Farewell To Chernobyl reel

By Michel Ferry

Also known as A Farewell Chernobyl, Farewell To Cherbobyl, Farewell To Tchernobyl, Ferry’s, Fire In The Belly, Michel Ferry’s, Return From Tchernobyl, Return To Chernobyl, Trip To Chernobyl.

There are 27 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Farewell To Chernobyl has been added to 37 tune sets.

Farewell To Chernobyl has been added to 502 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Eleven settings

X: 1
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
D3F ADFA|DFAF FGA=B|c2Gc EcGe|fedc d3c:|
d2fd gdfd|d2fd gfec|d2fd gdfd|e2ef edcA|
d2fd gdfd|d2fd gfeg|a4 afef|e2ef edcA|
d2fd gdfd|d2fd efec|d2fd gdfd|e2ef edcA|
Adfd Adfd|Bdfd Bdfd|cege agfe|fedc dBAF||
X: 2
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
E3 G BEGB|EGBE GAB^c|d2 Ad FdAd|gfed e2:|
e2 ge aege|e2 ge agfd|e2 ge aege|f2 fg feBd|
1 e2 ge aege|e2 ge agfa|b2 bg b2 fg|f2 fg fe:|
2 Bege Bege|cege cege|dfaf bagf|gfed e2||
E3 G BEGB|EGBE F/G/A B^c|d/e/d Ad FdAf|gfe^d e2:|
e/e/e ge bege|e/e/e ge fgfB|e/e/e ge aegB|f/f/f ge fB^dB|
1 ~e2 ge b ~e3|~e2 ge agfa|~b3 a b ~g3|~f3 g fB:|
2 ~e2 Ge Bege|cege c ~e3|d/e/d Af bagf|a/g/f e^d e2||
X: 3
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
D2 D>F A>DF>A|D>FA>F G>FE>C|A,2 A,>C E>A,C>E|A,>CE>G A>cG>F|
D2 (3FED ADFA|D2 A>D (3EFG A>=B|c2 G>c E>cG>c|f>ed>^c d2:|
d2 f>d g>df>d|(3ddd f>d g>fe>f|d2 f>d g>df>d|e2 A>c a>c (3gfe|
d2 f>d g>df>d|d2 f>d g>fe>g|e>aa>^g a2 a>f|e2 e>f e>d^c>A|
d2 (3fed g>d (3fed|d2 f>d g>fe>c|d2 (3fed g2 f>c|a>cg>c f>ce>c|
d2 f>d A>df>d|(3BBB f>d B>df>d|c2 g>e c>eg>c|a>cg>c f>c||
X: 4
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
D2 (3FED ADFA|D2 AD (3EFG A=B|c2 Gc EcGc|fed^c d2:|
d2 fd gdfd|(3ddd fd gfef|d2 fd gdfd|e2 Ac ac (3gfe|
d2 fd gdfd|d2 fd gfeg|eaa^g a2 af|e2 ef ed^cA|
d2 (3fed gd (3fed|d2 fd gfec|d2 (3fed g2 fc|acgc fcec|
d2 fd Adfd|(3BBB fd Bdfd|c2 ge cegc|acgc fc||
X: 5
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
E3G BEGB|EGBE GAB^c|d2 AF DFAf|1 gfed edBG:|2 gfed edBd||
|:e2 ge a2 ge|e2 ge agfd|e2 ge agfg|effe fedB|
[1 e2 ge a2 ge|e2 ge agfa|gb b2 fa a2|fggf gfed:|
[2 Bege Bege|cege cege|dfaf dfaf|gfed edBG||
# Added by JACKB .
X: 6
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
"Bb"D2 DF ADFA|DFAD FAD=B|"C"c2 Gc EcGe|1 fedc dcAF:|2 fedc dcAc||
|:"Dm"d2 fd gdfd|d2 fg gfdc|"Bb"B2 fB gBfB|"C"efef dGBA|
[1"Dm"d2 fd gdfd|d2 fg gdfg|"Bb"aAAa "Am"gAAg|"Bb"fAAf "C"eABA:|
[2"Dm"d2 fA dfdA|"Bb"B2 fB dfdB|"C"c2 gc egcg|agfe fgef||
# Added by Mario .
X: 7
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
(3EEE EG BEGB|EGBG AGFA|(3ddd Ad FAdf|1 gfed edBA:|2 gfed edBd||
(3eee ge aege|(3eee ge agfg|(3eee ge aege|(3fff fg fBdf|
(3eee ge aege|(3eee ge agfg|ab b2 ba a2|ag g2 fBdf|
(3eee ge aege|(3eee ge agfg|(3eee ge aege|(3fff fg fBdf|
(3eee ge aege|ccec ggec|dfag bagf|gfed edBA||
X: 8
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Emin
E3G BEGB|EGBE BAGA|b,3d fb,df|b,dfd edBA|
E3G BEGB|EGBE BAGA|d2 Ad FdAd|f3g fedB:|
e2ge aege|e2ge agfg|c2ge aege|f3g fedB|
e2ge aege|e2ge agfg|~b3 ~a3 ~g3|~f3 g fB|
e2ge aege|e2ge agfg|c2gc acgc|f3g fedB|
Bege Bege|cege cege|d2ge bagf|gfed BAGF||
X: 9
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
"Dm"D2 DF ADFA|DFAD FAFD|"Am"A2 Ac eAce|AceA dAFE|
"Bb"D2 DF ADFA|DFAD FAD=B|"C"c2 Gc EcGe|1 fedc dcAF:|2 fedc dcAc||
|:"Dm"d2 fd gdfd|d2 fg gfdc|"Bb"B2 fB gBfB|"C"efef dGBA|
[1"Dm"d2 fd gdfd|d2 fg gdfg|"Bb"aAAa "Am"gAAg|"Bb"fAAf "C"eABA:|
[2"Dm"d2 fA dfdA|"Bb"B2 fB dfdB|"C"c2 gc egcg|agfe fgef|
X: 10
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
D3F ADFA|DFAF FGA=B|c2Gc EcGe|fedc d3c:|
d2fd gdfd|d2fd gfec|d2fd gdfd|e2ef edcA|
d2fd gdfd|d2fd gfeg|a4 afef|e2ef edcA|
d2fd gdfd|d2fd efec|d2fd gdfd|e2ef edcA|
Adfd Adfd|Bdfd Bdfd|cege agfe|fedc dBAF||
X: 11
T: Farewell To Chernobyl
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmin
"Dm"D3F ADFA|DFAF EFG=B|"C"c2Gc EcGe|1 "Bb"fedc "Am"dcAF:|2 "Bb"fedc "Am"dcAc||
|:"Dm"d2fd gdfd|d/d/d fd efeA|"Bb"B2fB gBff|"C"e2ef edcA|
[1"Dm"d2fd gdfd|d/d/d fd gfef|"Am"a2a2- aggg-|gfff edcA:|
[2"Dm"d2fd Adfd|"Gm"Bdfd Bdfd|"C"cege aged|"Am"gedc dcAF||

