Bill Ochs: Biography and Class Description
The slow air — an instrumental rendition of a love song, lament, or song of remembrance and farewell — is regarded by some connoisseurs to be the crown jewel of the Irish instrumental music tradition. Yet these haunting pieces are rarely heard in today’s pub session scene, with its emphasis on the playing of fast jigs and reels. Bill Ochs’s workshop will be a rare opportunity for an in-depth look at this increasingly neglected aspect of Irish traditional music.
The class will start by playing simple melodies from the Anglo-Irish song repertoire, and progress to learning some of the highly ornamented gems of the Gaeltacht’s treasure trove of sean-nós (“old style”) song. Along the way students will acquire all the essential techniques of slow air playing: slides, scoops, casadhs, vibrato, and more.
The workshop is for intermediate level (and above) players of all melody instruments, with a special emphasis on tin whistle, flute, and uilleann pipes technique.
Transcriptions of tunes will be provided. Students are also encouraged to bring a recording device.