Ceol na hÉireann / Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 23

Ceol na hÉireann / Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 23
Favourite | Share | Feedback


periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
periodical Title
Ceol na hÉireann / Irish Music
volume Number
issue Content
36Ceol na hEireann Irish Music37the set of uilleann pipes, she would rather give it to me than anybody. But therewasnt great interest in the pipes even then, and I refused. If I had been wisernow, if I had been able to see the future, I could have bought a couple of dozensets of pipes for perhaps a hundred pounds. When I was playing pipes in mytime and travelling through the country, people would tell me, oh I have alovely set of those at home, do you know anyone whod buy them - but nobodyhad any interest.He used to broadcast a lot. He probably played for years, constantly, andthere were no two tunes the same. But when his repertoire was running out, hetold me, he brought ONeills book up with him, and he put it up the stand, andhe took an awful gamble, you know, he sat there and he played as fast as thereel out of the book. He was a fantastic sightreader, there wasnt anyone likehim. He used to play the flute in an orchestra, he was trying to get me into theorchestra as well. You are well able to manage more than 6/8 time, he alwayssaid to me.He taught me to read, he taught me all about music. And the way he used tocatch me out as hed never give me a tune except hed write it down and sendyou home. Now unless you could read, you couldnt come back with the tune.Liam used to do a bit more on the regulators than what you heard on therecordings. Now I did not take regulator lessons from him because I wasinclined to dispute things with him, we crossed swords about regulator playing.I was doing things on the regulators, hed used to shout at me, stop, stop doingthat, thats syncopation, youre beating against the time, boy, I cant have youdoing that. Now I used to do funny things like the double beat in jigs, and hewasnt a man for the double, you know.He wasnt teaching the pipes to anybody else and Ill tell you why that wasnow. Liam Walsh, when he became very well known, a very famous manplaying the pipes, he went to the local corporation that they had in the city(Waterford), and he called them together, the council, because he had aproposition to offer them. What he wanted them to do was to appoint him,anywhere, in one of the schools, to teach the uilleann pipes. And he had a bigdiscussion, he called them together, he brought the pipes and he played forthem. He said there was nobody in his day in the whole south of Ireland whocould teach the pipes, there was nobody playing them except himself. And thecorporation had a meeting about it, the next day, and they turned hisproposition down, they wouldnt do it. They were not foreseeing people at all.That wouldnt happen now.And he got a bit disgusted over that. Now when that had happened to him,you see, he got very disappointed for all he had done, it couldnt be carried intothe future he said, and he put the pipes away, and he went down and bought asaxophone! I dont remember when, I didnt know the man then. Probably Iwasnt even born then. He saw the saxophone hanging in a music shop. Andhe asked the girl, whats that thing hanging up there, and she says its the newinstrument, the saxophone. Well, he said, if any man could play that, I would.A couple of years later a piece was written, specially for the saxophone. It wascalled The Laughing Saxophone. I dont know if you ever heard that. And hewas playing it in his own city when a request came, would he play the laughingsaxophone. They put the test on him, they thought he wasnt good enough. Henever heard of it, so he wrote to London and he got the music, there was no taperecorder then. So he sat down at home and he said, that was only childs play tome, from what I was doing on the uilleann pipes. That was nothing! In twentyminutes he was playing that tune at home. And he went down, they had a bigdance, and they called on him to play his solo, The Laughing Saxophone. Andboy, he said, did I make it laugh!He got the saxophone and he got twelve, all great musicians, and he putthem all together, and he formed a ballroom orchestra, you know, the ballroommusic.Twelve was a fairly big amount in those days, there were only groups of fivein that. He set out to play in all the dance halls of the country and he made afortune, he told me he built the house with the money. I didnt want to do it, Ididnt like the music, he said. I didnt like anything.Now this is the way it ended, I said, why did you give it all up. I was ayoung fellow then, and he was an older man. Well, Ill tell you why, he said, Isee all these women and they are half dressed. I dont know what goes onthere. Morally he thought he was doing something wrong. He said he was theinstigator maybe of people doing wrong. He went home with that idea in hishead. He described it to me in detail. I went up to bed, he said, and my wifewas asleep in bed, and Id put all the money on the table, that was the nightstakings, he would not pay them until the next day. I looked at the money, hesaid, when I was in bed, and he said, I seemed to be making this moneyimmorally you see. And he decided there and then, that the ballroom orchestrawould end the following day. And he sent for each and every one of them, andhe told them he was giving it up. Now he wouldnt tell them why. And theytended to say, why, we are the best in the country, we are being called all overthe place. And he wouldnt... I think he was a bit embarrassed to say why, hedthink theyd laugh at him. And he never told them why. They were very
issue Number
page Number
periodical Author
issue Publication Date

Ceol na hÉireann / Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1

Related Keywords