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Category Archives: Reel

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 […]

Beare Island (Emix|Edor)

This reel was composed by West Cork accordionist Finbar Dwyer, but is sometimes claimed to be the work of Paddy Fahy.  It is on the Kevin Burke and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill album Portland (1982), as well as Mick Conneely’s Selkie (1999). It’s a two-part reel played AABB, with the A-part in Emix and the B-part […]

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 […]

Da Slockit Light (D)

This reel-time slow air, “Da Slockit Light,” was composed by the renown Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson (1910-1991), who composed over three hundred tunes.  He was born in Esha Ness, on the Northmavine peninsula, in the far northwest edge of the Shetland mainland. He began composing in 1936 and continued to do so almost until the day […]

The Crooked Road to Dublin (G)

The reel “The Crooked Road to Dublin” is not a crooked tune, in fact it’s simply played ABAB.  Also just called “The Crooked Road,” it is a pretty popular session tune in many corners of the world, despite the fact that the world has no corners, the Flat Earth Society notwithstanding.  There were several recordings of this tune […]

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 […]

Salamanca Reel (D)

This reel, called either “The Salamanca Reel” or just “The Salamanca,” has been popular since at least the mid-nineteenth century. Played throughout Ireland, it is sometimes thought to be a Connaught reel. Though it has been suggested that the tune was once a hornpipe, it has been played as a reel for over a hundred […]