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Fairy Dance (D)    

This reel, “Fairy Dance,” is in O’Neill’s 1850 (1903) in the “Miscellaneous” section.  The flute player Steph Geremia has a nice version on her CD The Open Road (2010), at the end of a set she calls “The Conspiracy.” It is also on The Chieftains 4 (1974), the second tune on track one (after “Drowsy Maggie”). In Moore’s Manx Ballads (1896), Mona Douglas wrote that this tune, also called “Arrane Queeyl-NieueeI,” is one of the few surviving nineteenth century Irish labour songs, and one of only two cante fables that survived on the isle of Man. What, then, have the fairies got to do with it?  Well, another Manx version of this tune is called “Car ny Ferrishyn” (Tune of the Fairies). A number of old fairy stories are preserved in Sophia Morrisson’s Manx Fairy Tales (1911). As for its migration to the Isle of Man, the Dukes of Atholl ruled the Isle of Man for parts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and they were patrons of Neil Gow (1727-1807), one of the most famous Scottish fiddlers and dancers of the eighteenth century.  Gow likely brought the tune to the Isle of Man, where it took up residence and lives to this day.



D      / D   A     / D   G     /  A   (G) /  😐

D  G  / G  A     /  D   G    / A    (G)   😐


Fairy Dance,


Fairy Dance,



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