The previously unrecorded concertina player Gerard Commane (1917-2005) and often recorded Inagh fiddler Joe Ryan (1928-2008) – Co. Clare musicians who first met at harvest time in 1941 – recorded some tunes in 1999 at Gerdie’s house, and released a CD entitled Two Gentlemen from Clare (Ennis: Clachán Music, 1999 and 2002). The release was held at the Queen’s cafe in Ennis, May 2000. This was the first recording for a label set up by Eoin O’Neill and John O’Connor of Custy’s music shop in Ennis. Gerdie died at the age of 88, and was one of Clare’s most celebrated traditional concertina players. He is the 1969 all-Ireland Fiddle Champion, and apparently would play fiddle in his car when his wife didn’t want to hear him playing in the house. His funeral arrangements were announced on ClareFM radio. His recording with Joe Ryan, is a landmark in archival recording. On the first track Gerdie comments that the Congress Reel “was composed by Joe Mills of Athlone in 1932, the year of the Eucharistic Congress” in Dublin. The Congress was held, in fact, 22–26 June 1932, and busses heading there from Belfast were stoned by Orangemen when they passed through Co. Down and Co. Armagh. The population of Ireland at the time was somewhere around four million, and it is reported that over a quarter of the population attended the event, as well as others from all over the world, and seven ocean liners anchored in Dublin ports accommodated some of them. The recording below is by Dave Agee.
Chords: Am / / / G / Am / / C Em / C G Am : |
Am / G / / F / Am / / C Em / C G Am : |
Congress Reel, slow tempo (mandolin)
Congress Reel, med tempo (mandolin)