Eighty-five comments

Farewell to Chernobyl

This fantastic reel was written by the late Michael Ferry of Fiddler’s Bid.

It’s a really good tune, played fast or slow, and goes well with Tam Lyn and Laura and Athena

Not my cup of tea

The melody is just arpeggio’s & it doesn’t really go anywhere. The title is pretty naff as well.

Opus Blue

try listening to it on Catriona Macdonald’s Opus Blue - it might change ur mind

Does she play the tune totally differently & call it by a different title?

Farewill to Chernobyl

Always loved this! From Opus Blue - Catriona certainly plays it with pizazz and the piano accordion part makes it haunting. Been too lazy to learn it from the cd so it’s great to have the sheet. Thanks. I play box, so I;ll see if it’s a good box tune or not……..

Sounds nice on the box, too

Before trying Catriona MacDonald’s CD, I came across this tune in Sharon Shannon’s “The Diamond Mountain Session.” Supported by several fiddles, her playing sounds really nice.
To tell the truth, I’ve been looking for this tune for long, but oh, it cannot be played on my instrument, whistle.

Mad Baloney, how can you such terrible things, hang your head in shame! It must be the way you played it, take Fiddlin Mads advice and listen to it on catrionas album. You have to syncopeate it. Title is a bit random, but it was writen by a young so theres probably a story behind it. Its a great tune.

By the way its Tchernobyl not Chernobyl.

I stand firm in what I believe, if people keep churning out tunes like this it’s going to ruin the tradition.

wat6? its extending the tradition/ Its growing, the music has to progress otherwise itl die, thats the way the tradition came about in the first place.


Just remember…..this is a “living” tradition. Not just for the posthumous works but for
the ones written this morning, etc.

Good point well made.


Wackadack - the place is spelt Chernobyl so thats where i go it from…… dunno if its right, but i head Michael Ferrey wrote after he was diagnosed with cancer - sumthin to do with the radiation from chernobyl (after it exploding) being blown over to shetland.

U think we shud post wackidoo ??

That would seem to be the plausible argument, however not every string of eight notes makes the a good tune. Many tunes have been forgotten because they are substandard. Many originally mediocre tunes have been honed by hundreds of excellent musicians changed little by little until it’s a knockout tune. That’s the tradition. Although it is a living tradition it is a very conservative one & changes are slow & many changes are not generally accepted. Brendan McGlichly & Charlie Lennon are famous for new tunes that have instantly become accepted, they also write nice melodic tunes & don’t hang absurd names on them. Because it’s a living tradition doesn’t mean that everything is accepted into it.

Rooted in Shetland Tradition

Michael Ferry is definitely a great fiddler just like Jerry Holland, and many musicians, mainly Scottish though, play his tunes. I know several tunes writte by him, and they all sounds quite traditional, even if not always similar to traditional Irish.
They are deeply rooted in the local Shetland fiddle music and a bit influenced by the music from mainland of Scotland.
If some Irish musicians think that this tune goes off the tradition, that is simply because they are not familiar with the Shetland fiddle music. Don’t think Irish music is orthodox and authentic.
Pick up the Scottish band, Deaf Shepherd’s “Synergy” and try “Wings o’ a Scorie” written by M. Ferry in 4th track. I’m sure it is also appealing to Irish musicians.

