The Kesh Jig-an Old Standard Brought to Life

Ok this is a bit of a teaser. It’s a video of Kevin Burke doing a tutorial video for an online service called fiddlevideos dot com. But, it is the abridged version of the lesson. They hope to leave you wanting more. I’m sure they have some great content, but this isn’t about them, it’s about the Kesh jig! Check them out, though, if you’re so inclined.

This video shows Mr. Burke playing the kesh jig right off the bat. I wanted to share this to show how this simple, perhaps overplayed tune can sound really amazing if its strong points are emphasized. It’s got a lot going on, lots of variety in melody and texture, so to speak, all of which can be emphasized to great effect. Here, have a listen:

Port na Seachtaine – The Gatehouse Maid

This week for Port na Seachtaine (my tune learning and practicing endeavor on YouTube) I decided to to one from the LVISS playlist–The Gatehouse Maid. A simple tune on the surface, but as I am discovering, it really isn’t at all.

Have a look at this video of Paul O’Shaughnessy playing it in a set for Irish Traditional Music Archive. It’s the second tune. And pay close attention to his pinky! I was watching it because playing this tune would be easier if I could use the pinky instead of crossing the strings, especially in the A part. Just watch it.

A New(ish) Thing I’m Doing on YouTube

Port na Seachtaine means “Tune of the Week” in Irish Gaelic. It’s also the title of an experiment I’m doing on YouTube lately, for the last 4 weeks so far, in which I pick a tune, record and post a video of me playing it on the fiddle on Monday, then practice it during the week. The following Sunday I’ll post a new video of myself playing it to see what a week’s worth of practice has given me. I’m also experimenting with video overlays–an editing technique that makes it appear that I’m playing along with another version of myself. I’ll do concertina first, then record myself playing along on fiddle. Paste the two videos together and VOILA! I always say I wish I could clone myself.

Let me know what you think, either here, or in the comments sections under my videos on YouTube!

For example—




An Fonn Fidle is Déanaí–Micho Russell’s Reel

I rarely hear it played at sessions, but Micho Russell’s reel is a really nice tune, very “dancy” yet very pretty at the same time, if you get my meaning. I guess what I mean is it has a lot of internal movement, but it also lingers on some notes which gives it, to my mind, that “dizzy” or “spinning” feeling. Don’t ask, that’s just how my neurons roll.

Specifically in the A part, there’s a great opportunity for a treble or roll on the G note, and this pattern repeats 6 times within each repetition. It’s fun to mix it up creatively between trebles and rolls, or to throw in a single long note in place of the triple. That’s one reason I like playing this on fiddle lately–not only is it a really great tune, but it gives lots of chances for practicing various ornaments. And boy, do I need that practice!

The B part offers plenty of chances for similar practice. Here–I’ll let Kirsten Allstaff from The Online Academy of Irish Music teach it to you:

And here’s Himself:

Plenty more on YouTube!


Here’s A Good One–Frankie Gavin House Concert

Spend a magical evening in May with a favorite Celtic music virtuoso Fiddler Frankie Gavin of Ireland


House Concert Sunday, May 24, 2015 @ 7pm with DeDannann’s Frankie Gavin

Hosted by Bud Mahoney, 42 Weatherwood Drive, Shutesbury, MA
Sponsored by Celtic Crossings WMUA & WRSI/Louise Dunphy

$20.00 per person/ Pot Luck/BYOB/Cash @ door

Space limited so reservations required/ Email: or call 413 548 9860

Frankie Gavin was born in 1956 in Corrandulla, Co. Galway. He comes from a musical family: his father played fiddle, and, his mother and all of her family played also. He started playing the tin whistle at age four, making his first T.V. appearance three years later. At the age of ten years old Frankie began to play fiddle and at the age of seventeen he placed first in the All Ireland Fiddle Competition and in the All Ireland Flute Competition, both on the same day.

He has recorded 16 albums with De Dannan as well as a number of solo albums, and three collaborations: one a tribute to Joe Cooley entitled ‘Omos do Joe Cooley’ with Paul Brock; a fine collaboration with fellow De Dannan member Alec Finn; and one with Stephane Grapelli exploring the languages of jazz and traditional music. He has also guested with The Rolling Stones on their ‘Voodoo Lounge’ album, with Keith Richards on ‘Wingless Angels’ and with Earl Scruggs the great banjo man.

Exposure to American audiences began in 1976 when he played with De Danann at the American bicentennial celebrations in Washington DC, with artists such as Junior Crehan and Micho Russell. Frankie has also been invited to play for numerous State officials including President John F. Kennedy on historic visit to Ireland in 1962, French president Francois Mitterand and England’s Prince Charles. Of a special event in America, United States Ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith is reported to have commented that“The best all ’round performance of the entire week at Kennedy Center was by DeDannan.”

Celtic Crossings on Facebook

Frankie Gavin will be Louise’s guest on LIVE WMUA Celtic Crossings May 17th 5-7 pm.

LVBIS members may recognize the following tune. Just one example of why this concert will be amazing!