Harps, Pipes and Fiddles
The instruments that have carried, invented and expanded the
traditional music of Scotland and Ireland for centuries. Of
course it is all the better if these proud instruments are
in the right hands, and on this album we proudly present leading
exponents of the tradition. You will see that by checking the
names to the left that the list of musicians on this album
(Mainly from Scotland with a few very notable exceptions from
Ireland, England and the U.S.) read like a Who's Who of traditional
The gut and wire strung harps are both represented.
In the piping selection you will hear the Northumbrian pipes, Border
pipes and naturally the Highland bagpipe; and of course a fiddle
is a fiddle is a fiddle.
Through this collection we lay before
you the past, present, and indeed the future of these instruments
and their tradition. We know you will be encouraged to search for
more music by these artists, and of the Harp, Pipes and Fiddle.
1. Ann Heymann - Temple Hill Reel/Temple
The reel here is paired with a jig traditionally included by pipers
and fiddlers in the long descriptive piece 'Allisdrum's March'
that commemorates the 1647 death of Alasdair MacDonnell at the
battle of Cnoc na nDos in Co. Cork. Ann has taken the liberty of
combining three versions of the jig, whose Gaelic title is 'Cnocan
an Teampaill'or 'Temple/ Church Hill',into the form of a single
six part jig. The three were collected from (1) Mrs Murphy, GlenCollins,
Ballydesmond, Co. Cork; (2) a manuscript of J.M. Buckley, Carriganes,
Ballydesmond, Co. Cork, written in 1866 by William Fitzgerald of
Conrea, Ballydesmond-a fiddler who emigrated to America; (3) a
manuscript of c. O'Floinn of Castleisland, Co. Kerry, probably
written around 1887; and published on "Ceol", vol.3,
Jigs and reels were not part of the Gaelic harp's repertoire,
but today they have become such an integral part of traditional
Irish music that they simply must be addressed by contemporary
harpers. Ann has developed a "coupled hands" approach
to performing dance music that accents the strong beats effectively
and naturally while allowing the melody to be varied and ornamented,
all while being played at acceptable tempos. Ann finds no need
to create an "accompaniment" for the melody with this
She especially enjoys the incidental association these tunes
have both with the "Bas Alastruim/MacAllistruim's March" track
she recorded in 1983 with Alison Kinnaird on "The Harper's
Land"(Temple Records COMD2012), and the name of this recording
label based in Temple, Midlothian, Scotland.
of Harps" by Ann Heymann (Temple Records COMD2057)
2. Alison Kinnaird-Leslie's March
This march is named after General Sir David Leslie, who commanded
the Covenanters' forces, first against Montrose, who was fighting
for Charles I, and when the Covenanters decided to support Charles,
against Cromwell, who defeated Leslie at Dunbar in 1650.
Harper’s Land" by Alison Kinnaird & Ann
Heymann (Temple Records COMD2012)
3. Maire Ni Chathasaigh - Charles
O' Conor/Father Hanly
Charles O'Conor (by Turlough O'Carolan) from John Mulholand's Collection
of Ancient Irish Aires, Belfast 1810. The O' Conors of Belnagare
in Co. Roscommon and the McDermott's Roe of Alderford, two ancient
princely families, were Carolan's chief patrons. The O'Conors were
directly descended from the last High Kings of Ireland. Charles
O'Conor, for whom this piece was composed, was taught the harp
by Carolan. He distinguished himself in later years as a scholar
and antiquarian. (b) Father Hanly (Jig)- Also known as "The
New Strung Harp" by Maire Ni Chathasaigh (Temple
4. The Rowallan Consort -I long
for thy virginitie /The Canaries
The solo clarsach version of 'I long for thy virginite' is an arrangement
from the Skene manuscript of c. 1630. 'The Canaries' is a popular
Spanish dance from the Canary Islands, although it must be said
that these 'canaries' have a distinctly Scottish plume! The Rowallan
Consort are : Robert MacKillop & William Taylor
of Noy, Notes of Joy" by The Rowallan consort
(Temple Records COMD2058)
5. Alison Kinnaird & Battlefield
Band- Tuireadh Iain Ruaidh (Lament for Red- haired Iain)
This is a well known and beautiful Gaelic song, lamenting the loss
of Red-haired Iain. The tune was based on part of a pibroch. The
words, written by E. Pursell, a teacher and artist from Cambeltown,
say: you have taken the sun from the sky, you have torn joy from
my heart. The hind forsakes the darling of her heart, and I am
without possessions, without love, without protection.
