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 Post subject: Brother Gildas Pipes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:32 am 
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Location: New Paltz NY
I recently had an opportunity to see a couple of sets of pipes that used to belong to Brother Gildas (1882 to 1960). They are now in the posession of my cousin who is a grandnephew of Brother Gildas. He is not a piper but firmly intends to keep them in the family.
There are two sets.
The first is a full set of unknown origin. The bellows was made by Leo Rowsome who was a good friend of Brother Gildas and did frequent repairs for the Brother (see the article by Helena Rowsome Grimes in the December 2003 issue of An Piobaire, recalling her memories of the Brother visiting her father). The set is complete and all reeds appear to work. The chanter reed has the name 'Crowley' written on one side and some numbers on the other. However the bellows need repair at this stage (just a bad valve).
The second set is just a bag and chanter. The bag is tied directly to the chanter. Again the reed says 'Crowley' but the reed is bad. This appears to be older than the full set. One of the keys is missing and the hole was filed.
Photos of the pipes can be seen at the following link
http://home.hvc.rr.com/liamo/Br.Gildas%20Pipes%20Photos.htm

It looks like the link no longer works. The pics can now be seen on UilleannObsession.com. See link below. Thanks Patrick.
http://www.uilleannobsession.com/diary_2005.html
Scroll to the bottom of the page

Does anybody have suggestions as to who made these pipes and how old they are? The National Museum approached my late Uncle many years ago and told him that the full set was one of 4 unique sets. A well known piper based in Ireland saw them a few years ago and was not able to identify them.
Also, does anybody have a copy of An Piobaire article on Br. Gildas from October 2003? I am trying to gather as much info on Br.Gildas for my cousin as I can.

Liam


Last edited by Kerryman on Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:40 am 
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Cuz, You're back! How was the craic? All the best, Jim Gildas McGuire


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:50 am 
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Thanks for sharing these photos Liam... very cool sets.

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 Post subject: ~ Brother Gildas ~
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:11 am 
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from An Píobaire December 2003

