Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Champaign Jig Goes to Columbia

I've mentioned before that I have waves of favorite fiddlers.  I'm on a Caoimhin O Raghallaigh kick, and thereafter all I listen to is Kevin Burke, and then maybe I'll dwell for a while in Old-Time land with some Bruce Molsky... But Liz Carroll is like the North Star, ever-constant in my library of favorite fiddlers.  She kicks butt not only for being virtuosic on the fiddle, but also for being probably the best tune-smith this side of Ed Reavy.  She rocks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Crooked Road

I just joined an online community of Irish trad musicians called TradConnect.  One member suggested the other day that I learn this tune, so I did.  He actually gave me a link of Ronan Browne and Peter O'Laughlin playing it with the reel "The Morning Thrush," which I think I'll learn pretty soon, too.  It's been nice meeting and socializing with other trad musicians since starting this project.  I started it for my own personal development but it really has been a great way to meet other people from all over the world.  If you're a trad enthusiast, consider joining TradConnect, too!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Julia Delaney's

First day of classes was today.  I'm in my final year of a Masters degree NOT in Irish fiddle, alas.  So I finally got to learning and recording a new tune at 9pm.  I have a feeling many of my forthcoming videos will be dark and grainy.  Woops!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Killavil Jig

I got a message today from a fellow who runs a site called TradConnect, which traditional Irish musicians of all levels and locales can join to share music, tips, discuss, and of course organize themselves.  He invited me to join and post these videos there.  So of course I was excited to sign up.  If you're interested in checking it out, follow this link:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Old Bush

Sore sore sore muscles.  I followed the pain and suffering from the half marathon I did today with an ice-bath chaser, which I guess is supposed to help.  Pain!  Suffering!  All of this sarcasm is a facade, though.  I'm extremely proud of myself, which is why, as I play this fiddle tune for you, I'm actually wearing the medal they gave out at the race.  It's the only medal I have ever earned ever.  Ever.  So I'm going to weariteverysingledaydammit!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Wave Sweeper

In between bowls of noodles, (I'm carb loading.  Not because I want to.  Tomorrow I may die in a half-marathon) I learned a crazy composition by the whistle player/piper John McSherry. It's in that new genre that uber trad people probably can't stand... like a pop Celtic, or new Celtic. Neltic. Jazzy Irish. Jirish. Okay I should stop. Anyway, it's full of syncopation, which, if you listen to his recording, is emphasized even more by his back up rhythm section. Super cool. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

La Bétaille

I'm sure this word means something, but I'm not sure what.  The full name of this tune is "La Bétaille dans le 'tit arbre" (the ---- in the little tree.)  What the ---- is I'm not sure.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cornstalk and Shoestring Bow

Sometimes you have to think outside the box.  Playing outside the Irish tradition is outside of my little box. So today I give you the fruit of my outside-the-box efforts.  It may not be pretty, but there you go!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Green Fields of Glentown

For my senior recital in college I performed Bach's Chaconne, the final movement in his Partita No. 2.  It was 17 minutes long.  (I can still remember most of it, too, I think.)  The seeming endlessness of the Chaconne appeals to me, so I really like reels that have more than 2 parts and wind around the fiddle like a twisty mountain road.  Tommy Peoples writes great tunes like that, and here's one.  It was suggested to me by a youtuber who also plays the fiddle who knows I love a nice long reel.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Holy Land

I just got back from a weekend in Jackson, WY, going to the Wyoming Scottish Festival and later the Sherpa Fest at Snow Basin.  I met some fine folks at the Scottish Fest and had a blast playing tunes in the MacGregor Clan tent.  Fun!  Today I learned a reel that the Bothy Band used to play a lot.  I love the version on Mick O'Brien and Caoimhin O Raghallaigh's newest album, Deadly Buzz.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jenny's Welcome To Charlie

I'm short on time so I'm just posting this and then packing up for a music festival in Jackson, Wyoming!  Woot!  I'll see you at the Sherpa Fest!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Billy in the Lowground

Here's a reel that I've mostly only heard in bluegrass jam situations but there's a recording of Frankie Gavin playing it all Irish-like.  So here's that version.  I'm sure this American tune is derivative of a really old Scottish tune but I don't know the history.  I could make it up... after all, this is the internet!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Booley House

We spent the whole day in the yard again planting flowers and moving mulch.  It was a good time.  When I finally sat down to learn a tune, I found one of the simplest tunes in my itunes library.  This version of The Booley House comes from the album, "Welcome Here Again," by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill.  It's a little different than other versions people play of this tune.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Concert Reel

I'm not complaining or anything, but I have a massive headache today.  I just moved across the country from sea level to about 4800 feet.  Being this much closer to the sun has brought out the vampire-hide-in-basement tendencies in me.  All I want to do is crawl into a dark room.  Instead I did yard work and played the fiddle.  See that?  Fighting off my unsocial tendencies?  It's not easy.