So we can say that red-haired Iain was sorely missed. Alison has
added a couple of variations to the air, an ancient tradition in
the music of Scotland.
The Borders" by Battlefield Band (Temple Records
6. Ann Heymann- Miss Hamilton
This is the only known composition of Cornelius Lyons from County
Kerry who was harper to the Earl of Antrim at the beginning of
the 18th Century. It is found in O'Neill's and Bunting's collections.
Of Miss Hamilton, Bunting says "...the probability was that
she was one of the Killeleagh family". Although this melody
is the only surviving composition of Lyons, there are several
examples of his variations on popular tunes (Conor Macrevey,
Eileen a Roon, The Coolin) that were much admired by contemporary
and later harpers. On this track Ann first establishes the melody,
then follows with her own variation, inspired by the tune's close
affinity to the style of Carolan (1670-1738) who was a good friend
Harper's Land" by Alison Kinnaird & Ann
Heymann (Temple Records COMD2012)
7. Ged Foley with Battlefield Band-Blackhall
Ged Foley based this beautiful slow air on a Northumbrian rant
tune, and renamed it after part of the coastline of S.E. Durham.
is Where The Van Is "by Battlefield Band (Temple
8. Dr. Angus MacDonald-Barabel Phadrig/Donald
Willie and His Dog/The Price of a Pig
Dr Angus MacDonald heard the first tune played by Tommy Darkie,
the 'box player' from Lewis. Iain MacDonald of Toronto gave him
the correct name of the tune.
The late Donald Morrison's Donald Willie and His Dog is almost
the musical antithesis, and is itself a clever and original composition.
The last tune of this set comes from a humorous Irish Gaelic song.
From "A' Sireadh Spors" by
Dr. Angus MacDonald (Temple Records COMD2043)
9. Gordon Mooney with Barbara Mooney-
John Anderson My Jo/Roxburgh Castle/The Braw Lads O'Jethart/Kelso
Generations of Andersons in Kelso were esteemed performers on the
Border bagpipes. The Burgh records of Kelso confirm the existence
of a John Anderson as 'Toun Pyper'. It is one of this piping dynasty
immortalised in the old song 'John Anderson my Jo'. John's pipes
are referred to as follows:
see your hurdies fyke, John, And hit the rising blow ,
It's then I like your chanter pipe, John Anderson my Jo".
(Of course they may be a hidden meaning
there). This tune can be found in the Skene manuscript of circa.
On the banks of the Tweed just west of Kelso, lie some broken masonry
walls; the remains of Roxburgh castle. This was one of the principal
strongholds and Royal Burghs of the early Middle Ages. The tune
appears in collections of bagpipe music at the end of the 19th
First printed in 1725, the third tune is known in the Borders as
'Braw Lads of Jethart' (Jethart=Jedburgh). Old words say:
Ye'll be kissed and I'll be kissed,
We'll a' be kissed the morn;
The braw lads o' Jethart, Will kiss us a' the morn".
The hereditary pipers of Jedburgh were
the Hasties, the last of whom died in the early 19th Century. The
pipers House can still be seen opposite the municipal car park
at No.1 Duck Row. Kelso Lasses is a typical Border 9/8 jig and
comes from the Robson family manuscript of the late 19th .C Sir
Walter Scott described Kelso as "the most beautiful village
in Scotland", and although no longer a village it is still
beautiful, as are its lasses.
er The Border" by Gordon Mooney (Temple Records
10.Dougie Pincock & P/M Iain
MacDonald-Nine European Dance Tunes
A mark of respect as a musician visiting another country is to
be able to play at least one tune from the host country's repertoire.
P/M Iain MacDonald and Dougie Pincock have collected many tunes
in their various journeys abroad and transposed them to the Highland
Pipe scale. Some are now played by Scottish Bands. The first is
'Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant'- This is a traditional Christmas carol
often taught to children as an elementary lesson in French language.
Four short dance tunes follow, traditionally used in Brittany for
the dance Passe Pied and An Dro. The links between Scottish and
Breton musicians are strengthened each year at the Lorient Festival.
