Nice night at the Grey Horse

I ran down to the Grey Horse Tavern in Bayport again to see Luke Powers and Bernadette Fee make the rafters roar once again, but also to say good luck to Austin who will be heading down to start his new life with Raleigh FD. I met up with Chief McKenna and the Honorable Kate Browning and a couple of Austin’s buddies there and what a fantastic time we had! Great music (beyond great – I’d say, “sublime”) and nice conversation. The bar-tender is attentive and fair, the wait staff friendly and welcoming. I must admit to having nothing but pints so I can’t speak to the food, but James’ fried pickles were incredible (never had those before!). If you get a chance, Sessions are usually the last Thursday in the month.

The Greyhorse in October

Irish Music at Kings Park Day

I met up with John Corr yesterday to play Irish music at Kings Park Day. This street fair is kid friendly and has a wonderful small town America vibe. I found this picture of us in the Kings Park Notebook gallery of the event. I got to play a bunch of fiddle tunes and sing a bunch of ballads I rarely play. The guys from AOH Div 3 who were there were super nice as was Brian Clancy of Brian Clancy’s Realty, our sponsor. The SCPD guys seemed to appreciate us as well – one of them was a piper so already had a love of the music. If I was looking to move, Kings Park would be high up on my list – its really a nice town.


Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfetones

Derek Warfield called my buddies Kevin and Nick up on stage to finish their set at St Margeret’s Church in Selden where he was playing as Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfetones. They even pimped our gig the next day at the Hauppauge FD to the crowd (Thanks!). Damaris Woods was absolutely awe inspiring on banjo. Excellent playing by all and great historical stories with tie-ins from Derek to the American struggle for Independence from England.

The Tenor Mandola

At my last show I got to play Cate’s new octave mandolin (known as the “Tenor Mandola” in Ireland) and I wondered what the tuning was supposed to be on it having never played one before. This led to the following investigation:

The ‘cello (and viola) as well as the violin (and so, mandolin) are tuned in fifths (CGDA for cello and viola, and GDAE for the violin). The bass and the guitar (except for the B string) are tuned in fourths (EADG and EADGBE respectively). These last two instruments draw lineage through the Viol de Gamba (literally viol for the leg) which was an early ‘cello and the Vihuela, an early form of guitar. The Viol and the Vihuela were both gut-stringed instruments and the tuning in fourths was more akin to that used in the lute. The Tenor Mandola is tuned as a mandolin only an octave lower, and so is tuned in fifths (as Cate had pointed out to me at the time ;).

Tuning in fifths was a later development and there were several reasons for it I’ve found:

  • The harmonic relationship produces a richer set of overtones
  • The size of an instrument and the fact that we have four fingers seems to make it more practical. Depending on the size of the instrument tuning in fourths could render the fourth finger useless
  • It requires less strings for a given range. You need a five string bass to get as many notes as you can get on a four string bass tuned in fifths (note: I haven’t actually ever tuned a bass in fifths)

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LI Irish Fest 2008

We were out at the LI Irish Fest which was held at the Abbess Farm in Calverton from about 2 until 11 on Saturday, and I had been having such a good time I had forgotten to take any pictures at all. All I have are some crappy shots from a cell phone, though I think Sport had a camera with him. There were 7 tents of various sizes, all very impressive. I quipped that we should find out how much it costs to have one of these put up, so we wouldn’t need to set up any tents at all when we camp; We could just partition the huge thing into rooms! In fact, the only thing that wasn’t impressive about the fest was the turn out. I don’t know if it was a lack of advertising or what, but there were some awesome bands playing to nearly empty tents which was a shame. The lack of crowds was very welcome to me personally, however – I just hope they broke even at least. Those tents were probably not cheap.
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