Sean O'Malley wrote:
> Except on nights when it's nigh impossible to hear each other, I
> prefer that people just keep going about their usual bar business.
> It's a session, not a gig.
Okay, I've been mulling something over for possible list dissection, and now
Sean has given me the perfect lead-in.
I have a couple of friends ("Celtic musicians" and singers, not very trad, not
much Irish stuff -- all of which may explain the scenario I'm about to
describe, but what the hey...) And I nurture a hope that if one or both would
at least check out our trad session, they would become better people.
Anyway, I had the following disagreement with one of them. I told "Dougie"
that I was trying to encourage "Johnny" to come to the session, if only to
listen and enjoy a pint, whereupon "Dougie" replied, "'Johnny' doesn't do free
gigs." I explained that it was a session, not a "gig," and that "Johnny"
certainly knew the difference. It escalated from there...
"Dougie's" argument was that the pub pays musicians to play (acts are booked
as nightly entertainment); therefore, playing an instrument in that location
(or most public places) counts as a gig -- in this case, a "free gig." He
defined "gig" as a musical performance; the dictionary agrees. He pointed out
that "Johnny" is a full time musician, "which tempers his desire to
play/perform for free."
My argument: a "gig" has an element of obligation that a session does not. A
person who has a gig has some kind of agreement with the establishment to give
a "formal" performance at a specific time, and the musician is obligated to be
there. This is usually paid, but may be done for free on occasion. But a
musician who participates in a pub session is free to come and go as he or she
chooses, and in no way would I consider this a gig.
The one exception is when one or more musician(s) acts as "anchor" and is paid
to lead the session. For those persons only, it would be a gig, because if no
one else shows up, the lead musicians are still obligated to play for the
required time period. For everyone else, it's a session.
If "Johnny" is only willing to play in a public place when he is getting paid
for it, that is his prerogative. But calling a session a "free gig" seems
ludicrous to me.
Anyone care to comment?