Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Eeeee-ha! I've played this Cajun tune with David Lange, Melanie Solanen, and Chris Anderson plenty of times at the Thursday night Coop Jam. Like a lot of the tunes Dave brings, it's got that lonnnnnng melody line that just doesn't want to turn that chord corner... and then WHAM, it does. The tune is linked to SoundCloud where much of our music has to be stored, and the sheet's downloadable. It's in G, no problemo for us guitarists.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tracks of My Buggy

David Lang brought a Cajun waltz  that he thinks comes from Rodney Balfa, brother of one of the most famous Cajun musicians, Dewey Balfa.

Here is the melody...

And here is a harmony...

Monday, November 10, 2014

SET LIST for Tomorrow


Here's the run down for Tues.

1. Mairi's
2. Old Aunt Jenny
3. Brose and Butter (Peacock Follows the Hen)
4. Irish Waltz
5. Bear Dance
6. Bayou Pon Pon
7. Here Comes the Sun
8. Mairi's

We will play each piece 2 times through and do Mairi's as we always do with the singing (except Here Comes the Sun, which has it's own arrangement).

Please let me know if you need music or have questions.


See you at Thriftway, 1:45, on Tuesday.





Dear RISK,

We will be playing tomorrow at Thriftway from 2-2:30.  Please arrive at 1:45.  I have secured 4 folding chairs for 4 guitars that may need them.  I'm thinking Erik, Jason, Brian Van Buren, and perhaps Sienna can stand up.  

Also, I need one parent volunteer to stand with the shopping cart and collect the cans.  We can leave them at TW or transport them to the food bank.

We WILL be doing our regular RISK session tomorrow as well at the normal time and place.  Dave and Melanie will be back.

Looking forward to seeing you all!  Please email or call if you have concerns or questions (310-7913).



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bayou Pon Pon [Updated with guitar examples!]

Dave Lang and Melanie Salonen taught us a great Cajun tune called Bayou Pon Pon.

We have lots of different recordings for this one, as well as lyrics, all below.

[Update: Dave recorded some examples of cajun guitar. Scroll to the bottom of this post...]

First, an mp3 of a traditional Cajun band playing the tune.

Second, just a simplified version of the melody, at medium speed.

Third, a more advanced fiddle lead at medium speed.

Fourth, a nice fiddle harmony line at medium speed.

Finally, the lyrics of the song in case students want to try singing it.

Dave Lang also recorded some examples of Cajun guitar backup.

Samples here, here, here, and here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

This week and next...

Hi All and Happy November!

Tomorrow (11/4) we will be delighted to welcome Dave Lang and Melanie Salonen to teach us some Cajun tunes!  Come one, come all!  It's going to be a great time!

Next Tues. (11/11) we are scheduled to play in the Thriftway Foyer from 2:00-2:30.  I'm not sure about chairs for guitars, but I might borrow a few from Minglement or see if TW has some.  If you can stand, that would be helpful as we are trying to keep our space down to a minimum.  Also, we need bags or boxes to collect cans for the food bank.  

Please bring a music stand if you need one.  

Let's arrive 15 minutes prior (1:45) to get set up. 

I'll have a set list together this week.

Email of call if you have questions or concerns.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bear Dance!

We learned a fun tune from the 13th century called Bear Dance. Now that's old time! (Actually English...)

Here is Kim playing it...

And here is a chart...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tomorrow: RISK Faves!

Dave Lang and Melanie Salonen will be joining us NEXT week, so tomorrow we will have a RISK Best-Of session!  Bring your favorite RISK tune from past or present and let's play !

Hoping our wonderful bassist, Steve Meyer, will join us!



Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Britches Full of Stitches

Kate MacLoed and Kat Eggleston visited us, and taught a "standard" Irish polka with the great name "Britches Full of Stiches."

Here is all of us playing it a full tempo:

Here is all of us playing it at 50 percent tempo:

Finally, a chart that approximates the melody.

Concert/Food Drive, Nov. 11th?

Dear RISK,

Nov. 11th is a school holiday and I was hoping RISK would play a half hour of music in the Thriftway foyer as a food drive for our food bank.

Please let me know if you can play that day.  We will probably be there a total of an hour.  Thriftway would like us to play around 2:00.  I will formalize this plan as soon as I know there will be enough people present.

