The general session (seisiún) scheme is that someone starts a tune, and those who know it join in. Good session etiquette requires not playing if one does not know the tune, and waiting until a tune one knows comes along. In an “open” session, anyone who is able to play Irish music is welcome. Most often there are more-or-less recognized session leaders; sometimes there are no leaders. At times a song will be sung or a slow air played by a single musician between sets. The objective in a session is not to provide music for an audience of passive listeners; although the punters (non-playing attendees) often come for the express purpose of listening, the music is most of all for the musicians themselves. “Audience” requests for a particular song or tune of the players can be considered rude. The session is an experience that’s shared, not a performance that’s bought and sold.
The sessions are a key aspect of traditional music; some say it is the main sphere in which the music is formulated and innovated. Further, the sessions enable less advanced musicians to practice in a group.
Socially, sessions have often been compared to an evening of playing card games, where the conversation and camaraderie are an essential component. In many rural communities in Ireland, sessions are an integral part of community life.
Locally, Irish Traditional music sessions take place each Sunday afternoon (approximately 5pm) at the Hibernia Irish Bar on William Street, New Bedford, MA . All are welcome ~ Renowned musicians from across New England routinely attend.
Hibernia Irish Pub
109 William St
New Bedford, MA 02740-6218 [map & Directions]
Tel: (508) 984-4423