As most of you know, "sessions" or "seisiuns", are informal
gatherings of musicians to play music. There is no "show", but often the music
is quite excellent. Sessions in the Bay Area tend to feature mainly Irish
music, but Scottish & Cape Breton tunes are often heard too. So, if you're
a player, grab your instrument, ask politely if you can join the session, and
learn (or teach) some new tunes.
For those just starting out playing this music, you may wish to
join the Slow Players - these are folk
like you that practice the tunes in informal sessions - at slower speed, about
half speed or less. As users learn the tune and are more comfortable with it,
the pace picks up to full speed. The toal of the session is to learn the tunes
in a friendly and supportive environment with others who are at the same skill
The Slow Players have three SlowPlay groups in the Bay Area with
Plough and Stars, 116 Clement St at 2d Ave. - Every Sunday
8:00 pm to midnite, often Tuesday nights 8:00 p.m. to midnite. Size varies,
usually 5-10 musicians. (and don't miss the set dancing on Thursday nights)
32 on Geary St., A slow
seisiun on the 2d and last Mondays of the month.
- The Bitter End Bar &
Grill, 441 Clement at 6th Ave (415) 221-9538. Sessions?
- O'Reilly's Irish Pub,
622 Green Street, Every Monday from 9:00 p.m. with Colm Oriain
- O'Reilly's Holy Grail, 1233 Polk Street,
Every Sunday 5:30 to 9 p.m. with The Highgates.
- United Irish Cultural Centre, 2700 45th Avenue (at
Sloat Boulevard) - (415)
661-2700 Third Sundays 5:30pm
- in El Sobrante
Berkeley Area Slow Session Every
- in Berkeley at The Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave (3 blocks south of
Ashby, 2 blocks east of Ashby BART start) next
to La Pena and between Alcatraz and Ashby. with host Shay Black, every Sunday 8:15-11:00
p.m.. 10-15 musicians.
Note that Shay gives equal billing to singing, including some excellent
sean-nós singing. All ages and all musicians,
singers, and dancers are welcome (510) 841-2082. ..Folks from as far as Sacramento tote in their fiddles, whistles, bodhrans and
even washtub basses. Throughout the night Shay calls on vocalists to sing
between the instrumental sets. The selections are mostly Celtic, with a bit of
everything else sprinkled in for variety and good measure.
- Also on Monday nights, Irish
setdancing classes lead by John Slaymaker- Dance instruction is given from
7:00 - 9:00, and the session features music for the dancers until around 10:30.
After that, the session is informal.
- in Oakland Cato's Ale House - Second Wednesdays
6:00pm (510) 655-3349
- East Bay Slow Players - meet the fourth Saturday of
the month at various member's homes.
- in San Rafael every Tuesday night at the Mayflower Pub,
1533 4th Street every Tuesday night 7.30 and usually goes until 10 or
- in Culver City - Joxer
Daly's - Every Sunday 8:30pm
- in Mountain View at
Fibber McGee's - (408) 243-7001 Third
San Jose & South Bay:
- in San Jose
Irish Pub, 25 San Pedro Square in downtown on Sundays
from 5-8 pm. 21 and over only..Now also on Tuesdays from 6:30 until 10:00 (fast session)!
- in Campbell
- in Los Gatos
- at CB
Hannegan's, 208 Bachman Avenue at Santa Cruz. Music
starts every Tuesday as soon as possible after 8:00 p.m. The
musicians play on the
"large, lovely, covered and heated patio with fireplace".
All ages are welcome. For more information contact Tony Becker
at (408) 223-6102, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- in Livermore
- at the UK Cafe (190
South J St.) on the last Sunday of the month from 6:00 to 8:30pm. The session
is hosted by Michael Mullen formally the fiddler for Caliban and Tempest, but
recently of the Irish/Scottish duo called Mullen Fordyce. For more information
call Debbie or Mark Chadwick at (925)447-7344 and email them at:
Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay:
- in Monterey -Clifford-Hoban
Branch of CCE
- London Bridge Pub - (831) 649-0448 First Sundays 6:00pm
- Monterey Slow Play Seisiún (831) 464-2128 Fourth
- in Santa Cruz
- Clifford-Hoban Branch of CCE - Childrens Seisiún
Matt @ (831) 662-9444 or 9334 Second Sunday Afternoon
- Slow Play Seisiún Clare @ (831) 649-0448 Third
- India Joze - (831) 427-3554 Fourth Sundays 8:00pm
- in Aptos Britannia Arms - Celtic
Society (831) 464-2128 Second Sundays 6:00pm
- in Sebastopol at
Jasper O'Farrell's - (707) 823-1389
Second Sundays 8:00pm
- in Sonoma at
Pub First Sunday of the month at 6 p.m. info:
- in Santa Rosa at The
Black Rose Irish Pub,
2074 Armory Drive. -slow session the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 8:00 p.m.
Fast session the 3rd Wednesday of the month. 8 p.m. info call (707) 546-7673.