Fine selection of songs from the heart of Ireland
I picked up this CD & booklet a few years ago down at Willie Week and I’m very glad I did. Anyone with half an interest in rural Ireland will know that song still plays a cultural role, even in 2013. Indeed around where I live in the south east of Ireland, there are a number of regular ‘song & story’ evenings - where local people gather to sing, tell a story or play a few tunes. The quality varies of course, but that’s part of the attraction.
This production, sub titled ‘A Roscommon Song Book’ was made in 2006 at Ballinasloe, produced and edited by Declan Coyne. A selection of local singers contribute the songs, mostly unaccompanied and they are mostly sung in wonderfully simple style - it’s the genuine article. The recording opens with the air Easter Snow played by Patsy Hanly on whistle merging into a lovely version of the song by Pauline Hanly. It continues with male and female voices - there are beautiful versions of Úna Bhán and Ossian in Elphin/ Oisín i nAilfinn amongst several others. The singers are Pauline Hanly, Johnny Johnston, Rachel Garvey & Declan Coyne.
Eastersnowe - Patsy Hanly (whistle) & Pauline Hanly (song)
Boating On Lough Ree - Johnny Johnston
The Groves Of Kilteevan - Declan Coyne
Úna Bhán - Rachel Garvey
Old Ballymoe - Johnny Johnston & Declan Coyne
Roscommon Abbey - Pauline Hanly
Costelloe’s Lament - Declan Coyne
My Sliabh Bán - Pauline Hanly
A Roscommon Exiles Song - Declan Coyne
The Boatman Of Lough Key - Pauline Hanly
Ode To Jimmy Murray - Johnny Johnston
Ossian In Elphin - Pauline Hanly
Oisín i nAilfinn - Johnny Johnston
Ballad Of The O’Carolan Country - Pauline Hanly
Land Of The O’Connor - Johnny Johnstonn
Kathaleen Machree - Declan Coyne
The Woodlands Of Lough Glynn - Johnny Johnston
Knockcroghery - Declan Coyne & Pauline Hanly
Songs Of Our Land - air and narration by Declan Coyne
Tune players would do well to listen to the likes of this and get a real feel for a source of the music.
I should also mention that this CD comes with a 64 page booklet or vice versa. Here you’ll find a history & words of each song. Of interest, is that the booklet claims that the air Easter Snow was composed by blind piper, Jimmy Fallon from Dysart in south Roscommon around the end of the 1800s. It also speculates that the name ‘Easter Snow’ is a corruption of Diseart Nuadhan (St.Nuadhan’s hermitage or church). Although it should be said that the term is also used for the Hawthorn blossom that whitens the ditches in late spring.
The song, Eastersnowe here is of unknown origin and age but was a favourite of the late Florry Brennan of Lanesboro, who got it from Seamus Ennis, who collected the tune from the Donegal traveller fiddlers, the Gallaghers. The author suspects it’s of the 1900s and perhaps made up locally to fit the air? Here’s the words:
In the twilight of the morning as I roved out upon the dew,
With my morning cloak around me intending all of my flocks to view.
‘Twas there I spied a fair one and oh, she was a beauty bright,
And I took her for Diana or the evening star that rules the night.
I being so much surprised by her, it being the forenoon of the day,
To see this lovely creature coming over the banks of sweet Lough Ree.
Her snow white neck it naked and oh she was a beauty bright,
And my heart was captivated by the two dark eyes rolled in her head.
I said, "My dear your love I crave for Cupid is a cruel foe,
I’ll roll you in my morning cloak and I’ll take you home with me to Easter Snow.
You go and acquaint my parents," and "indeed kind sir I’ll do the same,
And if both our parents give consent then neither you nor I will bear the blame."
This sounds brilliant. Thanks for adding this here, appreciated. I’ll have to put it on my lists of must haves along with the constant search of dear Geordie Hanna’s collection "The Fisher’s Cot", which I failed again to chase up this time in Ireland. We’ve friends in Roscommon I’ll be writing to find out if they know about this group. Next time we’re over we’ll have to catch more singing…
"The South Roscommon Singers’ Circle" ~ & their publications
Good stuff there
I didn’t realise they had several releases - looks like some good stuff there, I’m tempted 🙂