Sean’s Sunday Session

Traditional Irish music session in Seans bar in Athlone

Sean’s Bar session this Sunday was something to behold. Crowded around two tables were at least 3 guitarists, a couple of whistle players, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bohdrans, spoons and singers galore.

A number of new faces joined in this week with the regulars and the core Amber Moon unit (hehe – “Moon Unit”). I did something I’d never done before – picked up the banjo. With a friendly loan of the instrument from a musician in the circle I fiddled inefectively with it at first, marvelling at the sheer twangy power of the thing before the bean leaned over and said, “It’s tuned just like the mandolin.”

My stars and garters – it was a new horizon. Like discovering the familiar dashboard of your car was actually the cockpit of a jet fighter, requiring no new skills to pilot somewhat effectively.

I don’t post much of my own playing here, but just as I was discovering the banjo wasn’t such an unfamiliar landscape, hardy burst out with this piece of Pete-Seeger-via-Bruce-Springsteen. I’ll tell ya for just a split second I felt like, for the first time in my life, I could play a lead melody.

A banjo, folks. *shake of the head* Madness.