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Archive for September 2011

Castlekelly (Reel)

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(Above: Pat Mitchell, celebrated uilleann pipes performer and facial hair expert)

This is very much after Pat Mitchell's unusual and very 'uilleann-centric' version of it that appeared on his classic 1976 LP release pictured above.

It's an old piping tune. Joyce collected it from one Mr. M. Flanaghan, union piper, in the late 19th Century.

I was reminded of it on flicking through a little selection of tunes from NPU's 'An Píobaire' called 'Ceol an Phíobaire' issued around 1980. It's a nice book with some excellent sources, so I might dip into for the next while on the blog here. Pat's version of this tune is the first transcription in the collection.

There was some talk of 'Ceol an Phíobaire' being reissued a while ago, but I haven't heard anything since. It would be nice to see a new edition of it... and/or a subsequent volume?

Regards,

Harry.

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The Flogging Reel.

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Well, here's an 'oldie but goodie'.

Francis O'Neill mentions this as one of the tunes played by the legendary Drogheda piper Pat Ward (pictured above in good company).

I've heard so many versions, perversions, and aversions of it that it's hard to trace where I got it from (although fine renditions from Willie Clancy, Seamus Ennis and Felix Doran spring to mind).

It appears in various collections under the titles 'The Flaggon Reel', 'The Floggin' Reel' and 'The Slashing Reel' among others... Sounds like the makings of an eventful Friday night on the town.

Regards,

Harry.

P.s. You may have noticed a few changes to the site: The good news is that the Arts Council of Ireland have provided me with some funding to upgrade the site and acquire some recording equipment. I'll be phasing this all in over the next while starting with improved archive access and personalised page features (the tastefully continental bridge and tree image above is not there for long. Watch this space... time off allowed for the Late Late Show and making tea).

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Gillan’s Apples (Jig)

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This venerable old jig is actually one of the several tunes known as 'Apples in Winter', but Francis O'Neill (pictured above), in his 'Music of Ireland', included it under the above title so as to differentiate it from another tune of that name that he'd already collected. The Gillan in question was John Gillan, O'Neill's source of the tune. It's also sometimes called 'Gillian's Apples', obviously a mild corruption of the O'Neill handle.

This version is pretty much after the Seamus Ennis setting, and it is fairly close to O'Neill's setting. Ennis played the last part of the O'Neill version as his second part, as I've done here. The tune offers a few challenges. Not least of these is how one goes about separating all the groups of double notes on the chanter (in the second part particularly). There are choices to be made: Do I play them very staccato and clipped; or more legato; or something in between; or all of the above (and,if so, in which order?)...

I just went for it in the end and let it find its own bones after a few times round playing it.

Regards,

Harry.

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The Monaghan Jig.

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Just time for a quick crack at the Monaghan Jig. The recently discovered, and reissued, Dunn cylinders provide an astounding rendition of this one from Patsy Touhey (pictured above) where he opens up his full gamut of embellishment to it. Quite a ride. 

Seamus Ennis played it too, minus the last part.

Now, back to writing essays...

Regards,

Harry.

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