Nana Jo’s Reel

I’m currently obsessed with this tune, Nana Jo’s reel, which was written by Edel Fox, a truly great concertina player from Clare. It appears on the album “The Sunny Banks,” which she recorded with top tier fiddle player Neill Byrne. In this video the teaches the tune as part of her series on the Online Academy of Irish Music website. Maybe this will inspire you to take her course!

The Cascade Polka (and the Low Polka)

I was listening to some session recordings in the car the other day, as you do, and up comes a track I recorded last fall at a house session. A couple friends had come to the area for a visit and so of course a session was hastily organized in their honor. We had a blasht drinking drinks (N.A. for me!), eating schnacks, and playing tunes. These two lovely musician friends sound so dang good together, and the recording in question is my favorite from the evening. What really got it firmly lodged in my head, such that I could not remove it, was that I could NOT for the life of me find where the bloody “one” was. I have since located it, though this tune plays tricks on my brain cells and I often hear the one a beat early. You may know what I mean once you hear it. Hint–the first note you hear in most recordings is the 4 of the previous measure.

I’m such a nerd.

It took some TunePal gymnastics to find the name of the tune (play the recording from one phone into an old phone with TunePal installed, a dozen times, both A and B parts, until it hit on it,) but eventually I found the titles–The Cascade Polka and The Low Polka. An interweb search didn’t yield much for The Cascade, but I did manage to find the following Bandcamp page online, on which a track of the tune and another called “Billy O’Mahony’s” can be bought for a euro. A little info from that page:

The Cascade is composed by accordion player Timmy O’Connor from Tureendarby, Newmarket. Timmy is a local treasure and the Monday night session has continued due to Timmy’s dedication and willingness to share his music with people who come play at Scullys. The second tune is called after another local musician Billy O’Mahony. The two tunes are long married and one is rarely heard without the other.

(By the way, as noted above, the composer of the Cascade is from Tureendarby, and The Tureendarby Polka is one we learned at the LVISS from Dan Foster.)

Finally–here’s a link to the recording that I made–It’s Crystal Bailey on fiddle and Patrick Cavanagh on accordion, recorded last fall.

Patrick said to let you all know that…

…the Cascade is written by Timmy O’Connor (as mentioned above-ed.) and the Low is by John Walsh, both from the Newmarket area of Cork.

Sliabh Luachra abú!!!

The Cascade Polka/The Low Polka


The Coachman’s Whip

This is another one of those “I’m obsessed with this tune at the moment” posts. Listening back to some recordings I have made of sessions I’ve attended, I ran across The Coachman’s Whip in the middle of a set. Here’s a version of that tune and another tune I love called The Moneghan Twig, followed by The Torn Jacket.  Enjoy!

Young Tom Ennis

Here’s a jig called Young Tom Ennis, also known as “The Banshee’s Wail over the Mangle Pit”–a “mangel,” or “mangle” being a word for a type of root vegetable, and the pit referring to a place where they would have been stored over the winter.  Of course, there’s always more than one story behind a tune, so for more see THIS. Thanks to Corey for teaching us this awesome tune.

According to “”

YOUNG TOM ENNIS (Tomás Og Magennis/Mac Aengusa). AKA and see “Banshee that Wailed over the Mangle Pit (The),” “Banshee’s Wail Over the Mangle Pit (The).” Irish, Double Jig. A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Tom Ennis was indeed the youngest member of Chicago’s Irish Fiddle Club in the early years of the 20th century. A budding piper and fiddler, he was the American-born son of piper and flute player John Ennis of Kildare, from whom O’Neill obtained this tune. When Tom reached maturity he moved to New York where he made a living as a professional piper and founded one of the first Irish-American recording companies, for whom he commercially recorded in the 1910’s and 20’s (Carolan, 1997). Ennis died of a heart attack in Jonesville, Michigan, while on tour.