The Dubliners – Finnegan’s Wake (1966)

FrontCover1.jpgFinnegan Wakes is a live album by The Dubliners. Recorded at the Gate Theatre on 26 and 27 April 1966 and produced by Nathan Joseph, this was The Dubliners’ final recording for Transatlantic Records. But it was also their first to feature their first established line-up of Ronnie Drew (vocals and guitar), Barney McKenna (tenor banjo and mandolin), Luke Kelly (vocals and banjo), Ciarán Bourke (vocals, guitar, tin whistle and harmonica) and John Sheahan (fiddle, tin whistle and mandolin). The album featured “Nelson’s Farewell”, a satirical song about the bombing and destruction of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street, Dublin on 8 March 1966. (by wikipedia)

The show, “Finnegan Wakes”, at the Gate Theatre Dublin, ran in the spring of 1966 to packed and enthusiastic houses. From the show, we have taken for this record some highlights of the Dubliners’ performances. In a later LP we hope to issue some of the many other wonderful items from the show, including the work of other artists who took part. We wish to thank the management of the Gate Theatre and Mr. Michael Geoghehan of Irish Record Factors, Dublin, for their invaluable assistance. (taken from the original liner-notes)


Alternate frontcovers

And here are the original liner nots from the reissue CD edition (July 2003) of this great live album:

‘Finnegan Wakes’ originally released in 1966 was The Dubliners third and final full-length album for Transatlantic records. Newly flushed by the success of their previous release ‘The Dubliners In Concert’, with the departure of Bob Lynch and the return of Luke Kelly, they took on their biggest project to date, a theatrical review called ‘Finnegan Wakes’. They would attempt a similar feat in 1972 with an ambitious production of Brendan Behan’s ‘Richard’s Cork Leg’ produced by Alan Simpson which played to capacity houses in Dublin at the Peacock and Olympia Theatres, the Cork Opera House and in London at the Royal Court Theatre.

However, ‘Finnegan Wakes’ was not the first time the Dubliners flexed their theatrical muscles collectively on a Dublin stage. Ronnie Drew trod the boards as an actor in his pre-Dubliners lifetime and The Dubliners appeared in Kevin Sheldon’s legendary movie ‘O’ Donoghue’s Opera’, an ambitious effort set in Dublin. Sheldon’s film rapidly ran out of funds before it could be completed and was left in the can for decades afterwards.


‘Finnegan Wakes’, the show, ran to full houses in April 1966 at Dublin’s Gate Theatre. The show was recorded for a live album and this is it. ‘Finnegan Wakes’ was also the first Dubliners album to be actually recorded in Ireland — their two previous albums ‘The Dubliners’ and ‘The Dubliners in Concert’ had been recorded in London.

To assimilate the importance of an album like ‘Finnegan Wakes’ one must take a look at Ireland in 1966. Ireland at the time was undergoing a period of immense social and political change. Firstly, the economic shape of the country was improving through the Eamon DeValera / Sean Lemass political axis and while the economy was booming, the country itself was still very conservative in nature, strongly ruled by Church dictates and moral standards. But, the sense of political awareness and personal freedom so typified by the Psychedelic era in Britain and the USA was creeping into Ireland slowly. Also with the advent of television and chat shows like ‘The Late Late Show’ causing a national scandal with the story of the ‘Bishop and the Nightie” the underbelly of the establishment was being put under scrutiny. Another important event that year was the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. This had infused a new sense of patriotic nationalism into certain quarters of the youthful population.


‘Finnegan Wakes’ was a ‘product of its environment born from an atmosphere of social and cultural revolution unleashed on an unsuspecting but willing audience. The Dubliners represented a revolutionary face of Irish folk music and turned a mirror on the society of the day. They typified the new wave of thinking coming into Ireland through Luke Kelly’s politicisation in England and his assimilation of Communist ideals hinted at in Ronnie Drew’s comment in his introduction to ‘The Glendalough Saint’ “Your man Luke is a Communist — he gives pennies to the poor and everything”. The satirical jibes at the Legion of Mary closing down the infamous red light district of ‘Monto’, and Ronnie Drew’s comment, pertaining to the notion expressed then, that all books banned in Ireland be printed in Irish — “thus helping the Irish people to learn their own language” all made for one crackling powder keg of an album. In terms of social comment, this was The Dubliners at their most outspoken and anti-establishment. Even the more conservative elements of their following were challenged by their unmasking of the vagaries of the day’s accepted norms. Along with Brendan Behan, The Dubliners eschewed the ‘Mother Mo Chroi’ vision of Ireland and were ready to make their opinions heard and ‘Finnegan Wakes’ was their witch burning. If there were any sacred cows to be attacked, The Dubliners were ready to hit them-head on.