Monday, August 15, 2011


So.  I just spent the last 3 days in our car driving 2200 miles!  Yay!  It was actually really cool.  And we have a system down for sleeping in the car at rest-stops along the highway so we weren't totally uncomfortable.  We took turns driving in 3-hour shifts.  Anyway, today we've been getting situated here in our new place and I'm a little exhausted.  So when I recorded the polka I learned today, things got a little silly.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I don't think this lovely little tune is played enough.  I could listen to it all day.  I learned it from Kevin Burke (again... he's my favorite fiddler right now) from a 1978 recording with Michael O'Domhnaill. (check it out here:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Half Past Four

I'm in love with Ed Haley tunes.  They're all awesome.  The one I learned today is a popular one both in old-time sessions and competitions.  Ed was blind from the age of 3 when he contracted measles.  He was raised by his grandmother and uncle after losing both parents, one who was murdered by an angry revenge-seeking mob.  His uncle gave Ed his first fiddle, and he later went on to be a professional touring fiddler going around the whole region.  He married a blind piano teacher named Martha, who played accordion and mandolin with Ed.  He died in 1951.  (

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rakish Paddy

So this one time at fiddle camp...

No really.  One day at fiddle camp a friend sat down with his tenor banjo and recorded a bunch of tunes for me to learn.  This was one of them.  It's a nice real with a lot of opportunities for rolls and things that make it sound fancy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Teahan's Favorite

Today I'm on Day 3 of a family reunion, so I actually got my sister Liz to do my NTAD today with me.  I love Kevin Burke's playing, so smooth and connected.  So the tune we learned was from a video of him and Cal Scott playing a set of 3 slides.  This is the first of them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sally Gardens

A reel today. It's another popular session tune. I learned and recorded this today while all my family members were putting their little ones to bed so if you listen carefully you might be able to hear some babies protesting. I'm at a family reunion and we're all staying in a B&B together. Today we went to the Botanical Gardens where there was a Faery Festival! So in honor of the beautiful flowers and plants I saw today, here's the Sally Gardens.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Monaghan Jig

Today's my grandma's 80th birthday!  So I and my five-hundred relatives have gathered on the Maine coast to celebrate.  Today we went on a ferry that took us to and island where we were each fed fish soup, 2 lobsters each, and a bowl of baked clams and finished off with a huge slab of blueberry cake.  Thus, I didn't get around to doing my NTAD until this evening.  Short on time, I chose a jig that I've heard five billion times and even faked once or twice at sessions.  It's much easier to learn tunes that you're already familiar with.  I have a couple versions, one by Tommy Peoples and one by Dónal Clancy, so those are the main inspirations for mine.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Troy's Wedding

It's thrilling to witness a huge pipeband play a good tune.  The blaring highland pipes and those super cool snare rhythms absolutely move me.  The thrill is worth the 2 days of ringing ears that will inevitably follow.  Today I learned a Scottish pipe tune that was suggested to me by one of the subscribers to my youtube channel.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Old Tipperary

I had a really hard time deciding on a tune today.  I've been given quite a few suggestions and all of them are great!  I'll get to them in the next couple weeks.  I heard this jig and it's such a cool, windy melody that I wanted to learn it right away.  It's from the album Geantraì, which is a compilation of a bunch of trad artists playing live session tunes.  This jig was played by Noel Hill and Tony Linnane on concertinas.  They played the tune in Ab so I was obliged to tune my fiddle up a half step to learn it and play along.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cherokee Shuffle

I'm on an American kick still with new tunes.  Today I learned a standard bluegrass jam tune.  It's on a list I have somewhere of the 50 Fiddle Tunes You Have To Know or something like that.  So voilà!