~ Brother Gildas ~
Helena Rowsome Grimes

The interesting article on Brother Gildas
in the October edition of An Píobaire
by Seán Donnelly jogged my memory.
I would like to share with your readers my
memories of the tall and austere shadow I saw
so many times through the stained glass window
of our hall door at our home in Dublin.
Brother Gildas began visiting our home at 9
Belton Park Road, Dublin regularly from the
early forties. I remember his visits in the late
1940s, coming into this world as I did in
1946. The Brother presented my parents with
an A4-sized photograph of himself which we
kept in its place of honour on the fine oak
mantle piece in the dining room. In the photo,
the Brother’s apparel was proclaimed in dark
overcoat and matching bowler hat. As one
might imagine to be normal in a busy professional
household with four active children, a
large Airedale terrier and two canaries, the
photograph would occasionally be misplaced
or even go missing. This would cause mild
‘mayhem’ when we realised that Brother
Gildas was at the hall door and his photograph
could not be found. He would always
go directly to the dining room to check on the
presence of his picture. It was some years
later that I realised this to be more a measure
of the mutual respect between my parents and
the Brother rather than any illusion of vanity
that promoted such action.
Brother Gildas had a tangible respect and
admiration for the talents of my father and the
hospitality of my mother. I remember one
particular occasion when, upon his arrival,
my twin sister Olivia and I were sampling the
freshly made Madeira cake my mother had
baked in readiness for the arrival of the
Brother. (I can best describe Madeira cake as
a type of sponge cake without the spring! - no
fruit whatever for which reason my sister
called it ‘clean cake’.) Bro. Gildas came in
and on seeing the cake in our hands, he
offered my sister a shilling for her piece. (All
this was done in absolute seriousness) After
considering the offer, Olivia quickly surrendered
her piece of cake and I was quite happy
that I kept mine, for it was extremely tasty. I
can truly confirm that my sister’s exhibition
of capitalistic tendencies at the age of six was
not an omen for the future. I suspect that on
that occasion, Brother Gildas wanted to communicate
with the six year old twins directly
and that was his way of so doing. We were a
little in awe of the tall black figure who was a
genuinely kind man. In his letters to my
father, he always sent regards to my mother
and the family. After having happily seen his
photo in its place of honour, he would walk
directly to my father’s workshop where he
would spend hours in silence watching his
every move; whether turning a chanter on the
lathe or shaving a piece of cane in the process
of making a reed with his cut-throat razor.
Although my father rarely invited visitors to
his ‘inner sanctum’, Brother Gildas was welcomed
at any time.
During his visits, it was obvious that he was
anxious to learn as much as possible from my
father who willingly wrote out tunes for him
at his request. These exact versions would
have been handed down to my father from his
own grandfather, Samuel Rowsome through
his sons, William (Leo’s father), Tom and
John Rowsome (Leo’s uncles). When my
father wrote the tunes contained in the recently
published Leo Rowsome Collection of Irish
Music – 428 reels and Jigs from the pen of
master uilleann piper – he did so after having
returned from a busy night’s teaching at the
Municipal School of Music (now under the
DIT), or from the Pipers’ Club, he would
occasionally remark how Brother Gildas
played a certain tune – the tunes on page 137
of the new publication, i.e. “Brother Gildas
(1)” and “Brother Gildas (2)” were named so
by my father as a consequence of them being
played particularly well by Brother Gildas.
“Brother Gildas (Ballintore)” (also on page
137) – this tune was played by the Brother
who learned it from my father who attributed
the location of his ancestral home ‘Ballintore”
to the name of the jig. My great-grandfather,
Samuel Rowsome (Leo’s grandfather) was
renowned for his jig playing as a consequence
of which many fine jigs came down the
ancestral line through my grandfather
William Rowsome and his brothers, Tom and
John. Many of these exact versions are clearly
notated in the new Leo Rowsome
Collection of 428 reels and jigs.
As said earlier, there was great camaraderie
between my father and Brother Gildas – my
mother commented many times on the
Brother’s very high standard of spoken and
written English. He called constantly over the
summer months whilst insisting that my
father made reeds for various pipes at his
request. No doubt this would have been taking
place whilst Leo would have been working
single handily to comply with his many
overseas orders which would have been due
for collection during the summer months.
In a letter dated April 1938 from St. Finian’s
Monastery, Falls Road, Belfast the Brother
wrote to my father
‘Dear Leo, The Greenheart is being sent out to
you this evening. It will be cut into 10 pieces
7 fi inches long and 3 or 4 pieces 8 inches
long, with a number of small lengths for regulators
and drones etc. The big piece (3 x 3)
was only 9 ft long and we cut it as best we
could. Some of the small pieces were already
cut, the others we cut into 18 inch lengths. I
hope you will be satisfied with the quality etc;
the waste can be used as knuckles etc.’
At that time, the Brother would stay at the
North Star Hotel during his Easter visit to
Dublin, a handy location for spending as
much time as possible in my father’s workshop.
In a letter from The Monastery at Castlebar
dated December 1956, Brother Gildas wrote:
‘Dear Leo, I hasten to discharge that little debt
– £3 for the Bass regulator you so kindly and
generously gave me during my last visit to
you. The bass regulator you gave me is for a
15 inch set, and that fact subtracts nothing
from its worth, for I have an old 15 inch set
here which I got last August from an old
friend near Bruff. He is the same man from
whom I got that furze chanter. Maloney Bros.
Maker. There were two regulators only so that
this bass completes the set. The only part now
missing is the lower end of the bass drone, a
part you may be able to supply later. Most of
the keys are on the two small regulators, but
the springs of the keys are broken. I wonder
if I sent you the two said regulators, would
you find leisure to make springs and restore
them to prestine health. I would send on the
keyed part of the bass reg. for adjustment.
Perhaps the Christmas holidays would be a
suitable time for the job.’
In a further letter from the De La Salle
Retreat, Castletown, Mounthrath, September
1959, the Brother wrote:

‘Dear Leo, I was very pleased with your last
letter, which I got about four weeks ago. Your
remarks on the Colgan set were to my liking
very much. I am looking forward to hearing it
at its best once more. Two chanters of mine
are there with you. I am most anxious that you
would do the needful for them now - as soon
as you possibly can. Each needs a key at the
back and some ornamentation at the lower
end. And then a reed for each to do them to
give of their best. The 15 inch is intended for
my own use so that no matter how weak hearted
I may be I could play a tune on it with the
bag and bellows. Make it play at its best, as
there are several musical critics grown old in
this house. I want to confound their ears and
grieve their hearts.’


In a letter dated September 1956 from the
Monastery at Castlebar, the Brother promises
to send my father a special type of walking
stick ‘the last of its tribe’. While recommending
that the precious object should be kept
‘outside in the workshop and on no account
for it to be left at large in the hallstand,’ He
then promised to send my mother a similar
stick ‘when next season’s crop arrives, I hope
to have the pleasure of presenting Mrs
Rowsome with one equally good.’
As a child, I was definitely a little in awe of
Brother Gildas as he never smiled. It was
obvious that he appreciated my father’s many
skills and that he in turn trusted this gentle
and educated giant of the uilleann pipes.
Go ndéana Dia trócaire ortha go léir
Helena Rowsome Grimes
28 November, 2003


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:13 am 
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The An Píobaire for Oct 2003 is Vol. 4 No. 22. It is available on-line in NPU's archives. If you are a member of NPU, you can get a userid and password from them to access the archives.

djm

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:40 am 
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djm wrote:
...to access the archives.


This is one of the challenges that archives face today. Why go to the archive when the text is online somewhere?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:27 am 
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Sorry, on-line where? The NPU archives are the only on-line reference I know of for An Píobare articles (also, you get to see the photos and sheet music, when there are any).

Thx,

djm

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:35 am 
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In this thread (see above).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:35 am 
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The pictures are really marvelous. BTW, what camera was used?


