Almonte Trad Songs


The Almonte Trad Song session meets at the Barley Mow Pub in Almonte from September to June on the fourth Sunday of the month, from 2 PM to 4 PM. 

These days, we are so bombarded with highly produced commercial music that we’ve lost the experience of singing for ourselves.  This  session which has been running since 2005, revives the tradition of folks gathering  around the kitchen table or in a local pub to sing and play for their own pleasure.   We emphasize traditional songs with choruses such as sea shanties and old gospel tunes to make it easy for everyone to sing along. The stronger singers lead and sing the verses, and anyone can join in on the choruses.  

How to subscribe

To receive announcements about the session and items of related interest (one or two messages a month), email a subscription request  with your name, email address and a brief paragraph saying how you heard about the group. 

What is a traditional song? 

There can be a lot of latitude in defining what is traditional.  As a starting point, here is a definition lifted from the web site: 

Traditional music consists of songs and tunes which have been performed, by custom, over a long period (usually several generations). They are most often folk songs, country dance or similar types of folk music but they can also be pieces from known early composers and may have been the "pop music" of their time. Traditional music (or public domain) is also used as a copyright status covering music which is out of copyright.

See also  I like the emphasis there on "oral tradition" - the idea of learning from someone else and then making it your own.  Traditional songs are also "regional" - they have a texture that grows out of a specific time and place.  

That said, the founding principle of the session is to create an opportunity for people to sing in an informal and relaxed atmosphere - to experience music and singing as something you do yourself - not just "consumed".   So bring an old song you've been singing years, learn one that you've always wanted to sing or just come out and sing the choruses - but come and SING! 

How does it work?

A number of people have asked about "the rules" for the session and without being too rigid, we focus on traditional* songs with choruses.  The idea is for the stronger singers to provide a foundation for others to sing along.  For this reason, it is best if the person leading the song knows it pretty much by heart -- if you like to keep the words in front of you as a safety net, that's okay.  If your song is  not well known to the group and has a complicated chorus, you might want to bring a few copies of the words and to teach the chorus by singing through it a couple of extra times the first time through to help people learn it.   

We generally go around the room and ask each person if they would like to lead a song.  In the first couple of rounds we give priority to those who have prepared a  song with a good chorus.  After that we will sometimes hear a solo piece that someone has been working on.  We generally get ten or more people for each session with  about two thirds of those leading songs.  Typically we get around the room three times or four times depending on the turnout. 

A word about instruments (other than voice).  The original idea was that all of the singing would be 'a cappella' (unaccompanied), but we've since relaxed that to welcome the odd guitar, accordion, etc. The guideline is that it's okay to accompany yourself on a song that you're leading, otherwise wait until asked and refrain from continuous playing in between songs.

Directions to the Barley Mow Pub

The Barley Mow pub, 79 Little Bridge Street, is right on the river, in behind the Thoburn Mill and there is also access off the main street (Mill St.) just up fom the Post Office - look for the stone archway that leads down to the pub. For a map and directions, see this map. On Sundays, you can park in the Post Office parking lot and it's just a short walk through the park (literally) to the pub.

For more information, contact David Baril at 613-355-5552 or .


Last Update: 2018-01-31