One last RISKy business:  We will be extending our season to Nov. 18th as there was a scheduling conflict with Dave Lang and Melanie Salonen, the Cajun Contingent.

Thanks and keep on playing!!



Thursday, October 2, 2014


What a wonderful session last Tuesday!

Riley and Johnny were fantastic and patient teachers!  We learned a beautiful new tune, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these guys.  I'm hoping they will accept an invitation to come back in the Spring of '15.

HUGE thanks to Eva and Ken for allowing us to spread our music in the big room!  Wow! Having enough space for all those players and guitar necks was so important to our musical learning.

And Finally, gigantic THANKS to Jason, Brian, Rick, Lars and everyone who helped get the room set up and put back together after our session.  I was able to get Johnny and Riley back to the ferry and when I arrived back at Minglement to check on things, Dan was pleased to report that everything went smoothly and the room "looked better than before we arrived!"

Thanks to all!

Stay Tuned for Kat Eggleston and Friends next week!

See you Tuesday,

PS: We miss you, Karen!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Irish Waltz

In our third RISK session of the fall 2014 session, Riley & Johnny introduced us to "Irish Waltz." The tune comes from Rhys Jones, a young fiddler from the Midwest. The liner notes for this tune say this:

Rhys sent some time in Ireland a few years ago, and while there he heard a recording of a children's choir singing this song. Alas, the song was in Irish Gaelic, as were the notes on the CD insert. Fortunately, for us, the tune itself was not so elusive.

And finally, a lead sheet and chord chart:

Monday, September 29, 2014


Thanks to the generosity of Eva and the Minglement Crew, we are staying at MINGLEMENT and changing our location to down stairs by the piano!

I need two people to come early and set up chairs in a circle around the piano while I go pick up our wonderful guests, Johnny and Riley.

Please email or call me (463-0062) if you can help tomorrow.

Looking forward to sharing our music!!



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Set List for TODAY

Hello All,

Just a loose list for us to play today:

Old Aunt Jenny with her Night Cap On!
Bayou Pon Pon
Isaac Hannah's
Minor Swing--Hall of the Mt. Swing
Snowden's Jig
Elearnor Rigby
Here Comes the Sun
Cluck Old Hen
Hangu Podoly--Frelachs Podoly
Banish Misfortune
Trip to Sligo
Morrison's Jig

Of course,  suggestions welcome.  Want to have charts for Steve the Bassist.

See you soon!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Old Aunt Jenny with Her Night Cap On: the slo-mo video

In our first RISK session of the fall 2014 session, Reilly & Johnny introduced us to "Old Aunt Jenny with Her Nightcap On." They told us that the tune comes from Estill Bingham, Pineville, Bell County, Kentucky.

Here's the Man Himself, playing the tune solo as recorded in Kentucky in 1986.

Here's Riley Calcago playing the tune quick slow so you can listen and learn—
Riley play old-aunt-johnny-with-her-nightcap-on-slow

And then Riley & papa Johnny rock the tune in this fast version on fiddle and guitar—
Old Aunt Jenny Rocks Out with Riley & Johnny

And here's a video of the music in the Key of G that we were taught in, played at 70% speed so you can "get it." Looks like it's the same sheet music, too.

If you didn't get the sheet music to "Old Aunt Jenny with Her Nightcap On," here you go. In version 2, I penciled in the guitar chords that go with the measure below it. Johnny said that the C Major chord is an acceptable substitute for the E minor chord in part A. HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Dear Everyone,

I'm so excited to start this year!  We will be meeting at 3:45 in the Bookman West bookshop (old Minglement conference room) this coming Tuesday, 9/16, a week from today!

Johnny and Riley Calcagno, a father and son duo, will be our first guest artists.  As I will be picking them up from the ferry, we may be a tad late.   We will have the room set up, and feel free to launch into a rousing "Mairi's Wedding" and wait for us.

Please bring a music stand if you need one.   

Each session is $5, or pay for the whole semester through Nov.  for $40 and save $5.
No one turned away for lack of funds.

Feel free to call or email if you have questions or concerns.

It's going to be a great year!!!!

See you soon,


Sunday, August 24, 2014


Thanks to all who participated yesterday at Open Air!  It was a relaxed and beautiful day!

