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Dan Carollo - guitar

Featured musicians:

Eliot Grasso - uilleann pipes, flute

Randal Bays - fiddle

Suzanne Taylor - accordion

Michael Connolly - mandolin


Produced by Dan Carollo
Record at Empty Sea Studios, Seattle, WA and Emmaus
Road Studios, Duvall, WA

 

Cover photography by Dan Carollo (See online photo gallery)
CD jacket design by Dan Carollo
Additional design by Mike Nealy

Cover: Merrion Street in Dublin.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the CD:

 

Dublin, Ireland -- also known by its Irish name Baile Átha Cliath (The Town of The Hurdle Ford), referring to the an ancient river crossing. In 841 A.D., Vikings established a settlement where the River Poddle meets the Liffey in an area known as Dubh Linn (black pool), where the modern city gets its name.

 

The City sits on the east coast of Ireland where the River Liffey empties into the Irish sea.  The city has had rich and volatile history: conquered by Vikings, colonized by the British, and site of major uprisings. (You can still see bullet holes from the 1916 Easter Rising on the General Post Office building on O'Connell Street).

 

In many ways, some might say that Dublin isn't really "Irish" -- at least not like the old Gaelic Ireland, now mostly in the west of the island. The part of Ireland under English rule in the medieval period (mostly the counties of Dublin, Meath and Louth and Kildare) was known as "The Pale", everything outside was "Beyond The Pale".

 

Today, much of the prominent architecture in the city was designed by English architects during the period of King George III in the mid 1700s.  The photo to the left is one example of the Georgian architecture -- a building on Merrion Square.

 

Despite it's mixed history, Dublin preserves some of the finest treasures of Ireland and even of all Europe. At Trinity College, you can view a copy of the 9th-century Book of Kells (a copy of the four Gospels). The Chester Beatty Library contains many ancient manuscripts as well, including early copies of almost every book of the New Testament, some dating to the 2nd and 3rd centuries (enough material here to make Dan Brown's theories seem a bit thin).  It was also in Dublin where Handel's first public performance of "The Messiah" was held.

 

To the north of Dublin about 30 miles is the ancient stone monument of Newgrange, the Hill of Slane, Fourknocks tomb (said to be older than the pyramids of Egypt) and The Hill of Tara. Just to the south, also about 30 miles away is one of the best preserved monasteries of Ireland known as Glendalough; both a center of scholarship and humanitarianism, in which monks copied and preserved ancient literature and ran a hospital for the sick.

 

The title of the CD "Miles from Dublin" was inspired by a brief stay I took in the city in December 2005, en route to Moscow, Russia to finalize an adoption of a 13-month old boy (a whole other story in itself!).  In my two prior trips to Dublin, I have to say I didn't think much of the city at all. But it was during that recent trip that I felt a sense of intrigue and fascination for the city and those areas just outside -- literally "miles from Dublin" (or "kilometers" if you're actually from Ireland!)

 

 

About The Tunes:

 

1. The Black Rougue (An Rógaire Dubh) / Brian O’Lynn / The Woods of Old Limerick
The title of the first tune is derived from an old song and popularized by Donegal fiddlers Mickey and John Doherty. The second is an old dance jig. A notated version is found in several older sources, including a collection by piper Willie Clancy. The last is a traditional Irish jig.

2. Over The Moore to Maggie
The first is a 3-part reel in G found in many early collections of set dance music.

3. The Thing That Fell Off The Kettle
This is an original tune by Dan Carollo. The title was inspired by an unidentified part of a kettle that had fallen onto the floor of a beach house we rented in Seaside, Oregon.

The story goes like this: My friend Dan Young and I were cleaning the kitchen after breakfast one morning, when I spotted this copper thing lying on the floor. 

"What's THAT!?", I asked.

"It's the thing that fell off the kettle," replied Dan.

It sounded like a perfect name for a tune, so I ended up using it.

This tune is written as a jig and a bit of a throwback to my rocker days.

 


4. The Stranger / The Crooked Road To Dublin / The Wasp***
Michael learned the first two tunes from Minneapolis fiddler Kate Saylor. The Crooked Road is found in early 20th-century sources, including collections from the great piper Willie Clancy (1918-1973). The Wasp was written by English mandolin player Simon Mayor. Simon says he often doodles on the mandolin while watching TV, and came up with this nice reel.

5. Sean Reid's / Untitled / The Belles of Tipperary
The first tune is attributed to (or written in honor of) piper and fiddler Sean Reid from County Donegal. Apparently a favourite tune of the Willie Clancy’s father Gilbert and has also gone by the name of “Gilbert Clancy’s”. The second tune in the set can be heard on Liam O’Flynn’s “The Piper’s Call” where it is also called “Untitled”. The last tune is sometimes called “The New Policeman”, popular in New England. Although some titles spell it “Bells”, the correct spelling is thought to be “Belles”, a reference to a beautiful woman.

6. The Snowy Path / The Foxhunter’s Jig
The first tune was written by guitarist Mark Kelly of the group Altan and dedicated to Dublin whistle player Donncha O’Brien, who was confined to a wheelchair for much of his life. The second is a popular slip-jig in County Donegal. It also goes under the title “Nead na Lachan”, sung in two parts - which is how we play it here. I first heard this tune sung by the brilliant West Kerry singer Eilis Kennedy on her “Time To Sail” CD.

