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Post Info TOPIC: Musical Instruments (Please Help Us Cowboy Craic!)


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Musical Instruments (Please Help Us Cowboy Craic!)


I'm hoping Bit will jump in with some advice (having toured as a musician in Ireland) but anyone else who has a suggestion, I appreciate any wise words you can give me!

Our band is booked to play at a festival in Kerry in June. So here are all my concerns:

Will they allow us to carry small and mid-size instruments in the airplane cabin (mandolin, bouzouki & guitar)?

I have a large instrument in a specially built fiber-glass case because I figured they would not let me carry it on (hammered dulcimer). Does anyone know if airlines will at least let me hand-check it so it doesn't have to be thrown around by baggage handlers? Or will I just have to check it and sweat bullets wondering if my 'baby' will be ok?

Any thoughts on size of vehicle we should rent? There will be four of us, plus at least one bag per person, plus at least one instrument per person (including my large one).

Once two of our members head out of Ireland my husband and I will be continuing on. We're thinking of switching to a smaller vehicle at that time. We have to drop off our band members at Shannon anyway so we thought we could make the switch then so we don't have to continue driving a big vehicle when it's just the two of us. We'll still have the big dulcimer with us, though. Any problems with that plan?

Is it safe to leave instruments in the trunk of the car so we don't have to lug them up and down stairs at B&B's?

I figure a lot of people take instruments to participate in sessions so I'm hoping a few of you might have some advice for me. Last year I took a tiny travel harp and my husband took his bodhran, but those fit easily into the overhead so it wasn't an issue. My husband will be bringing guitar and bodhran, my son will bring bouzouki and mandolin, my daughter-in-law will have her bass, and I'll have my dulcimer.

Any thoughts or suggestions or warnings will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!





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Jeanne Page


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I would think that a 7 passenger people mover would be needed for ALL of you, with gear. A smaller, Estate (station wagon) MIGHT have enough cargo space, but it would be totally exposed. The tourist board STRONGLY warns about break-in of vehicles, in both cities AND remote, rural areas.

I was in DeBarras, in Clonakilty, last April at a concert by John Spillane. One of the most popular songs on the night was his tongue-in-cheek, bluesy lamaent that retold the sad tale of how his fine, old Spanish guitar was stolen from the boot of his car, whilst he was having a pint, in Listowel.

Damn those Kerrymen; they must ha' known he was a Corker!

Bob

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Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



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Jeanne,

My thanks to Bob for offering his advice on the vehicle needed. I think he is right. You can also call your airline for inquiries about carry-on instruments. I have seen people take guitars onboard but check to be sure in this ever changing environment.

Now, we will have to wait for Bit and Bill to chime in.

Michele

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Bob and Michele,
Thanks for your advice. I will gladly lug my instruments up and down stairs to keep them safe. Thanks also for the suggestions on the vehicle. I will look into those.

The airline issue has become a huge one for traveling musicians. For some symphonic musicians, their instruments are literally priceless, and the thought of a stradivarius being chopped up in an airline bin is sickening. For those of us with less expensive instruments, it's still a horrible thought!

Thanks again...and I'll hope that Bit and Bill have a chance to share some advice, too.
Jeanne

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Jeanne Page


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Hello Jeanne,

We went to Musician's Friend and purchased an airline approved travel case for Casey's guitar. It has rollers and a handle which is great when navigating through airports. Most of your airlines are very strict about carry-on luggage. I have carried on my mandolin & my bodhran but that means giving up my carry-on tote. Casey's guitar has always been well treated. They do take it off on a different carousel at Shannon and I will assume Dublin, as well, as they have a special area for oversized baggage. I tell you that so that you won't panic when you don't find it with your luggage. The rule has become "if it won't fit under your seat or in overhead, it must be checked" Remember that it counts as one piece of your checked luggage.