Special thanks goes out to Sienna and Penelope of the band Midnight for donating more than $16 (half their summer gig money) to the RISK Scholarship Fund.  Thank you, girls, so much for your generosity.

See you on the 16th!!

With Loads of Love,


Monday, August 18, 2014


Dear Dear RISK!  

Hoping the summer days are bringing you time to enjoy your music with others.

AND hoping you will join us for a 15 minute, very relaxed set to open the Open Air show at the O Space this coming Sat., Aug. 23rd!

We are asked to be there at 3:15 and we will begin playing at 3:45.

Since we had such a great time at Strawberry Festival with the set we did, I propose we do the same set for this show.  I will send the list around again, but it is also posted on the website.

Please let me know if you will be able to play.

Thanks so much!



Monday, July 14, 2014


Dear RISKers,

This Wed. we will have a rehearsal at Minglement in a lovely canopy near the picnic tables.  See you at 3:30.  We will run through our Festival set:
1. Mairi's
2. Isaac Hannah's
3. Hall of the Mt. Swing into Minor Swing
4. Bayou Pon Pon
5. Here Comes the Sun
6. Mairi's!

We will play at Festival on Saturday at 3:15 at the Village Green (VARSA) stage.   Please be at the stage at 3:00 to set up.

See you Wednesday!!


Monday, May 19, 2014

New Set List for VCCC Concert

Hello All!  Please print out the set list if you need it or put your music in the order to make it easier during the show.  I'll be there at 3:40 so we can start on time and hopefully, we'll have T-shirts to hand out as well.  The price for shirts is $18, and you can make checks out to Kim Thal.

The Rock Island String Collective will perform at the Vashon Community Care Center at 4pm on May 20th.  We will perform the following songs:
Mari's wedding
Cripple Creek
Hall of the mountain swing / (shane flourish) / minor swing
Banish misfortune
Terk in amerika
Here Comes the Sun
Gravel walk
Morrison's into Morrison's Rock
Ten Penny Bit
Bayou ponpon
Isaac Hannah
Mari's wedding

Thank you for a fabulous year!!  We are making big plans to enlist a new guest artist every month for next year's program.   

Also, we are on for Open Air on Aug. 23rd at 4:00 at the Open Space.  Kim will be there and hoping as many of you as possible can show up.  It's a short gig for us (15 mins.) then we get to watch a fabulous show.  

See you Tomorrow!!


Kim and Shane

Friday, May 16, 2014


A while back we took some photos at the end of our music session.

Today for your viewing pleasure, here they are... Not everyone was there, but most were!

See you Tuesday at the Vashon Community Care Center at 3:45!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

RISK Concert at the VCCC 4pm on Tue. May 20th

The Rock Island String Collective will perform at the Vashon Community Care Center at 4pm on May 20th.  We will perform the following songs:

Mari's wedding
Cripple Creek
Hall of the mountain swing / (shane flourish) / minor swing
Banish misfortune
Terk in amerika
Ashoken Farewell
Gravel walk
Ten Penny Bit
Bayou ponpon
Isaac Hannah
Mari's wedding

Put these songs in order in your folder, and practice the ones you don't know well!

On Tuesday the 20th, instead of heading to the roastery, go to the VCCC, and arrive at 3:40 to tune up and warm up, then we'll perform at 4pm. Concert dress is risk t-shirts.  We are putting in an order for t-shirts this week, if you want to order one, let us know! They cost between $15-$20 depending on the order size.

See you next week for our final run through at the roastery. Cheers!

Monday, April 14, 2014

NO RISK ON 4/15! See you 4/22

Keep on playing those tunes!!  And enjoy the SUN SUN SUN!

See you in a week.


Kim and Shane

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Banish Misfortune for Guitars, flat picking the melody

Here is Banish Misfortune for flat-picking guitar:


Friday, March 21, 2014

Allons a Lafayette Cajun fiddle sheet music and chords

A great Cajun tune, here's the sheet music and a video:
Pine Leaf Boys - Allons à Lafayette: http://youtu.be/ajvT3Jnu5sA

The Gravel Walk, fiddle sheet music and guitar chords

Here is sheet music and chords for the Gravel Walk, as well as a video.  This YouTube video begins with Over the Waterfall, a tune we plan to do next season...then comes Gravel Walk:
Over the Waterfall / Gravel Walk: http://youtu.be/RHIfs-zkxGU

