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Category Archives: Reel

Boys of Ballisodare

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 […]

Wind that Shakes the Barley

In addition to this reel, there is a song, a novel, and a movie with the same title title. None bear any close relation to the tune, save the name, the concept of which is itself a deeply ensconced in Irish consciousness. There’s also many-a CD that contains the tune. The song is an Irish […]

The Ashplant (Edor)

The term “ash plant” or “ashplant” was once a very common term, and still is in some places.  It is a euphemism used by the young and the old.  For the young it is a teacher’s stick which would be used to point out important locations on a map, to remind students of something written […]

Last Night’s Fun (D)

While there are a handful of tunes known by this name, one being the slip jig better known as “Wink and She’ll Follow,” this reel is the one best known as “Last Night’s Fun,” though it will sometimes be called “Joe Cooley’s No. 1” since it was popularized by the great co. Galway accordion player […]

Broken Pledge (Ddor)

The reel “Broken Pledge” is played in a number of different settings.  It’s often in Ddor, a somewhat rare mode for tunes in ITM, but also shows up in Dmix, in D Ionian, as well as mixtures of these, and much more unusually in Eaeol and Amix. The cryptic title is a matter of some […]

Jackie Coleman’s (D)

It is pretty common for tunes that carry a person’s name to simply be an homage, merely indicating that that person liked the tune and played it often.  Yet, it is sometimes also actually accurately a possessive-indicator, as it is in this case. Jackie Coleman (1928-2001), may he rest in peace, composed this tune around 1954. He passed […]

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 […]

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 […]