Traditional Irish Tune Session (2022 program)

Peter Tommerup & Michael Eskin
Music 1 / 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Real-time event on festival day with pre-registration required. You can find the registration link near the top of the program page when the link is ready.

This session will be a traditional-style Irish fiddle tune session emphasizing the kinds of tunes, instruments, & jam session etiquette that are customarily traditional to Irish sessions.

Play or listen to tasty reels, jigs, hornpipes & airs in a traditional Irish style music session. Fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, flute, penny whistle, uilleann pipe, accordion, concertina, dulcimer, hammered dulcimer — or other acoustic instruments connected with this tradition — are welcomed to watch, listen, share a tune, as well as listen or play along while muted.
Traditional Irish sessions are usually open to all who are variably: 1) experienced to the point of being able to share an appropriate tune by initiating & then leading it for the group, 2) interested in practicing or learning tunes that may be new to them by playing along quietly in the background (i.e: muted on Zoom) while listening to someone lead a tune who knows it, 3) enjoy sipping some Guinness brew at home while listening to the musicians playing, or 4) all of the above.

Given that, participants would find it helpful to have an appropriate musical instrument to play along on, but of course they could pick up whatever they may have on hand to try their hand at the tunes. And, of course, if they already know a body of traditional Irish fiddle tunes, this will enable them to participate fully. But if not, they will be able to get a taste of an Irish session & try their hand at playing along or to start learning some Irish session tunes. To this end, sessions goers are free to record any tunes that may strike their fancy to listen to again later & then work on learning them.

So, basically, this workshop will be educational, musical, experiential & cultural, and will be in the context of the traditional informal learning community of an Irish session. Finally, it might encourage folks to attend other virtual Irish sessions or even in-person sessions as these open up.

Peter Tommerup has been learning, arranging, playing, teaching & performing Irish fiddle tunes in a variety of contexts over the past 40 years. These contexts include teaching them in individual music lessons, classes, workshops & week long retreats on the instruments he plays (hammered dulcimer & mountain dulcimer); performing them in concerts & for contra dances; & sharing them in experienced Irish fiddle tune sessions. Since the pandemic, he has been attending as well as co-leading Irish tune sessions via Zoom. With Lee Anne Welch & Michael Eskin, he has successfully co-led Irish sessions for several of SFFMC’s virtual musical events, including several online Camp Harmonys & also the SF Free Folk Festival in 2021. He is happy to offer a “Traditional Irish Session” to the participants in this year’s Free Folk Fest online.

This time around, Peter’s co-host will be Michael Eskin, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist on a variety of traditional Irish musical instruments including: flute, penny whistle, concertina, button box accordion, & the Irish uilleann pipes. He has been hosting traditional style Irish fiddle tune sessions for more than 20 years, & currently hosts three a week: 1) a zoom based session called “The Ould Sod” (after the San Diego pub where it used to held in person) since March 2020 at the dawn of the pandemic, 2) the newly re-started in-person session at “The Ould Sod” pub in San Diego, & 3) a live Irish session at the “Auld Dubliner” Pub in Long Beach, CA. On top of leading these sessions, Michael has also been teaching penny whistle & Irish B/C style button box accordion virtually. Along with this, he has been assisting accomplished traditional Irish button box player John Whelen lead his teaching zoom-based sessions. Finally, Michael has used his professional computer expertise to create a variety of musical instrument apps for different types of accordions for Hohner (the well known maker of accordions), as well as an app for Irish uilleann pipes & the hammered dulcimer (for Dusty Strings Dulcimers).