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Boys of Ballisodare (G)

This is a popular 3-part reel in G.  Ballisodare is a small town in County Sligo, with an adult (over 20) population of 1389, and about half are male.  At last count, concerning those from babies to 19 years, there are 179 girls, and 186 boys.  So, one might say there are 186 boys of Ballisodare.  Alternatively, if we take “boys” to include all males, there is in the neighborhood of 880 boys of Ballisodare.  Alternatively, if we read the title as “THE Boys of Ballisodare” (as in “that specific group of guys from Ballisodare”), then it will be some subset thereof.

As for this tune, Michael Coleman first recorded it in 1922, and it was recorded in 1959 by Paddy Canny (fiddle), P.J. Hayes (fiddle), with Peadar O’Loughlin (flute) on An Historic Recording of Irish Traditional Music from County Clare and East Galway.  Perhaps because it was popular in East Galway, it has been called “The Galway Reel,” which to me indicates that someone knew the tune but not the name.  Can you imagine? It is a pretty popular tune, and has been recorded more than 40 times, though sometimes in other keys and under other names, including “Dublin Lasses” and “The Dublin Reel.”  I have no idea how it acquired these names.

There are some nice slower takes on this tune on YOUTUBE including this concertina take by Tunes From Doolin, and this banjo take by Gerard Lord.



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