Paddy Fahy playing his own reels.

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Love it

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Gorgeous pace.

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Absolutely beautiful music,
great tunes, lovely tempo.

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Pretty cool.

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And the tunes are?

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Paddy Fahy’s, Paddy Fahy’s, and Paddy Fahy’s.

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Much better sound quality than the Maria Holahan tape. The same lovely, stately pace. Paddy said "you could ‘pep’the tunes up a little for dancing", but I must ask: why would you want to?

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Exceptionally agreeable playing! Thanks to JWiseman for identifying the tunes in the clip. For info to fellow-nerds, they are PF’s reels Nos. 8, 3, and 5 in the collection appended to Maria Holohan’s ‘s thesis.

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superb playing, could be used as an endorsement to the recent ‘Speed Kills’ discussion! I have only ever heard recordings of Paddy Fahy playing his own compositions, are there any of him playing trad tunes?

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There are a field recordings and they are sketchy. I looked for them a couple months ago and found a couple broken links and some accessible audio that was not for download (Chris Delaney). If you search Paddy Fahey and Paddy Fahy you’ll find 4/5 threads with links to some of these recordings. It is my understanding that they are all basically field recording and it is said there are scores of them but I have not connected with anyone that has any. I haven’t captured any of the audio yet. The links that did work were a bit of a pain but I would like to get to it some day to have it in my library. Paddy Fahey’s my favorite tune writer. His tunes are very interesting and surprising harmonically but always sound organic and melodic.
Another thing of interest to me is the Hollohan’s dissertation tape. My first version was sent to me from the University of Limerick archive and was completely corrupted (It is now listed as out of circulation). I found a version on the web after that that was better but still had some bad tracks. My theory is that the tape deteriorated over time and there may be an earlier version out there before the tape began to go. I’d love to get a better copy if there is one.

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Sublime. I didn’t realise what a great fiddler he was, but logically he’d have to be, to come up with those amazing compositions. Great authority and dignity in the pace, and indeed a good reminder to all to stop speeding up and let the tune breathe and speak for itself. Thank you for the share.

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Love this. Weren’t there some other old recs of Fahy circulating around here some years ago? One with Seán Ryan as well? Would love to hear these…

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Dia dhaoibh Greetings all!

Absolutely beautiful music.

The thing that struck me most was the difference in the bowing; notice how much less jumping around of the wrist and the length of his bowing compared to that of the girls’.

Maybe someone, whose main instrument is the fiddle, would appreciate and explain it better?

All the best
Brian x

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Essentially, bowing on the flute is rather like tonguing on a whistle; some styles/players may prefer to play more legato, and some with more articulation.

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Having heard a number of Paddy Fahey’s solo recordings (probably those mentioned above), I wonder how much of Paddy’s fiddling and style is actually audible on the YouTube video? I sure would love to hear a quality audio recording of him playing solo. Genius.

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I wondered how much is him and how much is the girls. It impressed me that the Kane sisters were playing very carefully and reverently - perhaps I’m projecting. I think they usually play a little more ‘loose’ in a good way and in the video they were very precise, also in a good way.
I remember form a Martin Hayes interview, which I believed came from Dave Flynn’s thesis, that he said Paddy Fahey had a beautiful, almost classical tone. All I’ve really heard are field recordings and I can’t say that this is readily apparent.
I was hoping someone would see this thread and offer up some audio - I’ve been searching for some better recordings as well.

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Thanks, Gromit.

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amazing - he even manages to make the Washerwoman sound like a tune!

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This warms my heart (but I don’t think Paddy Fahy is actually mic’ed or audible). It reminds me of one of my deceased friends. He was much older and he hosted weekly house sessions for many years. He continued to do so even as he got up in age and couldn’t play as much - he still just wanted to be surrounded by the music. Every so often he would bust out a tune he probably hadn’t played in a decade and sound as good as ever. I really cherished getting to learn the tradition from him.

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"… I don’t think Paddy Fahy is actually mic’ed or audible …"

There is definitely a mic attached to his fiddle. I that most of what we are hearing is the unmistakable perfectly synchronised sound of Liz and Yvonne Kane - Paddy’s Fahy’s fiddle is just about audible in there. Perhaps his intonation and tone were already deteriorating back then and the producer thought his tunes would be better served being carried by the Kane Sisters. But the point is, he is sitting between the two of them and they are listening to and playing off him, chanelling his music.

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Paddy grew up in his family home of Killaghbeg House, and was always surrounded by the best of East Galway music. And it shows.

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This guy is the Thomas Pynchon of Irish music. Everywhere, the master, invisible, and knows exactly how and where to break every rule.

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Oh great, I’m just working on one of his reels and couldn’t find anything… Thanks!

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I have an index for Paddy Fahey tunes. If anyone is interested let me know. It is based on the Maria Hollohan dissertation and it includes thesession tune numbers. There are 4-5 add on tunes that did not appear in the paper that he may have written later. I also have a recordings reference generated from this website if you want to obtain recorded samples of his tunes. I bought as many as I could find as long as they weren’t priced beyond my means.

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With my limited experience of his music I am struck by the immense playability of the tunes. The notes seem to naturally fall in the right place, and the use of accidentals in unexpected ways seems a unique characteristic of his music. They too seem to be just the right note in the right place. There is a legato and unrushed nature to the melody even if the tune itself has a fair amount of drive to it.

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@JWiseman, perhaps you could start a thread with that info. I wish Jeremy had something in place to do that because searching for Fahey tunes on thesession tends to be a tad confusing.

Here’s some links with the caveat that the numbering system is Maria Holohan’s where Paddy Fahey would likely have them as Paddy Fahey’s, Paddy Fahey’s, Paddy Fahey’s, Paddy Fahey’s etc. (GaryAMartin had that one right!) ;^)

Maria Holohan’s cassette recordings of Paddy Fahey (zip file 68Mb):
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/Celtic/Paddy_Fahey_recordings.zip

Maria Holohan’s abc (all in one file) of Paddy Fahey:
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/Celtic/Paddy_Fahey’s_by_Maria_Holohan.abc

separate abc’s:
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/Celtic/Paddy_Fahey_-_Maria_Holohan.zip

Maria Holohan’s pdf of Paddy Fahey:
http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/Celtic/Paddy_Fahey’s_by_Maria_Holohan.pdf

Note: I had help with getting these files together. There are a lot of folks that like Paddy Fahey music! I’m really looking forward to getting a copy of JWiseman’s index. I’ve never managed to get far on a similar effort.