Friday, December 31, 2010

The Rising of the Moon

The ballad takes the tune of another Irish ballad, "The Wearing of the Green" and was first published in Casey's 1866 collection of poems and songs “A Wreath of Shamrocks". The lyrics refer to the outbreak of the 1798 rebellion in County Wicklow county Wexford as United Irish rebels convey the order to rise. The air of hope and optimism associated with the ultimately doomed rebellion was intended to provide inspiration for rebels "Who would follow in their footsteps" preparing to take to the field in another doomed venture, the Fenian rebellion of 1867.
Often sung by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem among others, the song remains popular and the tune widely recognized in Ireland today as it is often taught in schools, played regularly at official and sporting events and has been covered by a wide variety of musicians. The song is also referenced in the final line of the final entry of Bobby Sands hunger strike diary.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lone Shanakyle

A song, made famous by Dervish.
Here you hear Deanta:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Londonderry Hornpipe

This version is by The corries

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Johnny, I Hardly Knew You

"Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" (AKA Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye, and Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya) is a popular Irish traditional anti-war and anti-recruiting song. It is generally dated to the early 19th century, when Irish troops served the British East India company. The original refers to the soldiers from Athy, County Kildare that fought in "Sulloon" (Ceylon-nowSri Lanka) for the East India Company (in what history knows as the Kandyan Wars though the term was not familiar to the Irish). It has become a definitive anti-war song.

You can hear here the version by The Dannan and Mary black

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Irish rover

"The Irish Rover" is a traditional Irish song about a magnificent, though improbable, sailing ship that reaches an unfortunate end. It has been recorded by numerous artists, some of whom have made changes to the lyrics.

Here you hear the version of the Dubliners

The sheet music withe a second vooice

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kerry Dance

According to Fuld (1971), "The Kerry Dance" was composed as a song, published in 1879 and usually attributed to James L. Molloy (b. County Offaly, Ireland, 1837-1909). The opening eight bars are virtually identical to "The Cuckoo," written and composed by Miss Margaret Casson and published in London about 1790; Molloy added the music of the middle part and new words. The melody was cited as having commonly been played for country dances in Orange County, New York in the 1930's
The great Stephane Grappelli and our own Frankie Gavin perform a jam session on a very old Irish Melody.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Scorn not his simplicity

A song by Phil Coulter, brought by Luke Kelly.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Irish Pub

A tribute to the Irish Pubs all over the world on the tune of Hot Asphalt.
Here are the High Kings with their version

Here you find the sheet music of the song with a banjo line as second voice

Friday, December 10, 2010

Drink to me only with Thine Eyes

"Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes" is a popular English song, set to the lyrics of Ben Jonson's 1616 poem "Song To Celia." John Addington Symonds demonstrated in The Academy 16 (1884) that almost every line has its counterpart in the Epistles of Philostratus, notably Epistle xxx. George Burke Johnston noted that "the poem is not a translation, but a synthesis of scattered passages. Although only one conceit is not borrowed from Philostratus, the piece is a unified poem, and its glory is Jonson's. It has remained alive and popular for over three hundred years, and it is safe to say that no other work by Jonson is so well known."Another classical strain in the poem derives from Catullus. In a brief notice J. Gwyn Griffiths noted the similarity of the conceit of perfume given to the rosy wreath in a poem in the Greek Anthology and other classical parallels could be attested, natural enough in a writer of as wide reading as Jonson.
Willa McClung Evans suggested that Jonson's lyrics were fitted to a tune already in existence and that the fortunate marriage of words to music accounted in part for its excellence. Another conception is that the original composition of the tune was by John Wall Callcott in about 1790 as a glee for two trebles and a bass.
It was arranged as a song in the 19th century, apparently by Colonel Mellish, and again arranged as a song by Granville Bantock.

I've made a transcription for 4 voices, but it can also been played by violin, mandoline, bouzouki and octave-mandolin.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dashing White Sergeant

A well-known Scottish reel and dance

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Merry Blacksmith

A traditional, fast reel, here played by Planxty

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Peatbog Soldiers

Peat Bog Soldiers is one of Europe's best-known protest songs. It exists in countless European languages, became a Republican anthem during the Spanish Civil War; was a symbol of resistance during the Second World War; and is popular with the Peace movement today. What makes it perhaps so poignant is the knowledge that is was written, composed and first performed in a Nazi concentration camp by the prisoners themselves.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Follow me to Carlow

"Follow Me Up to Carlow" is an Irish folk song celebrating the defeat of an army of 3,000 English soldiers by Fiach Mac Aodh Ó Broin (anglicised Fiach McHugh O'Byrne) at the Battle of Glenmalure, during the Second Desmond Rebellion in 1580.

Lift MacCahir Og your face

Brooding o'er the old disgrace
That black FitzWilliam stormed your place,
Drove you to the Fern
Grey said victory was sure
Soon the firebrand he'd secure;
Until he met at Glenmalure
With Feach MacHugh O'Byrne.

Curse and swear Lord Kildare,
Feach will do what Feach will dare
Now FitzWilliam, have a care
Fallen is your star, low.
Up with halberd out with sword
On we'll go for by the lord
Feach MacHugh has given the word,
Follow me up to Carlow.

See the swords of Glen Imayle,
Flashing o'er the English pale
See all the children of the Gael,
Beneath O'Byrne's banners
Rooster of the fighting stock,
Would you let a Saxon cock
Crow out upon an Irish rock,
Fly up and teach him manners.

From Tassagart to Clonmore,
There flows a stream of Saxon gore
Oh, great is Rory Oge O'More,
At sending loons to Hades.
White is sick and Lane is fled,
Now for black FitzWilliam's head
We'll send it over, dripping red,
To Liza and her ladies.