In some of my previous posts, you may have heard me say the word "session" a lot. Today, I'll tell those of you who aren't very familiar with Irish music, what a session is.
Sessions are basically groups of people, who may or may not know each other, playing music together. This is my favorite way to meet new musicians.
There may not be a lot of people in one session. Size varies. Sometimes I've played in sessions where hardly any people played at all, and others where many people are playing.
I really enjoy the sessions that I attend regularly. Here are a few of my favorites:
Plough & the Stars
There is a resturant / pub called Plough & the Stars that sessions every Sunday. It is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I love this session because the tunes are always great and my friends, Tom and John, who are long time professional Irish musicians, run it.
Another one of my favorite sessions takes place at Fergie's Pub in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This session takes place on Saturdays and I love playing here with all of my friends, such as, Paraic, Keegan, Alex, Darin and Deb.
My last local favorite session is in Media, Pennsylvania and is called Sligo (pub). This is a rather new session, but my very good friend Paraic, runs it. Keegan and I play tunes a lot here and sometimes Alex will join us. A few weeks ago at this session, we had the pleasure of Kevin Crawford joining us for a few tunes!
Sessions don't always take place in pubs. In fact, I often play sessions at the camps where I visit in the summertime. One of the camps that I visit is called Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina. This camp has tons of great sessions! The camp itself is held on a college campus and at night you can find lots of great tunes all around the campus. I have had many opportunities to play tunes with numerous well known musicians such as Kathleen Coneelly, Kevin Crawford, Cillian Valley, Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Brian Conway, Martin Hayes, Finn Magill, Kimberley Frasier, Liz Knowles and John Whelan.
I've met many musicians from beginners to professionals from all over the world. I have also played sessions in many different places whilst traveling such as: Texas, New York, Minneapolis, Ohio, Quebec, Washington DC, and many different counties in Ireland.
If you have never played at a session, I'd definitely suggest you trying it! It is very fun, and as I said, my favorite way to meet new musicians.