The Irish audiences loved The Dubliners raw aggressive approach to folk music — “Irish Music with guts” as Tony Wilson an English journalist then based in Dublin described their musical style. ‘Finnegan Wakes’ was also a musical tour de force. The extra instrumental range and sophistication brought to the group by John Sheahan added considerably to their overall style and presentation. Luke Kelly’s return brought an added vocal authority and would copper fasten his importance within The Dubliners story. Here they swung and swayed with greater power and exhilaration than before, Barney McKenna’s banjo and mandolin, John Sheahan’s fiddle, tin whistle and mandolin and Ciarán Bourke’s tin whistle and harmonica provided a powerful musical back line for Luke Kelly and Ronnie Drew’s charismatic voices. Barney’s banjo playing cuts loose on ‘Within a Mile of Dublin’. Sheahan’s fiddle solo on ‘The Sunshine Hornpipe’/ ‘The Mountain Road’ stands out, as does his mandolin duet with Barney McKenna on ‘Chief O’ Neill’s Favourite’ named after a Chicago police chief whose collections of Irish tunes have reached biblical status with musicians.


Vocally the choice was equally solid — the title track delivered in ironic fashion by Ronnie Drew echoes similarly inclined Irish vaudeville songs like ‘The Night Pat Murphy Died’. Dominic Behan’s ‘McAlpines Fusiliers’ and ‘Hot Asphalt’ capture the hard working lives of Irish navvies on English building sites. ‘The Glendalough Saint’ hits at religious celibacy while ‘Monto’ named after Montgomery Street, a famous red light district in Dublin, became theatricality in itself complete with references to the Queen and the Duke of Gloucester. ‘The Sea Around Us’ is another of Dominic Behan’s outspoken assertions of National pride. The song was a No. l hit in 1966 for The Ludlows, a trio comprised of Sean Loughran, Margaret O’Brien and Jim McCann. McCann himself, after pursuing a successful solo career, joined The Dubliners in 1974, replacing Ronnie Drew. ‘The Dublin Fusiliers’ is a comic song associated with Dublin Vaudeville comedian Jimmy O’Dea, himself once a monumental figure in Irish entertainment. O’Dea is most remembered for his comic creations Biddy Mulligan the archetype Dublin street fishmonger and his role in the Hollywood movie of ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’.

Social events of the day were commemorated in satirical songs like ‘Nelson’s Farewell’ composed by Joe Dolan an original member of Sweeney’s Men. ‘Nelson’s Farewell’ salutes the fateful ending on March 8th 1966 of Admiral Nelson’s reign over Dublin’s City center. ‘Nelsons Pillar’ or ‘The Pillar’ had become a social meeting place as well as a reminder of colonial occupation. ‘Nelson’s Farewell’ is preceded by Luke Kelly reciting a verse of Louis McNeice’s poem ‘Dublin’, the words of which are penned with affection, the last line of which seemed strangely prophetic in the light of Admiral Nelson’s sudden departure.



‘Grey brick upon brick
image Declamatory bronze on sombre pedestals
O’Connell, Grattan, Moore
And brewery tugs and swans
On the balustraded streams
And the bare bones of a fanlight
Over a hungry door
And the soft wind on the cheek
And porter from the taps
With heads of yellow cream
And Nelson on his pillar
Watching his world collapse’

‘Finnegan Wakes’ has the Dubliners at their most vigorous, brash and outspoken and essential — a description best summed up in Phil Lynnott’s words “Live and Dangerous”. This was the perfect curtain closer on their period with Transatlantic records as shortly afterwards, The Dubliners signed a new contract with Philip Solomon’s Major Minor records. Pop chart stardom with ‘Seven Drunken Nights’, an adaptation of the Childe ballad ‘Our Good Man’ and learned from Connemara sean-nos singer Joe Heaney which would be banned in Ireland for its controversial content was just a mere twelve months away.

Listening to ‘Finnegan Wakes’ some 37 years later, one cannot help but be caught up in The Dubliners vibrant energy and barely controlled enthusiasm. Here, The Dubliners were on home ground and were at their most raucous and ribald, most outspoken and controversial.


