The Moon and Seven Stars

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    The latest Aitchison/Kelly internet collaboration between Canada and Scotland. Ginny sent me this tune with two different tempos so we put both together to see what we could get out of it. I think the slow version has O'Carolan echoes and is a very pretty tune played at this pace. Not a tune I had heard before and I know nothing about the origins of it, other than "traditional jig". Maybe somebody can offer us more info?

    Ginny played all the mandolin tracks and I added in guitar, this time using a Telecaster as a break with tradition!

    Sorry -I no longer have a Soundcloud account, so this file is no longer available, but see below for video version!
  2. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Nicely done, good to see you letting your hair down with that Telecaster. The tune is well known at Contra dances here in the states but I believe it originally comes from England, it is also played for English country dancing here as well.
  3. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    John and I are having fun sending mp3's across the ocean...he is very creative and is a multi-instrumentalist. I love that in my small town I have few people to play along with especially of the Celtic genre, John is my 'Across The Ocean' partner in techno-internet collaboration. I play, record and send them to John. He is the creative force behind these tunes. Thank you David for the compliment, I follow you always.
  4. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely stuff, nice work the both of ye!
  5. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
  6. Kay Kirkpatrick
    Kay Kirkpatrick
    Another great collaboration with a lovely tune!
  7. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Just after I had posted the Soundcloud version above, Ginny mailed me some great pictures so that we could add visuals to the audio. Here is the quickly-produced video, and apologies for hogging the thread!

  8. Frithjof
    I like it a lot. Clear mandolin and a tasteful accompaniment that let the melody shine. The pictures complete your work.
    OTOH it wasn’t any harm to look at one of your instruments awhile, John.
  9. JL277z
    Sounds great, Ginny and John! Nice pics too.
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks from us both for all the kind comments. The project is great fun to do and we each learn from the other as the collaboration develops.
  11. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, Ginny and John -- the tempo change halfway through took me by surprise!

    I remembered today where I knew the tune from: it's in Evelyn's "Big Book For Mandolins For The Year 2017" (available from Amazon), complete with two harmony parts. I've just recorded it as a quartet of mandolin, octave mandolin (bouzouki), mandocello and tenor guitar.

    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A good arrangement and well up to your usual high standard, Martin. It is a catchy wee tune and I'm so glad that Ginny made me aware of it.
  13. Gelsenbury
    It sounds like an English tune to me, too. I'm not sure, though. Well played!
  14. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Yes, Evelyn identifies is as English origin, but now very popular in US contra dancing. The familiarity to your ear may be because the first few measures are very reminiscent of "Postman's Knock", although the two tunes diverge later.

  15. Gelsenbury
    It does sound like it, but the rest also sounds familiar. I've probably heard it at local sessions and festivals.
  16. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Hi Guys, well that’s it, I’m out of my recorders block.

    Two superimposed tracks on this lovely recording, first time for me, so some technical eventualities, but a lot of fun.
    The sound quality for you today is premium. You may be able to discern the cacophony of two crowds of French villagers, some with cars and some with bicycles, and some brandishing walking sticks in the market below my apartment, well it’s actually the same crowd, twice.

    This only adds to the charm of this quaint English (Morris?) tune!

  17. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Great job there, atsunrise. Isn't multi-tracking just such fun whn you "get out of the block" as you say.
  18. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks John, yes it’s not just writers.
  19. Frithjof
    Nicely played. atsunrise. And the authentic village sound give it real live quality.
  20. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    That is really nice Mr. Sunrise. I've always liked this tune. John and I did a recording a while back and it's on his channel but someday I'll post it on mine too. Love the sound of your octave.
  21. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks Frithjof and Ginny, I like your version with John too. The mando in the second part almost has a Caribbean metal drum sound -nice!
    Actually the first part is (to me) like the sound you hear when you’ve been walking in the hills, in the middle of nowhere on a cold dark day, and you chance upon a hamlet of small cottages. Then you open the door to a cozy, warm pub where they’re playing some tunes. That sort of sound.
    I was wondering if there are some Caribbean tunes that would sound cool with a mandolin. I’ll have a look.
  22. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Interesting comments re our instrument sounds, atsunrise.
  23. dustyamps
    Nice recording atsunrise. What brand of octave do you play?
  24. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Thanks Dustyamps, this is the one:
    Ashbury is the brand of Hobgoblin. I got it half price through Amazon, There were some small superficial issues...
    I also tried Hobgoblin’s Ashbury tenor style E mandola in a shop a year or two ago and even though I preferred the look, (the style S even more so, and sounds great) the Octave had a much richer, precise mandolin type sound and is more versatile with the capo.

    There were quite a lot of other instruments with double courses there, Chinese, Indian, Turkish and Greek but these had a more bouzouki sort of sound, lots of echo, loads of sustain, and VERY strong at the high end, which may be better in a band, I don’t know. I liked this one because it was going more acoustic banjo plonk, and even better between the 3rd and eighth frets.

    -having said that, to buy one now, the exchange rates are maybe prohibitive, and I really like the instrument, so I’m not the most objective person to ask. I’ve never tried any of the popular US instruments for example, they’re quite possibly very similar in sound. You have to get used to a fair amount of finger pressure to get a reasonable tone too, the action is lees than a ten cent (euro) coin, about 1.9 mm at the twelfth fret, it’s nice (for me). Is that the same for others? I don’t know.
    Another positive is that of all the Ashbury instruments they have, I haven’t seen this one on general sale.
  25. Gelsenbury
    I'm a big fan of the Ashbury model S mandolin, designed by Phil Davidson. I seriously considered buying it before I decided on the Fylde. If I could afford it, I'd have both!

    Nicely done on the octave mandola. I find it hard to play melody on those things, with the frets so much further apart.
  26. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    That reminds me (about the Ashbury S style mandolin), it’s the one I think about every time I put the capo on the 7th fret of the Octave -mandolin scale length.

    With the larger frets I find it’s even more important to imagine that my fingers are dancing, a sort of loose dance feeling, and also not to be in a hurry to actually arrive at the fret. It’s like, they have to move fast, really fast, but not in a hurry, if that makes any sense. Or like the starting gun for a race, there’s no surprise, because the finger is prepared for the move, knows what to do.
    Another one is stretching exercises (that I don’t do), because this gets the finger tips near to their destinations.
    Also, with stretching, it’s allowing the hands time, weeks or months or even years to change shape, and build muscles.

    I hope this makes sense, but the impression I have, and my hands are about average or maybe a little more are:
    Moving from capo at the 7th fret down (mandolin size) to 4th fret, the changes I feel are: a nice increase in spacing and a feeling that it’s easier to ‘know’ placement. Strings feel bouncier and I seem to have more control of the ‘plonk’ sound. The whole instrument resonates at it’s maximum, rich and warm but most important I feel that the instrument actual wants to work with me. At the 7th it has to be pushed, at open position it’s pulled.

    Capo from 4th to open, things get harder, very quickly! They’re slacker so if you dig in with the pick, it can mess up your timing for the next note, because it holds your loose hand back a fraction of a second. If the string is already vibrating I feel (rightly?) that it’s higher, and there’s more likelihood that the pick will dig in. Also there’s a percussive feeling on the fingertips which is less agreeable at open position than further up the neck.
    Projection is a lot less too, it feels like the instrument wants to play more in harmony with others than coming forward.

    Ok. That’s it, I’ve got to go and make my porridge. Have a nice day, guys!
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