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The translated notes from CRÉ vol. IV for this James McMahon tune read:

"58. Na Beacha sa Chrann Silíní: Bees in the Cherry Tree (Donnelly II). Single jig. This tune is from James McMahon, County Fermanagh."

...it's a nice single jig and is well suited to the flute.

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Ask My Father (Single Jig)

Here's a fist at the old Ennis standard 'Ask My (or 'Me') Father'.

You can hear a nice rendition of it from Éanna Ó Cróinín HERE.

And Cormac Cannon plays a very nice setting that came from Willie Clancy and Bobby Casey HERE.

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This is the air to the well known song as famously recorded by Planxty. The lyrics were written around the end of the 19th Century by songwriter and poet Patrick Joseph McCall although the air is thought to be considerably older.

McCall's song celebrates the defeat of English forces by the Irish lord Fiach McHugh O'Byrne at the Battle of Glenmalure in 1580.

Although it's probably best known now as a song air this tune has long been a piping piece in its own right; in fact it is held by some to be the old clan march of the O'Byrne family from the days of the Gaelic order (this assertion is thought to be questionable however).

The version I play here probably owes most to Felix Doran's fine rendition of it, although versions by Willie Clancy and Kerry accordionist Johnny O'Leary also spring to mind.

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It's the day for the International Brother and Sisterhood of Doublereedism to stand up and be nerdy and obstreperous in glorious union, so here's a tune to that end.

Seamus Ennis played this single jig, but perhaps the most memorable recording of it came from the great piper and pipe maker R.L. O'Mealy who brilliantly brought out the inherent rhythm of the melody with his precise style and vigorous regulator accompaniment. Speaking of O'Mealy, O'Neill wrote:

“He is a most interesting psychological subject,” writes one correspondent, “artistic and sensitive; but a decenter fellow than O’Mea1y you could not meet. As a performer of airs, he is most expressive, but as to dance tunes - jigs, reels, and hornpipes - he can turn them off with the greatest rhythmic point and humor. Only to know him socially would not lead one to think him gifted in this way. His playing of the reels is full of that ineffable, buoyant flow that only the best pipers know the secret of. His finger technique is as complete as any I've known, and his use of the regulators. the expressive ringing tones of his treinolo (or, more correctly, his vibrato) are wonderful.

“As a pipemaker he is no less remarkable. All the work - wood work, brazing, turning ivories, curing skins for bellows and bags - is done by his own hands. What he doesn't know about the making and repairing of pipes isn’t much. It was in the blood of the family.”

Although originally from Co Westmeath, O'Mealy took up residence in Belfast and was active as a performer and pipe maker there. Read O'Neill's full entry on him (from 'Irish Minstrels and Musicians') HERE.

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This tune can be found in Mitchell's The Dance Music of Willie Clancy (no. 126, page 102) . It's clearly related to the tune popularly known as Scully Casey's but differs considerably, particularly in the second part, to the version that's commonly played in sessions.

Scully Casey, father of Bobby Casey, was an influential fiddler from near the Crosses of Annagh outside of Milltown Malbay. Clancy held his playing in high regard.

I think I've got my good mic working now, but I lost all my EQ settings when my hard disk died, so I'll be a while tweaking things to get a decent sound again.

Regards,

Harry.

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