7. Come Thou Font of Every Blessing
This is one of my favorite hymns. The composer of the tune is unknown. The words were written by Methodist minister Robert Robinson (of Norfolk, England) in about 1758 when he was about 23. It was later compiled by John Wyeth, a Pennsylvania Printer in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music (1810-13) and was used in American revival camp meetings.

I perform the tune as an instrumental (with Suzanne Taylor on accordion), but these are the words...

 

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of God's redeeming love.


8. Arkansas Traveler / Fisher's Hornpipe / Woodchopper's Reel
The first is an old American tune believed to be composed by Sandford C. Faulkner (1803-74), originally played along with spoken dialogue. Second tune is believed to be written by William Fisher. Lastly a tune attributed to fiddler Ned Landry of New Brunswick.

9. Killanan’s Fancy / Pour The Coffee
The first is a traditional reel that I first heard played by guitarist Ged Foley on Patrick Street’s “Corner Boys” CD. The second tune is written by Dan Carollo. I suppose you could say it evokes a sort of “caffeine buzz”. But really, it’s all about friendship and conversation.

10. The New Land
Written by Cape Breton fiddle and guitar maker Otis A. Tomas  (www.fiddletree.com). over 25 years ago, just after moving to Cape Breton from the U.S. As he put it: “[The tune] expresses a bit of a sense of loss for the old life, and yet optimism and hope for the new.”

11. Ships are Sailing / Mouth of the Tobique
First is a lively Irish reel in Em, apparently popular in New England and in New York City sessions in the late 70s. The tune is documented in some early collections of dance tunes. The second is a French-Canadian tune, named for New Brunswick's Tobique River.

12. My Darling Asleep / The Humors of Trim
I was introduced to this tune by chemistry professor and folklorist Stewart Hendrickson. It is a popular traditional tune found in Chief Francis O’Neill’s collections of the early 1900s. The second tune is also known as “The Rolling Waves”, a traditional double jig also from O’Neill’s – Dance Music of Ireland: 1001 Gems (1907).



13. Be Thou My Vision / St. Margaret’s Reel (or "St. Mary's")
The first is an ancient Irish hymn, possibly dating back to the 7th century, and was translated into English by Mary Elizabeth Byrne of Dublin, Ireland in 1905.  The melody comes from a tune known as "Slane" -- which is an area just north of Dublin, and the site of a famous encounter between St. Patrick and King Laoghaire, in which Patrick lit an "Easter Fire" on the top of hill, angering the king.

 

A couple of ballads known as "The Banks of the Bhan" and "With My Love On the Road" also are based on the same melody.

 

The words to "Be Thou My Vision" begins as follows:

 

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

 

The second tune Dan wrote inspired by St. Mary’s Church (which, to my dismay, I somehow misnamed as "St. Margaret's" in the liner notes!), whose bell tower is easily visible around the town of Dingle, Ireland. In fact, so prominent is the church in the center of town that the locals usually always reference it when giving directions to visitors. I remember visiting the town of Dingle (An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis) and hearing conversations such as the following:

 

Visitor: "Where can I find a barber shop?"

Local: "Just a few buildings up from The Church."

Visitor: "Where's the library?"

Local: "Oh, that's just a block down from The Church."

Visitor: "Where's Dick Mack's Pub?"

Local: "That's just right across the street from The Church."

Visitor:  "But where's the Church?"

Local: "Just across the street from Dick Mack's, of course!"
 

See my photo of Dingle Bay, with the tower of St. Mary's in the background.


14. Paddy Fahey's Reel
One of many tunes composed by East Galway fiddle player and farmer Paddy Fahey, which by the way, are all named “Paddy Fahey’s”, although are usually distinguished by number! This one is known as “Paddy Fahey’s No. 15”

There's a story passed around Galway about a student who was writing a thesis on the composer came to visit and asked him where he got his inspiration?

 

"Well," replied the farmer, "I composed one in that hollow over there . . . another by those bushes in the next field ... and another one on my way from the barn." 

(source: The Rambling House)

15. The Butterfly / To Limerick We Go
The first is a 3-part slip jig attributed to the late Dublin fiddler Tommy Potts, who apparently learned a 2-part version from his father, Sean, an uilleann piper. Second tune, also a slip jig found in early sources, including O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies),

16. Planxty George Brabazon
Composed by the blind harp player Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738) for a young bachelor George Brabazon. Planxty is a term that some believe means “in praise of” or “song for”. A well-known memorial to the harpist can be found in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

17. Out On the Ocean / Paidin O’Rafferty
The first tune is a popular session tune. It is believed to be derived from a Scottish tune “The Rock and The Week Pickle Tow”, originally a women's spinning song. Second tune is a 5-part double jig also known as “Paddy O’Rafferty’s” or “Drink of This Cup”.


References include:

The Fiddler’s Companion www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers  by Andrew Kuntz
The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island by Ken Perlman
Center For Church Music

 

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