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Archive for November 2012

This set dance, from the playing of Willie Clancy, derives from a great song of the same name.

The lyrics concern 'Sean O Duibhir an Ghleanna' (John O'Dwyer of the Glens), a celebrated soldier who fought against the forces of Cromwell in Ireland during the 17th Century wars. The Irish forces were defeated and many survivors, including O Duibhir, fled to Europe rather than live defeated in Ireland.

You can hear a fine rendition of the song from Donegal singer Dominic Mac Ghiolla Bhríde HERE.

The great Seán Mac Ciarnáin plays it on the pipes as both a slow air and set dance HERE.

Playing this on the pipes, to my ear, is all about phrasing and tone; how to accent notes and accentuate phrasing without overdoing it. It's a very fine piece of music in all its forms.


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Ceo ar a’ gCnoc (Reel)

The title translates into English as 'Mist on the Hill'. This is one of the tunes that Seamus Ennis collected in his legendary expeditions through Connemara.

Jimmy O'Brien-Moran plays a nice version of it on his CD (pictured on a post below) that represents a slightly different take on the melody as played by Ennis on one occasion. It's a very nice reel that goes well with Port na Gioboige - another Connemara dance tune - that I recorded here some time ago.




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The Lark’s March (Double Jig)

Here's a nice piping jig that I've been meaning to go at. This was played by several pipers, but is likely most connected now with Seamus Ennis who employed it in his telling of the story of a piping competition between the world's two greatest pipers (...both pipers had exhausted their repertoires and had matched each other tune for tune all through the night. As the sun came up one of them spied a lark and was inspired to compose this tune on the spot - it won him the competition).

You can hear a recording of Ennis playing the tune HERE.

...He has some brilliant clipped articulation and rhythmic effects going on in it, apart from it being a great piping setting of the tune (watch your dentures when it comes to the final flourish though!)


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