Yesterday was a good day. A day of friendships, of music, of sunshine, of appreciation. A full day. A day full of blessings. Wedged among planning trips to Clare and Dingle, of appreciating the just right instrument for you, of aromas of chocolate and tea, of scholarships to Swannanoa, of tunes with friends new and old, were the mundane tasks of buying salt and withdrawing cash. Fortunately, thanks to my favorite driving companion, NPR, I stumbled upon a gem of an interview with John O’Donohue, a poet from County Clare. He was new to me. But as I listened to him talk of the landscapes of the Burren, of Anam Cara, of music and poems, of beauty and mystery, and even of corporate leadership, the mundane became the sublime.

If you have a few moments, I invite you to listen to his poem, Beannacht. The words are also provided below.

If you have an hour or more, enjoy the entire interview. You may need to stop now and then to fully savor a few of his comments. Or perhaps, just hearing his lovely Irish accent will suffice.


On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak to mind your life.

BRIMS Classes: Session Workshop Spring 2012

Hi Sessioneers,

Welcome to the Spring 2012 link for our Session Workshop tunes! We’ll be meeting every other week for 7 weeks starting January 17. I’ve asked everyone to provide 3 tunes they’d like to learn and we’ll try to choose the new tunes from that list as our new tunes and then put those in a set with tunes we’ve covered previously. No worries if you only have time to learn one of the two new tunes. I’m just putting two out there for those who either already know one of them, or who just want to learn two tunes.

For April 17th Class:

Note that due to Spring break, class is 3 weeks from our last one. For next class, continue to work on Lark in the Morning and Drops of Brandy. We’ll decide on what to play for the recital and practice that as well. And remember to come to the session at C’ville Coffee on April 7th (Saturday before Easter – moved from Thursday).

New Tune for March 27th Class:

Lark in the Morning (4 part jig)   Watch   View Notation   Key of D

[Notes: Guy suggested this tune and although it is a 4 part jig, thanks to some fairly repetitive phrases, it isn’t as overwhelming as you might think. For those of you going to Swannanoa, it’s a good tune to pick up as it has been played nightly there in years past. The youtube video has it along with Jig of Slurs, another cooking 4 part jig with a great lift from the key change for parts 3 and 4.]

New Tunes for March 13th Class:

Humors Of Kiltyclogher (jig)   Watch   View Notation   Key of Am (needs the C)
Drops of Brandy (slip jig)   Watch  Listen   View Notation in G   View Notation in D   Key of G

[Notes: Humors Humours of Kilclougher Kill Clougher Kiltyclougher… yep, one of those. Nice tune and a little different feel from most jigs, almost slide-like at times. Drops of Brandy is a slip jig that we learned during our last trip to Ireland, so it is great to revisit it. I’ve included the notation in G and D. The notation in G leaves out the high variation in the B part that I’m familiar with and it is a different version than the D version which illustrates some of the potential variations. And just for Catherine, let’s make it a set with a regular jig thrown in at the end. That should help demonstrate the difference between a jig and slip jig beyond 6/8 and 9/8 time signature. Guy’s piping today drew me to this recording which also provides some very nice variations on a tune that really favors them.]

New Tunes for February 28th Class:

Connie Walsh’s Slide   Watch   View Notation   Key of D
Banshee Reel   View   View Notation   Key of G

[Notes: The YouTube poster called both tunes in the Connie Walsh’s set jigs, but Connie Walsh’s is a slide and Old Favorite is a jig – remember that one, Julie? See if you can hear the difference in the rhythm. Slides and jigs are definitely related due to the groups of 3 eighth notes together, but there is a different feel to them. On Banshee Reel, I believe the recording starts partway through the B part, so you’ll have to wait for it to come around. And, at the end of the recording, you’ll hear the king of the Celtic Instruments – or at least the one that is hardest to argue with.]

New Tunes for February 14th Class:

Ballydesmond Polkas (1 & 2)   Watch Listen to #1 #2  View Notation #1 #2   Key of Am
Ballyvourney Polka   Listen   View Notation   

[Notes: On the Ballydesmonds, there is some discussion on which is #1, #2 and #3. For what it is worth, these are the two I’ve heard played most in our area and are almost always played in this order and known as #1 and #2. Joe also played the Ballyvourney which is a great polka to end a set, and I mistakenly called it the New Roundabout (which is another good polka, so I owe Guy a beer!). Since a few of you already knew the Ballydesmonds, figured I’d give you a bonus tune. Maybe this could become the Bally Set.]

New Tunes for January 31st Class:

(Jig) Mist on the Mountain   Watch   View Notation   Key of Am
(Hornpipe) Home Ruler   Watch   View Notation   Key of D

[Note: Found these tunes on a YouTube channel where both the melody and guitar accompaniment are nice and clear. Their channel has quite a few good session tunes (including some on our list). Thanks to Holly and Sue for the tune suggestions! Keep ’em coming! Also Mist on the Mountain is also known as Mist Covered Mountain and on the Home Ruler link, Kitty’s Wedding, another hornpipe, is also played. This is one of the most popular hornpipe sets and the two tunes are often played together.]

Jig Set (3x each)
Timmy Cliffords’s   Listen   View Notation   Key of G
Garrett Barry’s   Watch   View Notation   Key of Dm
Jimmy Ward’s   Listen   View Notation   Key of G

Also, for reference, here are some helpful links to past tunes and lists:
Fall 2011 Session Class Tune Sets
Spring 2011 Session Class Tune Sets
pdf of Fall 2011 Session Class Tune List

BRIMS Classes: Alex Fiddle II Spring 2012

This term, all the tunes for particular classes will be organized under one heading and will be updated when instructors send new tunes. Hopefully this will make more sense for all involved! As always, feedback most appreciated.

New Year’s Eve (reel)  Listen  View Notation  (key of G)
Tarbolton (reel)  Listen  View Notation  (key of Em)
The Longford Collector (reel)  Listen  View Notation  (key of G)