PineCone Irish Session

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PineCone Irish session at Tir na nOg in downtown Raleigh, meets every Sunday afternoonThe Irish Music Session meets every Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Stag's Head on Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh.

Sessions provide great opportunities to meet fellow Irish musicians and music fans, and the ages of the players range from 8 to 80. Listeners and dancers are also welcome!

The session has evolved from its beginnings as a learning session to the session of today. Download a sample song list and learn what to expect at this Irish session

Julie Ross saw a need for a venue for interested players to learn tunes and to gain con-fidence playing together. Tír na nÓg was open to the idea and has been very supportive ever since hosting the first session in January of 2007. For the first hour, Julie would teach a tune, which the musicians would learn by “ear.” Then, for the rest of the session, they would play the sets they knew as in a traditional Irish session. A set is usually 2-4 tunes of the same type, e.g. a set of reels, a set of jigs, a set of hornpipes, etc.; sometimes a set might start with a jig, then transition into a reel or a hornpipe, or vice versa. The original sessions included Julie Ross, the founder, and Charlie Muse, Charlie Gravel, Trish Hornick, Vicky Montague, Allen Baker, Jerry Jacuzzio, Ted Margeson, and others. Many of the original players are still regulars at the session.

The session became a regular session toward the end of 2009, with Charlie Muse as the session leader.

Elise, Olivia, and Sofia are 14, 12, and 10 - some of the youngest PineCone Irish Session musiciansThe sessions are promoted online (and in PineCone’s weekly e-mails!), and the sessions have welcomed visiting players from as far away as Finland. Irish born Tom, a box (button accordion) player, who now lives in New York, comes to the session several times during the year. And recently, three sisters from Durham, who started playing bluegrass and old-time styles, have been attending the session and learning more Irish tunes. Elise, Olivia, and Sofia began attending when they were 14, 12, and 10, and they are amazingly talented. They play guitar, mandolin, and fiddle and sing as well (photo credit: Carolyn Currie).

The character of the session is different every week, and may range in size from 6 to 20 players. But it is always great fun, with a wide variety of tunes and excellent singing, with onlookers encouraged to join the musicians in song. We hope to see you at The Stag's Head!

The session has seen many changes in the past few years. While Tír na nÓg was closed (late 2015-late 2016), many session players gathered weekly at The Hibernian on Glenwood. We appreciate the Hibernian giving the weekly session a temporary home. When Tír na nÓg re-opened in a new location, the Irish session returned there until the new space was shut down as well. In the summer of 2016, musicians also started gathering on Thursday evenings at The Stag's Head.

Currently, the session continues in a weekly format at The Stag's Head.