Out Of Thin Air

By Chris Corbett

  1. The Minstrel’s
    The Promise Of Spring
  2. The Sheffry Hills
    The Eel At The Forge
  3. The Light Fingered Girl
    Fairy Hill
  4. The Dandling
    What Colour Is That Horse?
  5. Tony Kearns’ Favourite
    The Candyfloss
  6. The Cookstown 100
    Is It About A Bicycle?
  7. The Carefree
    The Dark Horse
  8. The Green Fields Of Canada
    Killary Harbour
  9. Under The Gooseberry Bush
    The Unexpected Visitor
    The Slippery Customer
  10. The Lost And Found
    Dear Junior
  11. Out For A Dander
  12. May I Have This Dance?
    Malcolm’s
  13. Haystack Island
    The Purple Mountain
    On Top Of Slieve Gallon
  14. Sir Hugh O’Neill
    The Sperrins March

Four comments

Superb…

Released October 2008, launched at the Return To Camden Town Festival, 27th October.

Chris Corbett - flutes, whistles, fife, mandolin, mandola
Dilara Aydin-Corbett - whistles, piano
Nigel Stevens - guitar
Christian Vaughan - piano
Jamie Smith - fiddle
Brendan McAuley - pipes

The album’s track notes follow:

Out of Thin Air

1.The Minstrels Jig/The Promise of Spring (Jigs)
Chris: flute; Jamie: fiddle; Nigel: guitar
These were the first two tunes I wrote in the traditional vein. The first was composed after a good night out at an old Tudor pub called the Minstrel’s Gallery in Maidstone, the second part of it on the bus the following day. The second tune inspired by a beautiful sunny Sunday March morning.

2.The Sheffry Hills/The Eel at the Forge (Reels)
Chris: flute; Christian: piano
The first tune inspired by a trip through the picturesque hills in Mayo. The twistiness of the second tune brought to mind the story of the big eel in the stream beside the forge in Draperstown which my two brothers finally caught.

3.The Light Fingered Girl/Fairy Hill
Chris: flute; Dilara: whistle; Christian: piano
When my daughter Dilara was learning the whistle, she wanted to learn this first tune but I told her she wasn’t ready for it. She found a manuscript I had printed out, took it and secretly learned it. Fairy Hill is the place outside Kanturk, Co Cork where my father grew up.

4.The Dandling Jig/ What Colour is That Horse? (Jigs)
Chris: flute; Nigel: guitar
dandle- verb gently bounce (a young child) on one’s knees or in one’s arms (Compact Oxford English Dictionary).
The bouncy nature of the first tune put me in mind of my father’s rather boisterous dandling and lilting. The second tune title comes from the writing of Myles na gCopaleen ( Flann O’Brien(Brian O’Nolan)) on the subject of clichés. The answer is, of course, “another”.

5.Tony Kearns’s Favourite/ The Candyfloss (Polkas)
Chris: flute; Jamie: fiddle; Christian: piano
The first tune took the fancy of Tony Kearns, the well-known photographer of Irish musicians. The second tune had something of the seaside about it.

6.The Cookstown 100/Is it About a bicycle? (Reels)
Chris: flute; Nigel: guitar
The Cookstown 100 is a motorcycle race held annually in Cookstown, Co Tyrone for which we all got the day off school. The second tune title is a line from “The Third Policeman” by Flann O’Brien. I went over the handlebars a few times whilst recording this!

7.The Carefree Jig/The Dark Horse (Slip Jigs)
Chris: flute; Nigel: guitar
The first tune skips along whilst Nigel’s guitar gives the second a slightly brooding feel.

8.The Green Fields of Canada/Killary Harbour (Air/Slow Reel)
Chris: flute; Dilara: piano
Inspired by the beautiful and remote spot in Co Mayo.

9.Under the Gooseberry Bush/ The Unexpected Visitor/ The Slippery Customer (Jigs)
Chris: flute; Brendan: uilleann pipes; Christian: piano
What my mother told me when as a lad, I asked where I came from. Someone’s bound to call around when you’re trying to have a quiet day to yourself. I thought the last tune would be easy on the pipes but it proved to be a bit tricky.

10.The Lost and Found Reel/ Dear Junior (Reels)
Chris: flute; Nigel: guitar
I found the first tune on a tape I’d made and forgotten about. The second I dedicated to the late Junior Crehan who I was fortunate to meet on my first visit to Milltown Malbay.

11.Out for a Dander (Hornpipe/Jig)
Chris: whistle, mandolin; Christian: piano
In the north of Ireland, a dander is a leisurely stroll.

12.May I Have This Dance? / Malcolm’s Mazurka (Mazurkas)
Chris: whistle, flute; Christian: piano
I was trying to think of a mazurka I’d heard Tommy Peoples playing in so my friend Malcolm could learn it. This second tune just popped out. I had to write the first to go with it.

13.Haystack Island/The Purple Mountain/On Top of Slieve Gallon (Reels)
Chris: flute; Jamie: fiddle; Christian: piano
Many years ago, on a trip around the coast of Donegal I spied a tiny island. This tune is for the person who had taken the trouble to row out to it and cut the hay even though there was only enough for one haystack. The purple mountain is Slieve Gallon in the Sperrin Mountains which looks purple at certain times and from the top of which there is a great view right across Lough Neagh.

14.Sir Hugh O’Neill/ The Sperrins March (6/8 Marches)
Chris: Bb flute, fife, whistle, mandola; Dilara: whistle; Nigel: guitar
The first tune has the feel of a clan march, so I name it for Sir Hugh O’Neill, the Earl of Tyrone in the time of Elizabeth 1st. He was a fascinating character who played cat and mouse with the English for many years before finally being forced to flee the country after the battle of Kinsale. He died in exile in Rome. The Sperrins are the largest mountain range in N. Ireland. They’re not very high but pretty.
I grew up in the East Sperrins region.