Source: Up And Away by Paul Smyth
This is another of Vincent Brodericks compositions. He tells the story of coming home from a session with his friend and humming his new composition , they spotted a house in the distance with a light on, it had to be a party or a wake, so they went to investigate and it was the latter. After paying their respects they were offered a drink and sat down but the tune was in Vincents head and for fear of loosing it he kept humming quietly, or so he thought. He was overheard and was asked to stop as it was not the right thing to do in the circumstances. After leaving his friend said to Vincent I have a great name for your tune. "The whistler at the wake".
Vincent has produced a lot of great tunes and a book . He was honoured by TG4 for his compositions last year. I hear his second book with a further 60 or so tunes is being transcribed at the moment.
Blast from the past
I first heard this tune in as the first in set of jigs on a 1985 "bootleg" recording of Frankie Kennedy, Mairead Mooney, and Daithi Sproule in Madison WI. It must have been their first tour of the US. I just dug the recording up. Frankie identifies the tune as one of Vincent Broderick’s, saying that he is "a flute player from Galway, which he is sorry for …" On the recording, just before they start playing, Daithi says, "Can I have a little more guitar in the monitor? … I’ve always wanted to say that since I saw Woodstock." Frankie asks, "Is that in Mayo?" The whole recording is wonderful for the innocence of it all and the music is fantastic. In the that same jig set they follow this tune with what I think is another Vincent Broderick jig:
DEG GAB | deg gab | age e/f/ge | dBG AGE | etc.
Does anyone recognize it?
It’ "The Flail".
The *Old* Flail.
"The Old Flail" ~ Vincent Broderick
Key signature: G Major
Submitted on July 14th 2002 by gian marco.
"Traditional Irish Flute Solos: The Turoe Stone Colleciton"
~ 69 compositions by Vincent Broderick
Waltons Music Inc., 1990
Page 15: "The Whistler at the Wake"
In the Turoe Stone, the 1st 4 bars of the B-part appear as:
|fed BdB|AFE EDB|A3 ABF|ABF AFA|
This is in the The Turoe Stone Colleciton.
T: Whistler At The Wake
C: Vincent Broderick
F2A AFA|Bcd efg|fed BdB|AFE EDE|
F2A AFA|Bcd efg|fed BdB|AFD D2:|
fed BdB|AFE EDB|A3 ABF|ABF AFA|
fed BdB|AFE EFA|fed BdB|AFD D2:|
Whistler At The Wake, X:5
My transcription of a recording of Louise Mulcahy playing this tune on a flat set at The Cobblestone pub in 2014 (though I have transposed it back to concert pitch for convenience). This is the bare bones of it; she takes some liberties with both the timing and the notes in her repetition of the B part. She tells the story about Vincent Broderick writing the tune, but didn’t say where learned this version.
Whistler At The Wake, X:6
Matt Molloy’s version from his album "Back to the Island".
He plays the repeat of the B part differently, so I’ve added it to.