The Neverending Session and other matters

You know the story that Albion will endure as long as there are are Ravens in the Tower of London? (A story that my Ravens nod quite approvingly of as they believe all Ravens are always at the centre of the multiverse.) we have a similar story on the sprawling estate that will go on so long as the Neverending Session keeps playing as they apparently have for more centuries than most mortals are comfortable thinking about.

Which came first, the Pub here or the musicians who inhabit it pretty much at all hours unless they’re playing elsewhere on the estate? What I can say is that the combination of drink and music means that this space where I am watching everything attracts all sorts.

I remember a fellow dressed all in green and calling himself Myrddin who dropped by the Pub a few weeks ago was no exception. After shaking a few still green oak leaves off his duster, he sat down at the bar and said not a word until after he’d had a few pints of Cwrw Tudno, a Welsh ale we keep on tap. And then he began to tell tales of Welsh poets he had known down the centuries. Though some had been dead longer than the British Empire existed, he remembered them as if he had conversed with them just yesterday. And perhaps he had.

The musicians that form the core of the Neverending Session are Jack on fiddle, Zina on Irish pipes, Reynard on concertina, Bjorn, our Brewmaster, on Säckpipa (Swedish bagpipes), and a lassie by the name of Jackie on flute. (She says she’s a Kinrowan and she may well be.) Our librarian, Iain, plays fiddle as well so he often sits in as well. You’ll see anywhere fom a few to a dozen more players show up depending on the weather, the ale on tap, and how much planning the core group did on doing someting special such as playing in the Courtyard to welcome in the Summer Solstice.

Now keep in mind that they don’t actually call themselves the Neverending Session as that’s just the name one of The Gentry stuck them with a few centuries back. They say they’re just a session, no more, no less. And they never actually will claim they’ve played non-stop for centuries but I know they have.

Go read this essay by Zina for a perspective on the enduring strength of a session, and also worth reading is this piece by her on the nature of tunes.

I should note that we’ve had a blind Irish harpist ( and he was I must say bloody good) and more recently, Charles de Lint and MaryAnn Harris, have dropped in from time to time to add their considerable musical talents when they are not working on the forthcoming debut CD!

It’s getting rather late, so let’s repair to the kitchen for some mulled cider and perhaps a slab of freshly baked bread with spuced apple butter. Have you ever heard the tale of how the session once played through every tune in John Playford’s Tunebook during a particularly bitter winter storm when no one could enter or leave this building? I thought not. This is how it happened…

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