Friday, February 28, 2014

The Penny Whistle

Though I've not formulated a plot to put up music-only posts for the rest of the year, I opened a book of Edward Thomas' poems last night, and the first thing my eyes lighted on--and which I found quite lovely--happened to be titled "The Penny Whistle." So here it is.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kids, These Days

In my brain, I have a file labled, "Fiddle Marches." I am, of course, convinced that these have a different flavour entirely from pipe marches. Not better, not worse, but just imbued with  their own distinctive appeal. One could build a case for this difference, I am sure, on fiddles having more than nine notes to choose from; that certainly allows some wider intervals than a piper can hope for, and plenty of composers take advantage of it. Another thing that stands out about fiddle marches, though, is just that there just don't appear to be so many of them when you compare their numbers with the jigs, reels, strathspeys, hornpipes, and even slow airs there are to choose from, so when you hear a good march, composed for the instrument, it tends to stand out. Or so it seems to me. One of my favourites of the type is John McCusker's "Wee Michael's March." I went to find a video of it and, to cast a bit of doubt on most everything I just said, it fits on the pipes, too. Here it is in a nice set from some young folks in the Fèis Ros program.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Here's a rather introspective piece. Maybe a bit more avant-garde than the usual fare around here. . .but it's a beauty. Far from Portland, from Lau. (I recall seeing a video on this one a year and some ago; that percussive bit at the start, and woven throughout, that is a little hard to place is an accordion bellows "breathing.")

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Didn't See That [Flatpicked Banjo] Coming

Here's a sort of  (maybe I should say "very," instead of "sort of") Irish take on the Bluegrass classic "Gold Rush," from Caladh Nua. Good fun, and good music.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Back to the Music

Daimh just put up some tunes from their latest CD on Soundcloud. If a sense of continuity might be of interest, I mentioned their piper, Angus MacKenzie, in connection with one of my favourite Cape Breton albums a wee bit over a month ago. More splendid piping here, and some grand fiddling from another musician who's on my "people who could possibly be my favourite fiddler," list: Gabe McVarish.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"His World Was Right Here."

Here's a wee bit of something I know nothing about other than the article that I'm linking to; it's a few paragraphs on a farmer who recently passed away in Silicon Valley. Among the notable features of his 88 years: he insisted on farming the land that had been in his family for three generations, despite being offered a pretty penny to sell it. My favourite bit was a quote from his farm manager: "People ask: Why didn't Walter sell and go buy an island? Well, his world was right here." That may not rhyme, but it's poetry of the best sort.