Roll Call, please check in!

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Hello there, faithful members! While it appears we have many members (1,568 at this time), it's likely that we don't have that many active members. I realize that there may be quite a few members who sit quietly in the background, reading posts, watching videos, and hopefully gaining something from their quiet membership. So, just checking the members to see how long it's been since they have done something that the cafe considers them 'active', won't reveal those members.

    So, if you log into our group, and do anything, please take a moment to reply to this discussion, and tell us who you are, and to what level and degree that you utilize our site, and participate!

    I'd like to get a general idea of just how many people we do still have that are using our group for something, and just what that something is!
  2. Bren
    Hi Barbara, I check the SAW regularly and even contributed once or twice.

    However, I'm very busy with home and work duties and haven't found the time for recording.

    To just find a half hour where I could be in the right frame of mind for recording, let alone clap the headphones on for an hour or so, would be luxury indeed.

    So , for now, I enjoy living vicariously through others' efforts and making the odd comment which costs me nothing.

    Thanks so much for establishing this group and please know your efforts are appreciated.
  3. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Barbara, I am one of the regular dozen or so posters who put up videos and also comment on the work of the others. I am not a regular voter for the Official Tune of The Week but do regularly post in the Other Tunes category.

    Unlike Bren I do not have any work or commitments since I retired back in 2003 so I do have the time to record tunes and create the wee videos I post here. The active posters are a very supportive bunch of folk and we seem to have created links and friendships over the internet, even doing collaborations in many cases. The SAW group is my go-to group on the Cafe site and I do participate in other parts of the forum fairly regularly.

    I can see why you are canvassing the membership at this moment and I hope that the SAW group will continue in some form, even if the Song-A-Week itself is curtailed - I see you are suggesting a monthly cycle from now and I am fine with this.
  4. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Hi Barbara. I check in just about every day. I leave comments on YouTube and here, usually both. I post about once a month.

    I love the people I chat with - we have a camaraderie that I enjoy. I learn different things from everybody. I am also the travel agent for tours visiting John in Scotland. I'm do not have a quick back track system or local partner and therefor I seldom do the Song a Week song, but like John, do the Other Tunes. I also really have to like a song before putting the effort into it.

    I am, like many, on my own, musically and John has been my music partner for..three ? years now and Emory for about two. If you look in the archives you will find a song called 'Smile' - that I put together when we were all depressed and locked down - with pictures of this page's regulars - if it weren't for the communication with them, I wonder how much more miserable the lockdown and long winter would have been.

    There are many people who use this forum, even if they don't speak up. Thank you for your question.
  5. phb256
    I check this group pretty regularly, and post occasionally. It usually takes me a month or so to figure out the song of the week well enough to play it coherently enough to record. I like the other songs people post and sometimes try to learn them. I really appreciate that people here are encouraging and supportive. It helps me keep going.
  6. Brian560
    Hi Barbara : I also check in daily and have posted somewhat regularly in the past in the past. Other things have kept me busy, but I am hoping to be a more regular participant soon.
  7. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Listening, playing and posting whenever I can.
  8. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    I joined the SAW group in 2010. Since that time I've met many mandolin players here and have gained countless insights into how they approach this shared instrument of ours. I have learned so much by trying to post videos of songs I never would have tried to learn if they weren't the Song of the Week. Over the years I have always checked into the group at least once a week and have posted a bunch of videos as well. The SAW group is an important resource for mandolin players all over the world. Thanks!
  9. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Hello Barbara,
    I very often check what’s happening on SAW, and post comments -and I do post tunes for SAW too.
    It’s enjoyable reading everyone’s kind and supportive comments. You have all really helped me advance with my octave mandolin. More importantly I feel, you have helped me to be more generous of spirit.
    I think it’s a good idea to have each new tune once a month, since I’m going to be a bit more busy in future, but don’t want to lose contact with my SAW friends.

    About the voting itself, I really like that people can vote and don’t necessarily have to post anything. If this helps to motivate just one person to play the mandolin then I think it’s worth it. It’s nice to have this more or less defined focus for our group along with other shared objectives.

    Also I like to hear the seemingly random, scattered, diverse collection of Other Tunes here.
    And there are genres of music that I enjoy now simply because they are played by people I like and respect -yes, you all know who you are!
  10. Alcluith
    Hi Barbara,

    I check into SAW most days and see what's is going on but do not always login.
    The SAW group is my only group on the Mandolin Cafe site.

