The joy of coming full circle

December 26, 2016

The London EyeEverything comes full circle and I’m reminded of that more often than not. Take for example, bell-bottoms and leg warmers. Who would have thought they’d be cool twice in my life-time? Or platform shoes, of which I’m still afraid to walk in.

Even when it comes to my writing. I come up with an idea, I start writing. I take my words in another direction (maybe a few) yet I always end up writing about my original concept. Coming full circle.

For the last 4-5 months, I’ve been learning various other genres of music on my fiddle other than Irish music. I’ve been practicing some jazz, blues, folk and everything under the sun except for Irish music. It was not intentional. I was taking a class and Irish music was just not on the syllabus. I’ve also been participating in drum workshops and dance workshops that are completely unrelated to Irish music. Read the rest of this entry »


The 5 most popular posts in 2015

December 31, 2015

New Years ResolutionsAt the end of each year it is always fun to know which posts were the most popular. It gives me an idea of what you like to read about and helps me plan for upcoming articles.

Below are this year’s top posts:

Here are the top 5 posts of the year:

  1. 10 Tips to calm stage fright – Do you get nervous before a performance? If you do, don’t worry you’re not alone. Everyone does at least on some level.  Hell, I even get nervous starting a tune set at a session sometimes. The trick is to not let it get the best of you. Read the post to find out how to cure stage fright.
  2. An Irish Session in Brattleboro – Thanks to Dan Restivo for writing this post about the session at McNeill’s pub. Read about McNeill’s Pub session.
  3. Playing in an Irish session – Jericho Style – Every first and third Thursday of the month, the Jericho Cafe and Tavernplays host to a traditional Irish session open to all Irish musicians. Like all sessions, it has its own flavor. It is designed to be less intimidating and a comfortable place for people of various experiences to share a tune. The intention is to include all who want to play. Learn about this Irish session in Vermont.
  4. Practice tips for the traditional Irish musician – Practicing can make the difference between a good player and a great player. Just playing tunes the way you always played them can be fun but it’s so much more fun when you’re actually making beautiful music. Read my tips on playing Irish music.
  5. 4 Misconceptions of an Irish session – If you’re not versed in Irish music and you happen to stumble into a place like Bagitos on a Saturday afternoon when the place is filled with musicians, you might not know exactly what to make of it. There is definitely an art to sessioning and a few unwritten rules you should know before you either jump in and play or call your friends to come listen to the band. Find out what they are.

Thanks for reading my blog and being a part of this amazing music community. Please feel free to shoot me an email or comment below if you have a topic you’d like me to write about.

I hope you have a very happy, healthy new year that is filled with beautiful music!


When one door closes…

November 17, 2014

doorWhen one door closes, another one always opens.

If you were an avid session-goer to the On the Rise Bakery session that recently ceased because of new ownership, fear not. The session lives on…It’s just in another location.

This Thursday, November 20 from 7-9pm, marks the start of a new session at the Jericho Cafe and Tavern (the former Village Cup) on Rt 15, just over the Essex town line. The address is 30 Vermont Rt 15, Jericho.

Read the rest of this entry »


Upcoming traditional music events

June 2, 2014

sunshineJune is one of my favorite months in Vermont. Mostly because it’s the start of summer. The grass has turned green, flowers have bloomed, caterpillars have turned to butterflies and I can finally leave the house without a warm jacket.

It’s also my favorite time of year because it’s the start of festival season. A time where I can combine my two favorite things: enjoying the outdoors and playing (or listening to) music. And there is no shortage of music in our fine little state -especially traditional music.

Here are a few upcoming concerts and festivals worthy of your attention:

Read the rest of this entry »


4 Common Misconceptions of an Irish Session

March 2, 2014

by Katrina VanTyne

If you’re not versed in Irish music and you happen to stumble into a place like Bagitos on a Saturday afternoon when the place is filled with musicians, you might not know exactly what to make of it. There is definitely an art to sessioning and a few unwritten rules you should know before you either jump in and play or call your friends to come listen to the band.

Here are 4 common misconceptions of an Irish session:

Read the rest of this entry »


Celtic Music in Vermont

November 21, 2013

For the next couple of weeks there are some great musicians coming to town and shows that should not be missed. It all starts tomorrow. Here’s a video of Karan Casey and Lúnasa.

The list of upcoming shows are below:

Friday, Nov 22, 2013
Wendy MacIsaac and Mary Jane Lamond  – Cape Breton Music
Place: UVM Recital Hall, Burlington, VT
Time: 7:30
Cost: $25
Tickets: call 802.656.4455

Saturday, Nov 23, 2013
Tony DeMarco,
Irish fiddler
Place: Vermont Violins, Burlington, VT
Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $15 suggested donation
Tickets: email mark.sustic@gmail.com

Sunday, Nov 24, 2013
Long Time Courting –
Non-traditional Irish, Scottish and American Music
Place:  House Concert at 1060 Bent Hill Road, Braintree, VT
Time: 7:00pm
Cost: $15 suggested donation
Tickets: call 802.728.6351

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013
Lunasa and Karan Casey –
Irish music
Place:  Barre Opera House, Barre, VT
Time: 7:30pm
Cost: $18-32
Tickets: call 802.476.8188

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Natalie MacMaster  – Cape Breton Fiddler
Place:  Barre Opera House, Barre, VT
Time: 7pm
Cost: $20-58
Tickets: call 802.476.8188


Music and Dancing, Like Peas and Carrots

August 8, 2013

Learning music isn’t just about learning the tunes. Anyone can memorize notes. But when it comes to traditional Donegal music, knowing the dances can help tell the story of the tunes, making it easier to feel the music and help it sink in.

At the Donegal Fiddle School I attended in Glencomcille, learning the dances was an important part of learning the music. For a half day on Thursday, we had no fiddle classes. Instead we had dancing lessons in preparation for the Ceilidh dance that night.

In Donegal music, most of the dances are couple dances because they were done in kitchens where there wasn’t much room. Here are a few examples of the dances we learned:

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