Stepping it up at the French and blues jam

Last month, I reported on exciting new developments in the local French/blues music jam that happens approximately once a month. We continued with the excitement this month, playing more complex and difficult tunes that Lisa, John, Donna, and others have been transcribing.

By the way, if you are interested in checking out some of our growing French repertoire, take a look at our transcriptions, choosing tunebook “Campanule by Gregory Dyke” and “Tunes for Mondays by Lisa Tamres”. These tunebooks are always in progress, so not everything we know or are working on has been put up yet.

And if you live in the Pittsburgh area and would like to join in playing with us in the future, contact me!

French jam

I arrived somewhat late because I was coming from leaving the second OpenHack Pittsburgh early (regrettably); in retrospect, I was trying to squeeze in too much on a Monday evening and should have skipped attending OpenHack Pittsburgh, but I had too much enjoyed the first one.

When I arrived, Lisa, John, and Allison were already playing together (on fiddle, accordion, piano), and I joined them for two hours of jamming and playing for the dancers who arrived later.

I was excited to be learning new (to me) music, in various different keys and modes and rhythms, while all still falling in the categories of waltz, mazurka, bourrée, Schottisch. Because of all the different keys, I ended up only playing my modern flute, not ever switching to my Irish flute.

We took turns looking through some transcriptions and deciding what to work on, and one song I chose was something called “Les Ormeaux”. It’s a lovely song. Here is a performance of it on accordion I found:

Upcoming French dance workshop

Another French dance workshop is being held at CMU on Saturday, March 9. There was discussion of getting a group of us together to play live music for the workshop. This reminded me that it was a year ago that I first became involved in French dance and also hoped to eventually play music at a workshop. Normally, I would jump at the opportunity to play for the next French dance workshop, taking up the main melody role on flute, but I simply anticipated being too busy to be involved in the next one coming up so soon, so I had to decline to join in. I hope that for the April workshop I’ll have more time to commit to joining in, rehearsing, etc.

Blues jam

I was exhausted after two hours of the French jam and dance, plus I needed to get home as I promised Abby I would be home before she got back from being driven home from her mandolin practice, so I don’t know how the blues jam went. Maybe next month I’ll be able to check it out.


I had a great time further exploring French music and continuing to play with Lisa, John, and Allison, whom I’ve played with several times now, getting to feel like a solid core group.

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