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Attempt at Irish Trad, part III

Posted by fiddlepogo on Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yes, mudbug- triplets- LOTS of triplets!

The comment my Irish Trad fiddler roommate made decades ago that in Irish Trad, the fiddle is trying to sound like a wind instrument is really helping.  I was fond of  highland bagpipes as a child, and I think I love the Uilleann pipes even more.  Sweeter tone, a lovely burbling quality on some notes, and of course it's better suited to being an ensemble instrument.  There's a good Uilleann piper over on that I have included on my Irish & Celtic "radio stations" over there, and listening to him has awakened lots of memories of other pipe recordings I've heard.  I also like Irish flute, and had a tape of a flute accompanied by Irish banjo.  Anyway, by imagining a flute or some pipes playing the tune in my head, it seems to help.  I'm not sure if a dyed- in-the- wool  (edit- it was "died in the wool"! Ha! that one slipped right by me!!!) Irish Trad player would think it sounds Irish, but it sure isn't sounding Old Time, that's for sure.


So far, the tunes I am working on are:


The Wicklow Hornpipe (Delahunty’s Hornpipe)
The Plains of Boyle Hornpipe
Cronin’s Hornpipe
Stack of Barley Hornpipe

and possibly

Cuckoo’s Nest Hornpipe


Blarney Pilgrim
Tobin’s Favorite
Merrily Kiss the Quaker
Frost Is All Over
Kesh Jig
Cat in the Kitchen
Garrett Barry’s
The Trip to Sligo
Saint Patrick’s Day
Tripping Up the Stairs
Morrison’s Jig


The Scholar
College Grove
Kitty’s Wedding
The Maid Behind The Bar 
The Morning Dew
Rakish Paddy
The Wise Maid
Tommy People’s Reel

and possibly

Scollay’s Reel
Byrne’s Reel

There are lots of other Irish trad tunes I want to learn, but this is about the max I can concentrate on if I want any hope of some of them working by St. Paddy's day.

Irishy tunes I've known for eons are:

1. Green Fields of America
2. Lillibullero (Protestant song illustrating the religious divisions)
3. St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning (Played at the Evacuation of  British Troops from Boston on March 17th, 1776)
4. Off to California (Gold Rush)
5. Chief O’Neill’s Favorite Hornpipe (Chicago Police Chief)
6.Liverpool Hornpipe (main port the Irish sailed from)
7. Farewell to Whiskey
8. Wind that Shakes the Barley
9.  Irish Washerwoman
10. Garry Owen
11. The Rights of Man
12. King of the Fairies
13. Road To Lisdoonvarna
14. Top of Cork Road
15. Rakes of Mallow/Girl I Left Behind Me
16 Maid Milking Her Cow
17 Roaring Jelly

Some of those are so rusty as to be unplayable,  but I'll see if I can't find some dots for them, and see how well they come back.  I'm not as enthusiastic about them musically, but some of them have historical associations with American History and the Irish immigration, so I may do those to be able to include their stories in my "stage patter" for St. Paddy's gigs.

Along with the new material, if a tune isn't "gelling" a few days before the gig,  it won't make the cut for the set list.

And of course I have to leave some room for songs.

Rosin the Beau (Tyler and Tippecanoe)
The Bard of Armagh (Streets of Laredo)
Too Ralley Ooh Ralley (Sweet Betsy from Pike)
Beggarman/Red Haired Boy
To Work Upon the Railway
Shule Gra
Goodbye Muirshin Durkin
Star of the County Down
Lakes of Pontchartrain
Molly Malone
Danny Boy
The Minstrel Boy

No, I'm not too proud to do "Danny Boy".  It's a crowd pleaser, and the ironic fact that it was written by an Englishman makes for suitable stage patter.  Back in school, they taught us to "compare and contrast", and I intend to "compare and contrast" the actual Irish traditional folk material with the romantic "quasi-folk" written by commercial songwriters.

(I basically do the same thing when I sing "cowboy songs"- compare and contrast the real cowboy songs with the "movie" cowboy songs. I almost always do the traditional folk material first, partly because it DID come first, and partly because that way the set moves from the unfamiliar to the familar, and that just WORKS!  You make 'em eat veggies and learn something before you give 'em dessert, the stuff they REALLY want! ;^D)

Several of the song tunes are tunes that have worked their way into beloved American folk songs, and others have American associations too, The Emigration is a big focus- most of my stage patter has some historical content... well, not the jokes!!!


1 comment on “Attempt at Irish Trad, part III”

mudbug Says:
Sunday, February 13, 2011 @5:58:14 AM

Yeah, I like the tone of the small pipes, too.

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