another look at his time table. Oh, shite, sez we, and we flung our gear and ourselves into his car and raced off to Midlothian.

We made our first class in seconds flat )

Have I mentioned the wind? The wind was really high on Friday. It made pitching our tents an interesting endeavour. It also made me rather cold and disagreeable. Since we hadn't bought meals when we booked into the retreat (and I'd got the notion that it was now too late to do) and I doubted the Pocket Rocket's (eff off, it's a camp stove) ability to stay lit in the wind, we drove into town for more water, sandwiches, and a scarf, hat and gloves. Whilst we were waiting for our sandwiches, a fellow appeared at the till wearing costly Italian leather shoes and sporting a fistful of money. I thought 'oh dear, it's Tony Soprano'. He really looked the part, and he acted the part, and sure it could have been an affectation, but... But I really don't think so. Curious fellow.

After we got back, we went hunting for a seisiun. We stopped at one for a while, but then my usual seisiun mates decided to sneak off and make their own, so [ profile] shaddowshoes and I followed. We chose the church there (it's a Sallie Army encampment, so of course there's a church), because we thought the accoustics would be nice. Also, it was brightly lit, and there was room for all of us. It was mostly well attended...and here's where I keep the family business in the family. ;) I played until my bodhrán started to whinge at me, then we went back to our tent.

It was cold that night. Too cold for me and my sleeping bag, to be sure. On my list of gear now is a new sleeping bag rated for colder weather. Eesh.

It's a half mile to the shower )

I think that next year, we're going to find other accomodations that are closer in. We'd hoped for campfire seisiunna, but it didn't happen. Besides, I think there are other places to build fires, and if we hire out a cottage, we'll be able to have them there.

Tir gan teanga... )

Eh, and they went to Belfast and hung round with Gerry Adams a few years ago.
So, how many of you skipped clicking that link? Haha. I’d almost keyed in a paragraph about the sineadh fada (no, it isn’t a political organisation), but decided that perhaps that would be a bit much. I’ll try to keep my enthusiasm to a dull roar; however, I can’t promise that the roar will always be in English.

I’m embarrassing myself.

Right then.

A menace with a microphone )

I suppose it all comes down to deciding that an audience isn’t a pack of rabid wolves eager to set upon me and rend me to shreds. I know this intellectually, and yet. Sure, that’s more about my psyche than you ever wanted to know. So, enough of the neuroses, alright?

Well, perhaps I lied a bit )

At any rate, after the song seisiun was dead and buried, I fetched my bodhrán and went to go find my mates – which I did rather quickly. I walked in, had a look round, removed my bodhrán from her case, and she promptly told me to eff off and jump in the pond. Hrm. Fine then. I’d even bought for her a new tipper (and a blue one at that!). The ingratitude of frame drums is sobering.

Janey, this thing is five pages long! )

So, I’ve talked about the Irish classes, the performance classes, the bodhrán class, and the Other Guy...I think I’ve done with it all, mostly.

We tossed our campsite into the back of [ profile] shaddowshoes’s car as the sun went down (och, there was the time change to feck with – ‘it’s an entire other hour for seisiunna’ sez Ken gleefully when he reminded us all – he’s a riot), and as we drove away into the gloaming we phoned [ profile] toarthos and asked whether they’d mind seeing us yet again. They wouldn’t mind, they said, so we drove to Englewood for the perfect ending to an all-Irish (well, but for the burning of fecking Kansas) weekend: curry.

Slainte go deo.
youngraven: (whack-fol-lol-de-ra)
I haven't made a seisiun report in aeons. I think it's that they've all begun to run together - I can't work out where one ends and another begins.

I have been playing quite a number of seisiunna lately. I think it's become a reflex. A seisiun appears, I sit, and I play. Perhaps during the course of it I'll think 'hrm, I'm hungry' or 'beer?' or 'for fuck's sake, I've been here for hours, and it's raining' - or something to that effect, but I'm rarely dissuaded. This is an eejity paragraph. Please ignore it. Thanks very much.

Hrm. I can tell that the person on the recording to which I was listening not a moment ago was playing one of Albert's drums (even if I hadn't read the sleeve notes), he's fond of treble and thus there's no bass to the drum at all. All tickety, no boom.

Speaking of which, a fellow showed up last night with an astonishingly large bodhrán. Likely a 16x12, and it had a really thick head. This drum certainly wasn't lacking in boom; however, it made partials that I didn't find terribly appealing. I prefer purer tones, me. It was very lovely - he'd painted knotwork beasties round the rim in red and gold and green, and the tuning ring was crafted out of something that looked like marble (only wasn't).

He said to [ profile] mishajames that he'd seen us at CHF. I don't recall seeing him, but that doesn't mean anything - beyond that I can't pay attention to even the slightest detail when I'm on stage. Hence the reason I'm for ever tripping over cables or losing my plectrum (Where is it? Halloooo?). He had the look of 'professional bodhrán player' on him. I had the look of 'girl who needs rather a long nap' on me. He might have tried to make idle chatter. I might have responded with 'nrrggh'? I don't recall. Today, I've got the look of 'boy who needs rather a long nap' on me. I'm disappointed that no-one has called me 'sir'.

He wasn't very tall, this fellow.

The rain had begun as I was driving there, fortunately, my bodhrán is reasonably impervious to damp or cold or anything besides dipping it in liquid nitrogen or setting it afire - I imagine it would melt or something.

A friend I've not seen in ages was there - she's one of Michelle's new students, although she wasn't playing fiddle that night. It was lovely to see her. She says to me that she'll be coming round the seisiun more often, as Michelle as recommended it. Michelle was very troubled that no-one knew how to play the Salamanca Reel (I think it's a reel), and she told us all so. I think a few of us wanted (but very politely so) to pinch her.

Hrm...there isn't much else, is there? Only that I've decided that I'm not going to spend as much time nattering with a certain seisiun mate as I used to do. His modus operandi is to build himself up by slagging other people off (and it's not even merely his enemies - it's his mates, his colleagues, random people in the street), and last night it got too vexing to ignore. So.

So...this all seems a bit disjointed. Imagine that you're holding a threaded needle, now then stitch the paragraphs together in your mind and create something cohesive, please.
youngraven: (och)
I know I've used that title before. It was just as revolting then as it is now. Hurrah that.

My Bad Cat Calendar's offering for today is likely to offend somebody, so I've covered it over with my Podlike Being. My Podlike Being's first offering for the morning is 'The Kilburn High Road'. That song always fills me with a mad desire to get filthy pissed and burn things down.

I'm not entirely certain why.

It's another song that Floggin' M play astonishingly fast live. Seriously, the corners of the room had begun to curve inwards. If the song had been another minute longer, the universe would have frayed round the edges.

Edges. Ha. )

I was an unforgivable 20 minute late to the office.

'S all I got, me dearies - and to think you've just killed ten minutes of your life at reading it. Seems damned unfair, dunnit?


youngraven: (Default)

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