Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 43, Page 5
Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 43, Page 5
Na Píobairí Uilleann
9Emmett’s version of “Hinchey’s Delight”(track 5b) echoes quite closely the first twoparts of the version given in O’Neill’s bookThe Dance Music of Ireland, a collection,incidentally, influenced hugely by pipers. TheIrish-American piper Tom Ennis, a pupil ofPatsy Touhey’s, recorded a related jig that hetitled “The Mouse in the Cupboard”; it con-sisted of the first part of the tune played hereby Emmett, coupled with a second part fea-turing some very Touhey-esque usage of theC key in the first octave. O’Neill’s DanceMusic of Ireland is represented on this CDalso by “Snow on the Hills”, a tune that is afirst cousin of the piping favourite “Kitty’sGone a-Milking”.Emmett pays homage to the west Clare tradi-tion in his performance of the set-dance ver-sion of the air “Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna”(track 13; the title is usually rendered intoEnglish as “John O’Dwyer of the Glen”). Istill cherish the hissy cassette recording that Imade of a masterly performance of this tuneby Willie Clancy on a Céili House pro-gramme on Radio Éireann. This set-danceversion of the air is also connected indeliblyin my mind with the majestic fiddle-playingof Mrs Galvin, also of Co Clare.The reel “Port na Giobóige” (track 8b) wasadapted for the uilleann pipes by SéamusEnnis, the supreme lyric poet of the instru-ment, whose music has recently been cele-brated by Na Píobairí Uilleann in a handsomevolume of transcriptions by Pat Mitchell.Ennis, during his work as a song collector inConnemara, collected the tune as part of avocal piece performed by his most prolificsource, the sean-nós singer Colm ÓCaoidheáin. “Port na Giobóige” – the titlemeans “The Tune of the Silly Woman” – wasa tune lilted uproariously by Colm as a sepa-rator between interludes in an extraordinarypiece that was an almost theatrical mixture ofspeech, chant, song and lilting.As I say, we could happily follow many otherstrands in the tapestry of the music pro-gramme presented by Emmett Gill on his newCD. But for now it is a pleasure to have thisopportunity to congratulate Emmett on thisfinely performed programme of piping, whichwill give pleasure for a long time to come tothe many fans of his playing and of solo pip-ing in the classic style. I also congratulate NaPíobairí Uilleann on the release, and I lookforward to enjoying, in the fullness of time,the fruits of the next stage of Emmett Gill’smusical odyssey on the uilleann pipes.Jackie Small TRACK LISTING1 Reels: Gardiner’s Daughter/Snow onthe Hills2 Hornpipes: Poll Ha’penny/TheMountain Groves3 Jigs: Down The Back Lane/Donny-brook Fair/Scully Casey’s4 Air: Mo Ghrádh-Sa An Jug Mór Is ÉLán5 Jigs: Mama’s Pet/Hinchey’s Delight6 Set Dance: The Garden of Daisies7 Air: Lord Mayo8 Reels: Gan Anim/Port na Giobóige9 Jigs: Tatter Jack Walsh/Cliffs ofMoher10 Reels: The Bag of Spuds/The Shep-herd’s Daughter11 Hornpipes: Buck From the Moun-tain/Spellan the Fiddler12 Jigs: Julia Clifford’s/Paddywhack13 Set Dance: Seán Ó Duibhir a’Ghleanna14 Reels: The Slaney Bog/Dublin Lads8of the music performed here by Emmett bylooking at the background of just a few of thepieces he plays.The jig “Paddy Whack” (played here on track12b) was presumably already well-estab-lished in popularity by the time it was pub-lished by the piper O’Farrell in the latter partof the eighteenth century. The tune wasknown to the nineteenth-century piper, cler-gyman, and academic James Goodman as“The Pig under the Pot”. Among the informa-tion resources that Breandán Breathnachassembled for “Paddy Whack” was a songsung to it that went:In choice of a husband we widows are nice; I’d not have a man who’d grow old in a trice; Not a bear or a monkey, a clown or a sop, But one that could bustle and stir in a shop. – which might (or might not!) indicate thatshopkeepers were highly regarded by theladies as potential partners in times gone by!The reel that Emmett calls “Gardener’sDaughter” (track 1a) is well attested amongpipers. In the inlay notes, Emmett mentionsconnections with Pat Mitchell, Willie Clancy,and Patsy Touhey for the tune. Some otherpiping connections for this reel include that itwas known to Goodman as “Gregg’s Pipes”,and – a century later – to the piper Jack Wadeas “The Grand Gates of Annesbrook”.The composition of “The Mountain Groves”(track 2b, the hornpipe that gives this CD itstitle) is ascribed in one manuscript collectionto the nineteenth-century piper Gaynor. Thetune is known under a multitude of titles, andEmmett uses one of the more colourful; oth-ers include “The Mountain Bird” and “TheRover through the Bog”. One name for thetune, “The Shaskeen Hornpipe”, alerts us tohow similar the tune is to the classic reel ofthat name, recorded memorably on a cylinderby Patsy Touhey, as well on 78rpm discs bythe next generation of influential players afterTouhey and his compeers, most famously bymaster fiddle-player Michael Coleman.On another scale of measurement, the histori-cal span of sound recording on the pipes, themusic on this CD once more spans the fullspectrum, which is now well over a century.The CD includes music stemming from ourpriceless heritage of recordings of nineteenthcentury pipers, made on cylinder in the dawnof the recording era; it has music from thegreat era of commercial recordings on 78rpmdiscs; and it also represents the more recentrecordings of twentieth-century mastersSéamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, and LeoRowsome.One of the most venerable tunes on this CD isthe hornpipe “Poll Ha’penny” (track 2a). Thistune was collected by Bunting in the lateeighteenth century from the last survivingperformers in the Irish harp tradition. It prob-ably predates the uilleann pipes, but it hasbeen adopted widely among pipers. Emmett’sversion on this CD stems from the classicrecording made in the United States by one ofthe most exciting pipes-and-fiddle duets everto record – Mayo piper Michael Carney andSligo fiddle-player James Morrison. This duetfrom the 1920s is particularly fascinating inthat it seems to bridge the gap between twovastly influential generations of Irish-American musicians. Carney, the older of thetwo musicians in the duet, belonged to thegeneration that contributed to the collectionsof Francis O’Neill, the famous volumes thatformed the modern canon of Irish traditionaldance music over a century ago. The youngermusician in the duet, Morrison, was (at thetime of the duet recording) a rising star of thegeneration that created the dazzling corpus of78rpm recordings that established the main-stream style that has dominated Irish dancemusic performance since the 1920s.
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