Chiff and Fipple Forums

The New Blackthorn Stick
Page 2 of 2

Author:  ytliek [ Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Its here... just released. First ever, mighty bold.

The hard copy CDs will be available thru the usual outlets. Enjoy!


Author:  walrii [ Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Nice playing. Like others, the clarinet doesn't fit for me, tho the section a minute or so in where the clarinet was playing behind the fiddle sounded good.

Author:  newblackthornstick [ Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Folks, Andy Lamy here--evil mastermind behind the album.

Thanks for checking out the project.

No intention of over-running trad with innovation. Even now I play clarinet in sessions only sparingly, and only when I have the blessing of the session host. That is even true in my home session in White Plains--where I only play a set or two each week on clarinet.

Yes, I'm a symphony clarinetist, full-time member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra since 1994. In Trad, I play Clarinet in A about 90% of the time, but also play some Bb due to the many flat-key & wide ranging fiddle tunes which Brian Conway & company love to play. Playing tunes in the key of A Major on Bb clarinet (that end up in B Major) is NO JOKE, and such tunes will always sound more natural and effortless on A--and also on A one can utilize the open tone holes more for rolls, etc.--so A clarinet is the obvious best choice if it's an option. I don't have a C--I play all of the numerous C clarinet parts in symphony and opera works on Bb and simply transpose up a step--except for one opera--the C clarinet part in Strauss "Capriccio" requires C, so I borrowed one when I played that at the Metropolitan Opera.

The clarinet and C melody saxophone were regularly played in New York/Irish dance bands and ceili bands of the 20's and 30's such as Paddy Killoran's group. Clarinet was used a great deal in Trad--songs, waltzes, Irish polkas, and marches. Personally, I believe that the awkwardness of the E Major and B Major encountered on the Bb clarinet kept it from being played much at all in fast dance tunes...but the saxophone has stayed on, appearing in various groups like At the Racket, and most recently The Yanks. (Isaac A. does a lovely job, by the way!) Clarinet still gets played in a few Irish trad/folk fusion groups such as Whirligig, Flook, my group Chief O'Neills Mixed Flock, Dylan Gully's band from Bretagne (his wonderful clarinet album "Ebony Bridge" with Martin Tourish of Altan is coming out this summer).

The first time I played clarinet in a trad session was with Tommy Peoples about 8 years ago, when I was invited to do so. He reacted positively, and urged me to continue with it. He said (and later repeated when reviewing the album) “The clarinet merges aspects of the concertina, the pipes, and the wide-ranging fiddle all in one, and how it can whisper when you back a singer!” It's a pleasure to play Tommy's slow air on the CD--"An Feochan." Mary Bergin was also fascinated with hearing the tunes on clarinet, and Brian Conway encouraged me to play the Fleadh (Rohga Ghleas), and agreed to teach me specific tunes and his way of phrasing, a la New York/Sligo.

As for tonguing, the answer is...on jigs I match articulations with Mary Bergin and Brian Conway with their articulated inner-beat swing, (internal articulations within the dotted quarters as opposed to the less-swung-more-slurred Galway/Clare style of Joanie...and I LOVE her playing, but simply don't play slurred to that degree myself)...and for reels, I prefer to match Brian Conway's style--for me it seems better for the clarinet than a more-slurred or less-swung style... creating slurs of 2, 3 and 5 notes, depending on the surrounding strong beats and ornamentations. On the tracks with John Whelan, one can hear his light, slightly staccato London Irish bouyancy coming through...and on the Donegal reel set with Pat Mangan, I use triple tonguing to match the bowed triplet that supplants long rolls in those tunes...

My experience in Ireland has been a warm reception for the clarinet--in Dublin, Cavan, Sligo, and Carrick in Donegal--people have been very interested in hearing an occasional set (when I'm invited to play one, which is not all the time!) and many seem to enjoy hearing the clarinet, both solo and when locking step with other instruments. I love playing with fiddle as it shared the range of the clarinet (such that I must never wrap around octaves for G string notes as on whistle & flute), but my favorite timbres are with uilleann pipes and box. The reeds lock in, a very cool color palette! Jerry O'Sullivan, John Nolan, Dermot Byrne, and John Whelan have been delightful and very encouraging collaborators...

I have learned that the clarinet, if I'm not careful, can really overpower fiddlers if I open up and use a symphonic, since I want to avoid having the clarinet banned from a particular session, I must constantly watch the balance.

I also play the saxophone, but NEVER in Trad...and don't generally enjoy hearing it much in Trad--with the one notable exception of The Yanks, where I enjoy hearing Isaac play it (he avoids the comical, thick Benny Hill vibrato so it really works!).

So, since I'm not generally a lover of trad sax, I truly understand and empathize first-hand with the trad clarinet detractors. I offer, however, that since there is a WILDLY varied range of clarinet sounds out there, that if EVEN you don't like hearing ONE, you MAY possibly like hearing another player. :D

I'll try to post a Paddy Killoran Band photo...
Cheers, Andy Lamy

Author:  SKC [ Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Nicely done Andy, I'm pleasantly surprised. The clarinet adds a very original character to the music, particularly in the fast sets, and the airs are really lovely and expressive. Love your covers of Dinky's and Lord Mayo... Are you using circular breathing on the slow tunes? Congrats and kudos for giving this a try.

Author:  newblackthornstick [ Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

yes, I'm circular breathing on virtually every set, fast or slow. the pace of the fast dance music is so constant that it seems easier that way. Clarinet does not consume as much air as flute or whistle, so when there is a break in the music I must blow out CO2 to clear lung volume before breathing in fresh air. Then I take in the fresh air during the phrase via circular breathing. if I don't do this, the stale air that builds up in the lungs becomes a little uncomfortable and leaves no room for oxygen intake.

Author:  ytliek [ Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Here is the latest news on 'The New Blackthorn Stick'. Seems to be getting some solid support. Enjoy! ... ds-finest/

Author:  ytliek [ Fri May 22, 2015 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Here is Live Ireland's review of the CD. Scroll down. ... e=activity

Author:  ytliek [ Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

Huffing with Ease... ... 98786.html

Author:  ytliek [ Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

ytliek wrote:
Peter Duggan wrote:
ytliek wrote:
The players seem to be quite a group, no?

Sure, but it's still a clarinet!

With all of the classically trained musicians out there the whole orchestra will want to get in on the Trad act. I'm not sure there's any stopping the expansion/dilution. Is there?

Some lovely whistling.

Author:  ytliek [ Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Blackthorn Stick

TV broadcast from Sligo this weekend, Aug. 2015. Andy Lamy and Friends begins about 1:19:30 with the 'Lord Mayo' tune at 1:27:00. ... leadh%20TV

Page 2 of 2 All times are UTC - 6 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group