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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Sligo Maid (Ador)

Sligo Maid (Ador) is a very popular session tune today, and according to Maddy Prior was always played during the many sessions in Irish pubs in London during the 1980s. It used to be called “The Sligo Maid’s Lament,” but has since been shortened to just “The Sligo Maid.” One can only lament for so […]

Old Copper Plate (Ador)

The Old Copper Plate (Ador) is a very common session tune.  I don’t have much real information on this tune, but it should not be confused with the tunes called “New Copper Plate” or “The Copper Plate,” the former also a very common session tune – though played more slowly in some Paris sessions (≈115 bpm). […]

Bucks of Oranmore (D)

“The Bucks of Oranmore” is often  is just called “the Bucks,” and there’s an oft-repeated statement in county Clare, concerning changing things that should not be changed: “the bucks should not be interfered with” — this statement is attributed to John Kelly (1921-1988) commenting on someone’s unfamiliar setting of the bucks during a session. If this tune […]

Willafjord (D)

Willafjord is the Shetland reel often played in Scottish sessions with Spootiskerry. This tune is in Tom Anderson’s Haand me doon da fiddle  (1981) tune book, where he writes (in dialect): If du imagines some een gaen wij wan fit ida stank an de idder een on a broo an gaein a lunk as dey go alang, […]

Spootiskerry (G)

Spootiskerry (G) is a Shetland reel, and an early composition of Samuel Ian Rothmar Burns, known as Ian Burns (1932-1995).  It was written in the early 1960s, and published along with many other tunes he wrote on a self-recorded cassette entitled “Spootiskerry” (1980). Ian Burns lived in Tingwall, but the title of this tune is the […]

Far From Home (G)

There is some confusion about the reel “Far From Home” (G).  Some say it was written in 1998, some say it is much older.  The latter are correct.  I know because the tune is #1261 in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903).  Some say the tune is from Shetland, while others deny it.  It does seem odd that […]

Da Rodd ta Houll (D)

“Da Rodd ta Houll” is a Shetland reel in D, also called “Da Road to Hull.” It was written by Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson (1910-1991) who once stated (in dialect): “Dis tun was written in 1936 whin I came up to Unst to visit a schoolmaister friend o’ mine. It happened ‘t dat moarnin wis […]

The Bonnie Isle O’ Whalsay (A)

The reel “The Bonnie Isle O’ Whalsay” has sundry variations. This is (arguably) a Shetland reel, as Whalsay is a small island in the Shetlands.  Of course, a tune and its name can have very different origins, so tune names alone are a poor basis for determining tune ontogeny.  However, this tune does also have a certain Shetlandishness about it, […]

 Drowsy Maggie (Edor)

“Drowsy Maggie” is a very popular reel at sessions all over the world.  It’s #1425 in O’Neill’s 1850 – i.e., O’Neill’s Music of Ireland (1903) – and so probably dates back to the mid-nineteenth century.  However, there’s not much clear information about the tune’s origin or subsequent history. It should not be confused with a set […]

Chicago Reel (Ador)

The “Chicago Reel” is tune #797 in O’Neill’s Dance Music of Ireland (1907), often just called “O’Neill’s 1001” since it has 1001 tunes in it. As it does not appear in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland (1903) – which is called “O’Neill’s 1850” since it has 1850 tunes in it – we can guess that between […]