The Piper’s Call

By Liam O’Flynn

Six comments

Liam O’Flynn: Uillean Pipes, Whistle
Arty McGlynn: Guitar
Stephen Cooney: Guitar
Rod McVey: Keyboards, Harmonium
Liam Bradley: Percussion
Guest Musicians
Mark Knopfler: Electric Guitar
Sean Keane: Fiddle
Matt Molloy: Flute
Carlos Nunez: Gaita, Ocarina, Whistles
Irish Chamber Orchestra
Ian Dakin/ Fergus O’Carroll: Horns

1998 Tara Music Company
TARA CD 3037

“Unknown Tune in Track 9”

Turns out the tune that Liam hasn’t a name for, after Mayor Harrison’s Fedora in the Carrigholt set, is Tommy Peoples‘, the same reel in G as on the first track on Kevin Crawford’s In Good Company cd. You’’l find it here:

(bearing in mind that Mr. O’Flynn is on a set of B pipes, so the tune comes out in E major, not the widely played G majo version posted in the archives here.)

Posted .

I heard some people calling it Liam O’Flynn’s.

Produced by : Liam O’Flynn and Arty McGlynn
Executive Producers : Mick Barry and John Cook
Recording Engineers : Ciaran Byrne and Brian Masterson
Assistant Engineers : Ciaran Cahill, Richard McCullough
Recorded at : Studio Cooney, Dingle: Windmill Lane Studios Dublin; Film Lighting Facilities, Dublin; Guinness Hopstore, Dublin;

Track Notes
1. The Humours of Kiltyclogher, Julia Clifford’s

These are two jigs which feel ‘made’ for the pipes and are played here on the lower pitched or flat set. I was introduced to the first by Arty McGlynn, while the second comes from the rich fiddle tradition of Sliabh Luachra in Co. Kerry into which the late Julia Clifford was born. She was a sister of the great fiddle player Denis Murphy and was a great fiddle player in her own right.

2. The Pleasures of Hope, Rick’s Rambles

The first of these tunes I always associate with the great Clare fiddle player Joe Ryan and the times when we played together in duet competitions. The second tune I discovered in recent years.

3. An Droichead (The Bridge)

During the recording of this album, much of which was done in Stephen Cooney’s studio in Ventry, Co. Kerry, I was honoured with a request by Ireland’s President Mary McAleese to write and perform a piece of music for her inauguration. The music was be based on the theme of her Presidency, An Droichead or Bridges. I was fortunate to have the very generous assistance of Arty, Stephen and Rod in this task. Mark Knopfler had already very kindly agreed to guest on the album and this seemed the ideal piece on which he would play. The elegance and eloquence of his playing is unique.
4. Miss Admiral Gordon’s Strathspey

This tune I found while ‘digging’ through one of the many collections of Scottish Music. It was composed by the great Scottish fiddle player William Marshall (1748 - 1833), whom Robert Burns pronounced “the first composer of strathspeys of the age”. I think its a tune with powerful inherent energy.

5. Sliabh Na mBan (The Women’s Mountain)

This is one of the greatest and best known Munster song-airs and has been part of my repertoire from the beginning. It exists in many versions associated with various political events, the oldest being a 1798 song. But for me this is the classic version. It takes its title from the mountain ‘Sliabh NA mBan’ near Clonmel, in Co. Tipperary.

6. The Drunken Landlady, McKenna’s Reels

The first of these three reels is yet another example of a great tune with a wonderfully roguish title and I imagine there must be a great story behind it! The two reels following are named after the great Leitrim flute player John McKenna. It was great to join forces here once again, with Matt Molloy and Sean Keane - old friends and incomparable musicians.
7. Muiñeira de Poio / Muiñeira de Ourense

These two Muiñeiras or Galacian jigs are named after the towns of Poio and Ourense in Galicia located in the Northwest of Spain, a region which has a very rich and thriving music tradition. There is a striking similarity between these Muiñeiras and our jig tunes, which can be explained by the presence of Irish Battalions in this region during the 17th and 18th centuries. During one of his trips to Ireland last year Carlos Núñez recorded for me a selection of Galician tunes. The two tunes here, together with those on the final track, were chosen from this material. Carlos is a musician of outstanding ability and sensitivity.

