The Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter
February 1999


v Last Month and Next Month at OCSC - Jack Cole

The topic was Lost Things, and it was plain to see that pretty much everybody wanted to get in on the act! There were so many lost Song Circle members ("how many were there?") that Jaspur got dizzy watching us go around the Circle! Only fourteen folks made it out, including 4 newbies. This was certainly not what I meant when I asked last month for help reducing the work load! I hope more of you can make it next month.

The theme was popular with the non-lost who were there! I believe every song but one had some connection with the theme. Everything from the loss of lives, loves, wars and countries, to cosmonauts, heads and the year 1982, and the near loss of a cat (exactly 2 years earlier). Not to mention the story of how Geordie lost his penker. Those of you who missed the circle may wonder just what a penker is. Good. Maybe you won't risk it next month!

A big welcome to the newbies, and a big thank you to those who contributed in a variety of ways.

February's circle will be the 4th Saturday, the 27th. We would love to see lots of faces, both old and new! Call 578-6298 for directions or to let us know (if you can) that you are coming. James picked the theme this time around - Foolish Love. Those who think that this nicely describes people who lament the near loss of a cat, attend at their own risk!

v Old Chestnuts Concert Reminder

There are still some tickets available for the Eve Goldberg house concert on February 6. This will be a real treat for lovers of great folksongs, especially in a traditional vein. Eve's repertoire of songs is heavily influenced by her love of community singing, and that's exactly what makes an Old Chestnut's house concert so magical. A full house at the Baldesaro's would really make for great energy!

As an added bonus (gee, at least I really hope so), GreenWood will be making its debut in a short opening set. GreenWood is an offshoot of the Song Circle, and consists of James Morgan, Jean Mills and myself. Our emphasis is on singable songs with lots of harmony.

So plan a night of singing on February 6! Tickets are $10.

[P.S. GreenWood will also be opening for Christina Smith and Jean Hewson on March 19. See below for more info!!]

v Cathy Miller & Paddy Tutty Workshops

Last month I told you all about the Cathy Miller & Paddy Tutty Doubleheader house concert, coming up on May 8th. In my opinion it's a "must see" concert for fans of either contemporary or traditional music - and if you love both there is no other place to be that night!!

Paddy and Cathy are both experienced workshop leaders too, and this concert gives us a rare opportunity to learn from the best. Paddy is agreeable to a dulcimer workshop (my suggestion is that it be for people with some dulcimer experience), and Cathy for either a songwriting or a singing workshop. We would have the workshops in a home (most likely ours) on the 7th, 8th or 9th. But to make it happen we need about 10 people in each workshop, at a cost of between $10 and $15 each. With fewer than 10 the cost would have to increase.

If you are interested please return the following information as soon as possible. (This is not a commitment!)
Dulcimer Workshop: Number: _____
Songwriting Workshop: Number: _____
Singing Workshop: Number: _____

v The Ceilidh (or is it Ceili?)

Whatever the spelling or literal translation, for my money ceilidh is an international word meaning fun. And if you want to confirm that for yourselves just check out the Cairde Ceilidh that visits KW every once in a while. We did just that in January and had a shovel full of Irish fun!

Cairde, The Friends of Irish Culture, have their Ceilidhs (is that the proper plural??) at Kitchener's Victoria Park Pavilion (or some other large hall in the area). We know a couple of regular attendees, so we plowed through the January snow to arrive at 8 PM and be sure of a spot with them. As it turns out, we were among the first to arrive; we plunked down our dollars, and claimed one of the dozen big round tables clustered at the near end of the room.

By 8:30 the tables were full and more chairs were being hauled out. A few minutes later the night began with 2 young harp players warming us up with 3 beautiful pieces. By the time they were done, 250 people were ready to dance!

The band consisted of 6 players and a caller. The musicians - on fiddles, guitar, flute, tin whistle, bodhran and accordion - were certainly old hands at this, and I could imagine hiding in the corner with a whistle and just trying to keep up! The caller turned out to be Maureen Mulvey from Celtic College. She patiently walked us through the dances, and, although I never felt quite ready to begin, we all seemed to struggle through the first turn, and actually feel accomplished by the end of each dance!

After every few dances (and some well deserved huffing & puffing!) the band would play on and give us a rest. About 10:00, they too took a break, and we had entertainment! Three young step dancers, bound for the all Ireland competition, gave us a demonstration of what real dancers can do, culminating in a Riverdance-style bit. (In fact, one of the dancers had just been signed by Riverdance).

The dancing continued until 12:30, but without my tired old bones! But here's the remarkable thing. Among the few familiar faces, and the many unfamiliar ones, about a half of the people were under 20, and they were having an absolute blast! During the step dance demonstration most of them grabbed seats on the floor right up close, and they lead the applause. It was inspiring, and I wish someone could tell me how to get a few of them interested in Song Circles!

The date of the next KW Cairde Ceili is unknown, but watch the media for information. The cost is $10 in advance, $12 at the door, less for students and seniors. Refreshments (including beer & wine) are available.

v Northern Journey 2

Gene Wilburn is a folk music fan, just like most of the people who read and write this newsletter. But a few years ago he took this love affair a step further, and produced a book describing and reviewing every Canadian folk album (available on Compact Disc) that he could get his hands on. He found a publisher, and Northern Journey was born.