Banish Misfortune and Trip to Sligo, fiddle sheet music and guitar chords

Another one with sheet music, chords and a recording -
Banish Misfortune (and the Blarney Pilgrim) by Celt…: http://youtu.be/70pMknl_e3U
Trip to Sligo - Trio irlandais Hartigan: http://youtu.be/p8Je3pondXY

Imagine for string orchestra on Vashon Island, by John Lennon

The original music video:
John Lennon - Imagine (official video):

Here is a guitar tutorial:
Imagine - John Lennon - Acoustic Guitar Lesson

And a violin tutorial:
Imagine - John Lennon (Jon C. Chen - Violin Cover):

Intro: (C Cmaj7 F) 2x

C Cmaj7 F F
Imagine there's no heaven
C Cmaj7 F  F
It's easy if you try
C Cmaj7 F F
No hell below us
C Cmaj7 F F
Above us only sky

F Am/E Dm Dm/C
Imagine all the people
G G G7
Living for today, ah-ha

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Imagine all the people
Living life in piece

F G C Cmaj7 E E7
You, may say that I'm a dreamer
F G C Cmaj7 E E7
But I'm not the only one
F G C Cmaj7 E E7
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Spring session setlist 2014, Vashon RISK Orchestra

Here is our list of tunes to work on this session!  We will also continue many tunes from the last season.

Banish misfortune
Allons a Lafayette
Around the horn
Minor Swing/king of the mountain swing
Turk in America
Over the waterfall

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Session Begins March 18th!

Hello Every RISKer!

We will be starting the Spring Session this Tuesday, March 18th, at 3:45, Bookman West.  The session will go 9 weeks with no meeting on April 15th.

Tuition for the full session is $40 if paid in full by April 1st, or $5 per meeting.  Please let us know if you need a scholarship.

Looking forward to Swinging into Spring with new tunes and a finale at the community care center.

See you Tuesday!


Kim and Shane

Sunday, March 9, 2014



What a lovely day!  My cheeks hurt from smiling.

Thank you to all of you who played, transported players, and danced and enjoyed our event.

We will be taking a one-week break and the next session will start on March 18th, same RISK time, same RISK station.

Enjoy the afterglow of a fabulous show!


Kim and Shane

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Concert Deets: Be there at 12:30 for sound check!

Dear Dear RISK!

Well, after about a million emails, we have straightened a few things out:

Luke, our sound man ( we're a real band!) wants RISK there at 12:30 for a sound check.  This isn't totally imperative, so if it's a major hassle, we can work without you for the sound check.  You can show up and then leave after the sound check (20 mins. or so) and then return to the O space at 1:45 for the show.  Or you are welcome to stay around and check the action, listen to the Onlies do their sound check and get warmed up.

Here is the Set List:

Mairi's Wedding (the usual arrangement)

Boil Em Cabbage Down:  Opening Potatoes (4)
                                          Play tune 2X
                                          Sing 1X (boil em cabbage down down, bake them biscuits brown brown,                  
                                                        the only tune I ever did learn was boil em cabbage down down)
                                         Play tune 2X

Isaac Hannah's :  Play entire tune 2X

Minor Swing:  Intro by Sandy;
                        AABA repeat entire form 3X.  On 2nd time, violins drop out for Shane and Kim's solos.
                        On last time through the final A part, we end with the rhythmic pattern:
                        We Are Ending the song ( on Am).

Hangu from Podoloy into Freylachs from Podoloy:

2 X through Hangu starting quietly on A part and building then right into Freylachs.
2X through Freylachs slowing a little at the end.

Please call or email if you have any questions about this list.

Let's have a great show, and do invite your friends.

It's daylight saving's time!!

Thanks to all for your time and support!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Onlies benefit contradance, Sun. March 9th 2pm @ O Space

Invite your friends and family to the contradance of the year!  Featuring Seattle's hottest youth string group, the Onlies, and benefiting folk music programs for youth on Vashon, this is an event not to be missed.

Open Space welcomes The Onlies to Vashon, headlining a Benefit Performance for RISK and RISK Jr.
As a venue that loves music, arts education, and joyful gatherings, we are thrilled to welcome The Onlies, RISK and RISK Jr. to our stage! This Benefit Performance will feature RISK and RISK Jr. opening the show. Over 25 Vashon kids and adults will take the stage to perform. Then, The Onlies will bring their amazing music and spirit, with a concert and dance sure to bring smiles to every face and a spring to every step. Larry Muir will call the dance portion of the afternoon.

