Welcome to Greenshoots Music Group

What Are We?

We are a small, amateur, music practice group, with origins and focus in the folk tradition, but sometimes playing a wider range of music.

Who Are We?

It varies week to week, but usually between 5 and 15 people of all ages. There is a core group who have been coming (on and off) for years that gives continuity and stability, and then newcomers join every few months - some stay for a few months, and others stay for years (or leave and come back again later).

At a collaboration concert in October 2010 (concentrating too hard - normally happier!)

Where, When and How?

After many years at the Red Lion at Whittleford, a major refurbishment removed our practice room, so we have moved to another pub nearby. This is the Black Horse at Melbourn, near Cambridge (UK!). The address is 63 Orchard Rd, Melbourn, Royston, SG8 6BP. For location information and a map see here.

We meet on alternate Monday evenings, from 8pm to 10:30. In 2017, the first sessions were 9th and 23rd Jan, then strictly every other week (so 1st, 15th and 29th May, etc.).

New players are always welcomed! Cost is zero! Contact details are at the bottom of the page.

What Instruments Do We Play?

Currently the group wields concertinas (Anglo and English), fiddles, guitars, bass guitar, mandolins, flutes, recorders, melodeons, plus occasional accordion etc.

What Music Do We Play?

Over the years we have built up a large list of tunes to which we have the music. Most are British Isles traditional music, particularly folk dance tunes. However there are exceptions ranging from Lily Marlene to American Patrol and Ashokan farewell. The majority are single line melodies with chord accompaniement, but we do also use some harmony settings (mainly 2-part). Most of the tunes (500+) are available in Paul Hardy's session tunebook, which is free as PDF to download and print, and also in abc format to play and manipulate.

What Is The Standard?

Variable! We are a mix of abilities and experience, but are all better than when we joined. We start new tunes slowly, and then speed up gradually. We are not afraid of stopping and practicing difficult bits several times.

What do we sound like?

There are some MP3 recordings of tunes recorded in our usual Greenshoots sessions, plus ones of some of us playing sets at two of the local collaboration concerts.

How Is It Organised?

We are a self-help group, with no single boss (a benevolent oligarchy?). Paul is the usual leader when he's there, because of the use of his Session tunebook as the core repertoire, and because his concertina can be heard! Mike as long-term secretary handles the finances (minimal) and accommodation arrangements, and organises if Paul is not there. Rob has the master email list and sends out the reminders and lists of tunes for the next session. Chris has been the musical director. Others chime in as needed.

Do We Perform in Public?

Rarely! We exist to play for our own pleasure, and to improve our playing. However, we normally do a carol session for charity each year before Christmas, and have been known to do half hour spots at local folk events during the year.

Performing at the Red Lion folk day in July 2002

Current Music Session Contents

Sessions in 2017 are currently in two parts. The first half is playing tunes chosen at the end of the previous session, so that people have had time to look at them at home. The second half lets people choose tunes by going round the room to give everyone a chance to choose one they like (or dislike but want to practice!), mainly from Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook.

Previous Music Session Content

In previous years, we have worked through the alphabet:

Before that we used to plan sessions more formally, and some previous programmes are available:

Other Info


Webmaster: Paul Hardy, 15 Kentings, Comberton, CAMBRIDGE, CB23 7DT.
email paul at paulhardy dot net.
Secretary: Mike Rawlings  

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