Emotional Performances

Emotional Performances

I’ve been into slow airs lately. Hector the Hero is one of my favorites not any particular recording but preferably played in A (is this the Scottish way?). Another one I really enjoyed lately was Marbhna Luimnigh by Ciarán O Maonaigh.

I’d really appreciate anyone sharing their favorite emotional tunes/songs, preferably slow airs but I’m really open to anything.

Cheers!

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The Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow

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Somehow South Wind at a slower clip gives me goose bumps. Get some tremelo going on mandolin, a tin whistle. There’s a good version on Greenfields of America. I do agree Hector the Hero can do the same thing. Simpler the tune sometimes leads to the more emotional performance. Foggy Dew, Slane, Minstrel Boy, Mo Ghile Mear, Water is Wide, Shebeg Shemore. Slower Castle Kelley or slower still Dunmore Lassies(see Cheftains version w Ry Cooder). Less notes with a meaningful energy can produce sublime results.

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I love Mary Black singing Song for Ireland.

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Bruach Na Carraige Baine, played in C on concert uilleann pipes with drones and regs. It’s a heartbreaking song, and this treatment really pulls those emotions out of the melody.

I like An Leanbh Sidhe for similar reasons.

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Try “ The Sleeping Tune “. Another great Gordon Duncan tune.
Ian S.

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"Hector" needs to be played with emotion, this hero - a soldier - was outed as gay and later committed suicide.

Many, many years ago.

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" was outed as gay" - There was a little more to it than that. It isn’t pretty.

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I was on the verge of writing the same thing myself, meself, but I didn’t want to go off topic and mention pedophilia. It does give me the opportunity however to remind people that there are more ‘emotions’ than one. What about joyful tunes for example?

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Several of my favourites in the above posts: yes, Hector is nice if played in low A first time, then up an octave on repeat. It was originally written in A.
Have to mention Phil Cunningham’s tune, "Bright Star in Cepheus", in memory of brother Johnny.

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After all those years Finbar Furey singing "The Old Man" still chokes me up. In his own words from when I saw him singing it live with ‘The Furey’s’… it would bring tears to the eyes of a potato.

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My favorite slow airs are Scottish but you might enjoy them anyway: I like 422’s version of "Sitting in the Stern of a Boat" (love how slowly it starts but it does get faster). I also like an air that begins a set from the Battlefield Band, called "Farewell My Love." Not sure about the history behind that tune, though.

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This thread has reminded me that there was a slow air I liked that was on a larger video and whose name I couldn’t remember. I found it though, it’s "Ned on the Hill."

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An Feochán by Altan is the most emotional one I play. I first heard Frankie play this in the early 90s at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta and had to ask him about it after the show. I bought the cd and learned it.

I’ve used this tune as a personal mourning piece which I’ve played and numerous funerals of friends and family as my way of grieving. Sometimes it brings me to tears when I play.

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Trish, my fiddle class played "Hector the Hero" in A, but to start with we pupils came in after the tune went up an octave. (Jenny Wrigley played the 1st bit solo). She mentioned Hector being gay, but that was the limit of what she told us …

Yes, you can be happily emotional, I feel so about certain tunes eg "The Rocky Road to Dublin" or "Sarah McFadyen" , or "Planxty Irwin" and plenty more.

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I was turned onto Hector after hearing The Bothy Band 1975 with Tommy Peoples’ brilliant fiddling, that’s my favorite version. Lest we forget Hector fought many a war in far oft lands as a Scottish Hero. Chieftains have a moving version of George Brabazon by Carolan. Ding Dong Bell has such a magical touch on harp. Much of the Live in Seattle by Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill offers up the goods with emotional playing and the extra something. Still love the huge medley with Ship in Full Sail/Jer the Rigger/Pacobel Special. Much of Martin Hayes brings that little bit more intensity and emotion.

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I was on the verge of writing the same thing myself, meself, but I didn’t want to go off topic and mention pedophilia.
# Posted by Gobby 9 hours ago.

But you went ahead and did, didn’t you?
Of course, we all know that to be accused is to be guilty.
Casement diaries, anyone?

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‘Try “ The Sleeping Tune “. Another great Gordon Duncan tune.
Ian S.’

Seconded.

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I’m fond of "Leaving Lerwick Harbor"

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@David Kennedy - An Buachaill Caol Dubh is another one of my favorites, especially that particular performance by Liam

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"…I didn’t want to go off topic and mention pedophilia. It does give me the opportunity however to remind people that there are more ‘emotions’ than one."

Yes! There is a spectrum of human emotions. Tunes cover the full range of our emotions
which we can explore. We sometimes listen in one mode & forget there is also an opposite perspective.

A balance for our emotional, physical & mental senses pulls us. Like you say, Gobby, for every sad, slow reflective air there is a joyful jig which makes us want to dance. Or, as you so eloquently put it, "there are more ‘emotions’ than one."
;

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"The Rocky Road to Dublin" as I said above, makes me feel happy. Though it ought to be played faster than I can manage on fiddle - the struggle to speed up makes me frustrated (another emotion maybe..)

