Release inhibitions and join in the Java Jam

Another Red Barn Java Jam is coming up on Saturday, April 26 from 7 until 10 p.m.

Another Red Barn Java Jam is coming up on Saturday, April 26 from 7 until 10 p.m.

If you are a musician or singer, you are more than welcome to come out and join all the other “jammers.” No need to think that perfection is required. Not at all. This is a way to express yourself and hopefully get others around you involved.

Jam sessions are improvised performances without extensive preparation. Sessions are held in parking lots, campgrounds, music stores, bars, restaurants or on stage. Sometimes stage improvisations are recorded and can be extremely popular music to buy because of the spontaneity of the music and its unusual interpretations.

I would like to say when jamming, musicians “hang loose,” without worrying about perfection, but for the pure joy of it, their music improves.

Some people have told me they think they are not “good enough” to go on our Java Jam stage. This is not what it’s about. It is the experience and fun that count. Not the perfection.

Some years ago I attended an Irish Harp school, and in the evening we went to one of the local pubs (there were 12 pubs in a town of 1,500 people, and they all got a turn over time) for a “Session” i.e. jamming session. Here were 40 people or so, crammed into a room no bigger than my living room, all smoking as well. But the atmosphere was terrific. As a foreigner, I was lying low so I would not interfere with the process. There were all sorts of instruments, concertina, bodhran (Irish handheld drum) violin, penny whistle, guitar, harp etc.  The session leader (it was hard to detect who that was, but the players knew; I was tipped off about that by my harp instructor) gave the nod and everyone started playing and singing. They played for the pure joy of it, and for themselves. People who knew the tune would join in and one song would lead to another. During a brief break, a very aged gentleman stood up and started reciting a long poem which, in the Irish language, I could not understand. But because of  his voice and intonation, I did get the mood and sense of what he was saying.

The evening carried on with one song following another. Jigs and reels. The pub was just alive. Not because of alcohol but because of the sheer joy of the music.

At the time it made me think and giggle to myself, how silly people would think I’d be if I showed up with one of my instruments in one of our pubs here in Sicamous and started playing. Or it would be even weirder if I stood up and starting reciting poetry.

What a shame that we in our part of the world cannot let go of our inhibitions and enjoy ourselves in that way. But once you let go of your self-consciousness, the art of singing or making music is such a fun way to be together and to relax.

Now, I hope I have encouraged some of you to come to the Red Barn Java Jam. We are hoping to create a relaxed atmosphere for all to enjoy, as a musician or a spectator.


Admission is $2 and performers and children under 10 are free. Performers can sign up at the door. In charge of the music is John Guilbeault, owner of The Music Man on Shuswap Avenue. You can reach him at 250-253-3645, or at if you have any questions. Or you can contact me by phone at 250-836-4705, or email  with questions or art news.



Eagle Valley News