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Archive for the 'Set Dances' Category


Leo Rowsome

This venerable old dance tune and song air was collected by Bunting as early as 1792.

Pipers may be most familiar with this one due to Leo Rowsome's inspired arrangement of it. He set it with drums and violin accompaniment for a 78 record. You can hear a sample of that epic track HERE.

Hope you enjoy the Green Day frolics. Be careful out there (but not too careful).


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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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This is an old piping tune that was one of a collection taken down and published from Piper Jackson in the second half of the 18th Century. Sean Donnelly points out that it is related to the antique tune 'The Black Joke' (after the song, 'joke' deriving from 'joak', a defunct and extremely bawdy slang word for... something very fundamental to our human existence and nature...)

No mortal sure can blame ye man, Who prompted by Nature will act as he can / With a black joke, and belly so white: For he ye Platonist must gain say, that will not Human Nature obey, in working a joke, as will lather like soap, and ye hair of her joke, will draw more ye on a rope, with a black joke, and belly so white.

It's one of a number of set dances in jig time. This version is based on Seamus Ennis' playing of it.




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