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 Post subject: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:41 pm 
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This has been bugging me for years. On the Chieftains 8 album they play a 4-part version I've only heard there. Anyone know anything about the whys and wherefores of that? I've never heard anyone else play it that way (although at a session I recently heard a unique setting of the 3-part version incorporating the beginning of the Chieftains' 4th part in the 3rd part; most unusual from the standard as I know it).

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Seem to remember it was a Donegal version, possibly from the playing of Johnny Doherty. Certainly, Sean Keane was a great fan of Doherty's playing, and I think it may have been his input for that particular version. The album sleeve notes might help. I'm sure that version has been recorded elsewhere [ Altan ? ], but would need to look.

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:27 pm 
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http://thesession.org/recordings/132 - see comments.

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:28 pm 
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Sorry - for Track 3 :

http://thesession.org/tunes/177

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:36 pm 
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Thanks. A John Doherty, or Doherty-inspired, version then. I only had a cassette of the #8 album back in the day, and IIRC there were no liner notes to edify me, but it's been a long time. Whatever I may have forgotten, the tune wasn't it - it was the first Seán sa Cheo I ever learned. Well, I can always keep that version in my pocket. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:15 am 
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By a strange coincidence, I just came across a recording of Vinnie Kilduff playing "Sean Sa Ceo" [ as well as it'll ever be played on a whistle IMHO ]. This was on a tape called something like "50 Irish Whistle Solos", but he also recorded it on his 1990 Mulligan CD "The Boys Of Bluehill". It got me thinking about where I first heard this tune, and I'm fairly certain it was by Tom McHaile / McHale on the very first LP record dedicated to solo tin whistle. I'm fairly sure you can get it on iTunes these days. He played the 3-part version, which is far more popular than the "Donegal" version. It also used to be played by "The Buskers", a trio of Paul Furey, Davey Arthur and Brendan Leeson [ I think that's right ], who were based around Edinburgh at that time. Again, the 3-part version. Garry Shannon recorded the same 3-part version on an LP called "Disirt Tola", and so did Donncha O'Brien. It does seem to be favoured by flute and whistle players in particular, which is not so surprising. [ Joannie Madden as well ]. "The Session.org" claims 81 recordings but that's probably not entirely accurate.
Just a few random thoughts to add to the general discussion.

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:57 am 
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It was one of Micho's pet tunes, definitely where I first heard it. And his playing would, I believe, be largely responsible for the current circulation of the tune.

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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:37 am 
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Just noticed this discussion… a couple of decades ago I heard James Byrne (the late Donegal fiddler) play a setting of Seán sa Cheo and when I asked about it he told me its name was “Lough Isle Castle”. Some time later I learned the tune from a recording of James made by a friend.

Now, not having attempted the tune in 20 years, I can’t call it to mind just now, and heaven knows where the cassette tape is. But JB’s setting may be close to Doherty’s and thus the Chieftains’ (heaven knows where the tape of Chieftains 8 is also)!

Two curious facts.

1: After James told me the name, I wondered why on earth a lake might be called “Isle”! The way James pronounced it, “Lough Isle” is what I understood, but I subsequently mused that this might be a corruption of “Lough (or Loch) Kyle”. Couldn’t find any information about this at the time but now, thanks to Google I discover that: “Kyle of Lochalsh” comes from the Scottish Gaelic Caol Loch Aillse, "strait of the foaming loch", which seems to support my musings. Especially as there is a castle there.

2: Back then I played the version learned from JB to a GHB player friend, saying it was a bit of a rarity from Donegal, and he said, but I know that tune! And proceeded to play what he had learned as a piper’s version of Sleepy Maggie – almost identical to JB’s “Lough Isle Castle.”

Which led me to the conclusion that Sean sa Cheo and Jenny’s Chickens are cousins, if not identical twins separated at birth.

Does anyone have anything that might corroborate or refute these two curious facts?

(Edited to expunge an errant apostrophe.)


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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:09 am 
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http://thesession.org/tunes/11966


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 Post subject: Re: Seán sa Cheo
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Thanks Nico. Kinship with Jennie’s Chickens is mentioned in the headers to one of the tune settings. Nothing about the contradictory nature of the name though.

Dow says: “There is also a 4-part version of this tune which James Byrne apparently plays (though unfortunately I don’t have a transcription of his playing of the tune)."

I do though: just nipped home at lunchtime and dug out this transcription that my bandmate of the time (Jean Duval) made from the tape of JB. Second tune on the page – we used to play a highland of Packie Manus’ before it.

http://rogermillington.com/steam/LoughIsleCastle.pdf

I’ll put it up on thesession.org by and by. Enough differences from all the various settings there to be of interest.


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