Adding bonus tracks to ‘Finnegan Wakes’, one finds while looking through the vaults the odd neglected ‘missing piece’ emerging in the shape of ‘Guenther/Paddy’ a classic slice of Ronnie Drew repartee. Also, looking at tracks taken from singles and EPs released by Transatlantic Records in 1966, there are four tracks from the EP ‘More of The Dubliners’, two songs ‘Master McGrath’ and ‘Walking in the Dew’ featuring Ronnie Drew and two instrumentals ‘The Cook in the Kitchen’ and ‘Boulavogue’. ‘The Cook in the Kitchen’, a 6/8 time double jig tune is unique as it marks the first time The Dubliners added a guest musician, Dublin born uilleann piper Tommy Reck (RIP), to join Barney McKenna in a duel on uilleann pipes and tenor banjo. ‘Boulavogue’ remembers an incident in Wexford during the time of the 1798 rebellion and is rendered as a banjo solo. We also chose ‘Off to Dublin in the Green’ and ‘The Foggy Dew’ as two further bonus tracks from this period. These two tracks round up the selection of tracks recorded by The Dubliners that were not included on any of their albums but featured only on EPs and 45’s. These tracks add further proof of The Dubliners musical virtuosity and complete, their discography with Transatlantic Records. (by John O’Regan wifh grateful thanks to John Sheahan and Harriet Roche.


Ciarán Bourke (vocals, guitar, tin whistle, harmonica)
Ronnie Drew (vocals, guitar)
Barney McKenna (tenor banjo, mandolin)
Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo)
John Sheahan (fiddle, tin whistle, mandolin)

01. Finnegan’s Wake (Traditional) 3.14
02. Hornpipes: The Sunshine Hornpipe & The Mountain Road (Traditional) 2.49
03. Monto (Traditional) 4.13
05. The Dublin Fusiliers (Traditional) 2.43
06. Chief O’Neill’s Favourite (Traditional) 2.13
07. The Sea Around Us (Behan) 3.18
08. McAlpine’s Fusiliers (Behan) 3.14
09. Hot Asphalt (Traditional) 3.34
10. The Glendalough Saint (Traditional) 2.49
11. Within A Mile From Dublin (Traditional) 2.27
12. Will You Come To The Bower (Traditional) 3.58
13. Nelson’s Farewell (Dolan) 4.28
14. Walking In The Dew (Traditional) 1.30
15. The Cook In The Kitchen (Traditional) 2,19
16. Boulavogue (Traditional) 2.52
17. Off To Dublin In The Green (Traditional) 2.26
18. The Foggy Dew (Traditional) 3.24




Clannad – Dulaman (1976)

LPFrontCover1It doesn’t matter whether you’re an American or from the British Isles. This music brings simple Irish music to the ears of Americans. Dulaman- The title track, fun to listen to.
Cumha Eoghain Rua Ui Neil- Lovely harp instrumental track, very poignant also.
The Two Sisters- A humorous story about a sibling rivaly. I like it better than Loreena McKennitt’s version because this version sounds more traditional and Irish. It also, like the other tracks, has very lovely whistle and flute music.

Eirigh Suas A Stoirin- The beginning is a little out of tune, but the rest of the song is very moving and touching. Another very poignant version is found on Maire’s album “Mysty Eyed Adventures”.
The Galtee Hunt- I love this lovely track. The cheerful beat and soothing whistle music expresses the Irish pride and dignity.

Rise and Dress Yourself(long Gaelic title)- Much of this song is instrumental, but the Gaelic words tell a love story, just like many of the other songs. It’s very energetic with a good use of harp, guitar, mandolin, and flute.

Siuil A Run- The most touching song of all, this song expresses the woe of having a loved one out at war, while desiring to have your love by your side. Most of the song is in English, but the Gaelic verse speaks for itself. I highly recomend checking out another version on the Chieftains album “Tears of Stone”, performed by singer Sissel.
Mo Mhaire- This song often reminds me of Maire!


dTigeas A Damhsa- A very short, but simple a capella.
Cucandy/The Jug of Brown Ale- Two jigs that give a final great expression of Irish spirit.
This early Clannad album may sound different from their albums nowadays, but it does well in expressing the Irish voice and spirit. I hope they continue performing traditional songs that show what Ireland’s music is all about. (by Callieon)


Máire Ní Bhraonáin (harp, vocals)
Ciarán O Braonáin (bassm guitar, mandolin, piano)
Pól Ó Braonáin (flute, whistle, guitar, percussion, vocals)
Noel Ó Dúgain (guitar, vocals)
Pádraig Ó Dúgain (mandola, guitar, vocals)
Nicky Ryan (vocals)


01. Dúlamán 4.34
02. Cumha Eoghain Rua Ví Néill 4.09
03 Two Sisters 4.13
04 Éirigh Suas A Stóirín 5.14
05 The Galtee Hunt 3.09
06 Éirigh Is Cuir Ort Do Chuid Éadaigh Cóiríu 4.12
07 Siúil A Rún 5.50
08 Mo Mháire 2.43
09 DTigeas A Damhsa 1.26
10. Cucanandy / The Jug Of Brown Ale 3.13

Written-By – Traditional





Paddy Glackin & Jolyon Jackson – Hidden Ground (1980)

frontcover1This is a masterpiece of Irish Folk !

