Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

I just want to add some more Shetland tunes to my repertoire but am mainly going to the sessions of Irish music, and so ask everyone for some help.

Are there any Shetland tunes, which are occasionally played in Irish sessions? Please name them, if you know.

I think not a few Shetland tunes have been played in Donegal for long, but is it a good guess?

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

I’ve heard Spootiskerry played a fair bit but it’s one of ‘those’ tunes that’s probably known by everyone and causes the odd scowl….

The Shetland Fiddler is quite popular … but since I know nothing about that part of the world, I often wonder whether it has any connection with the Shetlands other than its title.

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We like to play The New Rigged Ship/The Full Rigged Ship every once in awhile. Got it from an Aly Bain tape/book tutor years ago. I’ve heard of other sessions playing this set but I don’t remember where they were.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

There are the (too) obvious tunes which are common to both traditions such as Far from home, St anne’s reel etc but a nice tune to play would be Willie Hunter’s "The Cape Breton welcome to the Shetland Isles" which is available on this site. I have heard it played from time to time in Irish sessions.

John

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Other Shetland tunes I know of (all on this database), are
Tame Her When Da Snaw Comes (reel)
Jack Broke Da Prison Door (reel)
Peter’s Peerie Boat (jig)
Trevor

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

I’m pretty sure ‘Sleep Soond in the Morning’ is a Shetland tune and is played occasionally in Chicago sessions.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

"da slockit light" popped up in our sesh last week. Pierre Schryer has done a few Shetland sets on "Acoustique" and "In the Heat of the Moment" which are quite lovely if you’re looking for further inspiration.

Greg

You can find a version of this tune here at thesession. The version I know is a bit different being only two parts, learned off a very early Boys of the Lough record (first or second album).

The tune I’m referring to being ‘Sleep Soond….’

Octogreg got in there before I could re-post

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

That tune has already been murdered, with Sharon Shannon’s version of "Happy One-step."

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Thank you for all the replies.

I once heard Da Sleep Soond Ida Moarnin’ is sometimes played in the Irish sessions. I think 2-part version is more common. Spootiskerry is a fantastic tune and I used to play it in Edinburgh, but it seems the tune sounds odd to the ears of ITM lovers. Tanya, try playing it very fast with other people, and it will sound gorgeous.

I don’t like Willafjord very much either but many musicians play a very similar tune in Tokyo. I’m always wondering what it’s called. Da Slockit Light is nice one but too exotic and shouldn’t be played in Irish sessions, I think.

I’ve been enjoying Full Rigged Ship and New Rigged Ship set, really great one. I guess The Rakes of Kildare derived from Full Rigged Ship. What do you all think?

I’m wondering how Altan learned New Rigged Ship, which is on "The Red Crow," after the song "Donal agus Morag." Did they get it from the playing of Aly Bain or is the tune traditionally played in Donegal?

Anyway, I will try new tunes. Please add some more suggestions or comments.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

There’s nothing wrong with including music from other traditions/localities in an Irish (Or any other type of ) session as long it’s not done to excess. That also applies to the occasional inclusion of "old warhorses"/"hoary chestnuts". All the best musicians do this from time to time in sessions, live gigs, and on their albums-albeit with a more creative and imaginitive interpretation.

Thought I’d make this point here, as the thread in the other session "What does Michael etc etc" is getting out of hand.

John

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Sorry, Da New Rigged Ship is on "Harvest Strom" album, not "The Red Crow."

Yes, I know "foreign" tunes don’t appeal to all the ITM lovers, but I started this discussion to make sure Shetland tunes have been already rooted in musical tradition of Ireland. Consider another tune O’ot Be Est Da Vong, which I assume to be a prototype of some Irish reels.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Absolutely right Slainte, most "Irish" tunes did not originate in Ireland. Tunes have no respect for national or ethnic backgrounds and will go anywhere to be played, (the promiscuous little buggers).
Try not to over whelm the less progressive members of your session. After much thought and calculation I recommend no more than 7.346%, interesting new music, any more than that or the "tut"ing will start.

All the best

PP

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

You can play a few shetland tunes as a tribute to Aly Bain and the Boys of the Lough. They were a quartet with members from Ireland, Shetland, Northumberland and Scotland, if I remember right. A lot of people benefited from their music in the seventies.

Going by my old list I used to play three sets of shetland reels:

Spoot Askerry/ Da Galley Watch/ Sleep Soond I Da Mornin
Jack Broke The Prison Door/ Slanty Gart/ Shelder Geo
Da Black Hat/ Donal Blue/ Willafjord

Sorry, but I only remember the first four tunes plus the New Riggid Ship seeing that I haven’t played them in about twenty years. Should change that.

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Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Barrow Burn or Barrowburn is another great Shetland reel that may be working its way into Irish tradition via Sharon Shannon, who probably got it from Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Not heard many recently but we used to have a set called ‘A yow cam to our door yarming’ followed by ‘Christmas day ida mornin’.

I think they were on a Boys of the Lough album.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

There has been a lot of cross-fertilisation between The Shetlands and Donegal, in particular, as Donegal fishermen would regularly trawl off the Shetlands and, when landing for a spot of flower collecting, and visits to the Kirk, would regularly swap tunes and recipes.
The Donegal fiddle style owes a fair bit to Scottish/Shetland technique.