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:41 am 
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Sorry, Jim, I'm not sure if you're joking or what. Upooper downloaded the article from somewhere. I didn't see that when I was looking the NPU archive. Are you suggesting he got it from somewhere other than the NPU archive, or just winding me up? :D

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:47 am 
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Thanks.
The camera is a Konica Minolta Dimage Z3, 4.0 Mega Pixel. I am very pleased with it.

BTW, the An Piobaire article posted above is the one I already have. I am looking for the previous issue from Oct 2003 that is referred to in the Dec 2003 article by Helena Rowsome Grimes.

Liam


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:16 am 
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You don't mention what key the full set is in. Just judging from the photos I'd hazard a guess and say that the full set chanter looks like it could be a Coyne. The chanter, decorative mounts and the keys look very much like the Wooff chanter I have which is modelled after a Coyne. The chanter body at least, prehaps not the windcap.

As for the body of the pipes, the stock, regulators & drones I thought at first it's the work of Willie Rowsome, as the scribing on the brass is rough, but then again it could even be older, prehaps by the younger Kenna. Brother Gildas was known for snagging chanters, and had a fondness for Kenna and Egan chanters. This could be a set by the younger Kenna where the original chanter has gone AWOL, prehaps placed together with another set owned by Gildas or sold? The tulip shape of the baritone drone looks Kenna style. You mention that the National museum said it was one of 4 unique sets? This also makes me think it could be a set by the younger Kenna with a Coyne chanter. Or maybe I'm wrong and it's a Willie Rowsome with a Coyne chanter body


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:06 am 
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Archives and publications have a tough time existing if people grab and publish things themselves. If that sort of thing happens too frequently, they have a tough time justifying the effort of collecting and publishing, so those activities get shut down.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:21 am 
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Note the reference to "The picture opposite shows Brother Gildas Felix (Patrick O’Shea) in middle age. Biographical material relating to
him may be found in An Píobaire vol 1, nos 2 & 3."

Consider joining NPU!

~ From the Archive ~

Tunes from Brother Gildas and John Potts

The tunes that follow here were copied
more than twenty years ago from manuscripts
in Breandán Breathnach’s possession.
None of them is uncommon or obscure;
they are simple straightforward versions dating
from the second half of the nineteenth century
and the early years of the twentieth. They predate,
therefore, the appearance of Francis
O’Neill’s incredibly influential collections in the
first decade of the twentieth century.
‘Rolling on the Ryegrass’ is in the manuscript of
Ceol Rince na hÉireann [I], the source being
John Potts. Breandán Breathnach gave it the
Irish title, ‘Strac an mhuc an léine’ – ‘The pig
tore the shirt’ – a phrase that fits the last bar of
each part. ‘Bonny Kate (1)’, ‘The Flannel
Jacket’ and ‘The Repeal of the Union’, were
written down by Brother Gildas, a frequent visitor
to John Potts’ house in The Coombe in
Dublin.
The older generations of pipers who heard
Gildas play were unanimous in agreeing that he
had a beautiful, light tripping close style of
chanter-work. His problem was that he could not
keep steady time: I was told that while he had a
slide/shake on the F natural ‘like the wail of a
banshee’, he would slow up completely to make
it, and then resume the tune again. Nevertheless
he was looked on as a source of very interesting
tunes. In an earlier Píobaire (4, no. 18,
December 2002), I pointed out that at least two
tunes associated with Séamus Ennis, ‘The
Brother’s Jig’ and ‘Ask my Father’, derived
from Tom Rowsome (d. 1928), Leo’s uncle,
through Gildas, and in the recently-published
Leo Rowsome collection there are at least six
tunes that came from Gildas.
‘Bonny Kate (1)’ came from Tom Rowsome (d.
1928), one of Gildas’s favourite pipers. I forget
to note the source of ‘Bonny Kate (2)’, but I am
fairly sure that it was also a Gildas notation.
‘The Flannel Jacket’ and ‘The Repeal of the
Union’ were from James Bourke (1835–c. 1918)
of Kilfrush, Kilfinane, co. Limerick, from whom
Gildas learned the pipes while teaching in Bruff,
co. Limerick, between 1910 and 1915. Every
Saturday afternoon during school-term, Gildas
cycled or walked from Bruff to Kilfrush for a lesson,
until Bourke told him that he had nothing
more to teach him. Jimmy O’Brien-Moran now
plays Bourke’s pipes. The triplets of quavers of
the same pitch occurring in the tunes where a roll
would now be played were intended to denote
the shake Gildas played in this context.
Seán Donnelly

The picture opposite shows Brother Gildas Felix (Patrick
O’Shea) in middle age. Biographical material relating to
him may be found in An Píobaire vol 1, nos 2 & 3.
Tunes from Brother Gildas and John Potts


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:29 am 
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Did you take any dimensions for it, kerryman? Thanks for sharing the photos, they are quite beautiful.


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