Paddy Glackin (born 5 August 1954) is an Irish fiddler and founding member of the Bothy Band. He is considered one of Ireland’s leading traditional fiddle players.

Paddy Glackin was born on 5 August 1954 in Clontarf, Dublin. His father Tom Glackin was a Dublin policeman and notable fiddle player who instilled in Paddy a deep interest and love of the music of his native county-Donegal, and taught him and his brothers Kevin and Seamus to play the instrument. As a result of his father’s influence, Paddy was playing fiddle in the Donegal style by the age of six. During his primary school years, he took classical violin lessons in Chatham Row in Dublin, which gave him an important technical grounding in music and helped develop his formidable technique. His playing style, however, was developed more informally at home, where his father organized regular Wednesday afternoon music sessions with many musicians, including Seamus Carroll, Larry Redigan and Frank O’Higgins. Seamus Carroll was particularly encouraging and helpful, teaching Paddy the techniques of Sligo-style fiddling.

While on a trip to Donegal with his father, music collector Breandan Breathnach, and Clare fiddle player John Kelly, Paddy encountered the music of the legendary travelling fiddler John Doherty, who would have a profound influence on the young musician.[2] Glackin frequently cites Doherty as his main influence. Paddy’s musical influences, however, are not limited to Donegal; he also cites fiddlers such as John Kelly, Tommy Potts and Padraig O’Keeffe as important in shaping his overall approach. Through the influence of his father and these talented fiddlers, Paddy began to master a variety of Irish styles and amass a significant repertoire. In 1973, the nineteen-year-old Paddy became fiddle champion at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil.

paddy-glackin01During his college years in Dublin, the city’s vibrant traditional music scene offered Glackin opportunities to meet fellow players his own age and perform a wide variety of venues. He became friends accordionist Tony MacMahon, flautist Matt Molloy, uilleann piper Paddy Keenan, brother and sister Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, and Dónal Lunny—all of whom would go on to prominent careers in Irish traditional music. Together they formed the group Seachtar, later renamed The Bothy Band, which would become one of the leading traditional bands in Ireland. The Bothy Band played a vital role in energising the Irish traditional music scene in the 1970s. After playing with the Bothy Band for eighteen months, Glackin decided to leave the popular group due to the demands of recording and touring:

“It just wasn’t for me and I certainly never wanted to do the album, tour, album, tour thing. I can see the need for doing it, but I always found it a little false. When I go out to play, it’s on my own terms. I look forward to it and I really enjoy doing it.”

Glackin took a job as an archivist and as Traditional Music Officer for the Irish Arts Council. He later transitioned into the broadcasting business, taking a position with RTÉ radio as a sports producer, presenter, and eventually editor. While maintaining his profession in RTÉ, Paddy continued to perform and record Irish music. In 1977, he recorded the first of several solo albums for the Gael Linn label. Simply titled Glackin, the album features several tracks recorded with his father Tom and his brothers Kevin and Séamus; it is still considered a classic in the genre. His brothers would later release an acclaimed duet recording titled Northern Lights. Glackin has since released numerous recordings, including seminal ones such as Doublin (1978) with the piper Paddy Keenan and In Full Spate (1991) with Dónal Lunny. More recently, Glackin recorded the duet album Seidean Si (1995) with piper Robbie Hannon, and Reprise (2001) with his former Bothy Band colleague, the late Mícheál Ó Domhnaill.


Although Glackin is quite outspoken in his preference for a pure soloist approach to the tradition, he has been involved in a number of experimental recordings, including Roaratorio by the American avant-garde composer John Cage and Hidden Ground, a recording from 1980 made with the late multi-instrumentalist Jolyon Jackson which is notable for its use of synthesizers alongside Glackin’s pure traditional fiddle playing. This recording anticipated the trend for mixing traditional Irish music with synthesizers.

Glackin continues to perform, and he teaches annually at the Willie Clancy Summer School in Clare. (by wikipedia)

Jolyon Jackson (3 September 1948 – 18 December 1985) was an Irish musician and composer.

