harp_ireland_scotland1. Eibhlí Gheal Chiúin Ni Chearbhaill (‘Fair Gentle Eily O’Carroll’) (Air)

This tune was collected by Edward Bunting from the harper James Duncan of County Down.
In his 1809 publication A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, Bunting set ‘Lord Ullin’s Daughter’, by the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell, to this melody. The original Irish words are thought to have been written by the poet Seamus Dall MacCuarta in the late 17th century, and the melody was possibly composed by harper and poet Patrick MacAlindon (c1666-1733).

2. Da Thàbh air an Fharaidh (‘Two Spoon Nets in the Loft’) / Da Foostra (Reels)

We learned the first tune from the puirt à beul (‘mouth music’) singing of Mairi MacInnes. It originally came from the piping tradition of South Uist.

The second reel comes from the Shetland Islands fiddle tradition.

3. Mull of the Mountains / Drummond Castle (Air / Jig)

The first tune is a pipe air. Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides.

Drummond Castle, near Crieff in Perthshire, was built in the 15th century and is famous for its gardens, which date from the 17th century. This jig first appeared in print in Niel Gow’s A Second Collection of Strathspey Reels etc. (Edinburgh, 1795).

4. Cam Ye By Atholl? / Eliza Ross’s / A’Chubhag (‘The Cuckoo’) (Air / Reels)

The melody of ‘Cam Ye By Atholl?’ was composed by Niel Gow Junior (1795-1823) and set with words by the poet James Hogg. The song refers to the Jacobite Uprising of 1745/46 which ended at the Battle of Culloden. It was first published in The Border Garland, a pamphlet of nine songs issued in 1819. This tune is also played as a march in Ireland, called ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’.

We learned the following two reels from the playing of piper Iain MacInnes. They can be heard on his recording Tryst (1999). The first is actually an unnamed reel which came from the Eliza Ross (or Lady d’Oyley) manuscript. This manuscript was compiled on the Isle of Raasay in 1812 and has never been published.

5. Lady Keith’s Lament / Breton Gavotte

‘Lady Keith’s Lament’ was first published under the title ‘When the King Comes O’er the Water’ in James Hogg’s collection, The Jacobite Relics of Scotland (1819). This song was either composed by or written on behalf of Lady Mary Drummond, who was a strong supporter of the Stuarts. The melody dates back to the 17th century, with versions appearing in a number of collections under various titles. In Ireland the tune is closely associated with the Battle of the Boyne, which took place in 1690 between the armies of King William III and King James II. The melody was used by supporters on both sides – for the song ‘The Boyne Water’ by the Williamites and ‘Rosc Catha na Mumhan’ (‘The Battle Cry of Munster’) by the Jacobites. Both songs are still widely performed today.

The second tune is a traditional Breton gavotte popularised by the playing of both harper Alan Stivell and guitarist Pierre Bensusan in the 1970s.

6. Dermot O’Dowd (Air)

This tune was published by Edward Bunting in both his 1796 and 1809 collections. William starts this piece with an improvisation on the melody.

7. Sporting Nell / The Hairy-Chested Frog (Reels)

The Hairy-Chested Frog comp. Bobby Casey, arr. Hambly/Jackson

The first reel is associated with the well-known concertina player Mrs. Elizabeth Crotty from County Clare. She called the tune ‘Geary’s Reel’

The second tune was composed by the Clare fiddle player Bobby Casey. This version came from a recording made at the Willie Clancy Week in Miltown Malbay in 1986.

8. MacCrimmon’s Lament / Brosna Slide

‘MacCrimmon’s Lament’ (‘Cumha Mhic Criomain’) is a famous pipe tune associated with Donald MacCrimmon, who died in the Jacobite Uprising 1745/46. It may have been composed by Donald himself or by his sister. The MacCrimmons were a famous piping family, and hereditary pipers to Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan, Isle of Skye. We learned this particular version from a recording of the piper Martyn Bennett.

The second tune is a slide which we learned from a 1970s radio recording of the Brosna Céilí Band from County Kerry. It is associated with local musician Jack Cahill and is known by various titles including ‘Cnoc na gClárach’ and ‘Padraig O’Keefe’s Favourite’. Brosna is in Sliabh Luachra, an area particularly associated with the playing of polkas and slides.

9. Appomattox (Air)

Comp. William Jackson, arr. Hambly/Jackson

This composition was inspired by the Thomas Lovell painting The Surrender at Appomattox 1865. Many Irish and Scottish soldiers fought and died on both sides of the American Civil War (1861-65).

10. Ge Do Theid Mi Do M’Leabaidh (‘Though I go to my Bed, Little Does Sleep Come to Me’) / Drunk at Night and Dry in the Morning (Air / Minuet)

The first tune appeared in Reverend Patrick MacDonald’s Collection of Highland Vocal Airs (Edinburgh, 1784), where it is classified as a Perthshire air.

The second tune came from the Niel Gow and Sons publication Part Third of the Complete Repository of Original Scots Tunes; Strathspeys, Jigs and Dances (Edinburgh, 1806). It was popular in various versions throughout the north west of England and Scotland around that time.

11. Celia Connellan / The Rectory Reel (Harp Piece / Reel)

‘The Rectory Reel’ Comp. Patrick Davey, Arr. Hambly / Jackson

The first piece was composed by the 17th-century harper-composer, Thomas Connellan (c1640-c1720) from Cloonamahon, County Sligo. He is said to have composed over 700 tunes, although only a small number are attributed to him today. His brother William was also a composer. ‘Celia Connellan’ appears in a number of collections from the late 18th century, but this particular version comes from Bunting’s 1840 volume of Ancient Music of Ireland, having been notated from the playing of Leitrim harper Charles Byrne (c1712-c1810) at the Belfast Harpers’ Assembly in 1792.

‘The Rectory Reel’ was composed in 1995 by uilleann piper Patrick Davey from Belfast, while staying at the Old Rectory in Glencolmcille, County Donegal.

12. Aoibhneas Eilís Uí Cheallaigh (‘Elizabeth Kelly’s Favourite’) (Slip Jig)

This tune was collected by Breandán Breathnach from the County Clare fiddle and concertina player John Kelly (1912-87), and is published in Ceol Rince na hÉireann, volume 1 (1963). John learned the tune from his mother Elizabeth, hence the title which translates as ‘Elizabeth Kelly’s Delight’ or ‘Favourite’.