    I do not record myself playing therefore I do not post anything.
    This site gives me a lot of inspiration, techniques and some new tunes to play.
    I do play along with some of your contributor's posts and that help considerable with a new tune.

    I do not vote on the Song-A-Week as I feel that, as I do not contribute, I shouldn't vote on what others play.

    With SAW continuing, my only comment is that: it takes a lot of time to compile the votes and post the winner, so maybe voting should stop. I am sure that those regular contributors will continue to share their current project to get feedback on the music or share their interpretation, techniques and sometimes own compositions, others will continue to give encouragement and/or post their own interpretation.

    Maybe the message to all passive members is "become proactive", even if they are not posting recordings, they can still engage on feedback or even suggesting tunes they would like to learn.

    I am based in Scotland, not too far from John Kelly (as the crow fly), I use Nigel Gatherer's web site, a lot, for inspiration, as I do with John. Nigel's Forum died because of the lack of contributors and Nigel is too busy to try and promote it.
    It would be sad if we were to lose this platform as well.

    Drew (Alcluth)
  11. bbcee
    Hello Barbara/world,
    I'm an occasional poster to this group, but read it daily to see what others are up to, get ideas for songs and to get my mind blown by the levels of skill and generosity here. Like everyone else my real life gets in the way of mandolinning too regularly, but one does what one can! A monthly cadence might make the most sense for the current state of the group, and good for me as well.
  12. Frankdolin
    Hi Barbara, The SAW group is the #1 group, hands down. I think we have the most talented and supportive people on the web. My first ever mandolin post was done here.
    And moving forward, since you ask. My only problem ever with SAW is the concept itself. It's just too demanding, and promotes competition. And it's unavoidable.
    I would like to go on as always and leave the song selection to the individual. Maybe make the great index of songs we have more the menu for folks to choose from. Anyway my 2, there's no cents symbol, cents. Frank
  13. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Hi Barbara, I've been a member of SAW since the beginning and I check in regularly to see what's going on. I post occasionally, mostly in the other tunes category but sometimes the SAW. I don't often vote on the polls because I don't know the different tunes well enough to choose. I also don't always play new tunes on the mandolin so I try to cater my posts to tunes I play on GDAE instruments. The SAW has been a great resource for learning tunes, making videos, camaraderie and becoming a better musician AND mandolin players are the best people!!!!
  14. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    I've been around since the early days of the group, but haven't posted regularly lately. I tried to keep up with a new tune a week, but I'm a slow learner. I've enjoyed some recent collaborations with Bruce. I really enjoy all the tunes when I stop in and check them out. Keep on picking!
  15. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I've been a Cafe member since I first took up the mandolin back in 2003, but missed out on the SAW group in its first year. I bought a webcam and started recording myself in 2010 -- my first SAW posting was "King Of the Faeries" back in Week #44, March 2010, and strangely enough that was a solo resonator tenor guitar recording rather than mandolin. I've just listened to it, and it sounds better than I remember! Since then I have recorded far too many tunes for comfort, as I find recording a good way of exploring new music and goal-oriented practice.

    SAW is my main outlet for posting my recordings these days, as I value the community and the range here. There are so many good players whose playing I greatly admire, and whose feedback is precious. I also value the "official" SAW tunes, as it pushes me to try out tunes I would not have thought of myself. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that I can't do justice to bluegrass tunes or the faster reels, so I leave those to our fabulous members who are at home in these genres -- I greatly enjoy listening to a good bluegrass tune, I just can't do it myself. However, whenever I can cobble together a viable version, I do try to post an SAW tune in the week(s) while it is current as this group is at its best when we're all working on the same material and compare the different approaches rather than each of us doing their own thing.

