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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Humours of Bahrain (G)

This is a polka written by the prolific tune-composer and accordion player Paddy O’Brien (1922-1991) of Nenagh, co. Tipperary (pictured right).  The name is common enough, and so don’t confuse our man here with others, such as the other Paddy O’Brien (b. 1945) from Castlebarnagh, co. Offaly, who also plays a two-row button accordion. The […]

Shoe the Donkey (G)

This polka is played in G and in D, and is known by lots of different names.  Here are some of them: Andy Boyle’s, Ballydesmond, Cathy’s Favourite, Dan Macks, The Dargin, The Evening, Glenside #1, The Hen Dance, Kerry Polka #1, Kevin’s Polka, The Mist On The Glen, Pat Horgan’s #1, Shoe the Donkey, The […]

Anderson’s Reel (D)

This reel is named for the Sligo piper Michael J. Anderson (1865-1947), who would eventually be called “Piper Anderson.” He was a flute player until he emigrated to the States as a teenager, where he learned to play and make the uilleann pipes.  His home, at 1459 Amsterdam Ave., New York City,  became a popular gathering […]

Miss Monaghan (D)

This reel is one of many that were named for young women.  The practice was common in the nineteenth century when all the music that was played, and all the music that had ever been played, was played by living breathing human beings. Though there was the occasional concert, music was most commonly heard in […]

Sally Gardens (G)

This is a lively reel at sessions when it’s played, but you might find that it’s thought to be somewhat threadbare at some sessions. Sometimes it’s good to shelve a tune for a while to give it time to re-germinate.  Anyway our tune here bears no relation to the William Butler Yeats poem, or to the […]

Planxty Irwin (G)

The tune “Planxty Irwin” was composed by Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), a blind harper often called “the last of the Irish Bards” even though there were traditional Irish harpers living as late as 1792.  Carolan is considered a national treasure — his compositions are still often played during a session and are also highly regarded.  Focusing […]

Sweeney’s Polka (G)

      Sweeney’s Polka, med tempo (Fiddle, Glen Pekin)

The Brosna Slide #1 (G)

I learned this slide as “The Brosna,” as have many others.  However, many years ago I learned another slide called “The Brosna,” and then came to find still other slides called “The Brosna.” The fact that there are many tunes by this name is probably due to the playing of the Brosna Céili Band from […]

Plains of Boyle (D)

Often called “The Wexford” by pipers, the hornpipe “Plains of Boyle” used to often be played in the set “Plains of Boyle > Leitrim Fancy” at the beginning of the twentieth century.  You can hear a snippet of a 78rpm recording from 1924 of the piper Michael J. Gallagher playing the tune in that set. […]

Jenny Dang the Weaver (D)

There is a view that the title of this reel was originally something like “The Jenny Damned the Weavers,” and that it concerns the way technology (i.e., a Jenny = an engine = machines) undermines traditional activity (e.g., weaving).  However, on Arty McGlynn’s CD McGynn’s Fancy (1994) Benedict Kiely writes that there are several tunes […]