I wrote a very important piece over on Medium about this very important topic!
The Free Reed Liberation Orchestra returns with a waltz which Steve Gruverman and I first heard on a cornemuse anthology, Landes de Gascogne. A couple of interesting points. First, a bunch of people play multiple tracks, but even though they are multiply audio-ed, they are only shown once in video. Also, Anahata with the pipes! I am smitten. And, first FRLO piece with puppets, thanks to Janneke.
Free Reed Liberation Orchestra
(February 2021 edition)
Anahata, Matthew Bampton,
Gary Chapin, Steve Gruverman,
Little Eggy, Gren Penn, Rick St. John,
Julian Scholefield, Janneke Slagter,
Puppets by Janneke Slagter
Directed by Gary Chapin
Tune 17 in the Bal Folk Tune Book, this scottish has a nice harmonic ambiguity. A lot of different choices could have been made. In the end, for the A section, I went with Amin-F-Dmin-Bb. All the thirds in the chords are off, so the major/minorness is just implied. The B section is Amin and then G (with a smattering of D thrown in).
If you like this sort of thing and would like to support the blog, please click on “Support This Blog” above! Thanks.
Huzzah! I have not only created a logo for the Free Reed Liberation Orchestra, but also set up a small shop and created some merch. Go over to the Accordeonaire shop for all the mugs, tee shirts, hoodies, stickers, etc. that you need, AND support the FRLO and accordion love in the process. Thank you!
Mazurka Auvergne (#134), Mazurka de Samatan (#142), and Mazurka (untitled, #136) played on my Hohner Erica, in A. The unnamed Mazurka is a variation on one that I play a lot, but it’s very similar to a version played by Gentiane, found below. Also includes their version of the amazing Brezon Valse.
If you feel like tipping the accordionist, go here!
Continuing the Bal Folk Tune Book Project with three 2-beat bourrées — “Les Moutons” #153 “En Passant la Rivière” #144 “Bourrées Dérobée” #148 — done in a fairly straightforward style. The first and third tune are in G, the middle tune is in D. That was a choice I made, since it is a completely diatonic tune, and usually for that sort of thing I would either transpose to a home key for this box (G/C) or get a different box in the right key. I did neither of those things and, because the key is a not-home one for that box, it sounds clunky to me when I get to the C#.
Well, that is why I took up the project — aside from obviating pandemic madness — to push me further in my playing. I’m almost ninety tunes into the Bal Folk Tune Book Project and the low hanging fruit is disappearing.
“Valse à Bonnejoie” is a tune I first heard of Frédéric Paris Carnet de Bal cassette. It’s a standard in the repertoire, and one that I sort of ignored for years and years. Who knows why? (Hint: not me) It’s also #103 in the Bal Folk Tune Book. Even though it is written in D, I am playing it in G. So there. Take that.
The Free Reed Liberation Orchestra is back! This time playing one of my favorite tunes, by one of my favorite people. “Charlie” was written by Sylvain Piron, in honor of Charlie Chaplin. It’s a French scottish (which is to say, a medium tempo couples dance in 4/4, and NOT from Scotland). Sylvain himself played the tune into a video for me in 2011, that can be found here.
The F.R.L.O (Dec 2020 edition)
Anahata, Gary Chapin,
Margaret Cox, Steve Gruverman,
Eric W. Johnson, Little
Eggy, Howard Mitchell,
Gren Penn, Rick St. John,
Janneke Slagter, Barbara Truex
We do this every once in a while,
contact Gary Chapin if you want in!
This tune is sort of two things and the same thing. On the one hand it’s a song in 6/8 called “Les Bouns Gorçous” (in Occitan), on the other hand it’s a scottish-valse found in the Bal Folk Tune Book (#209). When you hear one and then the other, you have that uncanny feeling, “This sounds like something, but it’s also different.” For this recording, I play the 6/8 tune first, a slow intro and then two times through, and then go into the scottish-valse. The 6/8 tune can be found in La Bourrée, the pre-war tune book that I reproduced here on the blog. Here’s the tune, with lyrics (which I almost sang, but really have no sense of Occitan pronunciation and didn’t want to mangle it):
Again, this may sound spookily familiar. One reason might be that Gentiane did this song on their album, but sung it with a French lyric, “Pendant le Messe,” and then also went into the scottish-valse. Here’s that:
A mazurka by the great Stephane Delicq called Septembre, but played as part of the December 2020 melodeon.net tune-of-the-month. Also happens to be the first day of snow in Maine. I learned this tune from Catherine Piron-Paira around 2006 when she and Sylvain Piron visited us in Maine, and I heard her playing it on a bowed psaltry. For years I thought it was a medieval tune. It’s true that it is very characteristic of Delicq, but one of those characteristics is timelessness.