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Loozin air

Track Listing.

1. Windwood 7. Hurricane
2. Seanfhear aerach 8. An Ghaoth Anoir
3. Airborne 9. Loozin 'air
4. De Bonne Heure 10. L'air Du Blond
5. Heirloom 11. Slow Air
6. Airspeed 12. Seriously 'airy


Windwood - Listen to Soundbite.

Richie Dwyer from West Cork composed the first of these and it was assimilated immediately into the corpus of traditional music. The second is commonly played in sessions. Matt Molloy played the third on his "Stony Steps" album and gave it this title. A version of it can be found as no. 189 in Breathnach's Vol 2.
Reels: The Fox on the Town (R. Dwyer) / Lady of the Island / The Primrose Lass (trad. arr.).
Flute: Garry Guitar: John Keyboards: Bryan & Pádraic Bodhrán: Junior Bass: Paul


Seanfhear aerach

The title refers to the Santa Claus of the first jig. I first heard it played by the group Skylark and thought it had a pleasant melody with some interesting chord progressions. According to their sleeve notes, it comes from an old American tune book which they don't identify. The last jig sounds quite modern so I was surprised when in the course of recent research, I came upon it as part of a performance by the Kilfenora in the'50s. Their box player, Jerry Lynch picked up this and other material from a programme of Scottish music broadcast regularly in the late 40s. Many musicians were featured, including Jim Cameron's band after whom the Kilfenora named this jig. Apparently, the signal would fade out completely from Britain at certain times of the year, but the boys kept as careful a vigil as those tuning in to Radio Luxembourg a decade later.
Jigs: Upon St. Nicholas' Boat / "An Phlasóg Ghlas" / Jim Cameron's. (trad. arr.).
Flute: Garry Guitar: Ciarán Bass: Malachy
Keyboards: Pádraic.


Airborne

The first of these, I heard performed by Michelle O Sullivan. She has played it for many years and stylistically, it's one of the defining pieces in her repertoire. The second tune is a favourite exhibition piece among trad. musicians and is listed in O' Neill's.
Hornpipes: "The Báinín" / "The Golden Eagle" (trad. arr.).
Flute: Garry Piano: Pádraic.


De bonne heure

The title is for Laurent, the most punctual sound engineer this side of the Channel. The first tune is also called "Jenny Bang the Weaver". Whoever Jenny was, she got around. She is featured in titles of several tunes in O Neill's, such as "Jenny's Chickens", "Jenny's welcome to Charlie", etc. There are six listed versions of "Jenny bang the Weaver" in Fleischmann and two of Jenny dang the Weaver". None of them correspond exactly with this one. Accordion player, Dermot Lernihan recorded it in '82 under the title: "The Furze Bush". He also recorded the second reel which is rarely played and isn't listed in the usual collections.
Reels: The Longford Spinster / Paddy Kelly's (trad. arr.)
Flute: Garry Guitar: Ciarán Bass: Malachy Bodhrán: John Joe



Heirloom- Listen to Soundbite.

Micho Russell was a musician of cultural significance who lived all his life near the North Clare "clachán" of Doolin. Though he didn't have fingers of quicksilver, he could nonetheless enthral listeners with his enchanting musicianship. These are two from his quaint repertoire which I endeavour to render in his unique style. He referred to the first one as "a slide which they used to play as a jig for the plain set". It's featured on his "Limestone Rock" album. Though I often heard him play the second tune, he never recorded it.
Reels: The Clare Jig / Sweet Marie. (trad. arr.).
Flute: Garry Piano: Pádraic.


Airspeed

I had to keep these uptempo. Slower didn't seem to suit. Brid Meaney and my sister Mary brought them back from a German trip about ten years ago. I was struck by the similarity between the first one and the Irish polka "An Galope", though it does have more parts. I don't have access to German folk music collections and so I don't know if the tunes have been annotated for posterity.
German Polkas: Gan ainm (trad. arr.).
Flute: Garry Guitar: John Bass: Paul


Hurricane

When I started the album back in the early '90s, I thought a track of a group of Clare flute players would be interesting, especially if people already knew them as soloists. I was delighted that the lads were willing to oblige, and especially honoured by the presence of veteran Peter O Loughlin who enjoys iconic status within the trad. music fraternity. To give it a natural session feel, I added some pub ambience during the mixing but discarded it later as it wasn't felt to be appropriate and might compromise the music. Paddy Mullins of the Kilfenora often said of his flute that there was enough wind gone through it to make a hurricane. With four flutes going together here, we're well on the way to at least a stiff breeze!
Reels: Eddie Moloney's / The Old Bush / The Sligo Lasses (trad. arr.).
Flutes: Garry, Peter, Kevin, Eamonn Piano: Brian


An Ghaoth Anoir- Listen to Soundbite.

Two nameless tunes in ¾ from our Easterly neighbour, which according to Karen Tweed were possibly written by Tim O Leary and are featured on a recent "Boys of the Lough" album.

Reels: Mazurkas (C. O Leary).
Flute: Garry Guitar: Ciarán Bass: Malachy


Loozin' air

Patsy Moloney, to whom the first reel is attributed, is a flute player from Co. Limerick who spent much of his life in Birmingham. I picked it up in '85 at sessions with English musicians like Kevin Crawford who spent many hours with him. So, having done the full circle, the tune is back in Limerick today. "Loozin air" is a composition by young English accordeonist Gary Connolly who was a regular visitor to Irish music festivals during the '90s. I learned it from fiddler Elaine Conwell at the Sligo all-Ireland fleádh in '90.
Reels:"Patsy Moloney's" (P. Moloney) / "Loozin air".(G. Connolly)
Flute: Garry Guitar: John Bódhrán: Tommy.


L'air du Blond

Parisian flute player Hervé Cantal composed the first of these about fifteen years ago. He's mystified by its popularity over his other tunes. The second of this selection is a collaborative effort by two of my sisters - a bit of diversion to counter insomnia at 4 am. one night. Mind you, after they'd played it once or twice next day, they lost interest and discarded it. It has never been accorded the dignity of a title.
Reels: Hervé's (H. Cantal )/ Gan ainm (S. & M. Shannon)
Flute: Garry Piano: Pádraic Keyboards: Pádraic & Bryan Bódhrán: Junior.


Slow air

This is the song version of what is also an instrumental air, two versions of which are listed in O Neill's 1850 (Nos.83 & 84). My favourite rendition of the song is that by Séamus Begley accompanied by Steve Cooney on the "Meitheal" album. (HBCD 0004).
Reels: "Bruach na Carraige Báine (trad arr.)
Flute: Garry



Seriously 'airy- Listen to Soundbite.

What a voice!
Reels: "The Sally Gardens / "The Humours of Tulla" (trad arr.)



© Garry Shannon 2010