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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:31 am 
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Here's something I just stumbled into in one of the local libraries, on the new acquisitions table : The Sliogo Masters. A DVD/58 min film dealing with Coleman, Killoran and Morrison. Haven't watched it yet but it could be worthwhile (it's a Comhaltas thing so I don't have too high hopes).

Which brings to mind an older docu DVD, From Shore to Shore : Irish traditional music in New York city. WHich features a lot of NY musicians as well as interviews with Mary Coleman Hannon, Mary Coleman O'Beirne and James O'Beirne, talking about Michael Coleman and Lad O Beirne.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:01 am 
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Thank you again—from shore to shore looks to be very useful and it’s available online


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:49 am 
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I hadn't realised it was online. That's handy enough. I was given a copy of the DVD at some point, probably time to watch it again: it's probably twenty years since I saw it last.

I'll report back on the other one once I had time to watch it, I 've just come off the roof after painting the chimneys and assessing if anything needs fixing before the winter storms arrive.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:18 am 
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I got my copy of the Sligo Masters DVD five years ago, haven't watched it in ages but remember it being nice enough. Just started it again, and 3 minutes in they've already talked to Brian Conway, Gregory Daly, and Philip Duffy.

Edited to add: Though so far (about halfway through) it's mostly Coleman and Morrison's personal histories, with music mostly as a background thing.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:35 am 
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By now I have seen most of the 'Masters' DVD. There are interesting bits in it but there's a definite waft of Comhaltas off it.

I enjoyed, among other things, the inclusion of a photo of Killoran and his wife, who as it turns out was the spitting image of one of her nieces, who I was was talking to just two days ago. Overall worth giving the (at least) once over for little snippets and factoids in it but expect uncritical regurgitation of the standard narratives and a voice over narrator straight out of National School speech and drama classes. Visually it is fine, they really made an effort to seek out their locations.

A bit of moderate self indulgence (I have just put a load of these in new sleeves):

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It is quite astonishing to think exactly how influential those two recordings were . Just about every great fiddleplayer from the twentieth century played these at one point or another and it would be hard to find anyone playing those tunes without adding at least some of Coleman's touches. I can think of recordings of Bonnie Kate etc by Bobby Casey, Sean Ryan, Paddy Canny, Vincent Griffin, one of the Donegal Dohertys (Simon, I think) and strings of others, all under the spell of Coleman. So much so, copied so often, almost ad nauseum, that it is sometimes hard to appreciate how brilliant the original was (and still is). There are a few more tunes that have become almost irredeemably connected with one player/performance but these are prime examples.

The same November 1934 recording session also gave us sets like the Tarbolton one, Wandering Minstrel/Fasten the Leg, which are still standard sets (I recorded the latter myself I have to admit) and the Stack of Barley set and The Men of the West/Mrs Kenny's. A good day's work, by any standard.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:41 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Overall worth giving the (at least) once over for little snippets and factoids in it...

I think there's a lot of nice information for the person who doesn't know much about Coleman & Co.

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It is quite astonishing to think exactly how influential those two recordings were . Just about every great fiddleplayer from the twentieth century played these at one point or another and it would be hard to find anyone playing those tunes without adding at least some of Coleman's touches. I can think of recordings of Bonnie Kate etc by Bobby Casey, Sean Ryan, Paddy Canny, Vincent Griffin, one of the Donegal Dohertys (Simon, I think) and strings of others, all under the spell of Coleman.

Just glancing at my collection for people who recorded the set (Bonnie Kate / Jenny's Chickens) I also see Andy McGann, Brian Conway (twice), Kevin Burke (twice), Michael Gorman, and Tommy Potts.

But outside of Irish music circles too! Jenny's Chickens is incredibly popular in Ontario, it's very close to being the standard "I am a flashy fiddle player" tune there, even among players who play mostly Ontario or Quebecois tunes.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:44 am 
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I also see Andy McGann, Brian Conway (twice), Kevin Burke (twice), Michael Gorman, and Tommy Potts.


As I said, a whole string of others. I suppose just about everybody will have had a go at those. But my point really was that none of them managed to get away from Coleman's influence, even Tommy Potts (listening to him now, from the recordings he made for Peter O'Loughlin) merely 'does' Coleman, right up the 'three blind mice' ending. There's no real sense you're listening to Tommy Potts (except perhaps his charateristic rolls in the AF ~F2 ). Last week I was listening to Simon Doherty and at least he managed a strong overlay of Donegal style but nobody can get away from Coleman's influence on those tunes. Which to be honest, makes the mall sound a bit second hand and that lessens the enjoyment.