Bless you, Brad. I think it’s important for the Tradition to stay alive that the experienced musicians, in whom the Tradition reposes, speak their mind clearly. Doesn’t stop anyone from playing the tune, after all. This tune, btw, confirms my general impression that Scotish tunes are melodically less interesting than Irish tunes. That’s of course overstated etc. etc. but just consider the Jig of Slurs.

Incidentally there is a very nice tune called The Return to Chernobyl on a House Band album (Another Setting, first tune in the Twin Katies set), that they credit to Vincent Blin from Paris.

Thats sooo insulting. You just find irish music more interesting cos its wat ure used to, if youd always listened to scottish music aswell youd have a different opinion. I rarely hear irish music so i tend to think it sounds a bit samey, BUT AT LEAST IM MAKING THE EFFORT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IT. Yeah the jig of slurs is a crap session tune, but dont even try and say there arent any crap irish tunes out there too, in fact im gonna have a look now and find some, its all a matter of opinion. Ok finnished my rant, i hope you read this.

Hey fiddlin mad, ive been trying to work out who you are, i think i know now, r u my beauly b&b chum? Wackidoo shud defnitly be posted ( even if its swedish as opposed to irish) and( even if it is MELODICALY LESS INTERESTING than irish music)!!!!!!!!

And another point, whats wrong with having interesting titles ( or in some peops opinions absurd), it drws peoples attention to the tune, an interesting title grabs peoples attention. I personaly think the best tune title ever has to be Zander The Sander, altho i also like Welcome To Drunkenness.

Tune Names

It doesn’t really matter what a tune is called, however I am less apt to even bother looking at a tune with an “interesting” title beacause they are generally written by someone who doesn’t fully understand what a good tune is all about. Scottish music isn’t crap - it’s just a whole different ball of wax, I like some of it a lot. Some of the good old strathspeys & rants are excellent. Not to mention that 90% of the “traditional” Irish tunes are just re-worked Scottish pieces. I personally like Irish music better because of the humble approach, the focus is on the little details, not beating the listener over the head with flash. BTW not all Scots tunes are crap, don’t feel like were running you out of town. I think there are great many reels & some of the best hornpipes too. The Silver Spire, Barrowburn Reel, The Cameronian, Lord Gordon’s, Lord MacDonald’s, Bonnie Kate etc are all Scotish & bulletproof tunes.

Good tunes

when u say that a tune with an interesting title is probably written by someone who doesnt understand what a good tune is all about - what would u say a good tune is all about…?

Yes, I read it

Whackadack I did read your little rant. I like it that you identify so strongly with Scottish music that are personally insulted when someone criticizes it. Interesting, too, how you can divine what I listen to and don’t listen to.

But I still stand by my point about Scots music. Sorry if it offends you. Miss MacLeod is one of my all-time favorite session tunes, btw.

What I care about most, however, is that the people who play the music share their views about the music. If I am listening to a music whom I respect and who has walked the walk and he/she says “that tune is crap” or “musican X doesn’t have it” that is a very valuable thing to hear. Whether I agree with it or not. For this reason I don’t really like it when people who state a strong opinion get criticized or flamed for it. I think we should be strong enough like what we like, play what we play, and let others say what they will. Even if we really like that tune or Scottish music, or Sheena E, or whatever.

Farewell to Chernobyl

I love this tune….! I’m playing it as part of a medley (medley?) of tunes for my GCSE music recording - what luck that the sheet music turned up! Cheers ;)
Lizzy xxx

Posted by .

A good fiddle tune isnt just about melody, a good tune is made up of a selection of things: melody, harmony, rhythm, bowing, ornaments. Different selections and portions of these things affect people differently so it really is just a matter of taste.
Bloomfield, i see your point but i think theres no put down musicians or tunes, by all means suggest ways they might be improved on, but by saying simply that you dont like it benefits nobody. Im strong enough to say what i like, but im also strong enuff to hold back opinions which could be taken offensivly. No offense like 🙂

Good luck with your gcse recording Lizzy, nice choice of tune.

Tune names

Brendan McGlinchey and Charlie Lennon do indeed compose excellent tunes, but given that they composed tunes called “The Floating Crowbar” and “The Flying Wheelchair” respectively, maybe the contributer who said they “don’t hang absurd names on them” might like to think again about that statement.

Posted by .

Question for “Bloomfield”

Do you think that Scottish tunes are “less melodically interesting than Irish tunes” to 5 million Scots?

Posted by .

Answer for Kenny

First off, no need to put quotation marks around my handle. Thanks.

