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- Fintan Vallely & Mark Simos - Starry Lane To Monaghan
This is a collection of old and new, Irish and Scottish Traditional music, a personal selection of Fintan Vallely's which arose out of his playing in Scotland with singer Tim Lyons in the 1980s. The music looks both backwards and forwards - beginning in the 18th century Scottish composition period which defined a great chunk of what we know as Traditional music today. It includes some of the more standard twentieth century Irish piping repertoire, some from Co. Clare, and branches into 19050s-onward new composition. The old Scottish material was sourced in the 1765 Neil Stewart Collection of Scottish Music, courtesy of Sutherland fiddler Charlie Menzies. Fintan had a privileged glimpse of his copy of the manuscript - the only one outside of the George V Library in Edinburgh - while on tour with Daith? Sproule in the summer of 1989. The particular tunes were chosen for their stark similarity in style and basic playing 'feel' to Irish music, something which points to older Irish and Scottish music being once similar, and having moved apart stylistically only in modern time. A particular pointer to this is the piece The Duke of Atholl's Rant which in fact has been played in Ireland all through the twentieth century as The Humours of Ballyconnell. A shorter variant of it, or of the following piece Miss Betty Plummer's, has also been played in a more strathspey form by Co. Antrim bands as a marching tune. This both verifies the accuracy of oral transmission and underlines the fundamental links between Irish and Scottish musics. So too does the similarity of the second part of Miss Chalmers' to the second parts of The Starry Lane to Monaghan as well as some other 4/4 tunes such as The Ships are Sailing, The Connemara Stockings and The Ebb Tide.
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