Drops of Brandy

Sorry for the delay posting this one. I’ve been wrestling with taxes for the past couple of days, but now, posting the tune name, it seems like a good time to “practice” it. Though maybe that would be more appropriate if it were called “Glasses of Brandy”. I first heard this tune last summer in Ireland, but it’s become quite popular around here recently. Maybe I just didn’t recognize it before. Yes, another slip jig… good practice for my guitar students as some slip jigs are a little funky when it comes to rhythm.

Listen to Drops of Brandy (slip jig).
Listen to Drops of Brandy (bowing on a-part).
Listen to Drops of Brandy (bowing on b-part).

Sure Signs of Spring

During a long winter, we all look for harbingers of Spring. Growing up in the northeast, I remember my Grandmother calling us when she saw her first robin or the day we received the Burpee Seed catalog and could start planning our vegetable garden (sans bugs and weeding, of course). For the last few years though, those has been replaced by the arrival of the Swannanoa Gathering catalog. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Gathering, and I’m already signed up. For me, it is the best summer vacation possible (short of a week in Ireland) – full immersion into Irish tunes, song, and dance for a week in July. Because it is up in the mountains near Asheville, NC, it has traditionally been a nice break from the blistering summer heat of Central Virginia. Fantastic instructors, pot luck sessions, good food, and two instructor concerts that are among the best showcases of Irish musicians gathered together in one place (and with John Skelton as MC, lots of laughs as well!). Sleep is the only thing lacking during the week!

But Swannanoa isn’t the only option available in the States. Here are some links to SwannyG and several others that are also well known.

Swannanoa Gathering
Augusta Heritage
Catskills Irish Arts Week
Mountain Road Fiddle Camp

Hope you can find the time to go to one of them. We found it to be a great getaway and a wonderful family activity.

Sailor’s Bonnet

Sadly I couldn’t stay for class tonight. It’s been one of those weeks. But I did drop by to record this week’s tune, The Sailor’s Bonnet. Alex mentioned it was part of a classic set, which of course, piqued my curiousity, so off to Google I went. As is often the case, I became distracted by other themes and came across this wonderful resource on the Comhaltis site. Many tunes, ordered by some common sets. Sweet!

Comhaltis Tune Links (set 1)
Comhaltis Tune Links (set 2)

But I digress. Below is the tune for the week – enjoy!

Listen to Sailor’s Bonnet (reel).
Listen to Sailor’s Bonnet (played slower).

P.S. Maybe the set was The Tarbolton / The Longford Collector / The Sailor’s Bonnet. Will have to ask Alex!

Tommy Mulhair’s Jig

Today’s tune brought back memories from Ireland as we learned Mulhair’s from Breda and Claire Keville. Since I knew the tune on mandolin already, it was interesting to be able to think more about the ornamentation and bowing for a change in class. My old brain seems to only be able to handle one dimension of a tune at a time (maybe two on a good day after coffee). I can either focus on the notes, the bowing, or the ornamentation, but not all three. Still, last night the jig rhythm seemed to be emanating from my bow for a change. And memories of Ireland always bring a smile to my face.

Also found out while looking for the notation that this tune also goes by the name of Castletown Connors.

Listen to Mulhair’s Jig.
Listen to Mulhair’s Jig (played slower).