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

‘The old resting chair’ is a well known and slower Shetland tune which is well played in South Tipperary.
Composed byTom Anderson I think.
Good luck
Mikea

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Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Da Slockit Light (composed by Tom Anderson I believe, but I’m open to correction) is getting played more often now in Bristol (UK) sessions. This is because it was a favourite tune of Alan Cormack, a well-known local concertina player/singer who died recently aged 60. Da Slockit Light was played at his funeral by one of his pupils on his concertina, which was then placed on the coffin for the rest of the service.
Trevor

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

I have now submitted Da Slockit Light in the tunes sections.
Trevor

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but I heard that Tom Anderson had written this tune after the death of his wife. This was to signify that a light had gone out in his life. Therefore, it seems quite appropriate that this tune should be played at a funeral.

This tune is a beautiful slow air but Treabhar has had to list it as a reel. Jeremy, please take note.

John

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

I learned Da Slockit Light in Edinburgh just a year ago. It’s fairy popular with British fiddlers, but I’m not sure if it is tolerated in Ireland. I’m enjoying it on the flute just by myself.

I just remember A Yow Cam to Our Door Yarmin’ is on the hidden track of Fiddlers’ Bid’s "Hamnataing" album. It is sung by drunkards, but I had no clue what they are saying. Thanks Breandan for reminding me of the tune.

It seems reels are played much more often than jigs in Shetland. Does anybody know good jigs from the islands which may be welcome in the sessions of ITM?

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

How about Garster’s Dream if you’re looking for a jig. The first part is a little similar to Out on the Ocean although it is usually played at a faster tempo.

Also Da Shaalds of Foula is another nice jig

Garster’s Dream - " a fiddler by the name of Garster, in Fetlar, was on his was home from a wedding and sat down and fell asleep. He dreamt he heard fiddles playing and so strong was the dream that he remembered it when he awoke and was able to play it on his fiddle when he got home."


Da Shaalds o’ Foula - also known as Da Foula Reel

John

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Re: Da Slockit Light

You’re right John J. ‘Slockit’ means ‘the light that’s gone out’. The late Dr Tom Anderson hailed from near Eshaness. Late one night in January 1969, he noticed that there were so few lights (and by implication houses) compared to when he was young. As he continued watching, the lights started to go out one by one. He always used to say that this, together with the recent death of his wife was what inspired the tune.

the Barrowburn Reel was written by the late Addie Harper, most closely associated with Wick, GaryAMartin, so it’s not strictly a Shetland Reel by origin or style.
(P.S. I doubt that today’s best young fiddler’s have anything to learn from Aly Bain’s current playing :) )

Tanya - you need to get out more. Take John J’s advice and listen to Willie Hunter’s (also Ronnie Cooper’s / Frank Jamieson’s) tunes. If you still haven’t changed your views I’ll arrange for the Food Standards Agency or nearest US equivalent to condemn / dispose of the freezer! On the other hand, maybe you’ve got a point. At least if you restrict yourself to ‘pure Irish tunes’ you’ll have a relatively lean, mean tunebook :)

Don’t know about ‘good’ and ‘ITM Session compatibility’ slainte but I’ll try to come up with some suggestions for Jigs from Shetland. I don’t think they compare favourably with the best Irish jigs (or Shetland Reels for that matter) - you might try Ronald Jamieson’s ‘Bunidale Rant’ for now. I’ll add more after I’ve finished unpacking.

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Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Still haven’t got any food in the house slainte, but beginning to get more organised. Some more ‘Shetland’ Jigs to listen out for:-

As mentioned above, ‘Garster’s Dream’ and ‘Da Full Rigged Ship’ are trad jigs. Also ‘Mrs Helen Jamieson’ by Ronald Jamieson, ‘Mimie Bruce of Lerwick’ by Willie Hunter, ‘Dor Holm’ by Tom Anderson, ‘Northmavine Ranters’ by David Hall, ‘Sandy Heddle’ by Arthur Scott Robertson. Hope that’s enough to be getting on with - there’s obviously masses more - mail me if you’re interested.

Except when being played for dancing, most Shetland jigs were played at a measured tempo although if you know Fiddler’s Bid and ask them how to play Shetland style - usual reply is ‘fast and furious’.

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Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

PS Slainte
‘The Yarmin Yowes (ewes)’ are a flock of sheep! (Your comment above) Weren’t breath-tested so I can’t comment on their sobriety.

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Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

Thanks Fifer for loads of tunes. I hope most of them can be played on the whistle. I’ve just learned "Hamnataing," a beautiful tune by Christopher Stout. I will probably try playing it in Ireland, and if I get favourable reactions, I’ll post the tune here.

I’m now busy with packing because I will travel around in Britain and Ireland before the university programme in Leeds starts. Shetland is one of the fascinating destinations, but I chose Donegal this summer. Maybe I will visit the islands next spring.

P.S. I guess they are drunk. See the photos on the sleeve notes of the recording. They are drinking!

Re: Shetland Tunes in Irish Sessions?

I’m all for Shetland tunes in Irish sessionsTry The Fairy Dance,Gaster’s Dream,Da Sooth End,Da Brig,Christmas Day In The Morning,Far From Home,The Bonnie Isle O’ Whalsey,The Greenland Man’s Tune,Da Tuskar,Miss Susan Cooper.If anyone is interested I can submit some of them. David Meredith