Jackson was born in Malaya where his father, Patrick Jackson, was Deputy Commissioner of the police and would receive the CBE. His father was from County Limerick, of a Cork family; his mother was the singer Charmian Jenkinson. They lived at Poul-na-murrish, Annamoe, County Wicklow.

jolyon-jackson01He was educated in Salisbury Cathedral School and Bradfield College, Reading. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin in the late 1960s, where he graduated in Arts and Music. He integrated himself into the musical life of Dublin, first with the group ‘Jazz Therapy’, and later with ‘Supply, Demand and Curve.’ He played cello, recorder and keyboards–including organ, piano and synthesizer.

He married Teresa Le Jeune from Delgany, County Wicklow and they had a son, Linus.

Jolyon Jackson died in London of Hodgkin’s disease on 18 December 1985.

The band ‘Supply, Demand & Curve’ was formed in 1970 and initially consisted of Jackson, Brian Masterson—who had played with Jackson in ‘Jazz Therapy’ during 1968-69—and Paddy Finney. They had a weekly gig at the Project Arts Centre and later played mainly in folk clubs in Dublin and beyond.

With a line-up of Jackson, Masterson, Finney and Roger Doyle—who had also been in ‘Jazz Therapy’—they undertook a tour of Canada in 1973. Rosemarie Taylor (keyboards and vocals) and other musicians joined them off and on over the years.

They released their eponymous album in 1976 on the Mulligan label (LUN 009). It contained eleven tracks, ten of which were composed by Jackson. It had taken several years of snatched studio time to complete, and included contributions from some musicians who were no longer in the band by the time the LP was released.

Other recordings on which Jackson featured include Camouflage by Sonny Condell, and Taylormaid by Rosemarie Taylor—both released on Mulligan in 1977. He subsequently appeared as a guest musician on albums by The Chieftains, Midnight Well, Christy Moore, Terry and Gay Woods, and also reunited with Doyle who, by then, had created the music-theatre company Operating Theatre with Irish actress Olwen Fouéré.

Jackson was an early adopter of home-recording, buying an eight-track recorder and setting up a studio at his home in Dún Laoghaire, where he recorded the seminal album Hidden Ground (Tara 1980) with fiddle player Paddy Glackin, on which he arranged the music and also played all the instruments surrounding the fiddle.

Compositions for television include the RTÉ series Hands, Visions of Transport and To the Waters and the Wild.

Jackson also involved himself in music for the theatre, most notably in the music for the W. B. Yeats trilogy based on the Saga of Cú Chulainn, performed in the Noh style and directed by Hideo Kanze at the Abbey Theatre. Later on, he also composed music to accompany the exercises of the Gurdjieff movements. (by wikpedia)


And together they produced this brilliant album: They blended traditional Irish with modern arrangements and instrumentation. Exciting, innovative, radical in its time and still sounding fresh.

The good thing about this album is that although the accompaniment includes evertyhing but the kitchen sink:synthesizers, piano, electric and bass guitars, cello, recorder and something resembling beer bottles being played under water, the tunes are played by Paddy Glackin on fiddle in a purely traditional manner without any jazzing up at all. It sounds weird to begin with but it grows on you with every listening. (by bmilesnagopaleen)


Paddy Glackin (fiddle)
Jolyon Jackson (cello, bouzouki, mandola, mandolin, guitar, bass, harmonica, bodhrán, keyboards, synthesizer, tambourine, whistle, recorder)
Paul McAteer (drums, percussion on 11.)
Fran Breen (drums on 01., bottles on 08.)
Brian Masterson (bass on 01.)


01. The Long Note 3.05
02. The Jug Of Punch / Eddie Kelly’s Reel 3.18
03. Rodney’s Glory / The Bank Of Ireland 4.35
04. The Japanese Hornpipes 3.11
05. Give Me A Drink Of Water / My Mind Would Never Be Easy / The Rakes Of West Meath 3.37
06. The Green Fields Of America 3.06
07. Reevy’s Reels / Dowd’s Favourite 3.30
08. The Drunken Sailor 4.41
09. The Butterfly 3.15
10. Port Na Bpucai 4.12
11. Top It Off / Promenade / The Congress Reel 4.11

All tracks: Traditionals




The Dubliners – A Drop Of The Hard Stuff (Seven Drunken Nights) (1967)

FrontCover1A Drop of the Hard Stuff is the debut studio album of the Irish folk group The Dubliners. It was originally released in 1967 on Major Minor Records (SMLP3 and MMLP3). When it was reissued, it was renamed Seven Drunken Nights because the first track became a hit single. The album reached number 5 in the UK album chart, and stayed in the charts for 41 weeks. The album cover provides biographical sketches of the band line-up: Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, Ciarán Bourke and John Sheahan. Four of the songs are sympathetic to the IRA, but this was before “The Troubles” properly began in Ireland. “Limerick Rake” is sung unaccompanied. Most of the songs concern rogues and drinking. “Weila Waile” is a tragic murder ballad, sung with a certain jollity.

