Fiddle class report and more

Wednesday was the first session of the fiddle tune workshop. I’ve been worrying about how my left wrist would handle to play so intensively for three hours. But it actually went very well!! I had some pain but not bad at all. I need to do some stretching exercises, but it won’t take much to have my playing back on track again.

On Monday, I practiced the schottische we made for grandma V, because my aunt wants it played at her funeral. I eventually gave up on trying to record it, because it sounded so bad. My fiddle sounded scratchy, and my intonation was really bad. But today when I tried again, it sounds GOOD! Playing on Wednesday night worked miracles, both to sort of “wake up” the fiddle, and also to my playing. There’s actually hope for me, yay! Today I recorded the schottische, and will send it to the fiddlers group. Also, when I came home on Wednesday, my husband had made a farewell tune to my grandma. So today I’m going to learn it, hopefully record it, and send it to my aunt.

At the workshop we learned two tunes, one of them a well known polska from Bingsjö, that I know since a few years back, it’s called “Gla’låten” (meaning, more or less, “The happy tune”), and another polska from Jämtland. The last one was trickier, because in some places you need to use a specific bowing pattern, and I always have a hard time to use specific patterns, I always end up bowing in the wrong direction, and mess up. But with some practice maybe I can do it. It was a nice tune, however.

I’m very glad to be doing this, and I’m so glad to play the fiddle again! It’s such a nice instrument.


Grandma and fiddling

Yesterday on the train back home from work, I didn’t feel right. I felt uneasy, low, not in the mood. Maybe because work was tough this weekend, or that I didn’t sleep well during the night. But in the evening my aunt rang to let me know that my grandma passed away during the afternoon. Did my body know that already?

My family situation is rather complicated. I’ve had two grandmas on my father’s side. Grandma E, who was my biological grandma, and grandma V. They were sisters. I learned in my later teens that my dad had been in foster care, from age 2, with his aunt (grandma V), and at grandma E’s funeral in 2007 I finally got to know grandma V and her daughter, my aunt G, who grew up as a sister to my dad. I learned that aunt G plays the fiddle and that there’s a fiddler group up in the village where my dad’s family is from, and that they play for the Midsummer celebrations every year.

My father died too early, in 1993, very suddenly because of myocarditis, and about a year after, my grandpa died from lung cancer. Sometimes I think of it that he died from grief.

Grandpa was a fiddler, and he also made some own tunes. I heard of this after grandma E died, and it was then I also was given two of grandpa’s fiddles. One was a Chinese not-so-good fiddle, the other one was very nice to play, had a lovely mellow tone, but was super ugly. My grandpa, just as my dad, was a DIY person, but he obviously wasn’t the right person to revarnish this fiddle. Later I started removing the varnish (because no professional wanted to do it, they said it would take too long time and be too expensive for me) to have it fixed up later, but I still haven’t come very far. The fiddle is lovely to play though, and, well, it does have personality.

I’m the only one of the grandchildren who has an interest in music, and especially after I learned about grandpa’s own tunes, I feel as if it’s my duty to play the fiddle and to keep grandpa’s tunes alive. That’s nothing bad though, since I love fiddle music. When i got to know grandma V and aunt G, I was invited to play with the fiddlers at the Midsummer celebrations. Several members of this group, including aunt G, are people that grandpa used to play music with.

Grandma V loved fiddle music. She lived in this village where the traditional music is very strong and very alive. For all special events, there is fiddle music. There are particular tunes that are always played at Midsummer, and for her those tunes ARE midsummer. They mean and breathe midsummer. (FYI, Midsummer is a big holiday event in Sweden)

I remember when we talked about myself playing the fiddle, one of the first years I was up there for the Midsummer celebrations. I said that I think grandpa would have been happy if he knew I play the fiddle. And grandma V said that “yes, he would be so incredibly proud”.

And now both grandpa and grandma V are gone. I’m more inspired than ever to take up fiddling again, really learn to play that thing, play grandpa’s tunes, whatever other tunes, just simply play the fiddle, to celebrate their lives and what they were. When grandma V celebrated her 95th birthday in 2012, my husband and myself made her a tune, a schottische that is HERS. My aunt wants it to be played at grandma’s funeral. I recently took it down from Vimeo, because I wanted to make a better recording. Now my playing is really bad, but my fiddle class is supposed to start on Wednesday, so that’s a good thing. Still, I need to make a recording as soon as possible.

This week is a tough one. I’m filled with mixed emotions and I suddenly cry (work will be interesting) and then laugh when I think of grandma and how cool and energetic she was before she had her stroke. At age 92 she was up with us until 2 am for a Midsummer party with music sessions. I hope I will be like that when I’m 92. :)


Irish music sessions

fioldelWe’re a group of people from around my area who have met for a long time to play Irish music. It started way back, maybe in 2006? in the neighbour town, but when that bar closed down, the session sort of ceased to exist, at least as a regular activity. Later they started it up again, but at a shabby restaurant in our town. It was good to play again but the restaurant was a really bad place. First of all, after 10 pm the “audience” started getting drunk, and started interfering with what we played. I’m fascinated by how Swedish people act when they get drunk. I’ve never seen this behaviour in Ireland, where people drink just as much (I think). Very interesting!
And secondly, people on the second floor complained about “noise” late at night. Even on Fridays!!

We moved to a very nice restaurant, Suad’s, where we’ve been for a long time, playing every month, and I’ve been loving it. Then the restaurant had to close. I was so sad. Not only because of the music session but also because I really liked the restaurant, the owner was so nice, and they always made all dishes gluten free (the only place in town I could trust).
Now the session has been “dead” for a long time, but good news, good news! We got a message on Facebook that the new owner of the restaurant has accepted us to come and play. So it may happen during the week of St Patrick’s day. Such good news! If they choose Wednesday I won’t be able to be there, but I’m still so glad that we’re starting to play again!

So, time to pick up the concertina, and the guitar, and practice Irish tunes and songs!


Update

It’s about time that I write something here? It’s been two weeks! During those two weeks I’ve switched hosting and been fiddling with blogs (always looking for something that isn’t WordPress but that is equal in blog functionality), decided to quit blogging (as I used to do it), been sick, etc.

I will never look for other hosting than this. It takes too long for domains to propagate and that’s so annoying. And despite not so much storage, this is a very good web host. The support is good, and it just works.

Sadly I got some nasty virus and have mostly been parked on the couch most of the time from mid January until about a week ago. My plans to practice fiddle didn’t go well, and now the class starts on Wednesday. Not so good. My wrist isn’t bad, but it’s the muscles that aren’t used to holding a fiddle and playing it. I’ll see how it goes. I’m very much looking forward to it, however. It’s about time that I spend more time on music, and it’ll be so nice to meet the people there again.

I also was asked sing in church in the beginning of March, and will say yes. I’ll try to make Daniel come with me. I’m so much more comfortable to sing if he’s there too, and then we can do some bluegrass gospel, and I can play the mandolin.