28 June 2021
If you don’t wish to read through the notes below, you can go straight to playlist G on YouTube here.
Michael Gregory joins Aidan Crossey to help create another of our collaborative playlists of Irish traditional music.
Michael was one of the very first people to contact me after I started TheIrishMandolin.com. His advice and support is beyond value. We’ve struck up a long-distance friendship during which I’ve learned a lot about (among other things, many of them personal) Michael’s love of the music – especially his love of the music of Sliabh Luachra. I’ve heard how Michael’s early musical life was centred around the mandolin – playing mandolin, encouraging other mandolinists and eventually making some superb instruments, one of which – G&O #34 – he very generously gifted to me towards the end of 2020 and which has rarely been out of my hands ever since.
Michael has recently experienced some difficulty in playing mandolin but continued his musical odyssey by taking up the box, an instrument ideally suited to his beloved slides and polkas. Unsurprisingly, polkas and slides and accordions loom large in his selections for this playlist.
G is for GIANTS of the Sliabh Luachra musical world. The first of Michael’s suggestions for the playlist. Matt Cranitch (fiddle) and Jackie Daly (box) play Johnny Mickey Barry’s Slides (Johnny Mickey’s/Padraig O’Keeffe’s) in this set of tunes recorded live in The Catskills in 2016.
G is for GERRY HARRINGTON, EOGHAN O’SULLIVAN AND PAUL DE GRAE. Aidan says: I love the album The Smoky Chimney. There’s a phrase which, for me, describes the essence of the very best music – “tight but loose”. Very few albums capture this spirit. The Smoky Chimney manages it on every track! This set of reels is one of my favourite sets on the album and their live version is an absolute treat. Gerry Harrington, Eoghan O’Sullivan and Paul de Grae – Rolling In The Barrel/The Torn Jacket/The Flowers Of Limerick
G is for one of the GREATS. Michael has selected a set of slides played by an absolute master of Sliabh Luachra music, the box player Johnny O’Leary. Johnny O’Leary – The Brosna Slide/The Scartaglen Slide/Padraig O’Keeffe’s Favourite
G is for GUITAR. Aidan says: There’s a lot of controversy about guitar in the world of Irish traditional music. There are those who would maintain that the melodies themselves have such rhythmic pulse that accompaniment is unnecessary. But then there was Arty McGlynn whose unique approach to accompaniment on guitar was so highly respected that he became *the* guitar player to whom Irish musicians of the highest calibre turned when they wanted some backing. In this selection, Arty backs – no, that’s the wrong word! – complements and, yes, elevates the playing of Paddy Keenan. Paddy Keenan and Arty McGlynn – Condon’s Frolics/The Eavesdropper
G is for GERALDINE O’CALLAGHAN AND AIDAN COFFEY. Another of Michael’s selections. Geraldine O’Callaghan (playing the fiddle which once belonged to the much-missed Seamus Creagh) and Aidan Coffey on box play a set of slides. Michael has been playing tunes with Aidan over the internet and describes him as one of the nicest gentlemen he’s met… Geraldine O’Callaghan and Aidan Coffey – Danny Ab’s/O’Keeffe’s/The Cat’s Rambles To The Child’s Saucepan
G is for THE GLOAMING. Aidan says: Martin Hayes’ partnership with Denis Cahill “grew legs” when he formed The Gloaming through joining forces with the vocal talent of Iarla O’Lionaord and the piano of Thomas Bartlett. (And then later with the addition of second fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh.) Their version of The Sailor’s Bonnet has been a real inspiration to me since I first heard it live in the Union Chapel in Islington, North London. The intensity, the hush that descended on the audience, those spartan and *just right* chords by Bartlett… an utterly magical moment in time. The Gloaming – The Sailor’s Bonnet
G is for THE GATHERING. Michael has selected an amazing piece of footage which will surely whet the appetite of all of us who, at the time of writing (June 2021) have been struggling for over a year with lockdowns and partial lockdowns. The Gathering is – as the name suggests – a major coming together of some of Ireland’s best musicians. This footage is remarkable for, among other things, featuring Bryan O’Leary, grandson of Johnny O’Leary, who has inherited his grandfather’s grá for the tunes! John Brosnan, Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, Jackie Daly, Mikey Kelliher and Bryan O’Leary (accordions) with Paul de Grae (guitar) – Queen Of The Fair/The Carraroe Jig
G is for THE GEESE IN THE BOG. Aidan says: One of my favourite “big” jigs is the five-part The Geese In The Bog. Here played – just beautifully – by concertina player Noel Hill and fiddler Tony Linnane whose collaboration is a delight from start to finish. Noel Hill and Tony Linnane – The Geese In The Bog
G is for PAUL DE GRAE AND EOGHAN O’SULLIVAN. Michael has selected another set of tunes which features Paul de Grae – a man whose fine ear for accompanying the tunes is matched only by his encyclopaedic knowledge of the music! Paul de Grae and Eoghan O’Sullivan – Ellen O’Leary’s/Dalaigh’s (Jigs)
G is for GORGEOUS. Aidan says: Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin’s album “An Dealg Óir” was a revelation to me when I first heard it. Her voice is one of the purest, cleanest, most wholesome and frankly beautiful sounds to have graced my ears. In this, my last selection for this playlist, she sings “Thugamar Féin An Samhradh Linn” which translates as “We Bring The Summer With Us” – what a lovely gift that would be!!! Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin – Thugamar Féin An Samhradh Linn
G is for THE GATHERING (revisited). Michael has given us a bonus selection. The massed accordions whose set of jigs feature above regroup to close the night’s proceedings with “the Sliabh Luachra national anthem”. John Brosnan, Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, Jackie Daly, Mikey Kelliher and Bryan O’Leary (accordions) with Paul de Grae (guitar) – The Galtee Rangers/The Glentaun/Cal Callaghan’s
Listen to the full “G” playlist here.
All playlists on my channel here.
Return to the “A to Z” home page here.