While there I gave talks at the National Folk Festival as well as at a Melbourne Irish session on the history of the concertina, as well as a workshop on the old octave style of playing the instrument…a style that was so well suited to the old-style dances in England, Ireland, South Africa and Australia at the turn of the last century.* I was thrilled to see that a few more experienced Anglo concertina players who we met, who are direct descendants of old-time Anglo players, are still playing in that old double-noted style in the key of C for Australian dances; most more modern players there (especially those who mainly follow Irish music) have adopted a more modern Irish single note style. I’ve begun to collect old recordings of players who used the octave style for dance music, and with help from friends hope to publish recordings and notes in future months.
My thanks to all we met there; these folks are too numerous to mention but the photo essay will give you some idea.
* More information on octave-style playing as well as the history of the Anglo concertina can be found in my 2009 book on this subject; please see my website.