What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

I’m really curious to know others’ answer to this question.
I really like the story behind "Elsie Marley" based on a real woman and possibly exaggerated. I also enjoy the legends behind fairy tunes.
What are yours?

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Hanly’s Tweet

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Andy Renwick’s Ferret. Apparently the ferret in question isn’t a cute little rodent in the weasel family.

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"Mayo Snaps" - "MAHO Snaps" I’m sure, unless it’s a type of snack food?

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Some of my favorite tune origin stories:

An Luradan - The story that Junior Crehan tells is that he and his son were up late one night playing tunes around the fireplace, when down the chimney came a wee luradan (a variety of leprechaun) whom they grabbed in hopes of having it give them its gold. The luradan pleaded that it was poor, and had no gold, but then spotted the fiddles and said that instead of gold it would teach them a fairy tune. So the luradan taught Junior the first part, and his son the second part. True to their bargain they set the fairy free. but the next morning, although Junior well recalled what he had been taught, his son had a less clear recollection. And that’s why the A part of that tune has just a bit more magic in it than the B part.

Port na bPucai - the name of this air translates as "Song of the water fairy" or "Jig of the Puca." The story I heard was that fishermen were out on the sea one day, and reverberating up through the hull of their boat came this ethereal, musical moaning. One of the fishermen was a fiddler, and he kept the tune in his head until they got back to shore and he was able to work it out on his fiddle. A century later, biologists monitoring humpback whales that migrate through the Blasket Islands (one of whom was a fiddler) noticed the similarity between the whale calls and the notes of this tune.

The Haunted House - Vincent Broderick and his brother were walking back from a session one night and they noticed a grand party going on in a house that they had always assumed was abandoned. The lights were on, they could see guests through the windows, and a wonderful tune was playing. They watched for a while, enjoying the music, then continued on home. The next day, Vincent couldn’t get the tune out of his head. He wandered back down the road to the house and was shocked to see that it was indeed a ruin.

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Thank you all. I’ll check these out.

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

"I’m sure, unless it’s a type of snack food?"
Haha. I saw that spelling and knew what was meant, but didn’t find it appropriate to "say" (post) anything.

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

I’ve just spent 3 weeks being thoroughly sleep deprived - I overloaded on caffeine for a long drive this evening - I’ll be honest - while I read this in the dark of my room - the story about haunted house has me genuinely lying terrified in my wee bed!

Lol - thank you Joe!!

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Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Why are you having problems sleeping, Choons? Don’t drive if you don’t need to.

Ben

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Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Calum’s Road: per Session.org "The story goes that Calum wanted to have a new road built to his croft as it was quite a walk from the nearest public road. The council wouldn’t oblige so he built it himself and it took 10 years!! (this length of time may have been exaggerated in the telling!) Donald Shaw wrote this as a tribute to Calum’s hard work!" see: https://thesession.org/tunes/3016 Beautiful rendition by Capercaillie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niTLH9VaKc4

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Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

> this length of time may have been exaggerated in the telling

Not at all. It wasn’t to his croft especially, it was to his village, Arnish, which without a road connection to the rest of Raasay was slowly depopulating as people departed for an easier life elsewhere. It did take ten years, and if you travel the road you can see why. Incredible piece of engineering.

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Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Shetland Times and Tatties for me: it’s on the site. Written by Robbie Leask of Corran Raa, a lovely slow tune in 3/4 time (not a waltz!) The story I was told was that Robbie didn’t know what to call the tune, so someone said "Just name it after the first 2 things on your shopping list."
https://thesession.org/tunes/15907

And another vote for "Calum’s Road" and all the music in the series "The Blood is Strong" which was on TV back in the 80s/90s. And there is a book recounting the building of the road, and, I believe, a film was going to be made. Have been there and played "Calum’s Road" on Calum’s Road.

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I always thought the story behind "Whistler at the Wake" was amusing. Another great Vincent Broderick tune.

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Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Bending the Ferret
http://www.folktunefinder.com/tunes/53855

Doug Eunson’s wife Sarah Matthews was at the Sage last year teaching the fiddlers.

I asked her about the title - apparently Doug was watching a television programme about ferrets which said that their long shape enabled them to get into tight bendy tunnels underground and the presenter demonstrated by ‘bending the ferret’.

Rather slinky for a jig title. :)

Sarah was a fabulous teacher, by the way, and I hope I can meet up with her again.

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Mayo Snaps - My friends call it that and I think they got it from the aka section on the tune page on this site. Comhaltas calls it Macho Snaps (typo?).

I always loved how Micho Russel introduces "Boil the Breakfast Early" on "Ireland’s Whistling Ambassador". He claims that Chief O’Neill told Sergeant Early, "Boil the breakfast Early" and that the name stuck to the tune ever sense.

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

The Otter’s Holt by Junior Crehan

Junior’s mother used to play the concertina in the back yard when the weather was fine. There was a stream in the field behind the house and the otters would come out of the stream when they heard the music and lie basking as if they were listening to it.

https://thesession.org/tunes/636

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Convenience Reel by Olcan Masterson

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

A good story but I think the title "Boil the Breakfast Early" predates O’Neill and Sergeant Early. I’m calling BS on Micho.

Another good title story, sort of related to O’Neill, is for "The Banshee’s Wail Over the Mangle Pit". Here’s info from The Fiddler’s Companion:

The story goes that Martin Hayes searched for a name for this tune, and finally asked Paddy O’Brien of Tipperary, a storehouse of such information, if he knew a title for it. Paddy did not, and when Hayes then asked if he would make one up, O’Brien responded with the delightfully odd “Banshee’s Wail Over the Mangle Pit.” The ‘mangle pit’ part of O’Brien’s title probably refers to bitter brassicas — rutabagas or vegetables related to turnips — that are used to feed cattle as winter fodder; thus a ‘mangle pit’ is a vegetable dump in the ground. An arguably more well-known name for the tune (via O’Neill’s) is the not-nearly-so-badass "Young Tom Ennis", after a young member of O’Neill’s circle in Chicago.

Re: What is your favorite story behind the creation of a trad tune?

Wing Commander Donald Mackenzie’s
https://thesession.org/tunes/4635

Causeway Crossing Concert
http://www.capebretonlive.com/video/video-show20.htm
Recording/Video: October 7, 2005
Location: Civic Centre, Port Hawkesbury,
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

"Wing Commander Donald McKenzie was my landlord when I lived in _Bathkie???___ just outside Glasgow, or halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. He was a real wing commander from the RAF. He came every day for a cup of tea, and we had biscuits called bandit biscuits And every day at one O’Clock I would give him one of these biscuits, for two years. And he never ever got the joke ~ bandits at one O’Clock. I explained the joke and I left it in a little not on his coffin when they were burying him. I hope he read it as well."

~ Phil Cunningham

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