Archive for the 'Reels' Category
Just time for a quick go at a nice Séamus Ennis tune.
I don't hear this one played about the place a lot, which is surprising, because it's nice.
Ennis played this on his LP 'The Pure Drop'.
Séamus Ennis played this one. He might have heard it from fiddler Frank O'Higgins who played in The Fingal Trio with his father, James Ennis. O'Higgins recorded it on a 78 record in the 1930s.
It's quite the E cran workout, and I'm adding in some Ennisean inverted D crans which lends an unusual rhythmic kink to the first and third parts.
I'm trying out a Benedict Koehler chanter on this clip.
(Image: Tom Busby, Anne Busby (nee Carney), Mike Carney & Pat Lavin circ. 1930s)
This is a reel that I usually associate with the Irish-US fiddlers (Andy McGann et al) and Seán Maguire, but I came across a nice setting on pipes on some old, informal homemade recordings that were donated to NPU by Tom Busby's widow, Anne (see above). This version is largely based loosely on that recording (or what I remember/forget of it!)
In the opening bar I play a 'C . ACA' tight run followed by an 'A . ACA' tightness... which was an interesting challenge of a Saturday morn (I even pull a few of 'em off!)
You can hear Emmett Gill play his take on this one HERE.
This version of the famous reel is based on one of the settings from Séamus Ennis. The first part is quite reminiscent of the version played by Tommy Reck on his LP 'The Stone in the Field'.
It has old piping associations: Francis O'Neill got it from the Co. Mayo piper James O'Brien. The Fiddler's Companion notes that O'Brien's habit of stopping for a wee chat (and a dram?) before he'd finish a round of a tune irritated O'Neill:
"...his loquacity was uncontrollable, and he never hesitated under such conditions to express a passing sentiment. Amiable and harmless at all times, he died at a comparatively early age in Chicago, a victim to conviviality, his only weakness."
I was reminded of this one recently on hearing a fine rendition from convivial piper Emmett Gill. Listen to it HERE.
I heard this tune first from an old recording of a Séamus Ennis recital. If I recall rightly he had a verse to the first part for the occassion that went something like:
Kitty in the lane, I better put it plain,
For Kitty's in the lane and she hasn't any britches on.
Our Gaelic poets didn't sweat too long over that chestnut; and something tells me that, had Séamus been in closer company, Kitty may have been missing a garment more intimate than her britches...
However, it's a lovely old piping reel that was also in the repertory of Rowsome and Clancy.
(Popular Irish postcard image of Sean McAloon)
Neil suggested this reel for inclusion and I'm happy to oblige as it's a great piping tune, and it's also nice for concert pitch (which I'm trying to play a bit more of these days).
You can hear the Fermanagh-born piper and pipe maker Sean McAloon play an interesting setting of this reel HERE.
McAloon lived much of his life in my hometown of Belfast. He was a big fan of Leo Rowsome's style of playing, as can be heard in the fine, flowing rendition linked to above.
Well, here's that nice elegant old reel that I was inspired to revisit after listening to Gay's performance below.
My fist at it is very much after Ennis who really made a piping meal of it.
This reel too has strong associations with Scotland and was recorded by the greats such as Coleman, Morrison and Conlon in the 78 era. I probably learned it first on flute from that fantastic rendition on Tansey's 'The Best of Seamus Tansey'.
This is an old Irish piper's take on a once famous 18th Century Scottish dance tune.
Ennis and Clancy and Rowsome all had it in their repertory, and it's making a bit of a comeback in piping circles recently with people like Gay McKeon giving it a good airing. You can hear Gay's fine rendering of it HERE.
Incidentally, I've been meaning to record the first tune that Gay plays in the link above: 'The Flax in Bloom'. Very nice piping piece indeed. If I'm not accosted by daemons, fairies or the Sea Cat in the interim then I'll put to it in the cold, thin light of the morn.
I've been on tour in Germany for the last month or more. A different town and hotel and venue nearly every night... the buzzword for the trip is "intense", and I'd add in "tired" and "emotional". It was a great group of people though, no head-the-balls (except possibly me), so we were very lucky I think.
Anyway, what better way to start back on this errant piping venture than with a very intense reel. I had the good fortune of touring alongside a great piping duet and guitarist/singer combo called REALTA from near Belfast. We had a blast, and it was good to be able to try out all my rusty belfastisms on them to see if they were still current (the good ones still are anyway, it turns out). MY POINT (ahem) is that Realta played a version of this great reel. It came, as far as I am aware, from Willie Clancy and can be found under this title in the Pat Mitchell book of Clancy tunes.
The poet Ciaran Carson once extolled that quality of Irish dance melodies where they are both happy and meloncholic at the same time... I think that is a very valid appraisal of the emotional content of a lot of the music; this tune definitely slopes towards the downer side of the emotional scale though, and when I come back to my senses I'll try to put something 'happy' up to balance that out.