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Musical Priest (Bm)

Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra

Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra

The reel “Musical Priest” is “An Sagart Ceolmhar” in Irish, and also known as “The New Bridge of Edinburgh” as well as other names.  Like other tunes that come from the northern parts of Ireland it has that Scottish feel about it that makes some suspect that it’s imported from there. While it’s hard to distinguish influence from importation, the suggested lineage of this tune begins with the Scots composer William Marshall and his strathspey entitled “Belhelvie House.” I’m not weighing in on this until I can find more information.  There are a few versions of this tune, and it’s played in a few different keys/modes.  Printed versions can be found in many collections.  It’s tune #1284 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903) and tune #549 in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907).  It is #172 in Ceol Rince na hÉireann III (1985) – taken from a James Morrison 78 (1935)– and in Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra: Dance Music from the Cork/Kerry Border, Terry Moylan, ed., (Lilliput Press, Dublin, 1994) which contains 348 of Johnny O’Leary’s tunes, a selection of which are on Johnny O’Leary of Sliabh Luachra: Dance Music from the Cork-Kerry Border (1994), produced by Terry Moylan.  A similar version of “The Musical Priest” is in Phil Rubenzer’s Midwestern Irish Session Tunes (2000). The tune has been recorded often as well, and versions are on Bobby Casey’s Casey in the Cowhouse (1959/1992), John & Phil Cunningham, Silly Wizard: Live in America (1986), John & Phil Cunningham, The Celts Rise Again (1990), and Liz Carroll’s Lost in the Loop (2000).  Here’s Liz Carroll rocking the set “Silver Spear /Earl’s Chair /Musical Priest,” but note that she’s playing “musical Priest” in Gdor.

For the ABC click Musical Priest

Musical Priest, slow tempo

Musical Priest, med tempo

 

Musical Priest

Musical Priest

Thanks! Any comments?

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