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"…for every sad, slow reflective air there is a joyful jig which makes us want to dance…"

A slow air can also be joyful and a jig can be full of sadness.

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Emotions are so subjective and weird. I tend to listen to the same songs or tune sets regardless of my mood, probably because so often one can feel different emotions during different parts of a set. It’s also very largely based on how specific groups play something: for example, I think Stockton’s Wing’s very dark rendition of the B part in "Going to the Well for Water" is perfect for a "sadder" sound.
When I think of Irish jigs or slip jigs, I guess the only one I think is universally "sad" is "Ellen oGrady" (which I really like). So it made sense when I read that it’s the melody of a sad song.

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A Leitrim composer in a Galway pub - Maurice Lennon and friends playing Maurice ‘s composition `If Ever you were Mine’.
I first came across this air in Sandy MacIntyre’s class at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton about ten years ago. It has been recorded by Natalie MacMaster and is, as far as I can gather, quite well known in the Maritimes. Heavenly!

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Liam O’Flynn playing "Cailin na Gruaige Doinne" ("The Brown-Haired Girl") on the Sult album

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A beautiful air that deserves to be mentioned in this discussion is "For The Love Of Tara"written by Denis Lanctot, a Canadian Fiddler/composer. His tune was dedicate it to Tara Lynne Touesnard, his wife’s sister, who died in a car accident on April 25, 1994. In his words: "This tragedy drove me to immediately begin working on plans to recreate the fiddle that died with her - a fiddle that had once belonged to me and then to Tara. With time and perseverance I began to work towards my goal. It was with the help and experience of a wonderful fiddle maker and great friend, Dennis Alexander, from Aylmer, Quebec that my goal was achieved in June of 1995. The fiddle pictured on the front and back covers, and played on this recording, is the result of Dennis’ work and my determination to keep a part of Tara Lynne’s memory alive. The inscription inside reads: ‘This violin is dedicated to the loving memory of Tara Lynne Touesnard 1972 - 1994.’ For the Love of Tara was written in October, 1994 with thoughts of Tara Lynne. It was my memories of her that inspired me to write this piece which tells a story of love and friendship that sadly ended too soon. I hope this composition will inspire you, the listener, as it has me." Here is a heart rendering version of this tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l33Mdji-4BA

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Lord Mayo air and Song of Books

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Stockton Wing’s Belltable Waltz certainly is joyful to play. Tunes in minor keys are often thought sad (lots of Carolan tunes in minor), but as has been said, it can depend on one’s mood - it’s in the ear of the listener, or player.

"Down by the Salley Gardens" can be thought a melancholy song, but it can have a kind of joyful beauty as you play the tune, I find.

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I know this thread is a couple weeks old, but I just came across another air which I like but I feel is very sad-sounding. It’s "Archibald McDonald of Keploch." Classed as a waltz here, but which Ron Gonnella calls an air. I know the OP may not need this anymore, but someone else might like it.

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Hi Gobby, I’m interested in checking out the video you just posted, but I’m getting a message on YouTube saying that the video is unavailable. What tune were you meaning to link to?

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video wouldnt work for me either……………..

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Perhaps it’s one of these that’s only available in Australia and not the US or UK.

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Sharp is the wind
Cold is the rain
Harsh is the livelong day
Upon the wide open plain

By Donnelly’s hollow
Under sad gorse and furze
There lies a young wren oh
By the saints she was cursed

The wren is a small bird
How pretty she sings
She bested the eagle
When she hid in its wings

With sticks and with stones
All among the small mounds
They come from all over
To hunt the wren on the wide open ground

They flock round the soldiers
In their jackets so red
For barrack room favours
Pennies and bread

The soldier is rough
In anger or fun
And he causes much bloodshed
With his big musket gun

Their are birds of the earth
And beasts of the field
By spite and by fury
Are people revealed

Attacked in the village
Spat on in town
They come from all over
To hunt the wren on the wide open ground

The wren is a small bird
Though blamed for much woe
Her form is derided
Wherever she goes

With cold want and whiskey
She soon is run down
Her body paraded
On a staff through the town

A rag for her ceiling
The sod was her floor
She chose the cold open plain o’er
The dark workhouse door

With two broken wings
And feathers so brown
They come from all over
To hunt the wren on the wide open ground




https://youtu.be/lUReQ9GhT8s

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@Whimbrel and Christy, re the unobtainable video link I posted. It was supposed to be Anna Okada Burgess on fiddle playing "Archibald McDonald" followed by "The Sailor’s Wife". I actually took the link from our Tunes section, but I didn’t check it out first because I have watched it dozens of times. But it looks like it has now been taken off You-Tube. It seems it is now available on Vimo, but I can’t check that out right now as I am at home with an unbelievably snail crawling dial up (I live in the sticks). If you can find it it is well worth a listen, not just for the beauty of how she plays Archibald McDonald but how she then bursts into "The Sailor’s wife"

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Thanks David.

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