The album title is both an allusion to hard liquor, particularly Irish whiskey, and to the musical difficulty of the fourteen songs chosen for the album[citation needed], which emphasize the considerable depths of talent of the group, from the intricate fiddle and banjo work on “The Galway Races” and the reels, to the impressive a cappella rendition of “Limerick Rake”. (by wikipedia)

Residing somewhere between the Clancy Brothers and the Chieftains, but more raucous in their sensibilities than either of those outfits, the Dubliners have been Irish music’s most uninhibited emissaries to the world since the mid-’60s. This album lives up to its title, offering some lusty renditions of drinking songs, rebel songs, reels, and just about every other subgenre upon which this group has built its reputation across the decades. The performances are rousing and rich in sentiment, often joyous, and sometimes angry (depending on the subject). Highlights include “The Old Alarm Clock,” “The Rising of the Moon,” “Seven Drunken Nights,” “Zoological Gardens,” “The Fairmoy Lasses & Sporting Paddy” (which shows off the virtuoso side of their playing), and the haunting “Black Velvet Band”.” The whole record was worth a follow-up (More of the Hard Stuff), and is still worth hearing, more than four decades later. (by Bruce Eder)


Alternate frontcovers

Ciarán Bourke (vocals, guitar)
Ronnie Drew (vocals, guitar)
Luke Kelly (vocals, banjo)
Barney McKenna (vocals, banjo, mandoline)
John Sheahan (vocals, fiddle, tin whistle, mandoline)

01, Seven Drunken Nights 3.43
02. The Galway Races 3.17
03. The Old Alarm Clock 1.56
04. Reels: Colonel Fraser & O’Rourke’s Reel 2.36
05. The Rising Of The Moon 2.36
06. McCafferty 2.26
07. I’m A Rover 4.49
08. Weile Waile 3.25
09. The Travelling People 3.50
10. Limerick Rake 3.10
11. Zoological Gardens 2.09
12. Reels: Fermoy (misspelled as Fairmoye) Lasses & Sporting Paddy 1.55
13. The Black Velvet Band 4.26
14. Poor Paddy On The Railway  2.49

All songs: Traditionals




Les Musiciens des Saint Julien – The High Road To Kilkenny – Gælic Songs and Dances (2015)

FrontCover1The High Road to Kilkenny follows our recording of the complete fl ute sonatas of J. S. Bach (Alpha 186).
My research on the diversity of musical phrasing at the time of Bach, in the light of period documents and more especially of the Solfeggi of J. J. Quantz, resonates with that of living Irish music.
This programme is the outcome of a patient exploration of the musical sources, composed in Ireland chiefly in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and of the original sung texts. For the sake of variety I have chosen works belonging to different genres, with an extremely refi ned and skilled repertory of settings of poetry (Lord Mayo, Sir Ulick Burke, among others) and a lighter repertory of songs and dances (Do Chuirfi nnse Féin Mo Leanbh a Chodladh, Oro Mhor a Mhoirin, Kitty’s Wishes).
I discovered Irish music and its performing practice around twenty years ago, when I was still a student in Barthold Kuijken’s Baroque flute class in Brussels. To attune one’s ear to the demands of an oral tradition was an eminently complementary training to what we were taught at the conservatory.
I have joyful memories of my fi rst backpacking trip around the Emerald Isle in the late 1990s. What an enchantment! The verdant landscapes, the fairytale (though fl eeting!) moments when the sun came out, the atmospheres so different from anything I’d known elsewhere are engraved on my memory.
And, above all, the hospitality and the musical encounters were particularly rich and enlightening in this country where music has remained a way of life. But this ‘popular’ practice shouldn’t obscure the fact that the old harper-poets like Turlough O’Carolan and his predecessors played for ‘polite society’: the music they left us is the music of the aristocracy.
It is with joy that I share these emotions of different kinds today with listeners to this latest production of Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien. (liner notes, written by François Lazarevitch)

Les Musiciens des Saint Julien01

After For Ever Fortune (Alpha Classics, 2010), this second incursion of Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien in Celtic lands, The High Road to Kilkenny, combines refined, ‘highbrow’ pieces along with an entertaining repertoire of songs in Gælic and dances from the Irish Baroque.

Embodied in a language, dances and emblematic instruments, Irish music also bears in it the mark of an insular pœtry and a turbulent history. Thus, it is to these that this exhilarating, entrancing programme bears witness, and for which François Lazarevitch went back to original texts and collections of the 18th and 19th centuries. Varied couplets, lullabies, minstrel songs and hymns to Nature relate and dance to themes of love, infidelity, and the seasons as well as occupation and exile.

