I first came across concertina-player Ciaran O’Grady at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Clonmel in 1994. I was sitting with “Ptarmigan”, who was waiting to compete in the Senior competition, and the 16-18 age group contestants had a play-off for the title. I think Ciaran was placed 2nd, but I thought he should have won. Whatever – in 1999 he turned up in Dundee on the Comhaltas tour, and played this unusual reel as the 1st of his 2 solo tunes. It was the highlight of the concert for me, and a tune I’d always meant to learn. A bit Paddy Fahey-esque to my ears, I think this is the basic tune, but of course Ciaran had a lot of subtle variations thrown in. The Gs, I think were occasionally played as G sharps.
If anyone has a name for it, please let me know.
Thanks for your kind comments Kenny. The tune is called Spanky’s farewell. I wrote it in Cork in 1998. It’s actually in F# minor I think - at least that’s what I was told - starting on f# as opposed to A. I think all the G’s in that key are sharp but there probably were a few odd decisions taken whilst playing it - particularly in Dundee. That was by far the best night of the tour.
As for clonmel - you’ve some memory. I was second to Tony O’connell and for the record - I think I deserved the 2nd place.
Great tune!!! It’s already locked in my head. Who’s Spanky?
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