Here is a fantastic polka from West Kerry in Ireland – I’ve only heard it called ‘West Kerry polka’, and though it’s similar to John Cronin’s No.1 the B parts are quite different. We tried pushing the chords in the B part, anticipating the changes and making them early by one quaver. This tune went well with Tralee Gaol from July 7th 2019.
Here are the dots with a PDF available here:
This is one of my favourite slipjigs, the fabulously named Trip to Marrowbones, also known as Four Bare Legs Together and as The Raking Quality. It comes from the 1770 Northumbrian manuscript from William Vickers. This is the F major version, there is another where most of the Fs become F sharps, taking the tune into G minor. We recorded this G minor version for the Stepling album as part of our ‘Saucy Set’, this can be found here at 1:35. For clarity I’ll not post the dots for that version just yet, I think we need to let the major version settle first! I had thought that I had learned this from an Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr album, but this doesn’t seem to be the case – goodness knows where it came from!
Here are the dots, with filled-out chords, PDF can be found here:
Here is the Newtondale Hornpipe, a fantastic tune with trad roots which was adapted and reworked by fiddler extraordinaire Dave Shepherd. There’s a fantastic recording of the tune on the album Dave made with Becky Price, Ashburnham, which can be found here. I learned this tune recently from fiddler Nick Goode.
Here are the dots, with a PDF here:
Another Scottish tune for Burn’s night, and a strathspey this time: this is Stumpie. It seems to be related to the tune Buttered Peas, with versions played in Northumbria and the east coast of Canada, specifically Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.
Here are the dots, with a PDF available here:
With Burns night approaching, it seemed appropriate to learn a Scottish tune; this tune dates back to at least the early 1700s, remaining popular for quite some time as it was used in several ballad operas in the 18th century as well as being used as a retreat march by the British military, specifically by the 37th Regiment. It was printed in many books across Scotland as well as making its way into a few English books too.
The PDF can be found here. We used two basic accompanying rhythms for the drums and guitars:
Here’s Black Nag, also from January 13th, a tune from the Playford collection (1657 edition). We learned the tune and then created a variation in the B section by substituting different melodic shapes for the argeggios in the original.
Here’s the PDF.
A delayed post from January 13th: Bacca Pipes is a tune and dance from the Cotswold Morris tradition and is danced over two crossed tobacco pipes, making it a form of sword dance of the kind found across Europe. It’s related to the tune Greensleeves and was collected by Cecil Sharp on August 30th 1909 from musician Thomas Delaney in Sevenhampton, Wiltshire.
Here are the dots, with a PDF here:
Monday 6th January was our first week back and we covered a range of tunes, starting with the Plane Tree jig and its possibly original 4/4 counterpart Schottishe a Bethanie (video link to the fabulous Mel Biggs of Morai and ‘Pick Up and Play’ fame). We used this tune as inspiration and the second half of the night was taken up with Kit White’s no.2, which we recapped and then collectively turned from a polka into a jig.
I’ve roughly notated the various stage we went through to reach the end product; at stage one we played even quavers in 6/8 to fill out the bars, at stage two we simplified the rhythm and at stage three we replaced key patterns with ‘hill’, ‘ditch’, ‘zig zag’ or scale shapes. Each replacement was selected from two or three options presented by me and voted on by the group – the title refers to the idea that a camel is a horse designed by committee!
Dots in PDF form can be found here.
Here is the set list (click the link) for Gunnersbury concert, 2-4 on December 15th. Order is still to be confirmed, apologies, I’m still very much under the weather and slightly struggling to get everything in place. The plan is to arrive at 12 for a run through and then have time for some lunch before we perform. See you all on Sunday!
Just to confirm this week’s session will be a rehearsal for Sunday’s concert, with final arrangements posted once we’ve cemented them tonight.