Second, I’ve considered not answering your question because it’s more of a point than a question and because I am not looking to get people’s goad or infuriate them. But I will answer to say two things, the first being that I doubt that 5 million scots listen to traditional Scots Music. Maybe a tens of thousands do, probably fewer. Of those, only a fraction could reliably tell one reel or strathspey from another, and even fewer I think would be aware of enough Scottish and Irish tunes to get an impression of differences. Now this is the sort of niggly and unhelpful fact that I normally avoid as supercillious, but I brought it up because it allows me to make my second point. You weren’t concerned with who actually listens to Scots music and thinks about its characteristics, but with national pride (of 5 million Scots) in their Scottish culture, music, etc. You are trying to tell me that I am insulting the Scots by picking on their music. Patriotism is like love in that it makes blind, I guess. You can of course agree or disagree with me about Scottish music, but don’t turn it into a “you are dissing my country” thing. That makes the discussion a bit boring.

You also seem to think that melodic interest is a personal or subjective thing. I don’t agree. This is the musical part of my answer if you will. I am happy to make all the usual disclaimers (as I did in my original post) about preferences and perceptions, but I do think that it is possible to discern different characteristics of music. You can observe that tonality are harmonies are quite different in Irish or Scots music compared to barroque music. In this fashion I think it is also possible to get a general importance of the role of melody vs. harmony, accompanyment, rhythm, and all other musical parameters. In Irish music the overwhelming emphasis is on melody. And I don’t just mean that all other points, like harmony and rhythm, are conveyed through the melody (in it’s purest form trad Irish music is unaccompanied liting or unison instruments), but I mean that what musicians think about most is melody. In the minds of traditional Irish musicians, what makes one of them great? It is command of the melody, the consistencies and subtle variations, and all the little things that I lack words for but that bring out the power and beauty of the melody.

Scottish music is similar in many respects to Irish music, but it is my impression that the relative importance of the melody is less. Other things are cherished as well, or while melody is central, it is not as overpoweringly important as it is in Irish music. It’s a subtle thing, and it may just be that if you asked an Irish traditional musician what the most imporant thing about the music was, he/she would invariably answer “melody”, while a Scottish musician might list melody as one of several most important aspects.

Farewell To Chernobyl is a super ‘kick-in-the-ass’, ‘take-no-prisoners’, ‘hotter-than the-hinges-of-Hell’, ‘gotta-stomp-your-foot-and-holler’ reel. I think Maol is being a bit snobbish, but hey, I like snobbish! Truth be told, I agree with his sentiments. Traditional players should notice that this tune entirely odd and flashy and that it doesn’t quite fit in the traditional vein (Irish, Scottish or otherwise (can’t be sure on the Shetland stuff)). That being said, it’s still one hell of a tune and I enjoy it very much for a bit of variety.

There is no accounting for tates, but…

I cannot judge whether this tune is a great piece or just a crap, but it is absolutely true that it is already getting popular. Catriona MacDonald learned it in Australian Folk Festival from a local Banjo player, and Sharon Shannon recorded it twice, in the studio and the concert.

Great Contra dance tune!

The actuall spelling is Tchernobyl. It’s a great contra dance tune. I found it in a book called the Portland Collection.

This tune is modern and new, so obviously it cant be part of the tradition yet. However, it has potential, depending on which way music developes to become part of the tradition sometime in the future.


i’d like to think this was a michael ferry of fid bid composition, and i just asumed it was, but i was a bit confused on that. on talking to leo mcann at the weekend, he said that he used to be in a band with that michael ferry, and he was pretty sure it wasn’t him that wrote it. i had also heard from another person that day that it was a michael ferry from england. anyone shed any further light! amazing tune by the way, wherever it is from. (and in response to a previous comment i can tell you that more than just a fraction of tens of thousands could tell one strathspey or a reel from another thank you very much!)
keep the tunes coming rooree!

According to Catrionas album cover, the tune was written by a Michael Ferry, but i dont think its the one fae shetland. I think the one from shetlands her cousin or sumitt and on the cd she gives the impression that she doesnt know the composer.


I heard from Jean-Ann Callender that it was Michael Ferry from Fiddlers bid but maybe she got confused with the guy from england…..?

Can’t believe some of the comments about this tune and Irish v. Scottish thing. Brad,as usual, is excelling himself in his conservative pomposity and as for the comments about Scottish music, well words fail me. Irish music is great, Scottish music is great ( I play in an Irish band which plays lots of Scottish tunes as well) and Farewell to Tchernobyl is a cracking tune (even if it is “just arpeggios”…..ever listened to Vivaldi?) which has been popular over in the UK and Ireland for a few years now. It always gets people going at sessions. What more do you want? If people like to play it and people like to listen to it then it’s already in the tradition whether you like it or not.

Is it Brad’s job on this site to stir people up (his recent rant about what you should post seems to say a lot about him too)…if so he’s doing a pretty good job.

Keep playing and keep an open mind.

I think it’s a great tune.Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.If you like it play it &if you don’t then don’t, simple as that.I wrote a song called “The music police” but after seeing some comments here I can write another 6 verses. By the way what is “Traditional”. For a start the only true irish dance tune is a jig everything else is imported & how many of us play irish instruments? I certainly don’t.I could go on and on but the arguement is stupid

Posted by .

Licensing to record this tune

I love this tune. I’m looking for the person to contact in order to get permission to record it and put it on my web site.