I would definitely recommend a people mover. We went the route of a small SUV the first tour and were crammed in like sardines. Kemwel and their sister company, Autoeurope,should have a good rate. You will want to take your instruments inside because of temperature changes more so than theft issues. You may want to keep the larger vehicle even with just the two of you depending on the bulk of the dulcimer. My suggestion would be to take the measurements and then go measure the boot of a Hyundai Santa Fe to see if it would fit. If it will fit, then trade the people mover in for the SUV. Autoeurope usually provides the Santa Fe as a rental.

I wish you well in your performance! We certainly have enjoyd our musical travels in Ireland. We have performed at festivals and in homes, libraries, hotels, on ferries and in schools. We have joined many a trad session in teh pubs. 

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine 

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Bit,

Thanks for your sage advice for Jeanne!

Michele

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



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Bit,
Thanks for your great advice. We'll go down and give the Hyundai Santa Fe a look to know better what to expect. Thanks also for the 'heads up' on oversize baggage. I most certainly would have been in a state of panic if my instrument wasn't where I expected it to be.

Below is our itinerary after the festival. We'll be dropping two of our band members at Shannon and continuing on just the two of us. Any performance opportunities (folk clubs, etc.) or contacts that you can suggest in these areas? My husband and I would like to play some small venues if we can.

You can email me privately at thenextchapter@comcast.net if you prefer.

Thanks so much!

Jeanne

Doolin
Cliffden
Westport
Donegal
Limavady
Enniskellen
Boyle
Galway
Ennis

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Jeanne Page


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Jeanne,

Luckily for us, the ticket agent explained it to us as we checked our baggage in Chicago. The baggage handlers have, so far, been amazingly careful with the guitar.

We have found it to be hit or miss in finding gigs but Trad sessions are usually welcoming. I have found that if we visit a pub earlier in the day and inquire with the person behind the bar, we are usually given good information on what trad sessions we can sit in on and whichh ones to avoid.

Doolin - tough nut to crack as there are only three pubs but you might find a welcome at McDermott's. As for McGann's and O'Connor's, it is hard to get a read on the trad musicians there, sometimes they are open and sometimes they are not.

Boyle - We performed as part of the Boyle Arts Festival at Clark's Seanchai Bar: St. Patrick St. /079 - 62064/ JCLARKE1212@AOL.COM

Ennis - Check into or drop an email to McCusty's Music shop. They can provide you with performance leads there, to be sure.

The Pub scene is as mercurial as its muscians. Our favorite spot for Trad sessions on Inis Mor played nothing but synthesized disco music on our last visit. The Trad musicians were there but we were herded outside and did our musical bonding at the picnic tables. Our most favorite pub in all of Irleand has to be Doorly's in Roscommon Town. They have a Trad session on Thursday nights and are very welcoming. Of course, it may have been our manner of dress, cowboy hats seem to be welcome most anywhere.

Perhaps Bill might have some suggestions, as well.

Enjoy your adventure!

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit

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Thanks Bit, for all of your suggestions. It's helpful to hear from a musician who has actually done this before!
Jeanne

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Jeanne Page


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I carried my bodhran on, put the whistle in the tipper pouch and stuffed the inside with my camera and socks and underwear. Made for a good laugh at security, especially in the States. I have a very deep bodhran so things fit well.

It really is hot or miss with sitting in. Since I'm still most competent on Bodhran, if there is another bodhran player, I stay out of the way. You certainly don't need two of those. I guess I may be more uncomfortbale than others in just dropping in to play. As a working jazz musician, I've had lots of people ask to sit in with us and normally, we've been hired by the place and have no idea how the person sitting in will do. We've had a few serious embarrassments so I generally tell people that the owners have asked us not to allow people to sit in. Sessions can be quite different though. It really depends on the group playing.

Bill

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BTW, The Jolly Roger pub on Sherkin Island adverstises "Musicians Welcome" so if youcheck with them on a night, they will probably be able to put your whole band in. It's a neat old place and the life out there is VERY slow. You'l really like it.

Bill

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Sounds like you're gearing up for a fantastic musical gathering! Bringing such a diverse set of instruments will make your sessions rich and vibrant. Considering the mix, it's great that you've got a bodhran, bouzouki, mandolin, bass, guitar, dulcimer quite a lineup!



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