  16. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    I've been a member of the SAW group from nearly the start of it I think. I used to post a lot more regularly back then. I went AWOL for about 4-5 years during a timeframe when I was mainly playing the drums, had a lot of change going on in my life etc. but came back to the mandolin in late 2016. As folks know I only play irish trad music so in the past have contributed to the SAW if an Irish tune won. There was a period of time a back around 2016/2017 I think where one of the group members had complained that the SAW seemed to just be about Irish tunes, which he wasn't interested in - his comments probably inspired by a spate of Irish tunes winning the poll a few times in a row. Those comments made me step back a wee bit from voting/contributing tune suggestions for the poll as I would've been one of the people consistently voting for/suggesting Irish tunes. As an aside, I'm admin for an Irish tenor banjo group on Facebook (there are several Irish tenor banjo groups on FB but ours has a focus on learning) and that has probably contributed to me not being as active here in recent years when I think about it. We do a Tune of the Month, in many ways inspired by the SAW (James Rankine is also an admin for that FB group) and have experienced the swings and roundabouts of higher and lower participation. Sometimes there's loads of activity and sometimes the group is a little quiet. Not everyone who votes for the winning tune ends up posting a version of it, but I know that many of the lurkers get as much out of the group as the active participants so it's all good, just like here.

    I moved back to Ireland last year and have been trying to carve out more time for recording - this first year has been taken up with renovations and learning how to grow vegetables successfully on our small holding. I'm hoping that as the growing season starts to slow down I'll have more free time to set the camera up - still need to get a mic stand so I can start using my good mics again instead of just relying on the camera mic..

    I check into the SAW group everyday and always enjoy listening to folks contributions as well as watching the camaraderie and friendships that have grown here.
  17. dustyamps
    David McKenzie aka dustyamps here. Back when I joined the regulars were Barbara, Old Sausage, Eddie Sheehy, Marcelyn, Manfred Hacker, Maudlin, Francis J, Hendrick, woodenfingers, Tosh Marshall, Sasquatch, James Rankin, Michael Pastucha and a bunch of our current members, David Hansen, John Kelly, Don Grieser, Martin Jonas, Jill, Bertram, Gelsenbury. I still follow the group frequently and enjoy the contributions from Simon, Ginny, Christian, Frithjof, bbcee, Frankdolin, Gortnamona, and all the others I failed to mention. This group is a good resource for me to learn new tunes and enjoy everyone's mandolins and playing. Thanks
  18. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hope all the responses have encouraged you to keep the group going, Barbaba. Your efforts are much appreciated by all of us regulars (and very likely many of the lurkers who get pleasure from just browsing the postings).
  19. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    I'm Sherry Cadenhead from Irving, Texas. I posted a couple of tunes 3 or 4 years ago, then, for whatever reason, moved on to something else. This time I intend to stick with this group. I've posted a couple of tunes recently and am working on a few more to post soon. I know this isn't a competition, but, at the same time, don't want to embarrass myself, when the regulars are not only skilled at playing mandolin, but an array of other instruments as well. My interest lies in classical, classic country and gospel. Waltzes are my weakness, in the sense I can't pass them up. My true weakness is changing chords.. I appreciate the comradery and encouragement of the SAW group. Thank you, Barbara, for your leadership over all these years.
  20. Dick Dery
    Dick Dery
    Hi. I check in several times a week. I occasionally vote in polls, but visit mostly to see what the recommend tune of the week is.
  21. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Hi. I'm Christian from Germany. The only instrument, that I took formal lessons on is classical guitar. But thanks to the SAW group. I'm drifting more and more towards mandolin.
  22. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Thanks to all you folks who have responded, with all your input! I do not intend on giving up on this group, and I am quite pleased with the participation, and the fact that there are likely many more people who truly get a lot from this group, even if they are doing it silently in the privacy of their own homes! Keep on pickin!
  23. Frithjof
    Frithjof Eberlein from Leipzig/Germany here.
    I enjoy the group very much. Most of the tunes I play in these days on mandolin I learned with and for our group.

    I check into the SAW group everyday – most time of the year. Only the last two weeks of July were to overloaded with work and other duties…
  24. Rob Fowler
    Rob Fowler
    Hey I am still here but haven't commented or submitted anything for many years now but do enjoy checking in every once in awhile. I was in the group back around the time it started and have gotten way back into the mandolin since the pandemic happened. Maybe I'll submit something again one day.
  25. pluckinstrings
    Hi there! I am one of those 'lurkers in the background'. I really enjoy seeing everyone's playing and there is so much inspiration out there! I have been playing for around 3 years and I have posted a few videos before. I will attempt to post here in this group more often! Thank you for all you're doing!
  26. Bad Habbits
    Bad Habbits
    Bad Habbits . . . AKA Mark Lowden here.