Can anyone help in finding the license agent/copyright owner to get permission?


The truth about “Farewell to Tchernobyl”, only the truth !

Sorry, my English is not very good (I am from France, near Paris).

By chance, I have just found this website with comments about my tune “Farewell to Tchernobyl”. It’s funny to read all the wrong stories about the tune, but these comments are finally positive and please me. Even if the facts are less romantic (!) than the comments above, I would like to give the correct “history” of this tune. “Farewell to Tchernobyl” neither come from Shetland, from Scotland, nor from Ireland, but from France … I composed it in May 1986 (in the same time of the Tchernobyl disaster). When I began to compose tunes I chose titles in relation to the news (to remember the year), but I very quickly renounce this sordid way, it is too much horrible ! First, I gave it the name “Return to Tchernobyl” but after, English-speaking musicians recorded it with the title “Farewell to Tchernobyl” and I kept this name (in English, I prefer put trust in English-speaking people !).

For almost 25 years, I have played the fiddle in sessions with my great friend Vincent Blin (very good French fiddler in Irish music, and also in old-time and bluegrass) and in the years 1985-1990, we were lucky to meet and often play with Karen Tweed and the Shannon family (Mary, Sharon, Garry) in England, Ireland and also in France (Paris, Lorient festival). With Vincent we played the tune and they enjoyed it. In the following years, they became well known musicians and played the tune in their tours and recorded it. To my knowledge, this is Garry Shannon who made the first recording on his album “Lose the head” in 1989 (album reedited on CD in 1995), with the title “Michel Ferry’s” (originally the tune is in Dm, but Garry played it in Em on the flute). In 1993, Karen Tweed recorded it with “The Kathryn Tickell Band” (“Signs”), then Mary Shannon with “Bumblebees” (“Buzin’”) and Sharon Shannon (“The diamond mountain session”, “Live in Galway”). By now, I know some fifteen recordings of my tune (in Europe, North America, as far as Australia !), among others : Catriona Macdonald (“Opus blue”), Hanneke Cassel (“My Joy”), Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith (“Presence”), Jigsaw (“Cut up the floor”). The score is also in tunes books : “The Portland Collection - Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest “ (my own basic version in Dm) and “Ireland’s best fiddle tunes” (Em version).

The success of this reel is unreal for me, absolutely incredible indeed. Now, I am always very surprised ; I did nothing for that (no publicity, I have never recorded it), the popularity of the tune comes just from the musicians who play it ! Many thanks to everybody ! I would like to record all my compositions, but I am not a professional in music and I have no much time (since many years, I have to work seriously the violin !…). Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in the tune (permission to recording, other details, etc.).


Michel, welcome to the session, and thanks for both the tune (a gem of a reel) and it’s real history. When you have the time, we’d like to see more of your compositions posted in the tune section here.

Posted .

Farewell to the Comments

It strikes me, just now, that there is more talk bout this particular tune than nearly any other in The Session. In fact, if I may indulge in an ounce of hyperbole, Chernobyl/Tchernobyl’s half-life took less time than reading all these postings.

I greatly appreciate the authors who consider the tunes here for their quality alone, aside from popularity. In context, just because J-Lo sells platinum doesn’t make her a contributor to a healthy growing tradition.


I’m really ashamed of my very stupid comments on this tune, but yes, it’s fun to read through what people think about it. I think we can’t find such lengthy arguments on one particular tune anywhere else on the net.

whew.. what a thread… good reading all, and never be ashamed of what you say.. it’s just you, yourself, marking a specific moment on the clock and calendar with your input..like Ferry says.. he (regretfully)titled tunes by what he heard was going on in th international news at the time..

better to say loudly than to never mark the passage of time.. doncha think?(I have said SO MANY dumb things in my life.. ) I used to toss and turn at night for things i “should have and wished I didn’t say” Now, however i don’t give a fecking fizzle…(I lie)


A small late addition: (T)Chernobyl is in Belarus, and is written in the Belarusian version of the Cyrillic alphabet (differing in a few respects, I think, from the Russian version). The way it is spelt in the roman alphabet (ABC…) can only be an approximation to the way the Belarusians pronounce it. The initial consonant in the name is equivalent to the sound which, in written English, is represented by the letter combination ‘ch’, as in ‘cheese’, ‘China’, etc. In French, there is no such sound, with ‘CH’ instead representing that sound which is represented in English by ‘SH’. The closest approximation in French is obtained by adding a ‘T’, hence, ‘Tchernobyl’. Similarly, in Germany, it might be spelt with ‘TSCH’ (cf. ‘Tscheckoslowakei’ for ‘Czechoslovakia’).

Just wanted to clear up that point - I can’t bear to see people bickering over such trifles.

Chernobyl or Tchernobyl

Very learned. Except that Chernobyl or Tchernobyl is NOT in Belarus, it is in the Ukraine, or at the time of the disaster the Ukrainian Republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.


Anyone know the chords in the A section by any chance?


That is a GREAT tune! With no doubts!
The contents goes very well with the title!
When we play here in Ukraine (where Chernobyl is) people are about to cry. Us, too.
Thanks to Michel Ferry!