8. Bean Dubh an Ghleanna (The Dark Woman of the Glen)

Here is another Munster song-air. A feature of these tunes is their great musical sweep and scope. It first comes to light in the 18th century and is a song of unrequited love. When Micheál O’Súilleabháin and myself first talked about the arrangement we both felt it should paint a picture which comes out of the words. Hence the french-horns and their texture, combined with the pipes, evoke a pastoral landscape which reflects the song-text. Micheál has opted for a very interesting and creative approach in his arrangement, which is so full of movement. The arrangement, together with the magnificent playing of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, is wholly sympathetic to the beauty and grandeur of the air.
9. The Humours of Carrigaholt Set

These four reels are played on the flat set (B). The first, The Humours of Carrigaholt, I heard played by the late John Kelly, a great fiddle player and a fascinating man from Carrigaholt in Co. Clare. This is followed by Major Harrison’s Fedora, which makes a very fine piping reel. The third, a really beautiful tune, I unfortunately have never had a name for. Finally a reel I heard from the great flute player and singer Cathal McConnell. Cathal traces this tune to the Donegal fiddle player Johnny Doherty

10. The Gold Ring

Quiet simply one of the great classic piping tunes and this version (seven parts in all) I heard directly from one of my great musical heroes, uilleann piper Willie Clancy. It is a tune which offers the player unlimited scope, which can be heard in Sean Keane’s fantastic playing.

11. Marcha de Breixo / Marcha de Lousame

The first of these tunes is an ancient processional march that comes from the area of Cedeira on the northwestern coast of Galicia, a remote area of high ocean cliffs. In the small town of Breixo (meaning Heather) on the day of the local patron saint, the pipers lead pilgrims in a march round the chapel taking steps so small that it takes one hour to complete the circle of the chapel. The second tune also comes from the northern coast of Galicia and was collected by Bal Y Gay in the first half of this century. Musically it has the shape of an alborada (meaning sunrise). These tunes are played on the mornings of fiestas.

Growing up in a family where both parents loved to play traditional music and where visits from musicians were commonplace it was not surprising that Liam O’Flynn as a very young child developed a particular fascination with the uilleann pipes. Liam’s request for a set of pipes when he was ten fell on his father’s receptive ears and the following decade saw him taking weekly lessons with the renowned piper and pipe-maker Leo Rowsome. The often cited “seven years learning, seven years practising, seven years playing” said to make up a pipers apprenticeship saw Liam come to maturity as a master piper at a time of great social change and intense musical innovation. That he was equal to the agenda set by these challenges has been evident since his first days as an ensemble player with Planxty right through to his celebrated orchestral work. Centre stage always in this schema is the figure of the solo piper connecting with 300 years of piping tradition. All the creative forces in Liam’s playing converge at this point. This album bears eloquent testimony to that imperative. Liam’s music flows as a water from a spring fed by sources deep underground. The ear delights in its profound accomplishments; the heart rejoices in its truthfulness.

Nuala O’Connor

This album is dedicated to my late mother Maisie and my father Liam.

To Arty McGlynn, Rod McVey and Stephen Cooney my sincerest thanks for their enthusiasm, encouragement and inimitable music making.

Liam O’Flynn
Special Thanks To:
Philip King, Nuala O‘Connor, Sarah Power and Tina Moran (Hummingbird Productions), Nicholas Carolan and the staff of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, Liam Cooney (Windmill Lane Studios), Ed Bicknell, Robyn Becker and Glenn Saggers (Damage Management), Fernando Conde (Keltia Produccións), John Kelly (ICO), Andres Rogge, Alan Froment, Cathy Addis, Tiano Labraña, Killian O’Briain, Bernard Loughlin, his wife Mary and all the staff of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig.