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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 […]

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 […]

Paddy’s Return (Dmix)

This jig, “Paddy’s Return (from Scotland),” is in a large tune-family.  Some members have been extremely popular for more than 400 years.  The members of the family go by many names, and will go by each other’s names as well.  We play this jig pretty close to the way it’s played by the Foinn Seisiún and found […]

Tenpenny Bit (Ador)

This jig has been around a long while, and has a number of titles. It’s tune tune #969 with the title “Three Little Drummers” in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903) — i.e., O’Neill’s Music of Ireland — and tune #189 and with the same title in O’Neill’s 1001 (1907) – i.e., Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems.  It is also called “Cock in the Heath” which is sometimes […]

Dusty Windowsills (Ador)

Though common in Irish sessions, this three-part jig was actually composed by Johnny Harling (b. early 1960s), a flute player from Chicago.  Two somewhat conflicting stories have been put forth about the title. According to the least plausible one, this jig was inspired by the Kansas song “Dust in the Wind” and originally titled “Dust on the […]

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 […]

Plains of Boyle (D)

Often called “The Wexford” by pipers, the hornpipe “Plains of Boyle” used to often be played in the set “Plains of Boyle > Leitrim Fancy” at the beginning of the twentieth century.  You can hear a snippet of a 78rpm recording from 1924 of the piper Michael J. Gallagher playing the tune in that set. […]