Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Rose in the Heather

An Irish Jig, here played on violin

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Dublin Stage

A real fast polka

Monday, March 28, 2011

Men behind the Wire

Paddy McGuigan is an Irish musician who played for some years with the folk group Barleycorn. He has written some Irish rebel songs, including The Men Behind the Wire, The Boys of the Old Brigade, and Irish Soldier Laddie.

McGuigan wrote The Men Behind the Wire in the aftermath of internment in Northern Ireland. The song describes raids by British soldiers, and the "men behind the wire" refers to those held without charge or trial at Long Kesh prison camp, Magilligan prison camp and on board the Maidstone Prison Ship. McGuigan himself was picked up in a later round of internment, which some saw as the British State's revenge for writing the song.
British singer/songwriter Dido in her song 'Let's Do the Things We Normally Do' from the album 'Safe Trip Home' used a few lines from The Men Behind The Wire. This included the lyrics "Armoured cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our sons. But every man must stand behind, the men behind the wire."
A loyalist tune appeared called YCV Brigade which plagiarized lyrics from The Boys of the Old Brigade and also used the tune of Wild Colonial Boy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

John O'Connor (O'Carolan)

The lyrics (in Gaelic only) indicate John O'Connor was of Offaly and a young bachelor at the time the tune was composed. However, records indicate that Counselor John O'Connor died at the Battle of Aughrim - making the date too early for him to be the subject of the tune. Counsellor O'Connor's son Maurice succeeded him. There is no record of a brother named John, making the exact identity of the subject of the tune something of a mystery.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Don't Get Married Girls

Leon Rosselson (born 1934) is an English songwriter and writer of children's books. After his early involvement in the folk music revival in Britain, he came to prominence, singing his own satirical songs, in the BBC's topical TV programme of the early 1960s, That Was The Week That Was. He toured Britain and abroad, singing mainly his own songs and accompanying himself with complex arrangements for acoustic guitar.

In later years, he has published 17 children's books, the first of which, Rosa's Singing Grandfather, was shortlisted in 1991 for the Carnegie Medal.
He continues to write and perform his own songs, and to collaborate with other musicians and performers. Most of his material includes some sort of satirical content or elements of radical politics.

Monday, March 21, 2011

All For Me Grog

Traditional sea shanty

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hugh O'Donnell (O'Carolan)

Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill, anglicized as either Hugh Roe O'Donnell or Red Hugh O'Donnell (1572 – 10 September 1602), was An Ó Domhnaill (The O'Donnell) and Ri (king) of Tír Chonaill (anglicized Tyrconnell, now known as County Donegal). He led a rebellion against English government in Ireland from 1593 and helped to lead the Nine Years' War (a revolt against English occupation) from 1595 to 1603. He is sometimes also known as Aodh Ruadh II or Red Hugh II, especially within County Donegal.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hobart's Transformation

Here's the story for this tune:
 Hobart's Transformation celebrates the man who, almost single handedly, transformed the American Episcopal Church into a vibrant religious institution in the early 19th century.
The Church had fallen on hard times after the American Revolution because of public distrust of its association with the British government. Church leaders had done little to challenge this attitude and regain a following. John Henry Hobart changed this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bridger waltz

A Tennessee Waltz

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

God Save Ireland

"God Save Ireland" is an Irish rebel song. It served as an unofficial Irish national anthem for Irish nationalists from the 1870s to the 1910s. During the Parnellite split it was the anthem of the anti-Parnellite Irish National Federation.
The song was written by T. D. Sullivan in 1867, and first published December 7 1867, inspired by Edmund O'Meager Condon's speech from the dock when he stood trial along with the three Manchester Martyrs (Michael Larkin, William Phillip Allen, and Michael O'Brien). After the three were executed, the song was adopted as the Fenian movement's anthem. This song shares its tune with "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Prisoner's Hope)" a song reportedly written in 1864 by George F. Root in response to conditions in the Andersonville Prison, a Confederate prison during the American Civil War. This tune is also used in "Jesus Loves the Little Children."
John McCormack, an Irish tenor residing in the United States, had a big hit with the number, making the first of his popular phonograph records of it in 1906. For this reason, he was not welcome in the United Kingdom for several years.
Workers during the Dublin Lockout of 1913 adapted the lyrics to "God Save Jim Larkin", after the union leader.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fanny de Lanninon

A typical "Chant Marin" de Brittany

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Ash Grove

The Ash Grove (Welsh: Llwyn Onn) is a traditional Welsh folk song whose melody has been set to numerous sets of lyrics. The most well-known was written, in English, by John Oxenford in the 19th century.
The first published version of the tune was in 1802 in "The Bardic Museum". The book was written by Edward Jones, a harpist. About 4 years later a version with words appeared, under the name "Llwyn Onn". It tells of a sailor's love for "Gwen of Llwyn". The tune might be much older, as a similar tune appears in "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay (1728), in the song "Cease Your Funning". In 1922 , however Kidson claimed that John Gay's tune derives from the morris dance tune "Constant Billy", which is first known in Playford's "Dancing Master".
The tune of "The Ash Grove" is used for the hymn "Let All Things Now Living" in 1939 by composer Katherine K. Davis. This hymnal version resulted in it being included on a number of Christmas albums up through the 50s; like Jan August's 1955 album "Christmas Favorites" (Mercury Records #MG 20160). It was in use as a hymnal long before the 20th century under the title "The Master Hath Come" by Sarah Doudney (1871) and has been updated since in a retelling of the nativity by Robert Cullinan as "On This Night, Most Holy" (1996). Around 1962 another song called "The Irish Free State" was written to this tune. "The Ash Grove" featured in the 1980 BBC mini-series Pride and Prejudice.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

All the Fine Young Men

A song words writen by Eric Bogle with music of John Munroe, sung beautifully by Colcannon. Telling the story of All The Fine Young Men who have been lost in war.

Youu find the sheet music with a second tune played by bouzouki or whistle

Friday, March 4, 2011


A Russian Folk Melody

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shule Agra

This is a variation I found on the song "Siuil A Ruin"

Siuil a Ruin

"Siúil a Rúin" is a tradtional Irish song, sung from the point of view of a woman lamenting a lover who has embarked on a military career, and indicating her willingness to support him. The song has English language verses and an Irish language chorus, a style known as macaronic.
The title translates to "go, my love" (or variants): siúil is an imperative, literally translating to "walk!", a rúin is the vocative of rún, a term of endearment.
The history of the song is unclear. It was suggested that it refers to the "Wild Geese" of the Glorious Revolution. If it does, however, the original version has probably been lost: All versions of the song have Modern English lyrics, and not a scrap of either Irish or Early Modern English verses survives. It is not uncommon that Irish songs were translated into English, with their chorus surviving in Irish, or being transformed into nonsense words (see Caleno custure me), but in most of these cases, traces of the Irish version survive. It was also observed that the reference to the spinning wheel the girl wants to sell is more suggestive of the 19th than of the 17th century, and it is possible that the song was composed in the 1800s with the conscious intention of styling it after older songs.
Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier is a well known American variant dating to the Revolutionary War, sharing a common melody and similar lyrics.