There will be plenty of the wearing of the green, green bagels and beer on this Saint Patrick's Day. But WBFO's Eileen Buckley found out about some local musicians who provide traditional Irish music monthly in the area.
Maureen Bluett was singing at the Shannon Pub during a recent, monthly Irish Trad Seisiún. Mark Warford has worked to organize these 'jam sessions' to highlight traditional Irish music, but with a modern twist, featuring many more instruments and musicians who travel to jump in to play music and song.
“It’s been attracting really great musicians from outside the Buffalo area. People drive up from Pennsylvania, Rochester, Ontario on a regular basis and really high-caliber playing,” said Warford. “People don’t know what to think of it because it’s not really a performance, it’s really a session – like a jam session, so someone will start a tune and we will go around it a few times and then someone else will string it into another tune.”
Warford plays the Irish Bouzouki copied from the Greek Bouzouki.
“Sort of like a big Mandolin,” described Warford. “The Irish Bouzouki is adapted. It’s flat – the joke is that one of the musicians sat on it in the airplane flight back.”
Warford moved to Buffalo in 2000. He already had established successfully weekly music gatherings in Knoxville, Tennessee. As he began to explore Buffalo a trad-style session, he noticed there was plenty of Celtic Rock and Irish singers, but no regular Irish traditional gatherings, so he took action. Warford approached Nietzsche’s owner Joe Rubino. The Allentown club owner agreed to allow the jam sessions and well over 12-years and they are still taking place.
“It took about four years before we set up a stable, weekly Irish session,” noted Warford.
The traditional Irish sounds offer what is referred to as 'pure drop', traditional dance tunes, ‘jigs’, ‘reels’ and ‘hornpipes’.
"You don't have to be an accomplished musician,” said Warford. “You really have to be empathic, and certainly it helps to have a group that plays together regularly,” explained Warford.