28 June 2021
If you don’t wish to read through the notes below, you can go straight to playlist J on YouTube here.
John Williamson joins Aidan Crossey to help create another of our collaborative playlists of Irish traditional music.
John is a very handy player of various GDAE instruments and is in frequent contact with me via my YouTube channel and via email to talk about the music in general and about mandolins in particular. You can catch John’s mandolinery – and it’s well worth catching! – here. I’m delighted that John has agreed to share some of his musical influences that are associated with the letter J.
J is for JOHN JOE Kelly. John says: Before I picked up the mandolin I bought a bodhrán…When searching around for tips, advice, guidance on how to play it and videos of people playing the drum, I came across John Joe Kelly. This snippet shows him producing a range of notes and tones using an array of techniques. As far as bodhrán playing goes in Traditional Irish Music (TIM), for me, they don’t come much better than this guy. As a bonus, you get a bit of whistle playing by Michael McGoldrick. John Joe Kelly – bodhrán solo, Christ Church, Dublin, 2012
J is for JOHN CARTY. Aidan says: One of the most exciting pieces of music I have ever heard is John Carty’s rendition of Jim Donoghue’s. Over the space of many repeats, he “…takes the tune for a walk”. Splendid playing that just doesn’t grow old! John Carty plays Jim Donoghue’s
J is for JAR. John says: Jar, as in “Whiskey In The Jar”. I think it’s fair to say that alcohol has played its part in TIM….and when alcohol and this song come together a good sing-a-long usually ensues. Many artists have offered their versions…the one in this video, by The Dubliners, is one of the originals and classics within the tradition. The Dubliners – Whiskey In The Jar
J is for JUNIOR CREHAN. Aidan says: Junior Crehan was a much-respected and much-loved fiddler from Clare who has the distinction of having composed a large number of tunes which have been adopted by musicians from all corners of the Irish trad universe. In this track the celebrated fiddler Brian Rooney plays one of Junior’s most well-known compositions An Luathradán (often simply known as Junior Crehan’s) alongside two of the most often-played jigs in the tradition. Lovely stuff! Brian Rooney plays An Luathradan/An Rogaire Dubh/I Buried My Wife And Danced On Top Of Her
J is for JIG FOR JOHNNY. John says. When searching for easy to follow videos on how to play certain tunes on the mandolin I came across the channels of several players on YouTube, all of whom have inspired and assisted me. I’ve selected one, Frédéric Bourgeois, playing a tune that begins with J….but it is also a version of the tune, in my opinion, played particularly well on the mandolin. Frederic’s YouTube channel can be found here. Frédéric Bourgeois (Tergal14) plays Jig For Johnny, composed by Charlie Lennon
J is for JOSEPHINE KEEGAN. Aidan says: Josephine Keegan has been a standard bearer for the Irish musical tradition for many years. She has provided piano accompaniment for many of the players who were active musically from the 1960s onwards – people like Sean McGuire and Roger Sherlock – as well as being a very talented musician (piano and fiddle) in her own right. She’s made a number of albums during her career and two of her books “The Keegan’s Tunes” – a collection of her own compositions – and “A Drop In The Ocean” – her collection of traditional tunes and some recently composed by traditional musicians – have become much sought-after classics. This track is her heartbreaking tribute to the late fiddle maker, Michael Delargy. Jospehine Keegan – Lament For Michael Delargy
J is for JIG. John says: In this instance, as in Morrison’s Jig. Inevitably, I became aware of the contribution of instruments in the lower register to TIM. In terms of selecting a version of this tune played on the bouzouki, I was torn between that played by a younger Tijn Berends (see https://www.youtube.com/user/TijnB42/videos) and that provided by the guy on the YouTube channel Bouzouki Xp, (see https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwn7DJjZFglzzxbgsbereiQ) whose name I don’t know. I think the later version is the more accomplished of the two at the time… Bouzouki Xp plays Morrison’s Jig
J is for JENNY’S WEDDING. Aidan says: Jenny’s Wedding is one of those classic piping reels which sits very nicely on just about any instrument. It has a feature of many piping reels in that the “c” is quite mobile, it changes between a natural and a sharp c depending on the bar of the tune in question. This is one of my favourite versions of the reel, paired with another of my favourites! Paddy Keenan – Jenny’s Wedding/Craig’s Pipes
J is for JILL McAULEY. John says: J is for Jill McAuley…playing Julia Delaney’s. Following my forays into percussion and instruments in the mandolin family, I’ve recently decided to have a go at the tenor banjo…another instrument that features heavily in TIM. Quite simply, you won’t find much better banjo playing of this classic, popular tune, than that provided by Jill in this video. Jill’s YouTube channel can be found here. Jill McAuley – Julia Delaney’s
J is for JOYFUL. Aidan says: Josephine Keegan’s tune earlier in this playlist illustrates one facet of the music – its mournful, melancholy, haunting aspect. Time to leave you with something much more uplifting and much more joyful from one of my favourite albums. Rattle The Boards – St Patrick Was A Gentleman
Many thanks to John Williamson for his suggestions.
Listen to the full “J” playlist here.
All playlists on my channel here.
Return to the “A to Z” home page here.