Starry Lane to Monaghan
The Starry Lane to Monaghan - Fintan Vallely and Mark Simos Very old and new selections of music from and in the Irish and Scottish traditions, promenaded in vibrant, eclectic humour on flute and guitar. Fintan Vallely is from Co. Armagh, in Ulster. He brought out the first ever Irish flute tutor in 1986 (Timber - The Flute Tutor, new edition 2008). He went on to be The Irish Times\'s and Sunday Tribune\'s critic for Irish music in the 1990s, and the compiler of the A-Z reference The Companion to Irish Traditional Music. He has written and edited several other books, Blooming Meadows with Charlie Piggott and Nutan, and most recently Sing Up! - Irish Comic Songs and Satires, and Tuned Out - Traditional Music and identity in Northern Ireland. His debut album Irish Traditional Music on Flute was recorded by Shanachie, New Jersey, in 1979 (reissued 2008). He has also recorded satirical song with Tim Lyons (Knock Knock Knock, 1988), and Big Guns & Hairy Drums 2000). www.theflute.net Mark Simos began playing rock music, gradually evolving into Irish Traditional with the group Knock na Shee. A fiddler too, he branched into Contra, English Country and Square dance music. On many albums, and a prolific tunesmith, his solo CD of original old-time style tunes Race the River Jordan placed many of his tunes in circulation. Bluegrass and acoustic artists like Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Del McCoury Band, Kate Brislin and Jody Stecher have recorded his songs. His talent and take dismiss the myth of \'accompaniment\', and on this album his guitar is a profound and integral part of the music sound and energy. www.devachan.com Though he played on Fintan\'s 1979 album, The Starry Lane arises from a chance encounter in the village square of the village of Bardolino, northern Italy where Fintan was on a tour with the Armagh Pipers\' Club in 1990. The music This is a collection of old and new, Irish and Scottish Traditional music, a personal selection of Fintan Vallely\'s which arose out of his playing in Scotland with singer Tim Lyons in the 1980s. The music looks both backwards and forwards - beginning in the 18th century Scottish composition period which defined a great chunk of what we know as Traditional music today. It includes some of the more standard twentieth century Irish piping repertoire, some from Co. Clare, and branches into 19050s-onward new composition. The old Scottish material was sourced in the 1765 Neil Stewart Collection of Scottish Music, courtesy of Sutherland fiddler Charlie Menzies. Fintan had a privileged glimpse of his copy of the manuscript - the only one outside of the George V Library in Edinburgh - while on tour with Daithí Sproule in the summer of 1989. The particular tunes were chosen for their stark similarity in style and basic playing \'feel\' to Irish music, something which points to older Irish and Scottish music being once similar, and having moved apart stylistically only in modern time. A particular pointer to this is the piece The Duke of Atholl\'s Rant which in fact has been played in Ireland all through the twentieth century as The Humours of Ballyconnell. A shorter variant of it, or of the following piece Miss Betty Plummer\'s, has also been played in a more strathspey form by Co. Antrim bands as a marching tune. This both verifies the accuracy of oral transmission and underlines the fundamental links between Irish and Scottish musics. So too does the similarity of the second part of Miss Chalmers\' to the second parts of The Starry Lane to Monaghan as well as some other 4/4 tunes such as The Ships are Sailing, The Connemara Stockings and The Ebb Tide. The selections 1/ The Junction Pool, Cheviot Blast. These are double jigs, from the Breath of Fresh Airs composition selection by Aberdonian Iain Hardie, himself a terrific fiddler and small pipes player who is a prolific composer. 2/ The Chinese Hornpipe (aka The Setting Sun) is a composition of the great Chicago fiddler and composer Liz Carroll. Lady Emilia Kerr\'s is a hornpipe from the Neil Stewart. 3/ A Stór Mo Chroí, a slow air, is from the singing of Mick Flynn of Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare. It is followed by the single jig Mo Ghrása sa Mhaidin (My Love in the Morning), from Breandán Breathnach\'s 1963 Ceol Rince na hÉireann 1 [CRÉ1] 4/ The Blackbird - a 19th century \'set dance\' (to which a fixed form of display dance was done). The Doon Reel and The Side that Ate in the Catacomb are from Breathnach's CRÉ 1 and his No. 2 respectively, the first transposed by a fourth, the second with a live-gig, title reassembly from The Cat That Ate the Sidecomb. 