Gaelic for “session”, this Irish tradition lives on within our pub every Sunday afternoon.
Seisiún (sessions) are informal gatherings of Irish traditional musicians that happen mostly in pubs. They are wonderful, spontaneous musical events that now can be found all around the world. If you were to come across one you would find musicians sitting around a table usually engaged with each other in a way that you might expect them to be having a friendly game of cards. You might even think that they’re a “band” but looks would be deceiving. Lovely bouncy tunes would be coming out of the circle and everyone that’s playing them knows the intricate melodies. And sometimes a song is called for and the room becomes quiet so the song can be heard.
The tunes played are from a living tradition of Irish dance music that dates back about 300 years. Reels, jigs, hornpipes etc. are played with grace and agility and occasionally a slow air or a waltze will be lovingly performed for everyone’s enjoyment. The instruments might include fiddles, flutes, accordions, uilleann pipes, concertinas, tin whistles, mandolins, banjos, bodhráns, guitars and sometimes piano.
Seisiúns are usually open to anyone that wants to join in provided they already know how to play Irish traditional music. And if anyone sings Irish ballads or songs most hosts will be happy to “shush” the crowd so the song can be heard. And you never know…dances might even break out from time to time.
Charlie Lennon said, “A good Seisiún can leave you walking on air send home happy and keep your mind filled with music for a whole week.”