Playing Carolan

Playing Carolan

I love playing O’Carolan tunes. Mostly, I play by myself but I also play with Máire Ní Chathasaigh - though she is not aware of this.

If there is any group of enthusiasts, in Ireland - especially Galway - who would welcome a low whistler to enjoy the music of the bard, I would love to hear from them.

(This is my first post as ‘Cathal’s Da’ but I was for some time Ciotóg of this parish and couldn’t log in with that name after an absence.)

Re: Playing Carolan

Back in the 1970s I went to a Comhaltas Ceoltoiri session in East London. The guy introducing the players asked me what I was going to play. I told him by way of a change from the reels and jigs I woud like to play O’Carolan’s Concerto (It had taken me for ages to learn it on the box) He said it wasn’t traditional and I would have to stick to the norm. I played the Geese in the Bog.

Re: Playing Carolan

"He said it wasn’t traditional and I would have to stick to the norm. I played the Geese in the Bog."

It leaves me more than a little gobsmacked that someone would *forbid* you from playing a particular tune, irrespective of the soundness (or otherwise) of their reasoning. I’ve never been to a Comhaltas session, but I would like to think that, in most cases, the participants are met with the same level of civility that they themselves offer. Does CCE still disapprove of the work of ‘modern’ composers like O’Carolan? What about Ruairidh Dall Ó Cathain?

Re: Playing Carolan

I was helping a learners session select tunes, their stated goal was learning common session tunes. They wanted to include Carolan, I said that was fine but they would not find much opportunity to play it at the local session, they would be better to stick with the usual. I was informed that he was Irish so it must be OK. I said U2 is Irish, are you going to learn their material too?

I am very find of Carolan’s Concerto and a couple of other of his works, I use them for gigs. not sessions.

Re: Playing Carolan

O’Carolan’s more popular works are welcome and regular pieces at my sessions. 🙂

Re: Playing Carolan

Like Jason. we often play a few Carolan tunes at my sessions, it helps me release my inner Donal Luny on the bouzouki…….

Re: Playing Carolan

Further to Free Reeds’ reported exchange above, what would the organiser say to anyone playing Mendelbaum Chapel, or Providence, or Whack Your Frog On The Bolster, when we know who wrote them, so they are not traditional ?

Re: Playing Carolan

I have never been to a session where O’Carolan was not alone played but held in due reverence.