by Charlie Hansen
Lately I’ve been taking in some ceilidhs around the area, some as a participant and others as a member of the audience and I’ve been impressed with the caliber of performance presented at these events. Many of the people that do the ceilidh circuit are seasoned performers that have cut down on the money making end of entertaining, if there is a money making end, for one reason or another and have taken to doing these, basically, non-paying events. The remainder are people that just play for the love of it.
You can see the difference in the two groups as far as quality of performance is concerned but the desire to entertain and bring a smile to the audience’s face is equally evident in both camps.
If you get a chance to take in a ceilidh in your local area, by all means do it. You may find an undiscovered gem of an entertainer.
I had the good fortune to take part in a bluegrass show on April 13 at the BIS hall on North River Road and I was amazed at the interest that is shown in this type of music by the non-traditional crowd. I had a lady approach me to tell me that her children were involved in the school music program and she wanted to expose them to a different, more rudimentary, form of music so that they would be able to form a different perspective. I’m glad to see these things happen because without the young people getting involved the music will die.
Saddle River String Band did an invigorating set of their blues and ragtime tinged music to a very large and appreciative crowd. They certainly have the art of entertaining down pat. Unfortunately, there are many groups that I see across the Island that don’t share that ability. The four guys, Troy, Tommy, Mike, and James show that they’re comfortable in their own skins and this very fact makes them engaging to the crowd. Many groups go on stage with a lot of inside jokes and banter that doesn’t include and engage the audience. Saddle River’s banter and on stage persona is open and inviting. Their self deprecating humour and clever asides all make for a very entertaining show and they did it in spades at the BIS.
An ever improving Bluegrass Revival played a very strong set of their own style of bluegrass that the crowd enjoyed very much.
Just one more item before I go. Garnet Buell has started his fourth CD project and should have it for sale in late May or early June. This CD is full of very old songs such “Moose River Goldmine,” and “Just Before The Battle Mother.” I’m sure all of Garnet’s fans will be keeping an eye open for this one.