Táim Ciaptha ag an bPort seo le Déanaí

The Humours of Lisadell. It’s a reel with lovely, almost elegant, easy movement. It has such a nice shape to it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to play though! I first heard it (to my memory) at a house concert featuring Edel Fox on concertina and Neill Byrne on fiddle. Here’s a link to the recording I made of the tune. Feel free to download that.

Here’s Neill and Edel playing it live again, with Josh Dukes on guitar, and much better audio:

A tin whistle version:





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!

An Fonn is Déanaí–Sean Reid’s Reel

Much confusion over this on my part because the version I have been listening to is on Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh’s Inside Out album but the title used there is “West Wind.” Thank the gods for thesession.org, I managed to find the proper name there anyway.

Here’s a version not to be sneezed at: Mary Bergin’s!

Can’t find any others on the YouTube that I really like (Mr. Ó Raghallaigh’s isn’t there) so I’ll leave it at that. Check out the page for this tune over at thesession.org HERE.

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.

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!


An Fonn Seisiúin is Déanaí–The Latest Session Tune

This past session we learned a tune called The Eel in the Sink–a reel in A mixolydian.  I’ll let you be the judge of whether the tune sounds like it’s title. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. More info about the tune, ABC notation and staff notation can be found at http://thesession.org/tunes/1446.

A couple examples. sessioners–note similarities and differences. In particular, I hear it most often played with a C# in the second bar of the B part, but you may hear different from some players.

Eel is @ 1:16, but it’s worth listening to this whole set. Fantastic musicians!