François Lazarevitch

François Lazarevitch

Sensitive to interpreting this repertoire today, short of the picturesque or ossified codes, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien find inspiration in the art of phrasing and ornamentation taught in numerous Baroque treatises, the energy and pœtry of period instruments, and the mix of musical traditions and sources. Here they are at home at the table of the great Irish names of the 17th and 18th centuries, and once again cross paths with one of their faithful partners: tenor Robert Getchell, very much present on the Baroque lyric stage and impassioned by different kinds of Irish music.

What a great album … music from centuries many years ago …  but still a fascinating music !

Les Musiciens des Saint Julien02

Lucile Boulanger (viola da gamba)
Marie Bournisien (harp)
Caitlín Nic Gabhann (dance)
Robert Getchell (vocals)
David Greenberg (violin)
Bruno Helstroffer (theorbo, lute)
François Lazarevitch (flute, tin whistle, smallpipes)
Bill Taylor (harp)

Bruno Helstroffer.jpg
Bruno Helstroffer

01. Óró Mhór a Mhóirín – The Gorum 4.48
02. Sir Uillioc de Búrca 4.44
03. An Drumadóir 2.39
04. Cuckold Come Out the Amery 4.15
05. Edward Corcoran 2.37
06. Síle Bheag Ní Chonnalláin 3.09
07. Sir Arthur Shaen – Colonel Irwin – Clonmell Lassies – The Scolding Wife 5.12
08. Tiarna Mhaigh Eo 6.10
09. Soggarth Shamus O’Finn 3.29
10. When She Cam Ben, She Bobbit – Kitty’s Wishes 5.09
11. Do Chuirfinnse Féin Mo Leanbh a Chodladh 3.42
12. The Banks Of Barrow 3.41
13. James Betagh – Lady Wrixon 4.03
14. O’Neill’s Riding Barrack Hill – Petrie No. 94 – Irish Air 4.13
15. King Of The Blind 3.18
16. Molly Nic Ailpín 3.25
17. The Cunning Young Man 1.32
18. The High Road To Kilkenny – Toss the Feathers – The Mill Stream – Money Musk 3.19

Lucile Boulanger

Lucile Boulanger



Graham Townsend – Classics of Irish, Scottish, and French-Canadian Fiddling (1976)

FrontCover1Graham Townsend (June 16, 1942 – December 3, 1998) was a Canadian fiddler, mandolin player, pianist and composer active from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Townsend grew up in East York, Ontario. He was visually impaired from an early age. He started playing fiddle as a child and was winning competitions as early as nine years old. Among his important and early influences was Don Messer, for whom Townsend’s father Fred was his square dance caller. He was also influenced by Irish fiddlers Tom McQuestion and Billy Crawford. Beginning in his teens, Townsend began to perform on tour  and on radio and television, often with Messer. He toured extensively throughout Europe and in Australia for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Canadian government, and gave a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II. He performed often with his wife Eleanor whom he married in 1973 and among the many performers he worked with were Wilf Carter, Tommy Hunter, the McGarrigle sisters, Ronnie Prophet and Stan Rogers. Townsend also performed in a tribute show to Don Messer and in many festivals.

Townsend’s style was steeped in Canada’s fiddling traditions and his many recording for Banff, Rodeo, Rounder Records, Silver Eagle, Springwater and other labels have received significant acclaim. He helped to establish the Ontario Old Time Fiddlers Association.

GrahamTownsend03From an early age, he was very successful in a number of fiddling competitions, including the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Fiddle Championship (1951, 52, 53), the Shelburne Canadian Open Fiddle Championship (1963, ’68, ’69, ’70),[2] the Simcoe Fiddle Championship (1957, 58), the Southern Ontario Fiddle Championship (1958, 59), the Kitchener Fiddle Championship (1959), the Peterborough Fiddle Championship (1959), the Northern Ontario Fiddle Championship (1959, 60), and the Pembroke International Championship (1965).

Townsend was inducted into the United States Fiddlers Hall of Fame in 1982, the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Canadian National Fiddling Hall of Fame in 1998 and was nominated for a Juno award for instrumental artist of the year in 1991. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Canadian Grandmasters Fiddling Championships in 1998.

Graham performed at the Tottenham Bluegrass Festival in June, 1995, and at the Pineridge Bluegrass Folklore Society show in Oshawa, Ontario in March, 1996.