“Farewell to Tchernobyl / Chernobyl” ~ printed sources

As they’ve been mentioned, here are the full credits to printed sources as currently available and as mentioned by Michel, with one exception:

“Ireland’s Best Fiddle Tunes”,
compiled by Paul McNevin a Waltons publication,
does not include this tune in its contents.

“The Portland Collection: Contra Dance Music in the Pacific Northwest”
Susan Songer & Clyde Curley
ISBN: 0-9657476-0-3

Page 77 ~ “Farewell to Tchernobyl” ~ by Michel Ferry (d minor)
~ with chords…
Page 238 - 239 ~ notes:

“Hopefully this tune would be a modest warning against nuclear energy and arms everywhere in the world.”
~ Michel Ferry

“Farewell to Tchernobyl / Chernobyl” ~ listed as a hornpipe

I have also come across this tune listed as a ‘hornpipe’…and it works that way too, but whether straight or swung, it lends itself well to being taken at a nice leisurely and thoughtful pace, which the midi here at present seems to do…

“Farewell to Tchernobyl” ~ some suggested chord options

The following are not my own choices but ‘suggested’ chording from various sources:

K: d minor

|: “Dm” ~ | ~ ~ | “Am” ~ | ~ ~ | “Dm” ~ | “Dm7” ~ | “Am7” ~ | ~ ~ :|
|: “Dm” ~ | ~ ~ | “Bb” ~ | ~ ~ | “Gm” | ~ ~ | “A7” ~ | ~ ~ :|

|: “Dm” ~ | ~ ~ | “Am” ~ | ~ ~ | “Gm” ~ | ~ ~ | “C” ~ | ~ “Am” :|
|: “Dm” ~ | ~ ~ | “Bb” ~ | “C” ~ |1 “Gm” ~ | ~ ~ | “Bb” ~ | “C” ~ :|
2 “Dm” ~ | “Bb” ~ | “C” ~ | “Gm” “Am” ||

“Return From / Farewell to Tchernobyl” ~ e minor & a version for winds

K: e minor
|: BG
E3 G BEGB | EGBE GAB^c | d2 Ad FdAd | gfed e2 :|
|: dB |
e2 ge aege | e2 ge agfd | e2 ge aege | f2 fg feBd |
1 e2 ge aege | e2 ge agfa | b2 bg b2 fg | f2 fg fe :|
2 Bege Bege | cege cege | dfaf bagf | gfed e2 ||

& for slainte ~ K: e minor ~ or d minor on a C flute / whistle

|: BG |
E3 G BEGB | EGBE F/G/A B^c | d/e/d Ad FdAf | gfe^d e2 :|
|: B^d |
e/e/e ge bege | e/e/e ge fgfB | e/e/e ge aegB | f/f/f ge fB^dB |
1 ~e2 ge b ~e3 | ~e2 ge agfa | ~b3 a b ~g3 | ~f3 g fB :|
2 ~e2 Ge Bege | cege c ~e3 | d/e/d Af bagf | a/g/f e^d e2 ||

The few ‘minor’ accidentals, ^d, are there to stretch Hiro’s range of half holed notes… 😉

That took awhile to figure out ~ but well worth the wait. Yes, we think in similar tempos… Thanks for the link, I’m enjoying it now, sadly to Cuban rum instead of a good vodka, one of my favourites, hard to get here, being Moskovskaya…

Whoa! ~ tempos two ways, the speed just kicked in… Slainte will like this ~ with the whistle… See Hiro, you can play it on winds… I told you so…

I still like it relaxed, and I even like taking it swung like a hornpipe / barndance….but always with definite moodiness…

Thanks for that link VAK, what a kick.

For those making the link above ~

Click on: Скачать файл: Chernobyl.mp3

The page will change and your then await the countdown in the middle, approximately 30 seconds…and well worth the wait… Once it starts playing, you can also right click and ‘Save Target As’ somewhere on your computer to hear it at your pleasure…

Not a whistle ~ a Sopilka

This is a small woodwind similar to a kaval, but smaller, end blown, without the fipple a whistle has ~ 6 to 10 holes, a greater number of holes allowing for some accidentals ~ wood, metal or plastic…

There are both whistle and sopilka

You are right, Ceolachan. The main melody is played on sopilka there, this is one of rare cases we use it, but some second or third voice is played by me on tin-whistle (Clarke original C) .
If you go to our site you may see a picture of Ukrainian sopilka there.

Sopilka? ~

I take it that you mean the side shot of ganainm@rambler.ru here?:


I see you’ve two pictures each… It looks like a fipple whistle rather than the older from of an end blown sopilka? Is it rolled tin? Do you make your own? What keys? How many holes? How’s that for the opening to 60 questions? I happen to be very fond of the family of end blown winds, kavals, nai, etc… I love that sound. I have friends and acquaintances that have made a good go of it, mostly Balkan versions, Macedonian, etc., but I have as yet not acquired a decent instrument myself, though I’ve tried making a few ~ but not completely happy with the results.

