This tune is really very simple and straightforward to play. Before I found out the name of this tune I used to call it simply the FABA FABA polka, referring to the first notes.
Fiddlers, try playing a droning D string throughout the tune for a rousing effect.
Once you’ve learned the tune, which shouldn’t take long, try out all sorts of ornamentation. You could try turning every bar into two triplets. This is a tune to have fun with. The key change at the start of the second part can be emphasised opn the fiddle by playing an open A string at the beginning.
Arrggghhh!!! That tune!!!
I use this tune for teaching because its simple and fairly effective, its good for demonstrating grace notes and getting the students to practise them.
But in the sessions I attend in Glasgow it is one of the most hated tunes around! so be warned those visiting Glasgow sessions, that you could become the bain of that session if you start up this tune!! I think that it’s just been over played now, the
Arrggghhh!!! That tune!!!
I can well understand Jenny’s comments. This is one tune I hear too many times. Some tunes I just can’t get enough of and I love them to bits. I never seem to tire of them but not this one. It must be popular though, in some respects, judging by the number of times I hear it at a particular session (it is played every time without exception).
It is, however, made just that little bit more interesting by being played twice through in G first and then being played twice through in D. This is easy on the Mandolin, Fiddle, Banjo, etc as it’s a two string tune. You just play it on the middle two strings first before swapping to play it on the top two, keeping the same fingering. The advantage is it gives a nice lift to the tune. The disadvantage, for people like myself and Jenny, is that it get played through four times… ah well… Some people are going to love it so give it a try.
Arrggghhh!!! That tune!!!
ArrrrrrrrggggggggghhHHHHHHh!!! That tune!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hee, hee, hee. Poor FABA polka. This is one of the first tunes beginners around here get taught, so any session with a beginner in it is going to have it get played, since we can usually count on them knowing it and being able to play it along with everyone else. *sigh*
I can’t say that I *hate* it, exactly, but I *was* wondering the other day whether I could play it backwards… :)
I thought that the Bothy Band played the Kerry Jig with the Balinatore Fancy. Both slides. On the recording it sure doesn’t sound like the tune printed here as Egans/Kerry.I play Egan’s with Sweeney’s and its a lot easier than the Kerry Jig I know.
For what it’s worth, this one is more commonly known as Peg Ryan’s Polka. I remember it being a great tune when first released on an LP by the Chieftans sometime back in the early seventies - however, it’s been around the clock many times since then hence the aaaaaaarrrrrgh reactions. Maybe it’s the way it’s played as all tunes played by beginners tend to get a bad press for obvious reasons (need I mention Dawning of the Day and compare this to the same melody used for Raglan Road and sung by the late great Luke Kelly!) - I rest my case.
We play this as the first of a set of D Polkas, and I must admit to wishing we only would play it twice before we launched the second tune:Maids of Ardagh. But we finally decided to keep it there for three times, and in the process build a LOT of tension, not only for the musicians but for the listeners, for when we finally changed to Maids.. it was if a great weight had been lifted. Then finishing with Ryan’s polka we were ready to drill it and the listeners love it. But this set may have seen the end of its’ usefulness, overplayed and constrained without dancers to give it some life.
Also In G…
I was just at the Leahy fiddle camp. I heard Mark Sullivan teach this tune in G for some beginners.
|:BD ED|BD ED|G2 A>B|AG ED|BD ED|BD ED|G2 A>B|AG G2:|
|:Bd B>G|AG ED|G2 A>B|AG ED|Bd B>G|AG ED|G2 A>B|AG G2:|
I do wish they wouldn’t put this tune in beginner’s books named as a Kerry Polka when nowadays everybody seems to know its right name. I first came across this polka played by a box player in a pub near the Elephant and Castle in 1958. He played a first part, then the two parts which are now played as part one and two, so I learnt it as a three part polka in G. I often play it like that but nobody knows the first part so I’m on my own until I hit the second and third parts. To make the tune interesting try playing it twice in G then change to D.
3rd part ?
So how about posting us that lost 3rd part then, please ? And how do you know "Egan’s" is its "right" name ?
“The Kerry Polka” / “Egan’s Polka” ~ rescued duplication
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on November 14th 2008 by TeenWHistler.
T: Kerry, The
|: BD ED | BD ED | G2 AB | AG ED |
BD ED | BD ED | G2 AB | AG G2 :|
|: Bd BA/A/ | AG ED | G2 AB | AG ED |
Bd BA/A/ | AG ED | G2 AB | AG G2 :|
“Egan’s Polka” ~ other possibilities
T: Egan’s Polka
|: G>A |\
BD ED | BD E/F/E/D/ | G2 A>B | AG ED |
BD ED | BD ED/E/ | G2 A>B | AG :|
|: G>A |\
Bd Bd/B/ | AG ED | G2 A>B | AG EG/A/ |
Bd Bc/B/ | AG E2 | GD/G/ AB | AG :|
&, A-part, bar 2 & 5 ~ | B/c/B/D/ ED | ~
“The Chieftains 5”
Track 3: Three Kerry Polkas: "Egan’s" / "Peggy Ryan’s Fancy" / "Ballydesmond" (#3)
"whether I could play it backwards"… excellent idea Zina Lee!
X: 5 “Egan’s Polka” / “Peg Ryan’s Polka”
S: transcribed from the box playing of Johnny Reidy
CD: "Johnny Reidy & The Sliabh Luachra Ceili Band: Music for Set Dancing Volume II"
Track 16, the 1st polka of 3…
A tin whistle version here
Does anyone else know this one as O’Rahilly’s? I don’t know where I got that name from, but it would make sense if this was indeed Aoghan O’Rathaille’s tune, the great Gneeveguilla poet…
The Kerry, X:6
From the brilliant chromatic harmonica playing of Eddie Clarke, RIP. He called it Peg Ryan’s and had a third part. I’ve only tried to include a few examples of his variations here.