On the other hand these sets are great 'ice breakers' when first playing with people you haven't played with before, everybody will have them. In recent weeks I have, for example, been listening a lot to a recording made at a gig by Paddy Canny and Peter O'Loughlin. At some point they're joined by Paddy Carty for the final 15 minutes or so. What do they do? They scratch their heads, ask eachother 'what are we going to play' and go for the classic sets : The Tarbolton set, Lord MacDonald/Ballinasloe Fair just to 'feel eachother up' as it were (and then the Copperplates, the Old Bush/Galtee and Cooley's). There's a universality to those things, a shared foundation/background, that you can always fall back on. There are ofcourse loads of other 'classic sets' like that Cooley/Wise Maid, Kilfenora set, Castle (ceiliband) set, Tulla/Skylark/Roaring Mary would work in similar ways around here anyway but the Colemans are really top of the pile anywhere.

[edit:]

I'll add to that I have just revisited 'From Shore to shore'. Both films show aspects of Irish music in New York although 'The Masters' focuses its attention more on specific players. But their narrative styles different while the 'Masters' leaves you feeling talked to by a schoolmaster at times, 'From Shore to shore' lets musicians speak of their experiences and all these stories develop its narrative arc. And its a narrative infused with humanity and love of music, showing a gentleness, lightness of touch and a sweetness in the music that seems to evaporate by the end of the 1980s, when a hard, driven style emerges, one, I must say, I don't care for very much. They cut to Brian Conway at that point, saying there's plenty of room for creativity and lightness in Irish music, as we can take from the old players. A point well made.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:19 am 
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Wandering a bit off track here....
Mr.Gumby wrote:
On the other hand these sets are great 'ice breakers' when first playing with people you haven't played with before, everybody will have them. In recent weeks I have, for example, been listening a lot to a recording made at a gig by Paddy Canny and Peter O'Loughlin. At some point they're joined by Paddy Carty for the final 15 minutes or so. What do they do? They scratch their heads, ask eachother 'what are we going to play' and go for the classic sets : The Tarbolton set, Lord MacDonald/Ballinasloe Fair just to 'feel eachother up' as it were (and then the Copperplates, the Old Bush/Galtee and Cooley's). There's a universality to those things, a shared foundation/background, that you can always fall back on. There are of course loads of other 'classic sets' like that Cooley/Wise Maid, Kilfenora set, Castle (ceiliband) set, Tulla/Skylark/Roaring Mary would work in similar ways around here anyway but the Colemans are really top of the pile anywhere.

Is the Old Bush / Galtee originally a Michael Gorman set? That seems to be the oldest version I have. (And to my delight, looking for this enabled me to tag a previously unknown-to-me reel as The Galtee -- from a teacher's session at the CIAW with Peter Horan and Mike Rafferty and a bunch of other people who had probably never played together before, as you say.)

I'm not sure what you mean by "Cooley's" and "Cooley/Wise Maid"? I mean, I know the Emin reel we call Cooley's here in America, and I know the Wise Maid Cooley played which is the first track on Cooley. But I don't associate them together in any way other than "tunes played by Cooley". (BTW, of all the tunes you've mentioned here, the only ones which are commonly played in mid-Michigan are "Cooley's Reel" (always in a set with the same two jigs, sob) and "Sailor's Bonnet")

Kilfenora Set? Not sure if you mean the Kilfenora Jigs or the two E minor reels followed by Earl's Chair or something else? (Thanks to the dance, Google is very unhelpful here.)

Castle Set?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:40 am 
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Is the Old Bush / Galtee originally a Michael Gorman set? That seems to be the oldest version I have.


I don't know where that one originates, the combination seems to have been doing the rounds during the fifties/sixties and still comes up, depending on the company you keep. If you associate with pipers the Old Bush is more likely to be followed by The Ravelled Hank of Yarn (after Clancy's 78 rpm) and people with a mind of (East) Clare fiddle music would put it after Bunker Hill.


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I'm not sure what you mean by "Cooley's" and "Cooley/Wise Maid"?


Cooley's reel, Luttrell's Pass some people would say was it's original name. If not agreed otherwise people would put the Wise Maid after it. I am not sure where that came from, either Joe Cooley himself or perhaps the Tulla.

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Kilfenora Set?


No, the 'Kilfenora reels' is another classic : Connemara Stockings, The Dublin reel (in G, the Westmeath Hunt, if you like), Tear the Callico (in D).

Here is another version of the band playing it, Kitty Linnane, Tommy Peoples, Paddy 'Organ' Mullins and young(er) Mike Butler and Francis Droney, not sure about the banjo player or the second fluteplayer

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Castle Set?


From the Castle Ceiliband, Throw it across (Drag her around the road), Sheperd's Daughter, Humours of Toonagh (the Cloon, in D).

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