Musical Pub Crawl
Our tour starts
in Co. Clare, music capital of Ireland.
Click picture to
enter but before you start take some time to read the session etiquette, a
must for any musician visiting Erin's green Isle.
You'll hear some of
the very best music in Ireland at sessions. An Irish session is a
gathering of musicians and most often happens in a pub. Playing in a
session, especially if it's a good one can be an invaluable experience
and a chance to improve your own musical skills, as well as a lot of
fun. This doesn't mean that it's an open invitation for anyone to
join in, though on most occasions newcomers will be welcomed albeit with
a certain circumspection until the ability to play well with the group
is demonstrated. If you're intending to play in sessions in
Ireland, or anywhere for that matter, you might find the following session etiquette useful.
Don't just rock
into a pub expecting to join right in. You should ask or wait to be
invited, and it's always polite to listen first to get the feel of the
session as each one is different.
Don't play if you don't know the
tune or, if you must, be very quiet as your wrong notes might
distract and/or irritate the person next to you.
If you play a percussion or
rhythm instrument don't play too loudly or out of time as this is
very irritating to the melody players. In Irish music the melody is
FAR more important than the backing. A good rule of thumb is only
one bodhran and/or guitar at a time.
Barging in to start tunes without being
invited is considered antisocial especially if you are not part of the regular
crowd. A session will most likely have a couple of musicians who
lead the group and if you prove yourself you'll usually be invited to lead a set
or two, or they may ask you what tunes you know and work
out some that are common to everyone.
Playing too fast and too loud so
that you take over from the person leading the tune set is
considered highly discourteous and can alienate you from others in a
In general, those organising the
session call the shots.
Throughout Ireland, in
the towns and villages there are literally hundreds of pubs where you can hear,
and sometimes play traditional music. Music sessions in
Ireland start anywhere from 9.30 - 10pm, though as you go further north
some are even later, and the pubs officially close around midnight. Many
close the doors and rock on until very late (or early as it may be). Quite a few pubs have what are called organised sessions, where the musicians are paid to provide traditional
music, basically for tourists and visitors. These are not
always easy or appropriate to join in on but it's
worth going along as you'll get to hear some of the best local players and
often make the contacts necessary to be invited to other sessions where
you will be welcome to play.