Mudcat Café message #896827 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #57072   Message #896827
Posted By: Don Firth
23-Feb-03 - 04:10 PM
Thread Name: Why are some instruments slated?
Subject: RE: Why are some instruments slated?
I think it has less to do with the instrument and more to do with the musician—or alleged musician. Back in ancient times (late Fifties, early Sixties) there was a woman who played the accordion who came to the Seattle hoots and songfests. She had a political agenda and a copy of the Peoples' Songbook, and she was determined to turn every hoot into a political rally. Once she got going, she would go from one song to another and drown out anyone who tried to slip a ballad or love song in edgewise. We stopped letting her know where the hoots were. It had nothing to do with her accordion, it had to do with her.

Another person who came a few times was a neophyte banjo player who insisted in joining in on everything, even when someone said they were going to sing a unaccompanied ballad and specifically and redundantly asked, "Please, no accompaniment!" And he played LOUDLY! With an open-back (no resonator) banjo, you can cut the volume down to manageable decibel levels by putting a rolled up pair of socks or a household sponge inside the head, but when this guy was told for the twentieth time to "stuff a sock in it!" he took offense and never showed up again. Nobody mourned his loss. Had he shown a little taste or had heeded the numerous polite requests, he might have been a welcome asset. Too bad.

Apparently the bodhran has replaced the bongos as the instrument of the clueless. There were a number of people floating around back then who wanted to participate, bought themselves a set of bongos because they thought they were easy to learn, and made pariahs of themselves by insisting on flogging the damned things on everything. A good bodrhan player (bodhranist?) can be a real asset. It's even possible for a good bongo player. But part of being an asset rather than a royal pain in keister is knowing when to play one's instrument—and when not to.

Don Firth