I have been learning a handful of tunes lately, but the latest is The Ormond Sound reel–a lovely, slightly complicated tune written by a gentleman named Paddy O’Brien (1922-1991), an accordion and fiddle player from County Tipperary. Though the title of the tune makes you think of a body of water, it actually refers to the sound of the Ormond Céilí Band, which was led by Mr. O’Brien. Click HERE for more information about Paddy O’Brien.
Second tune here, at about 1:10:
On solo flute:
Anyone interested in more of Paddy O’Brien’s compositions will find this compilation, published shortly after his death, of interest.
Bunker hill is a rousing reel which I first heard played by a couple of young folks on the Comhaltas website. I can’t embed the video, but you can watch it here:
Here’s Portland, Maine band The Press Gang playing it along with Gathering Sheep.
Two versions of this well known reel, which I took it upon myself to learn today.
First, the lesson, by the inimitable Michael Eskin:
Now, a different take, with a little background as well, played by James Keane:
This is a four-part jig called Knocknagow, or, Cnoc na Gabha, I believe, which would mean something like “Cobbler’s Hill” in Irish. (I could do more asking around about this…) Hard to say, though, because I couldn’t find much about a place called Knocknagow online. What I did find were references to a story written by Charles Kickham from Mullinahone, County Tipperary, which was published originally in 1879. If you’d like to learn more about this novel, you can read it online or download it, or watch the 1918 silent film adaptation of the novel.
The jig itself is, as I say, in four parts–some consider it to be two seperate jigs mashed into one, but so far I have never heard them separated. Here are two great versions of the tune from Youtube.
This is a fun tune to play. The fourth part is pretty complex and notey (I think of The Wise Maid reel’s ‘B’ part) but it sounds great. The first two parts of the tune are in A minor, the second in A major. Slipping back into that minor for the second play-through is really satisfying, and the major ending set you up for alot of possibilities for the next tune. It took me a couple hours of slow playing to the this tune into my fingers, and I’m sure I’ll lose it if I don’t get back to it soon.
Learn it, it’s fun!