The Mountain Road

There’s Something so satisfying about this reel. The rolling, bouncy A part is like the rhythm of walking on a crisp, sunny morning on hard packed dirt through the woods. The B part speaks of cresting a rise to see the valley spread out below, or laughter as it echoes off the trees. Ted taught us a two part version of this tune–the most common version–at the last session, but our member Mary swore she had heard a 3 part version somewhere. She found it here:

Good on ya, Mary! Ted’s splendid version can be downloaded at the tunes page. Enjoy!

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):


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:

An Fonn is Déanaí–Muckross Abbey (Mulvihil’s Reel) (aka Callahan’s?)

Muckross Abbey is located in Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Muckross Abbey is located in Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Our anchor this week taught us a tune which he called “Callahan’s Reel.” This same tune is on a classic album on which Pádraig O’Keefe, Julia Clifford and Denis Murphy play lot’s of great polkas, slides, jigs and reels, as well as a few airs. Track number two is a set in which a tune called Muckross Abbey is followed by one called Mulvihil’s, both reels. One of “Muckross Abbey’s” other names is Mulvihil’s Reel–a prime example of the confusion to be found in Irish tune names!

To add to the confusion, at least my own,’s entry for this tune ( does not list “Callahan’s” as one of its names. Now, I’m pretty sure our anchor knows his stuff, so I’m just going to utter the classic “huh” and move on.

It’s a scorcher of a reel–lots of notes, lots of repetition, lots of drive. Here are a couple examples fro the “Tube of You.”

Patrick Street perform it here, third in a set. This band included one of my favorite fiddlers right now, Mr. Kevin Burke–great, great player. If the vid doesn’t do it automatically, you can find Mulvihil’s at 2:30.

Ah! Look what I found: Starts at 3:15.

And, in case you’re interested in Muckross Abbey–go HERE, and/or watch this video!