    I've been a lurker for years and check out the SAW site just about daily. I posted a few videos in the past, but not for several months. I have been sort of exploring and working heavily on Classical stuff the last 8 months or so, mainly JS Bach, and I didn't think that fit into this group very well.

    I enjoy learning the new tunes that I pick up here, and especially enjoy the variety of how the same tune is performed by the different musicians.

    Thanks for being here.
  27. gortnamona
    Gortnamona/ Lawrence Molloy, I've been a member for over ten years i would think, though I'm guilty of not contributing as much as i use too, been a while from i recorded anything, i must get back on the horse
  28. Colin Braithwaite
    Colin Braithwaite
    I have contributed in the past, but now I'm a lurker. I check in about twice a week. I play quite a bit (mostly trad. Irish), but most of my group participation is in live sessions (on Zoom since the onset of COVID). I really appreciate hearing new tunes and new versions of tunes I know. Thanks so much to the moderator and all the regular contributors for keeping this excellent social group thriving. Cheers, everyone!
  29. JL277z
    Barbara wrote: "I'd like to get a general idea of just how many people we do still have that are using our group for something, and just what that something is!"

    I'm always on the lookout for pleasantly-titled dance tunes that have interesting melodies and chord progressions that catch my fancy, that also meet (or can be adapted to) a long list of other arbitrary criteria of personal preference (key, range, mood, and preferably tunes that are old enough to not be encumbered with copyright restrictions).

    Members of this group are often pretty good at presenting the coolest tunes from obscure corners of the musical world. It's a good place to learn new stuff.
  30. Swimbob
    Hi Barbara. I'm afraid I'm one of the quiet lurkers here. I'm hampered by slow and unreliable internet and not a lot of talent but I come here often just to find new and interesting songs to play. I love this group. There are so many great players here and everyone who posts has something to offer.

    Heck, I had just stopped by to see what was new when I saw this thread.
  31. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Hey yo!!
  32. Gelsenbury
    I don't remember exactly when I joined the group, but it had been going for years already. It was Bertram Henze who explained to me that the group wasn't just for experts who literally get a song ready for performance in one week. Usually I check for new posts every day, reply often and post videos occasionally, although I'm just coming back from a break. This group is a treasure trove of great tunes, great ideas for arrangements, and great people. There's no other place like it in the world.
  33. Aidan Crossey
    Aidan Crossey
    Hi Barbara

    It's only in the past little while that I've become aware of the Song-A-Week Group. I run a website and associated YouTube channel devoted to Irish music played on the mandolin and several of the people who follow me are active in the group and have encouraged me to join it and submit some of the recordings I've made of Irish tunes on the list...

    Echoing Jill's post above, I only play Irish traditional music so I have nothing to contribute to tunes which come from outside that genre and life's too short and the list of tunes I have yet to get under my fingers is too long for me to dip my toes in other ponds. (Well, from time to time I maybe play the occasional tune that isn't strictly Irish but has been adopted by Irish music circles.)

    It's my intention to work my way through the list of official tunes of the week and to post a version(s) of those that are within my sphere. I could be lazy and simply post videos that I've already made as part of my "learn some tunes" web presence. However that would hardly be in keeping with the spirit of the group and so I will record a version "on the day"...

    I've already had some very warm words from members of the Group and I look forward to being able to contribute more than just tunes myself as time goes on. But that backlog! Man dear!

    Very best.

  34. Dick Dery
    Dick Dery
    Hi. I'm another lurker, visiting two or three times a week to see what the latest tune is.
  35. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Aidan, I felt a bit saddened by a part of your posting above: "I only play Irish traditional music so I have nothing to contribute to tunes which come from outside that genre..."

    When I began in the SAW Group in October 2009 my main interest was in trying to interpret Scottish pipe tunes and some of the better-known fiddle repertoire from the Scottish composers. I was very much a Scottish West Coast player with whatever that entails, playing live with like-minded folk who were accordion or fiddle players. Over time I became very aware of all the other material I was cutting myself off from, very often from the nominated Song of the Week choice that Barbara so faithfully maintains for us all. I think I have now posted a lot more music from outside my original sphere, both on my YT channel and here, and also have contributed very regularly to the discussions which arise from the postings of all our members. We have swapped tunes and ideas, both on the SAW threads and by PM, and a few of us have even produced collaborations with other members which end up posted here too, so although you are very focused on ITM to the exclusion of other genres you should perhaps not exclude having a listen to and perhaps commenting on the postings of the other members?

