This was the first Irish tune I learned from the fiddle of Mike Toolan. It caught me out to start with, because of it’s odd barring. There are many different versions.
O’Neill’s March / Tap the Barrel
I first heard O’Neill’s March on a record called O’Riada sa Gaiety. O’Riada was a renowned Irish composer who wrote for films, as well as performing traditional music. In this recording he brought together the band that was to become known as the Chieftains.
The lament of Owen roe O’Neill
A beautiful lament for one of Ireland’s heros, by the blind 18th Century Harpist Turlough O’Carolan.
Give me your hand / Carolan’s receipt for drinking
I dedicate the second of these to Joe Ryan who gave me free pints of Guinness in his pub for playing tunes back in 1980.
The Humors of Tralibane / Banish Misfortune
O’Neill’s Music of Ireland gave me these two jigs. The second is popular in sessions, and is, apparently, also known as The Stoat That Ate Me Sandals.
The Silver Lining / John Dipper
John conceived this tune in our house. I have huge respect for him as a fiddler, and he advised me to play tunes repeatedly until they became a part of me. It worked!
Joe Burke, the famous Irish accordionist, heard me play way back in the 80s at the Shotover Arms in Oxford, and said he liked my Derry Hornpipe!
Si Bheag, Si Mhor
O’Carolan’s most famous tune. Brings to mind the beautiful singing of Cara Dillon.
March of the King of Laois
This is a famous march inspired the Irish rebels.
Cherish the Ladies
I dedicate this to my lovely wife Judith – I definitely cherish her!
Back in the 80’s I used to play this with renowned fiddler Chris Leslie.
The story I know is that O’Carolan heard pianist/composer Clementi play a flashy concerto to the Irish court, and when Clementi had left, was asked if he could play it. He replied “to be sure”, and came up with this lively tune which bears no relation to anything of Clementi’s but is probably more widely played.
My love is in America / Star of Munster
I first heard the Star of Munster played by the amazing guitarist Arty McGlyn.
The South Wind
This song takes me back to the late 70’s when I first heard it in Oxford played as a tune by a young flautist called Donna.