Aggie Whyte was a fiddle-player, I think from Co. Galway. She was a member of the Tulla Ceili Band, and also (I think) , the Balinakill Ceili Band. I first heard this reel played by Frankie Kennedy and others at a Willie Week sessions some years back. Frankie used to play it with the fs natural in the 7th bar of the second part - a nice touch, but no-one else seems to play it that way.
This setting comes from Brendan McGlinchey, who taught it to a fiddle class in Dundee for the local Comhaltas branch about 4 years ago. I was teaching the whistle class and overheard the fiddlers playing it, so was able to get the name of the tune from Brendan, who also gave me a copy of the dots.
Apparently this is a Paddy Kelly composition.
I’ve heard this tune pop up in sessions lately, including this weekend. Right now I’m learning it off of the Mulcahy Family CD. Louise plays a lovely flute setting she learned from Eamonn Cotter. He calls it Father Kelly’s. According to the album notes it was composed by Father Kelly of Galway. She plays Belles of Tipperary after it which makes a lovely set.
Finbarr Dwyer recorded this, and called it "Father Kelly’s" - seems to be some confusion about the Kellys, and I’ve no idea who is right.
Hear Aggie White play Aggie Whyte’s Chattering Magpies.
You can hear Aggie White (or Whyte) play this tune and Whelan’s jig in a recording made in 1946 by Seamus Ennis and Caoimhín Ó Danachair for the Irish Folklore Commission.
I think her playing is just fantastic, a wild, lonely sound. I would love to hear more of it, solo like this. I wonder if there are more recordings of her in the Irish National Folklore Collection. I will ask them.
But this tune isn’t Aggie Whyte’s Chattering Magpies.
At least it’s not the same as the one I linked to.
The above is "Chattering Magpies". I never said that the tune I posted as "Aggie Whyte’s" was "Chattering Magpies". Someone else added the name, but ‘twasn’t me.
Yes, that one (aka the Gun in the Thatch) is what is on the Folklore website.
In Mike Rafferty’s collection ‘Second Wind - 300 More Tunes from Mike Rafferty’, this tune is given the awkward title
"The Other (Aggie Whyte’s) Chattering Magpie" - composed by East Galway fiddler Paddy Kelly
In the notes it says that Paddy Kelly played with the famed Aughrim Slopes Ceili Band.
I note that the tune is also found in Ceol Rince na hEireann vol.2 No. 186, Gan Ainm. Paul de Grae has given the alternative titles of "Paddy Kelly’s" and "Father Ahearn’s".
I never heard it called other than ‘Aggie Whyte’s’ in real life (i.e. outside the interwebs). I have a fair stretch of Aggie Whyte recorrdings but this tune is not among them. I have one of Paddy Fahey playing it though.
Yet another ‘Paddy Kelly’s’ reel - this one’s a keeper
This is the sixth ‘Paddy Kelly’s’ on The Session. Anybody know this one by a different name?
I got this off Cherish the Ladies’ new album ‘Woman of the House’ (track 5: Woman of the House Medley). They play it in a set as: The Fairy Queen / The Gooseberry Bush / Paddy Kelly’s / Woman of the House. I like the set, but personally prefer replacing The Fairy Queen with the barndance Hubert Cumberdale’s.
The second one is a version of The New Custom House, I believe.
Aggie Whytes OR Chattering Magpie?
As far as my experience goes, these are two different ( albeit diabolically similar) tunes. Probably two versions of the same . But I reckon Aggie Whytes is the one posted here but Chattering Magpies is a very slightly different tune ( on Tim Collins recording of Dancing on Silver) . He calls it simply Chattering Magpies, and when I learned Aggie Whytes it was simply called Aggie Whytes.
Any comments from those who may know better than I do?
On the recent album of archival recordings of Aggie Whyte released by her grandson in 2021, she plays both this tune and "The Chattering Magpie", both fantastic versions. The two are only really similar in their first bar, then they go in very different directions and don’t converge anywhere else. This tune is also double while the Magpie is single.
Never knew Paddy Kelly composed it until today. A great tunesmith, that one.
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