And we thought WE were niche!

Have you heard of ‘filk music’? While Wikipedia says it began in the 1930s, this genre – if so it can be called – got its name from a typo in an unpublished article in the 1950s. Loosely defined as folk music with a science fiction or fantasy theme, filk music is typically sung session-style... Continue Reading →

What does it mean if everyone goes to the bar?

You start a song, and suddenly find yourself surrounded by empty chairs. Was it something you sang, or are you just being paranoid? First off, let’s accept that everyone legitimately needs to leave the session sometimes. They have to get a drink or order food, go to the loo, make or take a phone call.... Continue Reading →

Original songs in the session

A few older folkies are on record declaring that people shouldn’t write new songs. Their reasoning goes: Unless a song is sung regularly in public, it will be forgotten. Since opportunities to sing are limited, every time you sing a new song you’re starving some wonderful old song of attention, causing the old songs to... Continue Reading →

Arranging a session song II: Instrumentation, lead breaks, flow

Instrumentation Maybe this is your regular session, and you knew before you arrived that Mal was likely to bring his banjo and Ian’s in town this week with his button box. Maybe you’re in a strange city and you’ve walked into a session bursting with mandolins and fiddles. As song leader, you’ll never have total... Continue Reading →

Welcoming strangers

An acquaintance once invited me to a session in another city. I stepped into the crowded pub with guitar in hand and nervous anticipation on face. My acquaintance wasn’t there, and hadn’t warned anyone else that I was coming. Despite being clearly visible, standing awkwardly in the room’s entrance with an instrument, I was studiously... Continue Reading →

Arranging a Session Song I: Key, Tempo, Repetition

How many times have you thought, ‘I love this song – but it’s not a session song’? You’re not obliged to sing any song the way you originally heard it, or as it was recorded by the original artist. Many songs can work well in sessions, with a little creative arrangement. Key We’ll talk more... Continue Reading →

A Decent Ob-Session

Guest post from current Woodfordia Inc. president, Rose Broe, reproduced with the kind permission of Rose and Lore Society. Thanks Rose and Woodford! An accordion player walks into a bar. Okay it’s me, walking into the Coopers Bar, hoping I don’t regret choosing the “Accordions Don’t Play Lady Of Spain, People Do” T-shirt. I look... Continue Reading →

Talking in the session

We all love to catch up with our friends. But the raison d’etre for a session is to connect in a particular way – through making music together. So when do we chat, and when do we play? The ‘rules’ around balancing music and talk vary greatly from one place to another. Sessions have this... Continue Reading →

Hat Game

The Hat Game is a session format to try now and then, for a bit of fun. It’s a slight formalisation of what often happens in a session anyway – one song suggests another through theme, mood, artist, historical period or some other commonality. The Brisbane Saturday Session plays Hat Game on the first Saturday... Continue Reading →

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