Strike the Gay Harp

I was listening to an album by Kevin Crawford called In Good Company today, and this one jig stood out to me, and it turns out it’s because my musician friends play it at sessions. It’s called Strike the Gay Harp, and I love it. It has three parts, in the key of D. Here a link to a recording of my friends playing it, and a few videos from YouTube for your viewing and listening pleasure. Tell me what you think of it! I’ll post a vid of me playing it soon! But first–

My friends playing Strike the Gay Harp.



Rose in the Heather

Our good friend Naka came and taught us a tune called Rose in the Heather, a jig in D. Here are just three of the many versions I found on the YouTube. You can do so much with this tune, and it sounds lovely slow or fast. Enjoy!

With the Kesh–!!

Paddy O’Rafferty’s

At my last workshop with Dan Foster, I learned a jig called Paddy O’Rafferty’s. Now, There are at least three versions of this jig that I have heard. One I hear and play alot at sessions around here, and there’s another that gets played too. The first is a three parter, and the other is a five part tune. The one I learned from Dan is the five part version, and I do prefer it, though they are both bangin’. Here’s an example or two of each-I’ll let you decide which one is better!

the three part version (first tune–can’t get better than Seamus Ennis):

The five part version (starting at 1:40):


Apples in Winter

It hardly feels like winter here, or well, I should say it hardly looks like winter–there’s little snow, but the temperature is low enough. This morning as part of my second breakfast (yes, I am a giant Hobbit) I had an apple. And just two days ago I was playing the concertina and this tune, Apples in Winter, spontaneously popped out of it. So of course, I took that all as a sign that I should share this tune with the world. It’s a wonderful and not difficult jig in E dorian.

I first heard a two part version of this tune played by Edel Fox and Neill Byrne at a house concert a few years back. I have a recording so I was able to learn it. There’s also a four part version. Here are a few examples–not Edel and Neill, but good ones nonetheless. Note how there are a couple variants of the ending of both the A and B parts.

A four part:

Our pal Gilles Poutoux:

Paddy Cronin:


Na Foinn Is Déanaí-Two “Tom Billy’s”

There are a number of tunes named after a man named Tom Billy. According to Seamus Creagh on his album “Tunes for Practice,” Tom Billy Murphy was “a great fiddle teacher around the Sliabh Luachra area, just before Páidraig O’Keefe.” There are two jigs I know of attributed to him-my one is harder to find on YouTube. The nice thing is that they go really well together. So here’s a version of the one that’s stuck in my head–the second tune in this set, played by Matt Molloy (flute,) Paul Brady (guitar,) and Tommy Peoples (fiddle.)

And here’s another version, Played by De Dannan (first tune in the set:)



An Fonn is Déanaí a d’Fhoghlaim Mé–Timmy Clifford’s Jig

I had a fiddle lesson today (always a pleasure, thanks Amanda!) and learned Timmy Clifford’s jig, in G. It starts right down at the lowest note on the fiddle, so it’s great for getting used to hanging out on that G string. (tee hee!) It’s got plenty of opportunity for rolls, too, if you need to practice those. I was thinking it might be good to follow it with Jerry’s Beaver Hat. Look that one up yourself!

Here are two fine examples of Timmy Clifford’s, gleaned from the Tube of You.


An Fonn is Déanaí–The Maid in the Meadow

While I was at the session at Dempsey’s in the Big Apple, (that’s a nickname for New York City, not the latest tech gadget!) I of course heard a few tunes I hadn’t heard before, one of which is a tune called “The Maid in the Meadow.” It’s one of those tunes I’d heard a million times recorded and at sessions. If I remember correctly, my NY friends played it in a set with Jerry’s Beaver Hat, just like in this video featuring Paddy Hayes and Brian Rooney.