    At the end of your posting above you say: "I've already had some very warm words from members of the Group and I look forward to being able to contribute more than just tunes myself as time goes on." This gives a much more positive message from you. You can also add a link to your own website in any of the Forum pages; many of us have done this. Sorry if this seems like a harsh criticism and I am certainly enjoying listening to what you have posted so far, though I do not have the time to comment on all of them.
  36. Aidan Crossey
    Aidan Crossey

    Thanks, John, for explaining the choices you've made about your musical direction.

    I, too, made various choices many years ago and have spent the best part of 20+ years listening to and playing "the pure drop". And I've barely scratched the surface. There are hundreds - maybe thousands - of CDs that I haven't heard yet. Certainly hundreds of tunes from within that genre that I haven't yet played. I spend almost every spare minute available to me engaged, in my own fashion, in evangelising the cause of Irish Traditional Music and, more particularly, the cause of the mandolin and other GDAE, fretted instruments in Irish Traditional Music.

    So, having been immersed almost entirely exclusively in this particular musical world, I don't feel I have anything to contribute to playing music outside of my particular genre simply because I know diddly-squat about how to play other forms of music. Those of us who are passionate about particular musical niches know that it takes many years of playing to truly get under the skin of the music. Particularly if, like me, we're entirely self-taught and have no real awareness of musical terminology, etc. And so - this is a very personal view and I know others are happy to make other choices - I wouldn't do a disservice to a tune from the Old-Time tradition or from Bluegrasss or from the Scottish piping tradition or the Galician tradition or the Morris tradition - by attempting to play the tune in a way which would just sound like someone reading the notes but with little or no feel for the "animus"...

    Therefore my intention on joining the Group was to contribute recordings of those tunes in the back catalogue - in more or less chronological order from start to finish - which I feel I have some handle on. But having only been a member if the group for a few days and having already been accused harshly ... well, let's just say that I get the picture.


    Over and out.
  37. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    That certainly wasn't a harsh criticism, if anything, it was an observation that we can all learn from other genres of music. I'm a bluegrass player and I've learned a ton of stuff trying to play an Irish or Scottish or even a Swedish tune. These outside influences make my playing more satisfying and expand my mandolin playing...
  38. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Come on now, you bunch of miserable lurkers, this thread is for you!
    To actually tell us your name (yes, we’re interested) and to say how much you love our Song a Week group and all the wonderful new things you have learned while playing the mandolin, and to give thanks and praise for all of our heart-felt nurturing encouragement.

    (Sincere apologies for having to write twice in what looks like an egalitarian thread)
  39. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Aidan, I'm sorry, it seems that you feel you've been insulted and in some way, not welcomed here. If so, I think that's a first for us! We are a welcoming group of people with extremely varied tastes and abilities in music. You'll find it hard to find any recent contribution from me.... my life has gotten to the point where it's all I can do to barely keep up with posting the poll, the winner, and updating the Table of Contents discussions! Most of these discussions have comments that I've not yet read. I personally, only play Irish (and related) tunes, and some Old Time tunes, and have only occasionally attempted a BG tune, and even then, it ends up NOT sounding Bluegrass. While we started this group over 10 years ago, doing a poll and a tune a week, we've morphed into a tune a month, and most of the contributions here are just what I group as "miscellaneous tunes"..... any tune you feel like recording and submitting a discussion for. So, I would hope that you would find some aspect of our group here beneficial and interesting.
  40. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Can we move away from this please ? This is a great group. Let's meet the next member on Roll Call.
  41. Simon DS
    Simon DS
  42. Kay Kirkpatrick
    Kay Kirkpatrick
    I've recently started visiting here after about a 3 year absence. Although I posted only a few times (I have big ol' tech challenges) I've long used the postings in this group as inspiration and I've played along with many of you; playing along with you guys is how I have mostly used this group over the years. I completely agree with what Stuche said up there.
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