Music In The Glen

By Bob Bickerton

  1. The Swallow’s Tail
    The Flowers Of Redhill
    Music In The Glen
  2. Mary Of Craigilee
  3. Gan Ainm (Jig)
    Gan Ainm (Jig)
  4. Fill A Rún (Return, My Love)
  5. Gan Ainm (Air, The Dear Irish Boy Variant)
    Gan Ainm (Reel)
  6. Mrs Hamilton Of Pitcaithlands
  7. Port Na BPúcaí (The Fairy’s Tune)
  8. Aye Waukin Oh
  9. The Duke Of Leinster
    The London Lasses
  10. Anach Chuain
  11. Drunk At Night, Dry In The Morning
  12. Ballydesmond
    The Siege Of Ennis
    The Glenduan
  13. Steps To The Unknown

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Bob Bickerton - Music In The Glen

1996 album, from New Zealand.

Available at Bandcamp:

Traditional "Celtic" music arranged, performed, and in part written by Bob Bickerton.

On the album:
- Bob Bickerton (flute/uilleann pipes/whistles/harp/guitar/mandola/fiddle/bodhrán/keyboards/vocals)
- Evey McAuliffe (vocals; Fill A Rún & Anach Chuain)

Some additional information available on New Zealand’s national library website:

From Bandcamp liner notes:

- Track 1, The Swallow’s Tail/The Flowers Of Redhill/Music In The Glen:
A set of traditional Irish reels, commonly played as session tunes. Alex Davidson gave me ‘The Flowers Of Redhill’ and I learnt ‘Music In The Glen’ from Mick Hurley. The Glen (not the one referred to in the tune) is a special area near to Nelson which Evey and I have a close association.

- Track 2, Mary Of Craigilee:
John Barr moved from his native Scotland to Otago in 1852 where he laboured hard to establish a living from the land for his new wife and children. His principal recreation during this time was the writing of songs and verse. The above song was published in 1860 and appears to be one of the earliest New Zealand songs to be published. Barr set the words to the traditional Scottish song ‘The Lea Rig’. A copy of Barr’s publication is held at the Dunedin Public Library.

- Track 3, The Kerrytown Jigs:
I remember being told by the great highland piper Donald Bowman that as a boy (around the turn of the century) he used to travel to an area behind Timaru, where he learnt tunes from Irish pipers who lived there. These jigs came to me and are more than likely variations of traditional tunes that I have heard in the past. I dedicate them to the pipers of Kerrytown, the area behind Timaru where the Irish community lived.

- Track 4, Fill A Rún (Return, My Love):
An 18th century Donegal mother’s lament for her son who not only forsook the priesthood, but became a protestant minister! Minister Ó Domhnaill is buried in Carrigart graveyard in Co. Donegal.

- Track 5, On Western Shores (Set):
I learnt these tunes from recordings of Sean Potts and Joe Burke. The first is a variation on the air ‘The Dear Irish Boy’.

- Track 6, Mrs. Hamilton Of Pitcaithlands:
Written by 18th century Scottish composer and fiddler Nathaniel Gow (son of Niel), I was instantly attracted to this tune when I heard it played by Alex Davidson on Scottish small pipes.

- Track 7, Port na bPúcaí (The Fairy’s Tune):
I was given this tune by Feargal Mac Amhlaoibh, who himself learnt it from Tomás Dálaigh, grandson of the Inishvickillane fiddler Seán Guiheen. It is said that the Guiheen family heard this music at night while in their beds and that Seán Guiheen, the man of the house, picked up the tune which has ever since been revered in West Kerry as fairy music. It has also been suggested that the music may have been the crying of whales which frequent the Blasket waters.

- Track 8, Aye Waukin Oh:
A beautiful Scottish song. ‘Waukin’ in this song refers to ‘being awake’, a common insomnial problem with new lovers.

- Track 9, The Duke Of Leinster/The London Lasses:
Two traditional Irish reels learnt in Sligo from the playing of Mick Hurley.

- Track 10, Anach Chuain:
Written by blind Irish poet Anthony Rafferty, this song recalls the tragedy of a boating accident on Lough Corrib near Galway in 1828. The boat sank when a sheep put its hoof through a rotten section of hull, 18 people drowned.

- Track 11, Drunk At Night, Dry In The Morning:
Another tune in the fine Gow family tradition, this time written by Niel Gow (father of Nathaniel). The title is almost as good as the tune itself.

- Track 12, Ballydesmond Polka/Gan Anim/The Glenduan:
I learnt the first of these polkas from Limerick flute and concertina player Peg Ryan. The second tune came from the playing of good friend and accordionist Barrie McDonald and appears in Feargal Mac Amhlaoibh’s book ‘An Pota Stóir’ as ‘Gan Ainm’ (no name). Like the Kerrytown Jigs, the third polka came to me and I have named it here ‘The Glenduan’.

- Track 13, Steps To The Unknown:
There are many negative songs in the tradition about immigration but this song was written to celebrate its positive aspects. I was prompted to write it following a concert at Christchurch East Primary School where a number of students are from refugee families. It struck me that these children brought a great richness and diversity to our society, something which goes unnoticed by those wishing to reduce immigration. It deals also with my own feelings on immigration and the sadness of those immigrants who are unable to let go of the past.