York-based Concertina player Michael Jary brought his individual punchy style to the YCC workshop on 18 February 2018. His session, which featured a Finnish Polka and a Newmarket Polka, demonstrated how to build up from a simple tune line into something complex with ornamentation and underpinning chords. To hear his arrangements of the two polkas, take a listen on our Tunes page.
Michael is known for experimenting with bellows technique, and introduced the group to an alternative hold using the index finger in the thumb-strap on the English concertina, using the thumb and palm to more tightly control the bellows. Try it! While the alternative fingering takes a bit of getting used to, it does allow for a much more powerful, punchy sound.
This was a brilliant workshop which sent the group home inspired to practice playing in sixths, octaves, and tenths - useful in creating simple accompaniments.
Michael, who studied under Alistair Anderson, plays with a number of bands, in particular the York-based Fiddlers' Wreck. He was a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Tradition awards in 2000.