Controversy of Pipers" by Various Artists (Temple
Records COMD 1008)
11. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
Pipe Band- The Friendly Piper/The Black Isle/Abbleville
Three traditional 9/8 retreat marches, played by the many times
Quiet Sunday" by Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
Pipe Band (Temple Records COMD2037)
12. John D. Burgess-The Swallow-tailed
A traditional two part Irish reel to which John D has added the
third and fourth parts.
The late P/M Angus MacDonald composed the jig Turf Lodge when he
was in the Army. It is named after a famous area in Belfast.
Piping Centre Recital Series-Vol II" by John D.
Burgess & Donald MacPherson (Temple Records COMD2067)
13. Duncan MacGillivray with Battlefield
Band Tending the Steer/Sandy Thompson/The Calrossie Cattle Wife
More pipe tunes starting with a 9/8 jig to which Duncan MacGillvray
has added the 3rd and 4th parts. Duncan also wrote the last jig
in honour of an Antipodean lady who has played a very important
part in his life - his mother.
A Buzz" by Battlefield Band (Temple Records COMD2007)
14. Aly Bain with Alison Kinnaird
Aly Bain plays this 18th century fiddle tune with Alison Kinnaird.
It was composed by William Marshall, from Fochabers in Morayshire,
who was butler to the Duke of Gordon.
Harp Key" by Alison Kinnaird (Temple Records
15. Brian McNeill-The Sidewalk Reels
(Cold Frosty Morning/Yankee Dollar/The Trip to Marblehead)
Cold Frosty Morning is a lazy Appalachian tune with an apt title
for the day's start on a European pavent. As are the other two
Sidewalk Reels, Yankee Dollar and The Trip to Marblehead. The first
refers to the profits to be made busking outside the gates of Harvard
University, the second to the incredible speed of their dissipation.
Brian remembers having to hitch back.
Busker" by Brian McNeill (Temple Records COMD2042)
16. John McCusker with Ian arr-Bobby/Bag
John McCusker had a riff in his head for a while, and played it
to Ian Carr, who came up with a great guitar part for it. When
pressured for a title by Robin Morton, John finally said "It's
called Bobby!" and it's been Bobby every since. Ian Carr and
John wrote Bag of Plums together. This is a little-known Lanarkshire
expression for a wild goose chase.
McCusker (Temple Records COMD2059)
17. Marie Fielding with Jim Johnstone & His
Band - Marie Fielding's Favourites (Murray River/Saratoga/Mary
This is a selection of tunes Marie put together as a tribute to
her many Canadian friends in the music scene.
From "Stramash" by
Jim Johnstone & His Band (Temple records CTP030)
18. Brian McNeill with Battlefield
Band-The Laird O' Brodie/Danzig Willie/The merchant's Jig
The Brodies of Castle Brodie, near Forres, have connections with
that area dating back to the 11th century though the castle dates
from the mid-16th century. Simon Fraser notes in his collection
(1815) that James IV claims to have written the tune, but he also
heard it as a Gaelic song tune. "Danzig Willie", or William
Forbes, a merchant, owned Craigievar Castle, a fairytale building
of classic and much copied style, near Aberdeen. he traded
with the Baltic ports, including Danzig (now Gdansk), thus the
title of this tune, written in his memory, by Brian McNeill. Forbes
was also taken as "Willie the Merchant" and Dougie named
the jig for him- any man who had enough character to deserve two
nicknames deserves two tunes.
in Trust-Vol II" by Battlefield Band & Alison
Kinnaird (Temple Records COMD2004)
19. Vincent Griffin with Geraldine
Carrig -The New Year's In / Youghal Quay
This reel in the key of F, not a key that is common in Irish music.
Vincent learned it either from his father or 'Rue' many years ago
and has forgotten the name. As it was recorded just as 1976 became
1977 we fitted the above title to it. The second reel Vincent learned
from Seamus Connolly. He thinks that perhaps Paddy O’Brien
the accordion player wrote it. It seems to be a version of a tune
called The Castlebar Races.
Fiddle Music from County Clare" by Vincent Griffin
20. Fiddlers Five - William Ritchie
Esq./Hugh McKenna's Reel
Two lovely reels from the Border country around the north-east
of England introduced to the session by Chuck Fleming. Everybody
immediately took to them and we predict that you will hear them
more often now. Fiddlers five are: Marie Fielding, Chuck Fleming,
John Martin, Brian McNeill &John McCusker.
Five" by Fiddlers Five (Temple Records COMD2004)