A Folking Memory of Songs and Under-garments and Bravado and Musical Performance Advice from an Illawarra Folk Festival, Bra’

Andrew Winton, David Hyams and Bernard Carney at the bar, Illawarra Folk Festival. Photo by Bill Quinn.
Andrew Winton, David Hyams and Bernard Carney at the bar, Illawarra Folk Festival, 2012. Photo by Bill Quinn.

Some of my Facebook posts go on for days. Some have applied for their own postcodes.

Many people struggle with this and often ask, “What the hell are you gabbling on about?”

They’re falling into the trap of thinking I’m writing only for them. Yeah, I am writing for publics, but mostly it’s my way of thinking. I’m an extroverted extrovert. I can only make sense of my world by writing stuff down or hearing it out loud.

(And I’ve tried over the years to scream from Mt Painter how much I adore and admire and am jealous of introverts, but they jump to their own conclusions, pull a hammy, and block me and tell everyone I’m a truckwit. Shame.)

In part, it’s also my way of leaving my own feathers and tributes before there’s no place for them here on this earth. Thank you, Bernard Carney (CDs available now).

Well, that escalated into existentialism quickly.

Bill Hairy O'Quinn from County Clare.
Bill Hairy O’Quinn from County Clare.

Over on Facebook, I’m counting down to Easter Sunday 31 March 2013 when I have my head and face shaved for the Leukemia Foundation. Read all about it here: https://overheardproductions.com/2013/03/15/billys-going-the-nude-nut-worlds-greatest-shave/

And please join in on the event because if you’re at the National Folk Festival, I’d love you to be there and bear witness: http://www.facebook.com/events/102837806558033/?fref=ts

So, I started at Song #60 and through my travels and travails, the countdown has been serious, silly and… yeah, both of those.

Last night a song came on the Saturday night Forever Classic Hits and Memories Relive Show which was a perfect soundtrack to the never-ending task of cleaning, packing, clearing, selling and carting to op shops, charity stores and the tip.

Read on, McDuff! _________________________________________________________________ Continue reading

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A Punter’s Perspective 10 — It’s only words and that is all…. damn, what’s the next line?

Bill (7)A Punter’s Perspective
Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#10 It’s only words, and that is all… Damn, what’s the next line?
First published in Trad and Now magazine, May 2008

By Bill Quinn
At a recent singing session, a participant asked a very leading question in between songs.

“I love singing and I love songs, but I can never remember all the words. How do you singers remember not only the words to one song, but to so many songs?”

It’s a fair question. One with possibly as many answers as there were singers in attendance to provide answers.

How does one recall to mind lyrics they’ve written themselves, lyrics written by their peers, and lyrics written by others from one to 400 years previous?

(Arguably, the same question applies to instruments, notes and chords, however, since the author isn’t a musician – or at least, not for the last 27 years – we’ll confine the discussion to the realm of the vocal cords.)

In singing sessions, not everyone is expecting polished performances, and there’s a fair amount of group effort involved; if someone starts to falter, others will usually chime in with a word or phrase or some background accompaniment while the main singer gets back on track. If they know the song. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 06 — Sing! Sing! Sing!

Bill-singA Punter’s Perspective
Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#6 Sing! Sing! Sing!
First published in Trad and Now magazine, October 2007

By Bill Quinn

When you front up to any given festival, you’ve generally got a fair idea of who’s on the bill. And yet, one of those grand moments of the settling-in period, after you’ve been tagged and show-bagged, is to scan the program for your favourites. Pen in hand, there are those tantalising moments of deflowering virgin program pages with flowing strokes of biro circles around the tried, the trusted and the ‘man, you just gotta see’ acts.

Conversely, there may be other acts or genres that you zip over, or choose to ignore, or even scratch a dismissive mark through. (The author will refrain from venturing examples here as his insurance definitely doesn’t cover such off the cuff observations.)

For this punter, anything that had ‘choir’ in the title was always a category to avoid like the fugue. However, one of the true joys of many, many discoveries over the last few years has been to admire the wonders of the massed one-to-four part harmonies of many voices.

Choirs rock.

Community choirs, singing groups, singing sessions, and the big daddy of them all (or many of them): the festival choir. There’s a sweet science behind the process of putting several to several hundred voices into beauteous harmony, but to the punter, it’s just a chance to let one’s jaw drop to the canvas, their eyes roll back in sheer aural ecstasy, and to feel the very hairs up the back of their necks stand out in perpendicular, involuntary admiration.

Festival choirs have become a mainstay of many festivals, and they’re well worth seeking out. In smaller festivals, it helps when they’re seeded by established choirs, but after that, it’s open to all comers, because many of the festival support staff, volunteers and even paying punters are closet warblers.

As a friend said many years ago, and it’s stuck to the point of my adopting the phrase, ‘Do I sing? Sure. I give daily concerts in the shower and in the car!’ Continue reading