“The Left Handed Tushkar” ~ God bless you Ronnie Cooper
I’m a leftie, and I actually know what a difference a left-handed tushkar makes and how rare they are. All you lefties out there unite and take this lovely little number to heart. I can’t imagine it won’t bring a smile out of you, at least in the attempt.
Thanks for your passion Nigel, a good part of the reason for my making this little homage to Ronnie Cooper and the music and musicians of the Shetlands, a place I still haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, though I’ve had the pleasure of sharing music and dance with some of its residents.
The transcription given here is fromthe playing of William Hunter Junior, fiddler, accompanied beautifully by the man himself ~ Ronald "Ronnie" Cooper…
“The Left Handed Tushkar” ~ another G-reat reel from the man’s muse
The recording I have is an old one and comes out sounding in A, but it could just as well be one step down in G, and I quite like playing it there, rumbling those Ds. ;-) Here it is in G:
T: The Left Handed Tushkar
K: G Major
|: DF |
GFGB ADD/D/D | GDGB dGBd | cBce d<gfg | eA^ce d2 DF |
GFGB ADD/D/D | GDGB dGBd | cBce defd | g2 G2 G2 :|
|: Bc |
dgfg dGBd | ce^de Aece | dgfg dGBd |
[1 eA^ce d2 B=c | dgfg dGBd | ce^de Aece | dgfe defd | g2 G2 G2 :|
[2 eA^ce d2 DF | GFGB ADD/D/D | GDGB dGBd | cBce defd | g2 G2 G2 |]
“Ronnie Cooper Week” continues ~ and maybe needs a weekend extension?
I’ve a strathspey yet to add…
Film: “Scenes from a Shetland Croft Life” ~ originally “Peat from Hillside to Home”
Scottish Screne Archive Live
Additional Information: How peat is cut using a `tushkar` and made ready to be used as fuel in a croft in the Shetland Isles.
Director: [d. Jenny Brown]
Original Format: 16mm
Credits: From the GPO Film Library ~
Bought by John Grierson for the GPO library c1936, along with Jenny Brown’s other films for the sum of £40.00.
Running Time: 6.51 mins ~ Shotlist:
.00 ~ Title
.10 ~ Peat from hillside to home
.19 ~ Ramsie makes sure his tushkar is ready for a day’s peatcutting
.24 ~ A crofter re-shapes his tushkar with a hammer and then goes to dig the peat.
.49 ~ His wife calls him back to give him his packed lunch. He then continues on his way
1.27: He must first remove the turf from the top of the peat bank
1.33: The crofter takes off the turf with a special shovel
1.46: Please replace the divots. Crofter replaces the turf
2.06: Now he can get at the peat. He digs out the peat with his tushkar, which takes out the peat in oblong blocks
2.53: Lucky he has a thoughtful wife. The crofter stops work to eat his lunch and have a smoke
3.27: A week later his wife and sister help to raise the peat to let it dry thoroughly. Shots as the crofter and two women stack the peat for drying
4.27: When dry the peat was built into a roog and from there it is carried down to the house. The crofter and his wife load their baskets and carry the peat to the croft
6.12: The crofter’s sister takes a few lumps of peat into her house
6.37: shot of smoking chimney
I’d so love a copy of this film…. :-)
Respect to Ronnie Cooper ~ and not just for the music
How many folks known and unknown have done the courtesy of making a left-handed tune, eh? ~ and such a grand one too. Yeah, you right-handed folks laugh, until you actually have to try to cut anything with a left-handed pair of scissors or pour from a left-handed handled pot, or do any pen and ink to manuscript of any of the languages that go from right to left? The latter would give you some of the frustration I’ve had doing pen and ink music transcription onto expensive manuscript paper…
So, this little number, late in arrival, is another reason for my respect for Ronald "Ronnie" Cooper, the music on its own, and for the title too… I do miss the scents and sounds and life of peat bogs, and the smell of peat in the fire… I’m breaking out in goosebumps just thinking about it…
“Ronnie Cooper Week” continues ~ more on the man & his music
Ronnie Cooper, 1934-1982, Shetland musician & composer
~ including links to more of his compositions…
You better cut back on all these reels your posting! This makes at least 4. :8)
One of these days Ill get it right
You noticed, eh? It’s good to have virtual mates to out you… ;-)
I like the pig’s nose ~ 8 ~ between your eyes ~ : ~ and your smile ~ )…
Try this ~ 8 + - + ) = 8-)
It’s part of my calling in life, to work for balance, justice, fair treatment and representation for all, including for non-reel tunes…
Where’d you get your ratio? ~ :-D
You want a laugh, when I first saw your ending up above ~ "4. :8)" ~ I seriously thought it was some attempt at ratios, and was trying to figure how you got 4-to-8, or 1-to-2… I considered respoding with, don’t you mean more like 1-to-8, or higher…
Everybody else is adding reels here while in the background, not so quietly, I do my thing promoting greater variety (& dance) ~ and the occassional reel… My appreciation is wide, passionate, caring and considered…
Hey, besides MH, Shetland reels have a life and humour all their own, not that far removed from barndances and the like, with just a little less swing… ;-)
Da Tushkar - I thought it was Shetland dialect for a walrus!..
When I first came across the tune Da Tushkar / The Tusker on albums, I had no idea what was meant. I thought, "Shetlands = Arctic = this tune must be about a walrus!" After all, they have tusks, and that seemed to clinch it.
It was a long time later that I learned about the peat-cutting implement called the "tushkar".
Ronnie Coopers Reel, bby Josephine keegan
Ronnie Coopers Reel, by Josephine Keegan, see link
The Left-Handed Fiddler by Scott Skinner
Nice one Bren…
Nicholas - there are no walruses (walri?) in Shetland that I know of. (Although, there’s a seal living in Twickenham, so anything’s possible).
On my visit to Shetland, 10 years ago, I remember seeing the peat blocks, each a foot or so long, stacked like bricks into a ‘wall’ to dry, with gaps of a few inches left between the ends of the blocks. Quite a feature of the landscape.