For some time now accordion player Verena Commins and fiddle player Julie Langan have been at the heart of the tremendously vibrant life of traditional music in Galway city and its surrounding area. This very welcome album is the culmination of years of playing together since these fine musicians first met in 1996.
Both musicians have their roots in County Mayo. Verena was born in Coventry, of parents from Ballina and Bohola, and Julie comes from Newport in Co Mayo. Their first meeting was at the Willie Clancy Week on one of Verena’s visits to Ireland. Both musicians ended up living in Galway and Verena’s accordion playing and Julie’s fiddle playing have, over time, combined to provide the perfect rapport we hear on this album.
1. The Fly-Fishing Reel (Jackie Daly), Michael Tennyson’s, Burke’s Reel (Verena Commins)
The first tune was composed by one of the legendary musicians of our day, accordion-player Jackie Daly. The second comes from the repertoire of accordion player Michael Tennyson from Leeds. The third tune was written by Verena as a wedding present for her sister Carmel on her marriage to John Burke.
Sé Jackie Daly, duine de na ceóltóirí is iomráití na laethanta seo agus bocsadóir iontach a chum an chéad ríl. Tagann an dara ceann ó stór bocsadóir Michael Tennyson as Leeds. Chum Verena an tríú ríl mar bhronntanas dá deirfiúir, Carmel nuair a phós sí John Burke.
2. The Slippy Wet Jig (Verena Commins), Bracken’s, Port na Sióg
Verena composed the first tune one wet and rainy day in Moycullen. The third tune was learned from the playing of Paddy Glackin. It was described by the Donegal fiddler Mickey Doherty as having been learned from the fairies, hence the name Port na Sióg (The Fairies’ Jig).
Lá báistí i Maigh Cuilinn chum Verena an chéad phort. Foghlaimíodh an tríú port ó Phaddy Glacken. Dhearbhaigh an fidléir Conallach, Mickey Doherty gur ón lucht sí a tháinig sé agus míníonn sé seo an t-ainm a bheirtear air, Port na Síog.
3. Paddy Canny’s Toast (Charlie Lennon), The Commodore (Brendan Mulvihill/Billy McComiskey), The Glorious Farewell to Milltown
The first tune was composed by fiddle-player Charlie Lennon, and the second was learned from Finbar Naughton. The third tune is associated with the great Donegal fiddle-player John Doherty.
Sé Charlie Lennon a chum an chéad phort seo agus foghlaimíodh an dara ceann ó Fhinbar Naughton. Samhlaítear an tríú port leis an fhidléir iomráiteach as Tír Chonaill, John Doherty.
4. Bridgie Murphy’s Slide, Charming Lovely Nancy, Gan Ainm
Julie learned the first tune from Jackie Small, who had heard it played by Sue and Mike Fahy, of Ballindereen, Co Galway, who in turn had learned it from Bridgie Murphy, the eldest sister of the famous music family of Sliabh Luachra which included Denis Murphy and Julia Clifford. The second tune in this set is also connected with the Murphy family. Denis sang a song, Charming Lovely Nancy, to this air.
D'fhoghlaim Julie an chéad phort ó Jackie Small a chuala é á chasadh ag Sue agus Mike Fahy as Baile an Doirín, Co na Gaillimhe. D’fhoghlaim siadsan an port ó Bhridgie Murphy, duine den teaghlach ceolmhar as Sliabh Luachra. Samhlaítear an dara port le teaghlach Uí Mhurchú fosta. Chan Donchadh amhrán, Charming Lovely Nancy leis an fhonn seo.
5. Fr. O’Grady’s Visit to Bocca (Josie McDermott), The Baltimore Salute (Josie McDermott), Jack Maguire’s
Verena and Julie have always played these tunes as a set. The first two reels were composed by the Roscommon flute player Josie McDermott. The third tune was contributed to the third volume of Ceol Rince na hÉireann by flute-player Roger Sherlock.
Casann Julie agus Verena na ríleanna seo mar dhreas i dtólamh. Chum Josie McDermott as Ros Comáin, a sheinneann an fheadóg mhór an chéad dá ríl. Tá an tríú ríl le fáil sa tríú leagan de Ceol Rince na hÉireann.
6. Lament for Glencoe
Fuair Julie an fonn aoibhinn seo ón fhidléir, Ailbhe Ó Muineacháin cara léi as Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Thír Chonaill.
7. Miss Brady, Jenny Picking Cockles, John McGinley’s
Miss Brady appears in Francis O’Neill’s collection. This version of Jenny Picking Cockles comes from the playing of the historic Donegal fiddler Neillidh Boyle. Verena and Julie learned the tune while Julie was living in Glasgow. The third tune Julie first heard in Dublin at the Donegal session in Ryan’s pub on Queen’s St.
