An Fonn is Déanaí–The Lads of Laois

So, I started fiddle lessons again, and wouldn’t the first tune my teacher teaches me be The Lads of Laois. I mean, I classify tunes in lots of ways. some of them are simple and repetitive. And others are complex and rambling. Some are best played simply, others are like textbook examples of every ornamental technique in the book. The Lads of Laois is like the latter; if you want to practice your triplets, long rolls, short rolls, cuts, cross bowing, figure eights, and more, then this is the tune for you. Oh yeah, and it goes down to the low A on the G string. I highly recommend it. Played slow or fast it’s an epic tune.

So here, a dhaoine uasail, The Lads of Laois! On this one Kevin Burke is the fiddler. This is in fact the version my teacher taught me:

And if you were wondering how to get that low A on a whistle, here’s a whistle version:

Some discussion HERE on



An Fonn Seisiúin is Déanaí-The Chanter’s March

Marches. We hadn’t learned any marches at the LVISS until this past session when our most awesome-est anchor Ted decided to teach us one called “The Chanter’s March.” It’s like this–Ted gets obsessed (as do I) with a tune or set, and has to share it (as do I.) At least, I imagine that’s what’s going on, and it’s all to our benefit. This time it happened to be a march called “The Chanter’s March.”

This particular tune has very few notes. It’s a very simple tune, but, like polkas and slides, it’s all in the feel of how you play it.

First the contemporary treatment:

This march also sounds lovely on the harp:

And there are many more of this particular tune on YouTube, if you care to search. Of course, you can find Ted’s version of it on out TUNES page!

Ted teased us with another march that’s very similar, “Bó Mhín na Toitean.” Here’s Altan shredding that one:

For some discussion about marches, click HERE.

Spreading the Love on St. Pat’s Day

img_23443After 14 years living in the same house in Holyoke, my gal and I recently sold the place and moved to a nearby town. But Holyoke will keep me coming back for many reasons–especially for the LVISS!


This past weekend I did come back to Holyoke. The weekend after St. Pat’s Day is a Big Deal in the ‘Yoke every year, as it is the weekend of the annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Road Race, a 10k running race that attracts runners of, ehem, all sorts. (I’m hoping to have some pictures of some of the more colorful characters to put up soon. You might find THIS of interest for now.) The following day is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade–a pretty sizeable affair, and well-known  to almost anyone in the Irish-American community. Anyway, Deb, one of our most loyal members, lives near the race route, and has a friend who lives directly on it. She had the brilliant idea to sit and play music for the runners, and that’s exactly what we did! We were a bit chilly, but the runners loved it, and we got a lot of curious questions. A few runners even stopped running to take our picture! Silly runners. We basically just treated it like another session–we played some of the sets we’ve arranged, and whatever other tunes from our list that came to mind. The whole thing lasted only a couple hours, and some of Deb’s friends made us some nice food to keep us going. It was a fun time, and I’m sure we’ll do it all over again next year…if it’s warm enough!

I hope you all had a fun and safe St. Pat’s Day, as well, and many more to come!