I have a great fondness for makers of such instruments. I love things given the voice of song by the craft of hands and the ingenuity of mind ~ like the lyritsa player I’d found in Croatia who had made his instrument almost completely from things scavanged from the local dump ~ the leg of an old piano became the body, strings from scavanged wire, and the horse hair for his bow he’d stollen from a neighbours horse…



Authentic sopilkas had six holes just like tin-whistle, the tuning might be different depending on the key needed. Usually sopilka has downside windblade and narrow wind channel and high pressure consequently.
Now almost all sopilkas are tuned in C. It is usually made of peartree wood or appletree. In the middle of the 20 century it was modernised by local maker Demenchuk. He added chromatic holes on a request from conservatory musicians. Many traditional musicians dislike this modernisation though few people know that this version of the instrument is not the original one. Everyone used to 10-hole sopilkas.
In fact, it is a very cheap instrument, it can be bought for about 6-10$ here.

Sopilka ~ Apples and Pears

Thanks for the photo, it is now saved with my other collections of various simple woodwinds. So six was the norm. I like that, as it fits with other similar instruments internationally, including the ‘modern’ attempt to better the form. Something was done similarly with recorders and other simple woodwinds, as if ‘more is better’, which with time and experience we all realize isn’t the case. Pear wood and Crabapple wood, certain select species, as some are too soft, are great woods to work with, lovely stuff. I happen to be especially fond of certain crab apple woods, especially those with some figure in them.

I’ll have to find some way to spend time visiting the Ukraine so I can pick up some of those whistles. Any chance of getting a better look at the blown end ~ the knife edge / wind blade? Another instrument that falls into the category of ‘end blown’ is the Japanese Shakuhachi / Shakahachi (5 holes, 4 in the front and one, the highest, behind):



Hey, Wikipedia has missed out on the Sopilka ~


I take it, with 10 holes, you mean two holes in the back for the thumbs? A clear side shot showing the distribution of drillings would be great too ~ but I ask too much already… Thanks again for the photos above….

To Michel Ferry

Several times I tried to send you an e-mail but failed. Possibly there is
an invalid address.
Please, send the right one on my e-mail ganainm@rambler.ru

“Farewell to Tchernobyl / Chernobyl” ~ with swing, an odd hornpipe version

R: hornpipe
K: d minor
|: (3AGF |
D2 D>F A>DF>A | D>FA>F G>FE>C | A,2 A,>C E>A,C>E | A,>CE>G A>cG>F |
D2 (3FED ADFA | D2 A>D (3EFG A>=B | c2 G>c E>cG>c | f>ed>^c d2 :|
|: A^c |
d2 f>d g>df>d | (3ddd f>d g>fe>f | d2 f>d g>df>d | e2 A>c a>c (3gfe |
d2 f>d g>df>d | d2 f>d g>fe>g | e>aa>^g a2 a>f | e2 e>f e>d^c>A |
d2 (3fed g>d (3fed | d2 f>d g>fe>c | d2 (3fed g2 f>c | a>cg>c f>ce>c |
d2 f>d A>df>d | (3BBB f>d B>df>d | c2 g>e c>eg>c | a>cg>c f>c ||

Note ~ on the above tune a mistake at the beginning of the B-part ~ the two lead-in notes should not have started with the repeat sign and should merely be:

A^c | ~

“Farewell to Tchernobyl / Chernobyl” ~ the other source listed by Michel

Thanks to Michel Ferry I now have the information on the other printed source. I thought I’d played through everything but missed the entry. Here is that information:

“110 Ireland’s Best Fiddle Tunes”
compiled by Paul McNevin, with chords
Waltons Publishing
ISBN: 1-85720-083-7

Page 92 ~ “Ferry’s” = the e minor version of “Farewell to Tchernobyl”

Note on the ‘hornpipe’ version above, that was my screwing around with the man’s creation after having found it entered elsewhere as a hornpipe. A Michel has told me, the ‘original’ composition is a reel, but I also love swinging it as above, which I find somewhat hypnotic taken that way…

“Farewell to Tchernobyl” ~ 105 - 110 bpm

“I composed it as a reel in Dm, but it’s possible to play it as a slow reel. I also prefer it not too fast. It’s a good way to play it ‘at a relaxed and thoughtful pace’, but it’s nonetheless a reel. I like a tempo of about 105 - 110 (a beat by half measure) ~ but it’s live music that depends on the context and the sensibility of the musician. There are no rules…”
~ Michel Ferry

“Farewell to Tchernobyl” ~ the above version minus the arrows

R: reel
K: d minor
|: (3AGF |
D2 (3FED ADFA | D2 AD (3EFG A=B | c2 Gc EcGc | fed^c d2 :|
|: A^c |
d2 fd gdfd | (3ddd fd gfef | d2 fd gdfd | e2 Ac ac (3gfe |
d2 fd gdfd | d2 fd gfeg | eaa^g a2 af | e2 ef ed^cA |
d2 (3fed gd (3fed | d2 fd gfec | d2 (3fed g2 fc | acgc fcec |
d2 fd Adfd | (3BBB fd Bdfd | c2 ge cegc | acgc fc ||

