I'm going to respectably disagree with some sentiment expressed here.
As a caller, I view my job as a facilitator, not the main act. I structure
the dance, certainly, but I don't create the dancing. The musicians are, as
far as I'm concerned, more important than me. A dance without a caller may
not be a contra dance, but it's still a dance.
Before working with any musicians, I take a bit of time to find out what
kind of music they play. I don't ask Irish bands to play Old Timey, I don't
ask Southern bands to play Klezmer, and I wouldn't ask a technocontra or
looping bands to play without the thing that defines them.
Now, I absolutely acknowledge the weakness of the inability for the latter
to slow down. Hopefully I've spoken with the band and agrees upon the feel
and speed of a medley of tunes, but I can definitely think of times a band
has played something too fast despite asking for something easygoing. Crap
happens, we keep smiling and do the best we can.
At the same time, that band was hired by the dance organizers, who know
full well what kind of band they are. I'm hired by the same people to serve
Lastly, I want to clearly and openly say that I read the email by Tom as
having, intentional or not, a mocking tone. There is no good reason to be
not mentioning the band names, when we all know full well that there is
only a handful of looping and techno contra bands. There is no reason to
refer to their art as "this thang" - it comes across as condescending.
I will, though, give the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was
meant in a jovial fashion, not the more cynical one that I might read it as.
On Feb 26, 2014 8:50 AM, "Tom Hinds" <twhinds(a)earthlink.net> wrote:
I've come to the conclusion that in an effort to
please and wow the
dancers the contra movement may at times change in ways I don't feel
Several years ago I called with "the latest rage band". At one point I
asked the musicians to slow down. "No can do" was their reply. Turns out
they were doing this thang called looping. This country boy ain't never
heard of no loopin'.
How about warning me ahead of time?
My wife recently called to a band where, after several times through the
dance she asked them to slow down. "No can do" was their reply. Turns out
they were using a metronome to keep a steady beat. And they have a
How about warning her ahead of time?
A couple of months ago I was doing sound for a band that has copied "a
couple of the latest rage bands" and they handed me a cord. "This is our
mix" they said. For years we've been balancing the volume of the monitor
mix independently from the house mix. Not that night. So what if the
guitar is louder than the fiddle.
In the future will the role of the caller (and sound dude) change for the
worse or the better or will it just be different? Maybe you've had
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