Bunker Hill

Oi, almost two months since my last post! I am so sorry…

Well here’s one for you–

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The West Clare Railway, Revisited

I have blogged about this reel in the past, but I thought it’d be nice to revisit the railway, as I have recently found it departing my fiddle quite a bit lately. I’ve also heard a new version or two of it since then. Also I should note the tune was written by Junior Crehan.

This first is from one of the albums currently in heavy rotation in my collection–great playing here by Joey Abarta (pipes,) Nathan Gourley (fiddle,) and accompanied by Owen Marshall:

A new one to me:

 

Enjoy!

The Crib of Perches

Man, some tunes have the most enigmatic names, but you find out it’s nothing like you thought. The Crib of Perches (or The Creel of Perches) immediately makes me think of a baby’s crib full of dripping, desperate fish gasping for breath. But no. One person commenting on thesession.org page for this tune says,

A fish “crib” is a place in a lake, river, or stream where fish may hang out feeding or resting. It may be a patch of aquatic grasses, a tangle of fallen, submerged tree trunks or roots, or submerged rock formations. A crib is where an angler might have a good chance of catching a meal.

Darn. I like my version better. But then, I’m no good at fishing.

Anyway it’s a lovely tune in the key of D mixolydian, and I highly recommend you take a listen to these few versions I found on the YouTube:

The version that started it all (for me!) From a great album by Nathan Gourley and Laura Feddersen called Life is all Checkered (which is another good tune!)–

I have no idea who this fella is, but he’s a good fiddle and box player, so have a listen:

And finally, a lovely, lively version by fiddler John McEvoy and flute player John Wynne.

 

Hop Jigs

At the LVISS yesterday we learned a tune called “Top the Candle”–a hop jig in D. What IS a hop jig? Good question. Without going to deeply into music theory, I would say that hop jigs are kind of like faster, syncopated slip jigs. It’s kind of like the way slides are like fast jigs with fewer notes. Anyway, there’s definitely a difference in feel between slip jigs and hop jigs. Case in point–The Butterfly is a tune that’s played both ways, and one of our anchors was kind enough to record both versions for us–check it out:

The Butterfly

Here are some examples of hop jigs from YouTube:

For discussions about what hop jigs are, see thesession.org.

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!

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.