Music


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I grew up with a lot of good music both inside and outside my head, and consider it as essential to a good life as fresh air and tea.  I play a couple instruments, dabble on others, and will gladly harmonize if I don't know the song.

Singing this Stuff  is for people who want to find a public sing, or need to muster the courage to actually sing there. Particularly a chantey sing or a pub sing. Topics include: Finding a Sing; Good Places to Look Up Songs; Is it "Chantey" or "Shanty"

The Child Book of Etiquette  is how I answer the question,  "Assuming the world described in folk ballads is real; what would the write-in advice column look like?"
The ballad collection of F.J. Child is an extremely important collection for singers and historians alike, but to listen to it's lyrics, you'd think that all people ever did was to have sex and murder family members.  What lessons can we learn from this collection?  (besides the fact that it's possible for a song to have over 400 verses.)

The Boston Area Chantey & Maritime Sing  is a monthly sing devoted to all varieties of maritime music.  Founded in 2005 by myself and then neighbor Lynn Noel for selfish reasons: we wanted a chantey sing that was local!  The sing meets one Sunday afternoon every month and is open to anyone who wants to join in (admission always free).

Artwork by David Kessler   It began as the "MIT Chantey & Maritime Sing" and has since moved to the USS Constitution Museum (thus the name change).

We created the NE_ChanteySings Yahoo Group for this sing and for all maritime music events in the Northeastern U.S.  Check out the calendar of events there!  You need to request membership - this helps us keep out the spambots that would otherwise annoy members.

The Single Malt & Song Society (SMSS)  is a monthly gathering of friends to sing, drink, sing, drink...  The basic idea is pretty simple: everyone brings a bottle of single malt scotch to put on the table and we sing all night.  We know of a lot of whisky tasting clubs and singing clubs, why isn't anyone else combining these two complementary pursuits?
We founded ourselves back in 2002 and we're still going strong: we have a coat of arms, a logo, a motto, the most ridiculously huge quaich you'll ever pour drink into (they'll pry it from my cold, lifeless fingers), a common stock of whisky, a self-generated songbook (which we mostly ignore), and a LOT of fun!  This is singing the way it was meant to be - alive and changing, with only participants (no spectators)

The Lowell House Music Society (LHO)  stages an opera every March, and has since 1938.  I began doing tech work for them in 2001 was Tech Chief (general tehnical and safety advisor) 2002-2004.  "The View from the Tech Table" is a few editorial cartoon-scribblings I made during LHO's production of Eugene Onegin; and is probably only funny to those who were involved with the show.

Bell's Ringers  is what we call whatever members of our circle of singing friends Jeremy Bell enlists for any of his events.  Bell is a professional whisky educator, and he and his wife produce all sorts of events in and around the Kendall Tavern.

The Lazy Jacks  sing maritime music from many countries.  They are David Kessler, Gary Foreman, Lynn Noel, & the occasional guest.


Take The Folk Quiz and see how well you know your folk music - or at least its well-worn formulae (courtesy of Jeremy Kessler).

Some people & groups I like (in no particular order):  Cordelia's Dad, Dire Straits, Chris Smither, Bert Jansch, Cliar, Theodore Bikel, Session Americana, Jeff Davis, Poi Dog Pondering, Moxy Fruvous, Malicorne, Tom Waits, Piffaro, Lyle Lovett, Radiohead, The Benders, The Resophonics, Leo Kotke, Old Cold Tater, Hypnotic Clambake, Souren Baronian,Utah Philips, Dave Van Ronk, Richard Shindell, Tom Lehrer, Deaf Shepherd, Archie Fisher, Andy M. Stewart, The Goodtime Washboard Three Little Players, Danny Spooner, Cranberry Lake Jugband, Flanders & Swan, Artie Shaw, Bob Zentz, Anon, The Klezmer Conservatory Band, Sarena Duga, Oscar Brand, Saltfishforty, Dennis Brennan, and a hundred more.


DK, singing on board a Rhodes 19
photo by Donna Coveney - it may be a posed shot, but my singing in it is real


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