Last night I paid a visit to the weekly Celtic jam in Elora. I remember visiting when it was still being held in the historic Dalby Housewhere it began in 2000. Still hosted by Eva McAuley and Robin Aggus, the event has made a successful transition to its new home at the Shepherd’s Pub and boasts a variety of instruments, many of the musicians switching easily from one to another. One thing I did remember from my last visit is that the players were very proficient and they played fast! So I kept my whistle buried in my bag thinking I’d only bring it out if I felt I could join in – maybe on a slow number – but the minute I sat down, the fiddle player next to me said “you might as well get that flute out!” I was startled enough (how did he know what I was hiding in my bag?) to admit that I was indeed carrying a whistle but I thought I’d wait to see if I played it or not. I eventually brought it out for one tune, played with the assistance of some written music (which did not appear to be anywhere else in the room – all the tunes played from memory) and with the moral support of a couple of musicians joining me in the second go round.
So if you are looking for a place to share some traditional tunes, bring your fiddle, flute, whistle, pipes, concertina, guitar, bodhran, mandolin, harmonica (see a pattern? – use your imagination) to the Shepherd’s Pub on a Friday night.
[Celtic Jam, Shepherd’s Pub, 8 Mill Street West, Elora; every Friday, 9:00 – midnight, no cover]