Tá Miss Brady le fáil i mbailiúchán Francis O’Neill. Tagann an leagan áirithe seo de Jenny Picking Cockles ón shár-fhidléir Conallach, Neillidh Boyle. D’fhoghlaim Julie agus Verena an fonn agus Julie ina cónaí i nGlaschu. Chuala Julie an tríú ríl i dtús báire ag seisiún Conallach i dteach tabhairne Úi Ríain, Sráid na Banríona i mBaile Átha Cliath.
8. The Princess Royal, Imelda Roland’s
Verena plays these two tunes on the B flat box. She learned the first tune from Breda Keville, a fiddle player from Headford, Co. Galway who had a big influence on Verena’s playing when they were both living in Leeds. Imelda Roland was a member of a very well-known music family in east Co Galway. She was the mother of a very good friend of the girls, Yvonne Clark. Frank and Yvonne – thanks for everything!
Seinneann Verena an dá phort seo ar bhocsa B maol. Fuair sí an chéad cheann ó Bhreda Keville, fidléir as Áth Cinn, Co na Gaillimhe. Bhí an-tionchar aicise ar stíl Verena agus an bheirt ina gcónaí i Leeds. Tháinig Imelda Roland as teaghlach iomráiteach ceolmhar in oirthear chontae na Gaillimhe. Ba í máthair Yvonne Clark, dlúthchara na girseacha.
Go raibh maith agaibh, Frank agus Yvonne!
9. Out on the Road (Liz Carroll), Spring in the Air, The Rabbit in the Field
The first jig was composed by the fiddle-player Liz Carroll. The third tune Verena and Julie learned from their favourite banjo player, Colm Naughton.
Sí Liz Carroll, an sár-fhidléir a chum an chéad phort. Sé Colm Naughton, bainseoir togha agus rogha Verena agus Julie a thug an tríú port dóibh.
10. Janine’s Reel, John Doherty’s, Bríd Harper’s
Verena and Julie learned the first tune from their friend Steve Larkin, of Ballindaggin, Co. Wexford. The third tune comes from the amazing box playing of Dermot Byrne.
Fuair Julie agus Verena an chéad phort ón a gcara, Steve Larkin, as Baile an Daingin, Contae Loch Garman. Tagann an tríú port ón bhocsadóir iontach Dermot Byrne.
11. The Last Hornpipe, The Grier Hornpipe
Both these hornpipes come from the fine collection of traditional music made by the piper and fiddler Stephen Grier in north Leitrim towards the end of the last century. Verena learned the first tune from the piper Máire Ní Ghráda. It has become known as the The Last Hornpipe due to its location as the final tune in the volume Ceol Rince na hÉireann IV.
Tagann an dá chornphíoba seo ó bhailiúchán iontach ceol traidisiúnta Stephen Grier, fidléir agus píobaire a bhí lonnaithe i gContae Liatroma ag tús na haoise seo chaite.
D’fhoghlaim Verena an chéad chornphíopa ón phíobaire Máire Ní Ghráda. Beirtear The Last Hornpipe ar go minic siocar go bhfuil sé mar fhonn deireanach sa leabhar Ceol Rince na hÉireann IV.
12. Mímí and the New Generation Polkas (Eoin Duignan), Pádraig O’Keeffe’s, Gan Ainm
These polkas from Cork and Kerry were learned from Jackie Small. The first was composed by Eoin Duignan, the uilleann piper and flute player from Dublin who now lives in Dingle. The second tune was recorded by the great fiddle-master and teacher of Sliabh Luachra, Pádraig O’Keeffe. The third tune is a Scottish strathspey converted to a polka by the musicians in the Dingle peninsula.
Thug Jackie Small na polcaí seo do Julie agus Verena. Sé Eoin Duignan, fear a chasann na píobaí agus an fheadóg mhór, a chum an chéad cheann acu. Tagann an dara polca ó thaifeadadh a rinne Pádraig O’Keeffe, sár-fhidléir agus múinteoir as Sliabh Luachra. Strathspey a bhí ann de réir tuairisce ach chuir muintir An Daingin a gcruth féin air nuair a d’athraigh siad a rithim go rithim pholca.
13. The Maids of Castlebar, The Humours of Westport, The Pretty Girls of Mayo
Well, there had to be a set of tunes from Mayo! The first two tunes show the high regard for their neighbouring county Mayo among the great Sligo fiddlers of the 1920s era in New York, the first tune being associated with Paddy Killoran and the second with James Morrison.
Tá gá le dreas amháin ríleanna Mhaigh Éo ar a laghad! Léiríonn an chéad dá phort an t-ard-mheas a bhí ag fidléirí móra Shligigh lonnaithe i Nua Eabharc sna fichidí ar Chontae Mhaigh Eó. Samhlaítear an chéad phort le Paddy Killoran agus an dara ceann le James Morrison.
14. Betty’s Waltz (Verena Commins)
Verena wrote this tune in memory of her mother.
Chum Verena an fonn aoibhinn seo i ndíl-chuimhne a máthair.