The Far Side Of The Glen

By Derek McGinley And Tara Connaghan

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The Far Side of the Glen

Fiddle Music of South West Donegal
A lovely album by two of the many fine young musicians who are keeping the Donegal tradition alive.
Derek and Tara stick close to the tradition learned from older players of distinction and it is delightful to hear the octave playing on some of the tracks.
They have a website

“Tara Connaghan & Derek McGinley: The Far Side Of The Glen” ~ Brilliant!!! Thanks Hiro!

One of our prized Winter/Christmas surprises/gifts was this lovely recording. ‘Slainte’ on site here, dear Hiro blessed us with this gift from afar, ordered from Custy’s from Japan and sent here to the Northwest of England - with a lovely little note and smile from Custy’s enclosed. This recording has had many repeat spins since it arrived, including using it to inspire dancers, in teaching. Hiro is a friend who understands the pleasures of music that nourish my soul. This is among only a few recordings I’ve purchased or received over the last few years that are the top of my listening pleasures, highly prized. It also rings all kinds of good memories, times spent with older musicians while living in and touring around Ireland. It raises a smile. It feels like home. Many of those blessed moments of music sharing were in and around and about Donegal, with hopes we’ll be returning there for a few weeks sometime this year ~ quietly…

I recommend you chase up this recording for the full pleasure of their talents and inspirations, their playing and the tunes, better yet if you can catch them live. This whole recording is inspirational. We love it. As already said, I also use some of the tracks in teaching dance, and that is high praise from me.

This Winter, Christmas and the opening of this New Year was music all round, including a Welsh wedding and Welsh choirs. I will be transcribing more tunes from this recording and adding them to the database here, continuing the praise and appreciation for this lovely recording…

Thanks Tara and Derek for taking the time to do this for us all, and for the tradition, for those that have carried it for us before us.

Again, and repeatedly ~ Thanks Hiro/‘slainte’ ~ for these repeat pleasures and inspirations. My own family doesn’t know me well enough to satisfy my interests and passions like you have with this one CD… ~ ‘c’ 😀

The Far Side of the Glen

‘c’, nice to know you enjoy this recording, perhaps even more than I do. It caught my attention just after it was released, but it took me almost a year to make enough money for it! Well, actually I purchased John Carty and Brain Rooney’s lovely album early in 2011, so I was a bit reluctant to get another fiddle duet recording just a few months later.

Better late than never. This recording really has a timeless quality. I never grow tired of it. It’s inspirational, as ceolachan put it. Visit their website and listen to a couple of tracks, and you’ll see.

You can watch them play a set of highlands:

And Derek McGinley’s gig from last year:

Thanks for the additional links, much appreciated, and right now as I type. As said, we’ve enjoyed dancing to this music. Do you still remember the Highland steps I’d taught you? They go well with those tracks on this recording, and with Derek’s playing for NPU, lovely… 🙂

Not quite sure how I managed to post the links to Soundcloud without actually saying how amazing this is.

Donegal & The Northwest ~ sessions & ceilis

This CD still bringing me pleasure, we were back in Donegal and have only just returned. Sadly, EVERY session we stumbled into we soon left ~ they were all AMPLIFIED!!! One was advertised as being open, welcoming to other musicians joining in, but it was excessively loud, AMPLIFIED, and from what we could hear they were primarily playing their own compositions, either that or known tunes very poorly. Ceilis we attended were bursting with lovely people, but again were LOUD! Both on the floor, BATTERING THE NAILS DOWN, and from the stage ~ AMPLIFIED! And, every ceili band, whether or not the musicians were good, and some of them were, some couldn’t hold a steady beat, had a RHYTHM BOX!!! ~ BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!!! At one small hall they even had two whopping large speaker cases, plus two very impressive bass cabs.

That there were some lovely people to help temper things a bit, that was grand, but the LOUDNESS of AMPLIFICATION, and the ARTIFICIAL percussion, it is making me scrunch up my face as I type this. My wife says I musn’t be critical, well, we did make the best of it, focus on some lovely people we’ve befriended, and I commented favourably on two fine young musicians, able to hear their quality despite the VOLUME and the manic tempos.

Off topic, on one long ramble along a river through several counties we came home tick ridden, 78 pulled off my wife, 47 off of me… Friends and family have pestered us and we’ve an appointment with our surgery on Monday, with a blood test to follow… I can’t believe how small the little blighters were, or how many, more than 100 between us, and we weren’t wearing shorts. Most were still alive as I pulled them out, and man were they fast when they started moving. Boiling water put an end to that… I’ll be taking further precautions in future. We had almost tropical weather the whole time, just one or two short showers, though out Eniskillen way, Fermanagh, they had a downpour one day, thunder and lightening, which caused flooding on the main roads between Belleek and Eniskillen… As I remember it, I believe ticks love hot weather…

Back on this beautifully relaxed recording, I will never tire of it, or the memories it awakens, a Donegal I knew when many of the roads I travelled weren’t paved… We hope to soon be moving back to the Northwest of Ireland and trying to find acoustic sessions, sans amplifiers, speakers and rhythm boxes… In the meantime I’m putting this on spin again, to heal my ears, to move my feet and heart…