It sold out quickly. I managed to see a copy, but much to my regret I was never able to get one of my own.

But that's all changed now, with the publication of Northern Journey 2. Thanks to the Internet I was able to order a copy before it was printed, and just after New Year's my package arrived in the mail. As it turned out, my eMail congratulating Gene on a wonderful book reached him before he had even seen the finished product! Ain't technology grand?!

The back cover describes NJ2 as "an encyclopedic reference work and CD buyer's guide to the traditional and contemporary folk music of Canada". All that, and much more. Its 357 pages are divided into three sections: Artists; Compilations; and Record Company Addresses. The first two detail nearly 1000 recordings by over 500 Canadian performers, and make this an indispensable resource for anyone involved with business side of folk music.

And besides, it's a darn good read! Start at the `A's and read about: Tarig Abubakar and the Afro-Nubians, John Acorn, Ad Vielle Que Pourra, Susan Aglukark, Jerry Alfred & the Medicine Beat, Jenny Allen, Robert Amyot, Ancient Cultures, Anderson & Brown, Mary Anderson, Anderson & Meis, The Angstones, Anoosh, Jann Arden, Holly Arntzen, Arrandale, The Arrogant Worms and Robert Atyeo! Each entry begins with a subtitle classifying the type of music (for example: "Contemporary; Singer-Songwriter"), a description of the artist, and a listing of each of the artist's CDs, complete with song list and playing time.

The artist descriptions range from a brief paragraph to a couple of pages, often (but not always) in proportion to an artist's longevity and stature. Gene has done an excellent balancing job, dedicating more space to performers that have made significant contributions to Canadian folk music.

Another winning feature is the "little check marks". The first edition of NJ made the bold move of rating each and every CD. In NJ2 Gene has instead "checked" the albums that he feels are essential for a core collection. My only wish for this outstanding work is that he had compiled a list of all of the checked albums! Well, maybe on the Web site.

"Web site?", you ask. Yep. According to the book's notes, Gene is a computer systems analyst, for which he has my sympathy! You don't have to be one to make up a Web site, but it helps! Long ago the Northern Journey Online web site appeared at . Ever since it has been the place to go for links to information about Canadian folk musicians, clubs, festivals and resources. And Gene and Reference Press have taken the very bold (and possibly suicidal) step of putting the entire text of NJ2 right there for the world to browse. Faithfully and painstakingly reproduced, the online version of this book is every bit as useful and interesting as its hardcopy counterpart - although a little more difficult to take to bed!

Northern Journey 2 is available from Reference Press, PO Box 70, Teeswater, Ontario, N0G 2S0, or at Total cost of the book, with shipping and taxes is $33.17. Highly recommended.

v Some Events in The Area (as space permits!)

Feb 6 Eve Goldberg House Concert, $10 adults, $8 12 & under

Feb 6 Mill Race Open Singaround, Ernie's Road House,Cambridge. Also Mar. 6, Apr 3.

Feb 7 Tamarack, Cuckoo's Nest, London. 673-0334. $12/$14 Also Mar 11 Mad Pudding, Mar 21 Tom Lewis, Apr 18 Pierre Schryer

Feb 13 Brent Titcombe, Chaucers, London. $15

Feb 13 Tanya Ross & Paul Haslem, Commingle, Goderich, 519.529.3516. $12 Also Mar 13 Sneezy Waters

Feb 14 Mill Race Traditional Music Sessions, Golden Kiwi, Cambridge, 4-7 PM. Also 2nd and 4th Sunday or most months.

Feb 19 Black Walnut Folk Club, University of Waterloo, host Rose Morris. Also Mar 19 (Mary Anne Epp) and Apr 16 (Alfie Smith). $3

Feb 19 Garnet Rogers, Orangeville Opera House, 519.942.3423, $15 & $18. Also Mar 12 Stephen Fearing, Apr 16 Don Ross.

Feb 20 Eaglewood Fund Raiser, Toronto, 416.686.1616, Jory Nash, Holmes Hooke and more, $10

Feb 21 Beverlie Robertson & Poor Charlie, Fiddler's Green Pub/Mill Race, Cambridge, 621.7135, $5. Also Mar 21 Hobnail, Apr 18 County Vaudeville

Feb 26 Rathlin, (former members of Killiecrankie and the Murphy family), Button Factory. Don McGeoch opening. 699.4322 $12

Feb 27 Old Chestnuts Song Circle, theme "Foolish Love". Call 578-6298 for information.

Feb 27 Mill Race Annual Find Raiser, Cambridge Arts Theatre, 621.7135. Cavaan, blackflies, Doula, Jerry Donnelly Trio, Northern City Limits, $10

Mar 19 Christina Smith & Jean Hewson, at the Button Factory, with GreenWood opening! 699.4322 or 578.6298 for info.

May 8 Cathy Miller & Paddy Tutty Old Chestnuts House Concert, $14. 578.6298 for info and tickets.


v About this newsletter..... It's emailed if I have your address. It's available at OCSC and BWFC get togethers. Also available by regular mail, but for that I request a few stamped envelopes or a contribution to postage. Call 578-6298 for more information. In case you think I disparage the profession, I make my living as a computer hack too. And I also make Web pages. Coincidence? Very excited about the upcoming concerts. Come on out and catch Eve, Cathy, Paddy and GreenWood! Next month....Woods lineup!

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