5/ Poll Ha\'penny - a Scottish hornpipe long in the Irish repertoire, played here in a superb solo by Mark. 6/ Lexie McAskill\'s - an old Scottish pipe reel, played here with two new parts by pipe. Peggy on the Settle can be found in O\'Neills, but is also played in Scotland as In and Out of the Harbour. Dan Breen\'s and The Limestone Rock are tough Irish tunes which are part of the standard repertoire everywhere. 7. Louden\'s Bonny Woods and Braes - an old Scottish strathspey (a jagged form of slow reel), played here with two more of Iain Hardie\'s 1980s wandering, uplifting and plaintive reels Auchope Cairn and The Cleek. 8/ The Shanghai and The Ducks of Magheralin are marches, learnt from the Steeple Young Defenders Flute Band, Co. Antrim. Both are standard pieces in the Orange repertoire, which in this dynamic setting match the timbre of their political purpose. The first is a core melody in Irish music, and is found in other forms - the jig and song Boys of Tandragee, and the reel The Swallow\'s Tail, and also in the Scottish Border ballad The Band O\' Shearers. They are followed by the reel Touch Me if You Dare. 9/ The Dear Irish Boy is a slow air, here played in the setting of uilleann piper Felix Dolan. 10/ Miss Chalmers\' is a strathspey from Neil Stewart\'s collection (with much similarity to the Scottish-sourced Donegal highland ). Here it is gradually built up to reel tempo and moves into Fintan Vallely\'s Rockforest Reel, composed on the road in Scotland, and named for Scottish farmer Brian Gibson whose Co. Tipperary, Anglo Irish parents moved to Sutherland in 1921. 11/ Gregorium Uproarium is a play and variations on the reel The Musical Priest and it's relative Raitheanach a Bhean Bheag. 12/ The Duke of Atholl\'s Rant is the original of the Irish tune Humours of Ballyconnell (and with the same three parts), while Miss Betty Plummer\'s is similar, but shorter, close to a marching tune used by Loyal bands in Ulster. Scanie Ne\'er\'s is a beautiful and intriguing short piece, like the first two also from Neil Stewart, which leads neatly to Cavan / Philadelphia fiddler-composer Ed Reavey\'s bright Starry Lane to Monaghan, named from a path he walked as a child from Co. Cavan. Thanks Grateful thanks to Evelyn and Carla for patience and encouragement, to Andi Ross, Lizzie MacDougall and Rita Hunter for the Scottish opportunities; to Colin Douglas for the intro to Scots and Iain Hardie\'s music, to Iain Campbell for the (alleged) Old Inverness hospitality and to Andy Mitchell for the crack; to Charlie Menzies and Pam for hospitality and \'the look at the book\', to Brian Gibson for his colonial roots (he has now re-emigrated to Co. Kildare) and the Macallan\'s, to PJ Howell for placing Touch Me if You Dare, to Mick Flynn for his singing; to Iain Hardie, Liz Carroll and the Reavey family; to Julian Vignoles, Renée Lawless, Ezio Vaccari, Paul Brady and Hamish Moore for the critical ears and encouragement. Information Recorded and mixed at Spring Studios in Rostrevor, Co. Down by Colum Sands in March, 1992, issued as cassette by Whinstone, Dublin. Re-mastered by George Brennan in 2008. Cover image JB Vallely; photography Derek Spiers; design Nick Lethert (www.nicklethert.com); sleeve notes Fintan Vallely. All "Trad. arr\' arrangements of guitar and flute copyright Fintan Vallely and Mark Simos. Original material copyright of the named composers. Produced by imusic, Dublin 6. Full information and artiste and composer cross referencing on www.imusic.ie, firstname.lastname@example.org. Track timings 1/ Junction Pool, Cheviot Blast (jigs, by Ian Hardie). [4.39] 2/ Chinese Hornpipe (by Liz Carroll), Lady Emilia Kerr, hornpipe (Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos) [3.40] 3/ A Stór Mo Chroí (slow air, Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos) [3.12] 4/ Blackbird, Doon, The Side that Ate in the Catacomb (set dance and reels, Trad. Arr. Vallely, Simos) [3.47]. 5/ Poll Ha\'penny (hornpipe, Trad. Arr. Simos) [3.14]. 6/ Lexie McAskill\'s, Peggy on the Settle, Dan Breen\'s, Limestone Rock (reels, Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos) [3.28]. 7. Louden\'s Bonny Woods and Braes (Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos), Auchope Cairn & The Cleek (reels, by Iain Hardie) [4.17]. 8/ The Shanghai, The Ducks of Magheralin (marches, Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos), Touch Me if You Dare (reel, Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos) [3.26]. 9/ The Dear Irish Boy (slow air, Trad. arr. Vallely) [1.40]. 10/ Miss Chalmers\' Reel (Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos), Rockforest Reel (by Fintan Vallely) [4.05]. 11/ Gregorium Uproarium (reel, air; Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos, variations on The Musical Priest) [4.23]. 12/ Duke of Atholl\'s Rant, Miss Betty Plummer\'s, Scanie Ne'er's (reels, Trad. arr. Vallely, Simos) Starry Lane to Monaghan (reel, by Ed. Reavey) [4.02].