The Best Version

This is the best version I have heard of this tune which I have always called Michel Ferry’s.
X: 1
T: Michel Ferry’s
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: EMin
|: E3G BEGB | EGBG A2 FD | B3E G/B/z E/ | BEGA (3Bcd AF |
E3G BEGB | EGBE GAB^c | d2 AF DFAf |1 gfed edBG :|2gfed edBd ||
e2 ge a2 ge | e2 ge agfd | e2 ge agfg | effe fedB |
|1 e2 ge a2 ge | e2 ge agfa | gb b2 fa a2 | fggf gfed :|
|2 Bege Bege | cege cege | dfaf dfaf | gfed edBG ||

By playing this version on a C chanter or whistle you will then be playing it in D minor.

Posted by .

Finally a recording of Michel’s tunes

Michel has finally recorded his own tune along with thirty some others.

For years now we’ve been on his case in Paris trying to get him to let us hear some of his other tunes. Never managed to quite work around his innate humility and/or shyness. Finally we can hear them on his newly released self-produced CD, with Antoine Leclercq backing him on guitar. A few of these tunes are bound to become session standards around the world.

You can check it out at his web address www.thewindingway.net

Yet another version

Here’s the version we play at sessions in Germany:

X: 1
T: Return To Tchernobyl
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
C: Vincent Blin
R: Reel
K: Dm

“Bb”D2 DF ADFA|DFAD FAD=B|“C”c2 Gc EcGe|1fedc dcAF:|2fedc dcAc||

|:“Dm”d2 fd gdfd|d2 fg gfdc|“Bb”B2 fB gBfB|“C”efef dGBA|
[1“Dm“d2 fd gdfd|d2 fg gdfg|“Bb”aAAa “Am”gAAg|“Bb”fAAf “C”eABA:|
[2“Dm“d2 fA dfdA|“Bb”B2 fB dfdB|“C”c2 gc egcg|agfe fgef|

Posted by .

Oops…“Read before you post, son!”


Sir! Yes, Sir!

So I have to stand corrected: In the ABC, I mentioned Vincent Blin as the composer, but it is really Michel Ferry…so sorry Michel!

Posted by .

“Michel Ferry’s” / “Farewell to Tchernobyl” ~ rescued duplication

Key signature: e minor
Submitted on March 5th 2008 by ceili.
~ /tunes/8320

X: 9
T: Michel Ferry’s
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Emin
(3EEE EG BEGB | EGBG AGFA | (3ddd Ad FAdf |[1 gfed edBA :|[2 gfed edBd ||
(3eee ge aege | (3eee ge agfg | (3eee ge aege | (3fff fg fBdf |
(3eee ge aege | (3eee ge agfg | ab b2 ba a2 | ag g2 fBdf |
(3eee ge aege | (3eee ge agfg | (3eee ge aege | (3fff fg fBdf |
(3eee ge aege | ccec ggec | dfag bagf | gfed edBA |]

I know nothing about this brilliant tune, besides that I found it in an old tunebook (private collection - and with no comments) I have had for more than 20 Years. And I know that a danish banjoplayer (Bjarne Schmidt from Trad. Lads - Copenhagen) have played it years ago.

If anyone have som info about it, I’ll be so happy.

# Posted on March 5th 2008 by ceili

Well ceili, I hope you’re happy now… 😉

Classic tune. well done Micheal! I learnt it from other session goers in Cork 2000, but heard it previously on lose the head, opus blue and somewhere else by a guitar picker..

I had no idea who composed it or when or where, and really it s hardly relevant to the music… Who defines what is trad?

Whistle Fingers - Tutorial

I have done a whistle version on a C whistle. the quality of sound is not perfect but you will hear & see what you can don on this lovely tune :


Whistle Fingers in Eminor mode

X: 1
T: Farewell To Tchernobyl
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Emin
E3G BEGB|EGBE BAGA|b,3d fb,df|b,dfd edBA|
E3G BEGB|EGBE BAGA|d2 Ad FdAd | f3g fedB :|
|e2ge aege|e2ge agfg|c2ge aege|f3g fedB|
e2ge aege|e2ge agfg|~b3 ~a3 ~g3 | ~f3 g fB|
|e2ge aege|e2ge agfg|c2gc acgc|f3g fedB|
Bege Bege|cege cege|d2ge bagf|gfed BAGF||

nice enough first part, I suggest trying a bit of irradiation on the second part to split and splice its genes…

Re: Farewell To Chernobyl

Great tune, well done Michel.
I love TheSession!

Re: Farewell To Chernobyl

It’s fascinating to read how controversial this was 20 years ago. This tune has since become a staple at our sessions for D minor sets and has particular relevance now considering world events. This tune has aged extremely well over the intervening years and is a great example of how musical modes such as the Ukrainian Dorian can be an asset in exploration in Celtic music as much as our ancestors adopted the mazurka and polka from mainland Europe ( albeit to drop a beat and slow it down a bit) . It has the elements of feeling both Celtic and Slavic at the same time and such experimentation can only help bring more genius to our craft.