Townsend died from cancer on December 3, 1998 in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. (by wikipedia)

In the nineteenth century, an international fraternity of fiddlers flourished whose membership generously stretched across Britain and North America. The popular stage gave these musicians employment and mobility; musical publishing houses provided their means of communication. Looking over the tune collections of the period – Ryan’s Mammoth Collection (known today as Cole’s Thousand Fiddle Tunes), the various Kerr anthologies, Oliver Ditson’s many publications – one is struck by the astonishing range of material presented, one where Irish jigs nestle with Scots strathspeys, diverse types of country dance music, minstrel clogs and sand jigs, popular selections from operatic works, an so on. Literate fiddlers of the period could commonly provide selections from this entire musical spectrum.

GrahamTownsend02After the turn of the century, these cosmopolitan linkages weakened considerably. The rise of vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley pushed the fiddler out of the music hall and ballroom into the barn, schoolhouse and backporch. However, in Eastern Canada and the major cities of the northeastern United States, the conglomerative spirit of the nineteenth century lived on. Graham Townsend is a particularly skilled and well-known product of this environment. As he grew up, phonograph recordings had functionally displaced the older tune books (Graham does not read music), and a splendid range of talented violinists could be heard in the environs of Toronto alone, then enjoying a phenomenal period of growth that had converted it into a melting pot for the entire United Kingdom. On this album, Graham pays tribute to the classic fiddle repertoire that has always been his first love in music.

Graham’s accompanist here is young Glenn Paul, a Lanark, Ontario native currently studying jazz piano in Boston. Glenn does an excellent job n providing the difficult changes this music requires. (taken from the original liner-notes)


Glenn Paul (piano)
Graham Townsend (fiddle)


01. Bob’s Double Clog / Jackie Coleman’s / Ballinaslow Fair 3.02
02. Plymouth Lasses / Maggie Brown’s Fancy / Buttermilk Mary 3.23
03. Stacks of Barley / The Galway / The Golden Eagle 3.39
04. Trouble Among the Yearlings 2.13
05. Partie de lancier / Marche Carolino 2.36
06. Indian Reel 1.54
07. Bonnie Kate / Pigeon on the Pier 2.47
08. Le two-step d’Armand 2.36
09. Reel Pointe Au Pic 2.33
10. Crowley’s Reel / Teetotallers 2.48
11. Eugene Straton / The Arthur Seat / Banks Hornpipe 2.14
12. The Rakes of Kildare / Dan the Cobbler / Geese in the Bog 3.19
13. Lucy Campbell / Walker Street 2.16
14. The Iron Man / Jamie Hardie 2.21
15. Reel de mon grandpere / La Belle Catherinette 2.51
16. The Judique Jig Medley 3.16

Music: Traditionals



James Galway And The Chieftains – In Irleland (1987)

FrontCover1James Galway, known worldwide for being one the best professional flautists of modern times, joins traditional Irish band The Chieftans for an unconventional mix of classical flute and Irish pub music. In addition to several well-celebrated Irish tunes including {&”Danny Boy”}, {&”Give Me Your Hand”}, and {&”Crowley’s Reel”}, James Galway and the Chieftains in Ireland also feautures the relationship built between the unlikely combination throughout their many rehearsals, a biography on Galway as presented by Derek Bell, and performances from venues as informal as local pubs to the internationally famous Grand Opera House in Belfast, Ireland. (Tracie Cooper)

Andyou will hear a real beautiful rendition of “Danny Boy.”

James Galway (flute, whistle)
Paddy Moloney (pipes, whistle)
Seán Keane (fiddle)
Martin Fay (fiddle, bones)
Matt Molloy (flute, whistle)
Kevin Conneff (bodhrán)
Derek Bell (harp, tiompán, harpsichord)
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Na Píobairí Uilleann Set Dancers

01. Roches Favourite (Set Dance) (Traditional) 3.30
02. Fanny Power; Mabel Kelly; O’Carolan’s Concerto  (O’Carolan) 6.45
03. Carrickfergus (Air) (Traditional) 3.54
04. Down By The Sally Gardens (Air) (Traditional) 2.53
05. Give My Your Hand (O’Cathan) 3.44
06. She Moved Through The Fair (Flute Solo) (Traditional) 1.56
07. The Red Admiral Butterfly (Slip Jig) (Traditional) 5.47
08. Danny Boy (Air) (Traditional) 3.20
09. Crowley’s Reel (Traditional) 3.26
10. Tristan And Isolde (Moloney) 3.31
11. Alleluia (Traditional) 4.53
12. When You And I Were Young, Maggie (Traditional) 2.26
13. The Humours Of Kilfenora; The Independent (Hornpipes) (Traditional) 4.46
14. Avondale (Air) (Traditional) 2.31
15. Up And About (Kerry Slides) (Traditional) 3.55