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Long Neck Music, Magoola, Dripsey, Co. Cork. P12 PK81 Ireland

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I'm delighted once again this year to be invited to this great event. This is one special event for all you banjo and music lovers. The biggest collection of Deering  banjos to be ever available for test driving in any one place. This years event is very special for me as 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American folk legend  that is Pete Seeger. Pete invented the long neck 5 string banjo by initially adding 2 extra frets and then the extra 3 fret version that we all love and play. Greg Deering, founder of Deering Banjos along with his wife Janet will be in attendance as well as their daughter Jamie. Deering Banjos have been to the forefront in preserving the traditional quality and tone of the banjo as well as being sympathetically and boldly innovative in coming up with new tone ring designs, alternative woods and not afraid to think outside the box. Their White Oak Deering and Vega Series being a point in case. Greg is also a big fan of the long neck banjo from his early interest in folk music and Greg and I will be giving an onstage presentation on the "Long Neck" 5 string banjo and Seeger at the event on May 11th 2019. Other stage performances and workshops will be occurring through the day with the wonderful staff at Eagle all round with instruments and accessories for sale at special event prices. There will be a concert that evening with the fabulous Kruger Brothers supported by Damien O’Kane Irish tenor banjo ace, guitarist and singer with David Kosky (Guitars) and Cormac Byrne (Bodhran) and Sheffield singer-songwriter ‘Banjo Jen’ who will be on-stage to perform in the afternoon
This is all happening at The North Light Gallery (behind Eagle Music Shop), Brooke’s Mill, Armitage Bridge, Huddersfield, HD4 7NR …to celebrate Eagle Music’s 12th consecutive year as the #1 world dealership for the Deering Banjo Company, USA.
Here is a link to the event. Banjo 12 Event at Eagle Music, Huddersfield, UK May 11th 2019
               GREG DEERING WITH A DEERING VEGA LONG NECK BANJO                                  PAT WITH HIS TRUSTY 1999 DEERING VEGA LONG NECK BANJO                  
2019 is the centennial of the famous American folk singer/songwriter and activist Pete Seeger (May 3rd 2019 toJanuary 27th 2014. He led a coulourful long life doing what he believed in. He had a unique way of including audience participation everywhere he performed, be they young or old and made everyone forget their hang ups and join in. As he used to cite something like this, "it's better to sing or play the wrong note than not to sing or play at all". My initial connection to Pete Seeger is through Irish folk music and listening to my older brothers LP records of the Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. As well as Luke Kellys voice, I loved the sound of the long neck five string banjo that he played and getting the basics from my older brother Tim who plays a standard scale five string, I self taught myself to play the style of Luke and Tommy Makem. Researching the long neck banjo, I soon found out that Pete had invented it first adding two frets at the bass end of the neck in 1943 and eventually adding three frets in 1955. This became the standard for commercial manufacturers of the long neck banjos like the Vega Banjo Company who actually made the infamous model the "Vega Pete Seeger". This banjo became a distinctive sound in American folk music with groups like the Kingston Trio and contributed to the sound of the Dubliners and The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. AS a matter of fact, Pete played with the latter ensemble in both recordings and live concerts while Tommy Makem learned to play the long neck banjo from the famous Pete tutorial publication "How To Play The Five Sring Banjo". Pete first heard the five string while visiting North Carolina and attending square dances where the instrument was popularly played.
    There is hundreds of anecdotes attributed to Pete and one of my favourite ones was: "In the 1970s, Pete Seeger was invited to sing in Barcelona, Spain. Francisco Franco's fascist government, the last of the dictatorships that started World War II, was still in power but declining. A pro-democracy movement was gaining strength and to prove it, they invited America's best-known freedom singer to Spain. More than a hundred thousand people were in the stadium, where rock bands had played all day. But the crowd had come for Seeger. As Pete prepared to go on, government officials handed him a list of songs he was not allowed to sing. Pete studied it mournfully, saying it looked an awful lot like his set list. But they insisted: he must not sing any of these songs. Pete took the government's list of banned songs and strolled on stage. He held up the paper and said, "I've been told that I'm not allowed to sing these songs." He grinned at the crowd and said, "So I'll just play the chords; maybe you know the words. They didn't say anything about you singing them." He strummed his banjo to one song after another, and they all sang. A hundred thousand defiant freedom singers breaking the law with Pete Seeger, filling the stadium with words their government did not want them to hear, words they all knew and had sung together, in secret circles, for years. What could the government do? Arrest a hundred thousand singers? It had been beaten by a few banjo chords and the fame of a man whose songs were on the lips of the whole world.
     Anyway, I am putting together a set list of his songs and anecdotes, and will perform at festivals, concerts and events throughout 2019. My passion for the long neck banjo lives on and I am delighted to be participating in a Banjo event at the renowned Music shop, Eagle Music Shop in Huddersfield, UK on May 11th 2019 where I will be joining Greg Deering, owner of the Deering Banjo Company and responsible for rescuing the Vega banjo brand and producing long neck banjos under the Vega and Deering names. Here is a link to the event. Banjo 12 Event at Eagle Music, Huddersfield, UK May 11th 2019
    I was lucky enough to have met all my long neck banjo heroes Luke Kelly (played his banjo at Cork Opera House stage bar in July 1981), Tommy Makem and visited Pete Seeger at his home in Beacon New York with my son Ricky in July 2019 just after his 90th birthday.


Pat with Pete Seeger on Pete's doorstep in Beacon New York 21st July 2009

A big shout out to all our friends at this side of the Mississippi! My wife Kathleen and I had a great time visiting no less than 6 states in the USA this August and September and enjoyed performing at festivals, concerts and house concerts as well as attending our first US wedding and performing Johnny Duhan's epic song "The Voyage" at the couples wedding ceremony in Pennsylvania. We also received a warm welcome form my friend Joel at The famous Martin Guitar Company  receining a VIP tour of the factory and a surprise laid on by Joel in that I got to play a 1942 D45 from the museum! Thank you friends, old and new!




       Irish Music Cruises


IRISH FOLK MUSIC ICELAND CRUISE MAY 2018. I am delighted to be providing Irish Music on this special cruise. Still time to book this exclusive 10 day Irish Folk Music cruise to Iceland. It leaves Dublin Ireland on 10th May 2018 with some wonderful stops including Belfast and Shetland Islands as well as two days in Reykjavík and then visiting the northern Icelandic city of Akureyri where the Northern lights can frequently be seen. I am looking forward to seeing all you enthusiastic folks on board the Celebrity Eclipse.

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