About the Euro Sessions


Welcome to the web site for the Oxford Euro Sessions.  The pandemic hit the folk music scene pretty hard, and while we all did our best to keep things going online and through outdoor sessions (weather permitting), getting in-person sessions at pubs re-started is still to some extent work in progress.  Before lockdown, we had both a French/Breton session and a Scandi Session.  As a way of starting things up again, we decided to combine the two, while people were getting used to the idea of in-person sessions again, and also because of the limited availability of venues.  Here is how things are shaping up: 

There are occasionally some last minute changes of venue or day, so check FolkInOxford for the latest information. For both sessions, the typical instruments that appear are fiddles, nyckelharpa's, hurdigurdies (viole a roue, used a lot in Occitan music), flutes, whistles, various kinds of squeezebox (concertina, diatonic, piano chromatic, button chromatic), sometimes the smaller French bagpipes, guitar,  session harp, and once or twice a harmonium, but really anything acoustic is welcome. Feel free to drop in any time if you wish to join in on either session, or even just to listen in.

Right now, I have compiled tunebooks for the sessions, linked below. I'll keep adding more, so check back often. This will never be a comprehensive list of everything we play, and new tunes are often spontaneously introduced at the sessions, but if you learn some of the tunes in the Tunebook you will be guaranteed to be able to play along.  If you have suggestions for additional tunes to add in any category, please email me here .    Meanwhile, you'll find a lot of good tunes that will fit into the sessions at the Oxford SlowSession site.  Also, check out some of the tunes on my Youtube Channel.            .

Good places to find lead sheets for folk tunes of all types are abcnotation, FolkWiki (mainly Nordic), Folk Tune Finder, and The Session (mainly celtic, but a mix of nordic stuff in there, too. I am always eager for suggestions for tunes to include in the tunebook. Please send suggestions to me here  . Links to abcnotation files and information about preferred keys are appreciated, but pdfs, jpegs, or even just tune names or links to Youtube performances are all useful.

I have tried to post the dots in the keys in which they are most commonly played to avoid people having to do any real-time transposition. For the sake of melodeon players, I have tended to favor keys that can be played easily on the common D/G boxes (i.e D, Bm,G,Em), though string players will have some of their own preferences. Eventually, I will start posting dots in abc notation text files, as well as pdf's, since then people can easily transpose to a preferred key. For Mac Users the software easyABC used to be the go-to choice, but that evidently no longer works on the current versions of the operating system. There are a lot of web sites out there which will transpose and turn abc files into dots you can download. One I particularly like is the abc editor provided by the Montreal Session. It has a particularly nice way to transpose, as it allows you to directly specify the target key, rather than the number of semitones up or down. It even understands modes, such as Mixolydian!

For the sake of those who prefer to learn by ear, I've posted Youtube links to recordings, where I could find suitable ones. Youtube has become polluted with obnoxious ads. I've tried to find ad-free recordings where possible, but sometimes all the best choices had ads, so I hope you can turn down the volume at the beginning and put up with waiting until the ads finish.

Scotland Tunebook

The tunebook is here .

Shetland Tunebook

Watch this space

French and Balfolk Tunebook

The tunebook is here .

Nordic Tunebook

Sometimes called "Scandi," but the proper term if one is including Finland and Estonia is "Nordic." These are mostly Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish tunes, but Estonian, Danish, Icelandic and Faroese could also fit in here.

The tunebook is here .