The members of the LVISS are a sneaky bunch. They know I resist introducing music other than what’s accepted as Irish trad into the session, and I know they understand why I want to keep things under that sort of “control,” but every once in awhile they rib me about it, because I’m the “Tune Nazi” or something. I feel KINDA bad about it, because I’m not one to tell folks what they should or shouldn’t do, but at the same time I feel strongly that the session is better off for having such a focused mission and purview.

So now…last session we learned a tune which is firmly identified as part of the Irish trad paradigm, that is, the Tarbolton reel. Tarbolton is a town in south western Scotland.

You see how sneaky they are?

No but seriously, it’s one of those tunes that’s become iconic, largely, I think, aided by the fact the the great Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman made a recording of it, then the Bothy Band after him.  Whether its origins are Scottish, or it merely named for a place that many Irish folks had a connection with, I do not know. Either way it’s a great tune, lovely played slowly and invigorating play fast.

Here are a few takes on it, first from Michael Coleman himself:



Next from the 2008 North American Comhaltas Convention in New Jersey, played by Shane Cornyn (fiddle), Alex Reidinger (harp), Caitlin Finley (fiddle), Kathleen Parks (fiddle), Eugene Bender (fiddle), and Brian Lindsay (fiddle). just follow the link:


And of course you can find the LVISS recording on the tunes page, both slow and quick.


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