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Category Archives: Irish-American Culture

The Wonder (G)

This hornpipe is on De Dannan’s CD Hibernian Rhapsody (1996), the second of two tunes on track 10 “New Century” and “The Wonder,” collectively called “George Ross’ Horn Pipes.”  This tune was recorded by the Wexford accordionist George Ross in the 1950s (which is apparently where members of De Dannan picked it up), but it […]

Girl Who Broke My Heart (Gmix)

The reel “Girl Who Broke My Heart” is in Gmix, but in some settings there are the occasional B flats à la Kevin Burke’s If the Cap Fits (1978).  As a result it is sometimes thought to be in other keys/modes.  This tune, though not a girl, inspires discussions that can break your heart if […]

Concertina Reel (D)

The English concertina was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1829, and the German version invented by Carl Friedrich Uhlig in 1834.  These seem to be independent inventions. It is a hand-held bellows-driven free reed instruments, with reeds made of brass and later steel. The English concertina is unisonoric, giving the same note per button, […]

Gravel Walks (Ador)

This reel, “Gravel Walks” or “The Gravel Walks,” is also called “The Gravelled Walks to Granny,” and “Jenny Tie your Bonnet.” In Vallely’s  Fiddler’s Companion Caoimhin Mac Aoidh writes that Granny (or sometimes Grainne or Cranny) is a secluded and unpopulated glen between Ardara (pronounces Ar-DRA) and Glencolmcille (pronounced Glen-CULLIM-kill) in southwest co. Donegal.  People […]

Bean a Tí ar Lár (D)

The title of this reel “Bean a Tí ar Lár” (Bahn uh Tee air Lahr) is usually simply translated as “Mistress on the Floor” in English, though sometimes also called “The Woman of the House on the Floor” perhaps to get away from the connotations of the former in English.  Without suggesting that there aren’t […]

Julia Delaney’s (Ddor)

Julia Delaney was the sister-in-law of our beloved Captain Francis O’Neill — she was the sister of O’Neill’s wife Anna (née Delaney).  The tune is from around the turn of the last century, and most likely composed in the Chicago area. The reel “Julia Delaney’s” (or just “Julia Delaney”) was the fourth track of the Bothy […]

Newport Lass (D)

The double jig “Newport Lass(es)” or “Gearrchaile Bhaile Uí bhFiacháin” in Irish, is a two part jig played AABB, and also called “Trip to Athlone.” For instance, it’s called the latter on Paddy Canny (1919–2008) & P. J. Hayes (1921 – 2001) recording (with Peadar O’Loughlin, and Bridie Lafferty) entitled All Ireland Champions: Violin (1959), re-released as An […]

Ships are Sailing (Edor)

The reel “Ships Are Sailing,” or “Longa Ag Seolad” in Irish, is usually played AABB, but sometimes played ABAB. It has been recorded many, many times.  The Flanagan Brothers do a banjo version on their The Tunes We Like to Play on Paddy’s Day (1930), there’s an interesting solo fiddle version on Bobby Casey’s Casey in […]

Saddle the Pony (G)

This jig, Cuir Diallaid Air An Clibin in Irish, will be played in Amix as well as G, and is a member of the family of tunes which includes “Buttermilk Mary” (G). A cousin of this tune, the Donegal jig “The Pet in the Kitchen,” has a very similar B part, at least in some versions […]

Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (Ador)

“Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine” is pretty common Ador hornpipe at Irish sessions in the US. Across the pond it’s played in Edor and called “Napoleon Crossing the Rhine.”  It’s also known as “Listowel Hornpipe” and “(Farewell) Sweet Killaloe” in areas of New England.  It has many other names as well, but most refer in some […]