The Onlies play original and traditional fiddle-driven music, with Celtic, old-time American, and Canadian roots. Members Leo Shannon, Riley Calcagno, and Samantha Braman are Garfield High School (Seattle) sophomores who've literally played together since they were two years old. Singing and playing fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and piano, they have developed a strong fan base throughout the Pacific Northwest, performing concerts, dances, restaurants, and pubs from Port Townsend to Palo Alto, CA. The Onlies have just finished their first full-length album, "Setting Out to Sea." The CD features six original songs and tunes, plus traditional and contemporary selections

Proceeds from the event will go towards the RISK Scholarship Fund, which supports music lessons and instrument rentals for low-income kids.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Back Home!

Dear RISK,

We will be back at Minglement in the brand, new bookman space.  If you are needing music, please bring a music stand as the table has been taken.  It's a lovely space, and I think we will enjoy being there.

Our March 9th Contra Dance is rapidly approaching.
Tickets are on sale at the Brown Paper Ticket site!
Let's start spreading the word by mouth and email.

Here are details:

Contra Dance/Concert Date:  Sunday, March 9th
Time:                                      2:00 to 4:30
Location:                                The Open Space
Who:                                       RISK and The Onlies (theonlies.com)

It'll be a great day for dancing and making music with Larry Muir calling the dances.  So put on your dancing shoes and call your friends.   Tickets are $10/person or $15/family with no one turned away for lack of funds.


See you tomorrow at Minglement!


Kim and Shane

Thursday, February 13, 2014

LOVE DUETS, FRIDAY NIGHT! Be there by 7:30, please

Spring is here (at least for today)!

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible for this fundraiser for our group.

We will be playing at 8:00 starting with Mairi's Wedding and then doing Here Comes the Sun.

Shane and Kim might be doing a little talking about RISK between the two songs, but for those of you who are only coming for that part, you should be out the doorski by 8:30.

Thanks and looking forward to a festive night,


Kim and Shane

PS: REMINDER: NO RISK NEXT WEEK (2/18).  See you 2/25 at a location to be announced.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Hello RISKers,

For the next two weeks (Feb. 4th, and Feb. 11th) we will be holding RISK in the Chautauqua Music Room!!

For the kids who attend Chautauqua, this will be an easy commute.

For the rest of you, please park in the Chautauqua lot or the McMurray lot and join us in the music room.   The music room is through the main entrance, down the stairs immediately to your left, then take a right down the hallway, and you'll see the music room on your right.

If you attended the last concert, the music room is across the hall from the cafeteria where we performed.

Thanks and looking forward to seeing you all at Chautauqua!


Kim (feeling much better!)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Give me one reason for guitar and strings, RISK

Today we are posting (as promised) Give Me One Reason, as arranged by Shane and as originally recorded by Tracy Chapman. The first recording has all the parts together, the second recording is the first violin part, the last one is 2nd violin. The original album by Tracy Chapman, is called New Beginnings, and is a really great recording! I've provided a link to the album at the bottom. Enjoy!

Check out the song on the original album here, it is track 9:


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Isaac Hanna's, fiddle tune sheet music for guitar and violin

Tonight's post of Isaac Hanna's is a great example of a tune that is easy to pick on the guitar, or bow on the fiddle while the guitar strums chords!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I resolve to take more RISK this year...

Happy  New Year!!  

Hoping your holidays have been peaceful and music-filled!

We are gearing up for a wonderful Winter/Spring session of RISK.

Already there are TWO gig dates to put on your calendar:

Feb. 14th, Love Duets Benefit for RISK!

March 9th, Contra Dance Benefit for RISK at the O Space!

We look forward to starting up sessions again THIS TUESDAY, Jan. 7th, 3:45 TO 4:45 at the Minglement/Roasterie Conference Room.

Our session will run through March 4th, for a total of 8th weeks.  We ask for a $5/week tuition or $35 for the entire 8 weeks (a little discount).  But no one will be turned away for lack of funds.  

Looking forward to rosining up the bows and strumming those strings with you all very soon!!